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-OLYMPIA, WA January 14, 1949


Dear Margaret,

It is with great sorrow that I have to inform you on the passing of grandpa. He was an incredible man, with an ambitious heart; he will, undoubtedly, be remembered for all the great happiness he bestowed upon us. However, I can at least say that my travels in Washington have been ease off my mind. I know it can be cold here, but something about that chill that the wind whispers in my ear, relieves me; for I take with a full heart my condolences for the past, and rest my admirations for what is to come!

Now surely I don’t want to eat up this letter with the feast of myself, please, tell me what has been on your mind. How has Journalism been treating you? If I remember, you took up that job in Kansas? I know that there are more prestigious opportunities on the horizon, but everyone has to start somewhere.

By the way, did they ever get back to you on your apartment? There ought to be some leeway in the negotiations for sustainability; but if all went aryie, you are more than welcome to stay here if you like -- my door is always open.

Don’t be a stranger, tell me what has been happening, I am truly eager to hear all about your stories.


-You’re ever loving aunt, Chelsea.


-OLYMPIA, WA January 19, 1949

Dear Margaret,

I have received an inquiry regarding your status in the apartment by the voice of your mother; I send my deepest regards. Again, you are always welcome here in Washington, but just be prepared for a frosted twilight, white trees, and icy buds of flowers. Please write back soon, I am anxious to hear your status as of yet.


-Aunt Chelsea



-TOPEKA, KA February 3, 1949


To Aunt Chelsea,


It is a pleasure being able to find the time and get back to you Aunt Chelsea! I reckon you heard about what happened with the landlord? Unfortunate tales happen to the even the sharpest of minds, but this one really got to me.

I don’t have much going for me as of yet, but hopefully I will be able to find somewhere to stay permanently where I can focus my time on writing riveting, inspiring, and unprecedented articles that will shake the foundation in the writing community.

As of now, I am residing with a friend, a friend of whom that I have known working on the job. He is a nice, goofy, silly kind of fellow. I know, I know, you may think faintly of him, but rest assured, for I would never entertain the idea of risking my own self by the hands of anyone that may harm me. But all in all, I am picking myself up right now, and, please, for if there be any length of time where I suffer a drought in response, fear not: I am always reading and always listening to what you have to say, no matter how far away you may be.


-You admiring niece, Margaret

P.S. Mother sends wishes as well


GARDNER, KA February 12, 1949


To my beautiful aunt Chelsea,


I bring forth great news! You may have noticed the location of where I am has changed, well, that is because I have found somewhere I can call my own! It rests in the everglades of Kansas, more of the backstreets, Gardner is a quiet area, that is for sure. Nonetheless, I have found a home.

Additionally, there are some Journalism opportunities here for me. It may seem crazy, but I feel as though God has blessed my wishes and given me another chance. I should mention as well that my friend, whose name was Jacob by the way, will depart from my acquaintance; but he promised to help me move my stuff in, so there is nothing wrong with extra hands.

My home, although rather large, was given to me at an unusually low price. I reckon that location and property value must have played a big role in it, but surely there are more elastic reasons that there could have been.

I have this good sized room in the back corner of the house. It has a nice living room with a fireplace, chair, and couch. The kitchen is another story, It really is a fixer upper; but the smell of it -- oh I gag by the mere thought. I inquired the home seller about the issue, and he told me that he would look into it. I found it odd that, though putting it up for sale, he did not know of this issue that, very obviously, was darting.

Whatever the case may be, a home is a home; and for now, I will depart, but do not worry, I will write back as soon as I get these stakes into the ground.


-Your niece, Margaret


GARDNER, KA February 15, 1949


Dear  Aunt Chelsea,


I sit in my chair as this pencil ingrains itself into the paper, and whilst this lasts, I still smell that pungent odor that has infected the kitchen, which made its way into my room; and I write where the mocking jay lays by the window, the wind very subtle, but just noticeable. As of now, it is rather dark and quiet by this candle lit desk, and it may be the skeptic in me, but I believe I heard some leaves cracking outside. Then again, perhaps it was a squirrel? The night dwellers? I could go for some pointers in owning my own house, Chelsea. If you do not mind obliging, that would be beneficial. However, for now, I should get some rest. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.


-Your niece, Margaret



GARDNER, KA January 9, 1949


To The Topeka Official Diplomats,

The city of Gardner sends a request: a request in which is of top necessity for the good of your people, and the good of the people of Kansas: We have received notice from the Gardner police department of peculiar sightings around the area regarding some “unknown man” walking up and down the streets at night. Descriptions of such being goes as followed:


HEIGHT: 6’7 - 6’10

EST WEIGHT: 240 LBS

LONG BLACK HAIR

UNKNOWN RESIDENCE


Therefore, we ask for an offer of your hand to help in apprehending this being, for with such a small town, one could understand how linked the community is, and how they would not lie to each other, while, additionally, having many eye count witnesses. If you could, please consider looking into the matter at once.

-Thanks from The Investigation Department of Social Research of Gardner



TOPEKA, KA January 21, 1949


To The Investigation Department of Social Research of Gardner,


While looking over your case files you sent to us, the Topeka Diplomats here are going to abstain from the current jury and leave independence up to Gardner. This is a domestic case, one of which should have never have left the boundaries of said city. We here in Topeka believe that the Gardner local government can handle such a situation without major action from outside cities. Thus, Topeka will leave Gardner as it may, for it sees no legal reasoning to invest in such a minor case. If this situation escalates for 5 months or more, perhaps we will reconsider our decision, but Topeka’s decision rests how it is now.


-Good day


GARDNER, KA January 25, 1949


To my enchanting wife,


With you, my dear, being due in just 3 months, I fear that Gardner is not suitable of an environment for our family; thus, I suggest that we move back to St.Louis, perhaps an apartment of some kind? When you return from your visit, I will have my bags ready. I know you may have many questions, but I assure you that I will explain this all when we are on the road. For now, there isn’t much time. It is VITAL that we depart from Gardner. Be ready to walk out the door as soon as you get home.


-Your loving and concerned husband, Marcus



As the bright light invaded my pupils, I summoned out of my bed to once again be insulted by the scent of complete decay. I contemplated writing to get my mind off of things, but reconciled by just going out to see if Jacob was awake.

I clasped my hands on the cold handle of my door, and opened it with a creek. Stepping out, I looked down the hallway of ebony wood, to see at the end the front door. I walked towards the door and about halfway there I stepped into the living room to my right. It filled me with slight happiness that this room was big enough space for me, however, I looked down and saw that Jacob had vanished.

“Jacob”? I called out. Nothing. It was strange, but then I remembered last night with the crackling of the leafs. Did Jacob leave without letting me know? It was a rational thought, but then again, irrational in the way that he would not even tell me of such a departure.

Just as I was contemplating this, Jacob himself walks in from the front door.

“Hey hey hey”!

“Where were you? Why did you not tell me that you left”?

Jacob gave a smile, but saw my distress.

“I was taking a walk. Usually in the mornings, walks help and clear my mind. It gets me awake, while also helping me sort out my plans for the rest of the day”.

After hearing this, I proceeded to leave the matter be. However, Jacob must have saw something in my eyes which hinted at skepticism.

“I know that you miss me and all, I mean, who wouldn’t miss me right? But why do you seem anxious”?

I suddenly felt a stirring sensation in my stomach; how did he know of my anxiety, when I myself didn’t know? I suppose the worries of taking ownership of something of such a large purchase provides incentive for me to make the most out of my benefits. Surprisingly, I never have thought of such an enlightenment; but then, I started to hear knocking.

Both Jacob and I darted our eyes towards the source of the sound. It was coming from the kitchen. We were both standing there, dumbfounded. Jacob then spoke up.

“Where is that coming from”?

“I… uh… may-”

Before I could finish my sentence, the knocking stopped. This sparked great curiosity for me, so I pursued the origin of the noise in the kitchen.

As I stepped onto the tiles, it was quite noticeable that the floor was not even with the ground, as in, some of the tiles were peeling off, pointing towards me. I bent down and investigated this further; it just so happens that, when I peeled away one of the tiles, a bare piece of lighter wood appeared. It was covered in a green mildew, and upon finding this, I recoiled in disgust. At that moment, I decided that I would head out for the day and see if I could maybe get some expert in carpentry to help replace the floor.

I stood up, and gave Jacob a shrug.

“I think I am going to head out and get this kitchen ordeal all figured out. You want to come”?

Jacob scoffed. “Of course I want to come! Why wouldn’t I want to help you clean off some dirty ass floor”?

“Smart ass”.


GARDNER, KA February 16, 1949


To Aunt Chelsea,

You may remember in my last letter how much of a fixer upper my kitchen is. It is with impatience and frustration that the carpenter that I sought out to find, is apparently not taking cases like mine into consideration. For what reason you may ask? I myself seek this knowledge! There was no indication of ambition in that man’s eyes, so I -


Suddenly, I heard footsteps. I know that it is late, and I know that I am not going crazy. This was, indeed footsteps inside my house. Last night they were outside, now, it was clear that the source of them were coming from outside my door.

A chill went down my spine as I realized that It could not, with absolute certainty, be Jacob. He told me before he left that he had to venture off back to Topeka to tend to his great grandmother. Unless he forgot something, this was someone who I had no connection with.

I stood erect looking at the door with piercing eyes. I did not move. I did not blink. I did not breath; everything seemed like it was paused, and without movement. The room was so silent, that you could clearly hear the sound of blood pulsate throughout my veins, while the only light source being my candle at my desk where I write my letters and poems. I felt sweat beat down my face, contemplating all the possibilities that could have unfolded for there to be the sound of footsteps in my house.

Just as I was in mid thought, a loud bang rattled the house. I jumped in fright, and backed away from the door slowly. I looked out the window in hopes of maybe escape, but as I turned back towards the door, a man, tall, with long black hair stood there. He had a belly of a machine; eye sockets fit for drilling holes into the mad men of this world; a mouth with a smirk that echoes into the corridors of the mind, slamming each exit shut, one by one. These echoes paralyzed any mobility of thought by which could show that, I, existed in this world at one point in time; I felt stuck in tar, hot, bubbling tar. And as I accepted what may happen, a smile that, even lucifer himself would shudder at, emerged from this man’s lips, showing his bright, white teeth.

“Do you mind If I come in, madam? I saw you the other day, and I thought you looked pretty”.

He inched closer to me, licking his lips and eyeing my curves. Here, now, I had no choice other than to embrace my cold despair, where an everlasting winter shall take place.


ST.LOUIS, MI  February 19, 1949


To whom it may concern,


Hello there madam, I am aware that you have recently moved into my former house, and I would like to see how things are holding up. I remember what you said about the kitchen, and I must tell you that, for me and my family, that was like that when we moved in as well. I inquired about such a matter, but the former homeowner to me was impenetrable. He told me, that the kitchen was being worked on for a mold problem, but was never fully completed.

To this, I felt uneasy. I asked how long he and his wife have been living there, and if they knew of how old the place was; turns out that this house was built in the 1890’s, by a man of the name of Oliver Conner. Apparently, Mr.Conner did not sought out for finishing the house, and left it up to the next home owners to do his dirty work. However, I say apparently because that is not necessarily the case.

Have you, ever heard any footsteps outside your house? Or perhaps any ruckus being made in the kitchen, hallway area? From my gatherings, (for I am an inquisitive fellow) I have noticed some man, tall with long black hair eyeing up my wife. He came towards my door a week before I moved out, asking if he could come in because he was cold. Of course, I declined, but he gave me a look of forlorn disappointment. He muttered something under his breath, and, without saying good bye, left my front door step.

Ever since that day, I have kept a keen lookout for this man. I always feel like he is right behind me, watching, listening, plotting. When I ask my wife if she ever felt like someone was stalking her, she differed to my worries. However, she, herself asked me why I have been so attached to her presence. To this, I fabricated some lie that would put ease to her mind to sleep well at night.

Additionally, peculiar sounds have been made in the kitchen area. It almost feels as though there is another world under the rotting floor. I reckon to not delve deep into such an arrangement; I may be very curious, but I am not very stupid. One night though, I heard scratching of some kind in the kitchen. It sounded like it could be rats possibly trying to claw their way out. But then, I heard faint breathing. I moved into the kitchen, listening intently to the sounds. I kneeled down, put my ear to the floor, and listened. I waited for 10 seconds, and just I am about to get up, I hear the voice of someone, it sounded like a young woman, weakly say, “Water”. I Immediately got up, wrote a letter to my wife, and high tailed it outta there.

I know that it may seem farfetched, and honestly I think I am going crazy for thinking that. You should not worry though, I am sure that it was all a fabrication in my mind, and the paranoia was getting to me in the heat of the moment. Perhaps I have overreacted, but,  Nonetheless, I bid you farewell, but for the sentiments of that unknown man, please be wary; I do not know of his motivations, nor do I know of his intentions, but If I were you, make sure that your doors are locked. You never know what could happen.



-My humbling regards, Marcus Willin

-Stings


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