Simeon wandered through the busy streets, fatigued and gloomy. The avenue was covered in partly melted snow from the day before. His shoes were damp and he could feel the cold water against his feet. The scent of rotten wood and wet cobblestone dominated the air. He stopped. His coat was inflated by the wind as he, confused, gazed around him, before his hand swiftly stroke the air. A painstaking shriek left his lips before he burst out in tears. The man fell to his knees. He started muttering, facing the ground. Women shielded their children from the lunatic. The streets rapidly cleared out.“No, no, please, no. Please do not hurt her! She is merely a child! No, no, NO! Leave her alone!” Simeon came to realise it was simply a delusion and managed to calm himself down. The only being left in sight was a rat in the corner of a decaying bookstore.
The rat started teasing him and was shortly joined by companions. He walked across the street and as he entered the store, the rodents flew the scene. Books came falling down from the shelves of which they had teased him. Despite the mess left behind, one book stood tall. Simeon felt drawn to this work and captivated by the words engraved in the cover. “The Bound Man,” he mumbled. The name seemed familiar. Before the villagers returned, he snatched the book. He hid it in his coat and promptly walked away. By the time the owners returned, Simeon was long gone.
As the night fell upon the village, Simeon arrived at the place he would call home. Once, it was a magnificent sight to see, gigantic white pillars, stretching themselves high, soft light glowing from the windows and happy, childish laughter. Now, there were cobwebs climbing up the walls, stretching themselves far and wide. Mould had formed on the surfaces and the windows no longer let in any light. The garden, once filled by beautiful flowers, hedges, and trees, was now brown with rotted leaves that reminded of death.
Simeon sat down in a beat-up chair with a rotten stench. The chair made a creaking sound when he sat down. He silently thought about what he was going to do. It was boring; Sitting in that chair all evening. Pondering over his empty and desolate life. He was tired of thinking. He just wanted to enjoy life. That is what he deserved. But he could not. Forever, he would be haunted by the memories of his family being murdered in front of him. What if the murderer was after him as well? Anger and confusion grew from within. He ripped off his coat and threw it on the ground. It made an unexpectedly loud noise. Simeon’s anger vanished as he remembered the book. He went with heavy, brisk steps towards the coat on the floor. As he sat down by the garment, he felt a pull towards the book that was now in his hands.
With shaking hands, he managed to open the book. “The Bound Man”. He read the first line in the book, soon delving deeper and deeper into it. A few hours later he stopped, went back and reread the last paragraph again. “I came home, only to discover my father, gasping on the floor. Foam formed in his mouth as he was gagging with his eyes wide open. I ran over, trying to save him, but it was too late.” He immediately started crying with flashbacks of his father’s death. Simeon had come home to find his father dead on the floor. Although his father was not poisoned, he still felt incredible sympathy for the man.
Simeon continued to read. The suspense intensified. As Simeon hurriedly flicked through the pages, he found that it was now the sister that was in peril, being chased through the dark hallways. Manic laughter following her wherever she ran.
As she entered her playroom, she suddenly realised she was cornered, and let out a high pitched scream. The cloaked man approached the sister as her brother entered the room. The brother began to plead, begging the cloaked man to spare her. Despite his attempts, the man had no mercy and stabbed the girl multiple times, leading to her death. A metallic smell filled the room, and it was almost as if you could taste it. As Simeon turned the last page, a note fell out. With shaking hands, he opened the note. “Thy shall be next,” it read. Simeon dropped the note, it fluttered to the floor, landing almost soundlessly.
The sound of a door creaking open snapped Simeon out of his daze. “Who is there?!” he shouted but was met with silence. Footsteps, fast, light, and approaching. With footsteps approaching, and no answer to his shout, it was no wonder that he was filled with fear. “Wh-who is there?” Simeon shouted, cursing himself for stuttering. No answer again. Why did he even do this? It probably was not real, so why did he care so much?
A shadow lurking in the corners watched Simeon as he continued to mutter and question himself. The shadow shuffled closer while making sure it avoided creaking floorboards in the room. The clinking of chains rustling together broke his cover. Simeon, quickly aware that he was not alone anymore rose to his feet. He was now sure that this, this that is now happening was not his imagination. The shadow quickly moved. It had been seen. Simeon, hurridly exited the room, barely aware of the steps that were following him. The shadow, whoever that was, was set on following and creeping him out.
“Jane? Harry?” Simeon called out. Hoping the shadow following him was just his imagination. Although he was pretty sure it was real. He expected no answer. “Brother.” Simeon jumped. Someone or something, whatever it was, had just called him brother. “Wh-who is there?” Simeon called out again. “Me.” was the answer he received. “Who are you?” he said. “Someone.” The answers were short, not at all informing.
Quick as a lightning bolt, the shadow cornered Simeon. It’s cloaked face inches apart from his. “Thy shall be next,” it whispered. Simeon could feel it’s cold breath against his skin. The cold biting him. A horrible feeling really. Not at all comfortable. The words began to process in Simeon’s mind. The note said, ‘thy shall be next’, and so did this shadow. Has the same person written them? “Wh-what do you want?” Simeon managed to force out of himself, the cold restricting his vocal cords and bodyparts. “Your life,” the shadow answered. It’s voice carried through the hall. The cold breath from it paralyzing Simeon as his muscles froze.
“Why?” he asked, “Why do you want my life?” The shadow laughed. It laughed for a long time. The high pitched laugh was completely different from it’s dark voice. “You are the devil. The world deserves better than you. You do not deserve to live. Simple as that.” the shadow whispered. The soft clanking of chains broke the silence between them as Simeon’s brained processed the words.
Then it clicked. “You are the murderer of my father and sister! You killed them! I’m the devil?! At least I have not killed anyone!” the rage he felt was unexplainable. This shadow, standing tall over him, claimed that he was the devil. That he, Simeon Fletcher, who had done nothing wrong in his entire life, was the devil. While the shadow had killed multiple people, including his father and sister. “You are the forsaken devil!” Simeon shouted.
It seemed for a moment that shouting that, was the right thing to do. The shadow stood still. Too still. If it was not for their conversation, Simeon would not notice it. Out of nowhere, Simeon was on the floor, the shadow, not leaning over him. Simeon looked up and was met with a pair of eyes. The colour could be seen, the same colour eyes that his whole family has. Blue. Blue eyes, the exact shade of the Fletcher family, called him brother, and most likely the murderer of his sister and father. Could this be? “Harry?” Simeon whispered, “Brother?” The shadow stopped, the malice in it’s eyes dimmed. “Hello brother,” he whispered, “it’s great to see you again.” And the weapon, slammed down.
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