My name is Alex Cole, and this is my story.
Ever since I was young, I’ve had a fascination with all things sci-fi. I remember the days from my childhood, staying up late with my dad and watching films like Star Wars and Alien vs Predator, even if I was too young for them. Of course, you could imagine my excitement when my parents introduced me to Doctor Who.
I was always the first one into the living room, and always the last one out. I’d tune in every week, almost never missing an episode. The interesting plots and well-designed foes The Doctor had to confront were simply gripping, pulling me back in time and time again. Heck, I even enjoyed the ‘scary’ episodes
However, there was one that myself and many kids found to be truly terrifying…
Season 3 of Doctor Who gave us the episode ‘Blink’, presenting myself and many thousands of little kids with the most horrifying villain in the show’s history. The Weeping Angels. Creatures that, at a first glance, were nothing more than stone statues. However, when you turned your back, you would find them to be missing. Because they weren’t just statues, they only turned to stone when being observed. So when you looked away, glanced over your shoulder, or even blinked, they could attack with unparalleled speed. And that was the worst part. If you were touched by one, you would be sent back in time. By the time you returned to your era, you would have died of old age…
After watching this episode, I was reluctant to watch Doctor Who again. My dreams were haunted by the Weeping Angels, terrorizing me and sometimes reducing me to tears. They latched on to me like a leech, refusing to let go. The worst part was something The Doctor said in the episode, about how any and all statues can be Weeping Angels. Most kids were afraid of heights or small spaces, whilst I ran in terror from stone figurines.
Fast forward a few weeks, and my family received a letter bearing awful news. My uncle Rick, a kind, rich yet sickly man of fifty-two, had died. The letter invited us to the reading of the will, where we were surprised to learn that Uncle Rick had left us with his sizeable estate and a decent amount of money. We were ecstatic, deciding to move to the new house at the soonest possible moment.
There was one thing that disturbed me about my uncle’s death. As per his instructions, we held an open-casket ceremony so all his friends and family could look upon him. When it was my turn, there was something that struck me as peculiar. Even at fifty years of age, Rick had been a healthy and fit man, with lush gold hair, bushy eyebrows and crystal-blue eyes. The uncle I saw in his casket had wrinkles dug into his face, with wispy grey hair that masked numerous liver spots. At the time, I thought he’d been incredibly sick.
About a month later, we’d packed our bags and made way to Rick’s estate. Whilst it wasn’t a full-blown mansion you typically see with most rich folk, it still spanned thirty rooms and a large area of green to run and play on, much to the happiness of my little sister.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by my uncle’s cheery old groundskeeper. He expressed his condolences over Rick’s death and presented us with the keys and such. Before he left however, he gave my father a sealed letter written by my uncle. The groundskeeper’s tone quickly switched to something more troubled, insisting we follow the instructions inside to the letter. And with that, he left.
The rest of the day was spent getting organised. We set up the furniture, cleared the dust from the shelves and chose our rooms. I was adjacent to my sister, in a large bedroom with a king’s size bed and a window that gave me a nice view of the grounds. Shortly after I got my stuff out, we were all called to the kitchen by my dad.
After a quick dinner, my father decided to open the letter left by Uncle Rick. Recalling the groundskeeper’s reaction, I must admit I was a little worried at what might happen. Tearing the envelope open, my dad removed the letter and began reading it out loud.
My dearest brother,
If you are reading this letter, then I have passed away and you are now the owner of my estate and fortune. I expect you are wondering why you were chosen for my inheritance, out of the many members of our vast family. The reason, dear brother, is that you are the only one I can trust.
I know that you will respect this old house, whilst the others will sell it off to add to their wealth or demolish it and replace it with something modern. You must understand that this must not be done, for you see, this house holds a terrible secret…
Dear brother, you must not, under any circumstances, journey into the basement. This is in no way an attempt to hide something from you, rather to protect you. I ask that you forget that the room even exists and go about your normal lives. You need fear nothing, so long as you keep away from the basement.
Forever yours, Rick Cole
My father stared at the letter a moment longer, before crumpling it up and tossing it in the garbage, muttering how Rick had always been a paranoid old fool…
The first few nights at the estate were peaceful, if a little unnerving. When the darkness came, the entire house was swallowed in shadows, spooking my sister to the point where she needed a nightlight. I’ve been fine with sleeping in pitch-black in the past, though the new house’s strange aura frightened me some.
On the sixth day, I woke up and headed for the kitchen, where I found my parents discussing the basement. My father wanted to check out what was down there, whilst my mother argued that he should respect his dead brother’s wishes. I poured myself some cornflakes and wolfed down my breakfast as the debate continued. My dad eventually prevailed, warning my mum that there could be something down there dangerous for the kids. At that point, she reluctantly agreed.
At that point, I was filled with a sense of strange curiosity. As my father went to open the basement door, I asked if I could go with him. He thought about it for a moment and agreed, though only if I promised to listen to his every command. I stated my approval and we descended into the bowels of the house…
After seeing the rest of the house, I’d expected a grand affair. Maybe some sort of basement lounge with a bar and minifridge, or a collection of objects that looked like they belonged in a museum. Instead, the two of us were greeted to a long hallway, at the end of which sat a solitary door with a bright glow emerging from the cracks.
We both walked towards it, my father clutching a torch that danced across the wooden beams and dust-choking walls. With each step we took, the apprehension inside of me grew a little stronger, the urge to turn back and return to the fresh-air filled house drumming in my mind, but I was determined not to look scared in front of my dad. I held my breath as we reached the door, and my father tugged it open slowly with a creek that rebounded through the hallway and revealed the secrets within.
It was a compact room, with a burning light bulb that was close to blinding. I found it strange that my uncle would install such a thing in a room almost no one would find. Even stranger was the fact that he would leave it on. Oh sure, he could afford the electric bill, but what was the point?
That’s when I noticed the mannequin.
Have you ever seen those human-sized wooden carvings they use in films? The ones were all the limbs can be twisted and bent into the shapes you want? That was what me and my dad were staring at. A wooden mannequin placed in the centre of the room, arms to its side, staring into a gleaming mirror, unblemished by fingerprints or cracks.
“This is what my brother was protecting us from?” my dad asked himself, before bursting into laughter.
I had to admit that although the mannequin did have a certain sense of mystery about it; I couldn’t see why my uncle would warn us to stay away from it. Was it possessed by some sort of demon? I joined my dad laughing at the thought of this sculpture coming to kill us as we slept. We jested that Rick must have been afraid of movie props, leaving the room behind us…
… though not before turning out the light.
That night, I woke to the sound of breaking glass.
I sat up in the dimmed room, rubbing the sleep from my eyes and searching for the lamp switch. By the time I found it, the shattering noise had occurred another two times. By this point, my father was awake. He burst into my room to make sure I was OK, before ordering me to bar the door and stay there. I agreed, blocking the door with a chest and leaning my weight against it, as the sounds of breaking glass continued constantly. At one point, it sounded as if it was coming just outside my room, though I could have been mistaken.
I don’t know how long it went on for. Fifteen minutes? Thirty? It felt like hours as I anxiously waited behind my makeshift barricade, the jarring noises slowly fading away into silence. A few moments later, and my dad knocked on the door, assuring me everything was OK. Relieved, I removed the chest from the door, clambered back into bed and turned off the lamp, attempting to drift to sleep. And I almost did, only to be awoken by the shuddering of my bedroom door.
“Dad, is that you?” I murmured groggily.
It was too dark to make anything out, though I could feel a rush of cold air waft into the room. Had one of the windows been broken? It was hard to say. There was nothing but silence, only periodically broken by the howling of the wind. I squinted into the black, attempting to the find the shape of my father.
“Dad?” I asked again, rubbing the muck from my eyes.
This time, I received a response of sorts. The sound of a foot connecting with the wooden floor. The wood creaked its disapproval, as a second step resonated soon afterwards. A third and a fourth followed, bringing what I hoped was my father a few inches from my bed. Even so, something was off. Why wasn’t he talking? And where were mom and my sister?
“Was there a break-in?” I asked, fumbling for the lamp as I had done previously.
Only the wind replied.
Fear pumped blood into my stomach, as I desperately searched for the switch. The footsteps began once again, as whoever was in my room closed the distance between us. Where was it? The wooden floor seemed to scream as the unknown entity parked itself right beside my bed. My hands grasped thin air desperately, finally brushing against the lamp switch with a wave of relief. Though by that point, it was too late.
I felt the touch of something on my arm that lacked the warmth and feel of a human hand. Terror consumed what rational thoughts remained in my mind, as I flicked the switch to show the smooth face of the wooden mannequin, lurching above my bed, with one of its hands pressing against my arm.
I woke with a start.
Daylight stroked my face as it leaked through my bedroom window, assuring me that I was well and truly free of that nightmare. I carefully glanced around my room to make sure there was no trace of the mannequin, taking comfort that it had only been in my head. I dressed myself for breakfast and headed to the kitchen.
Oddly, the house looked a lot cleaner than it had when the previous day. Had my mother gone on a cleaning frenzy? Another strange factor was the absence of our furniture. Had my parents moved some items around? Utterly bewildered, I entered the kitchen…
There was no sign of my father, nor my mother or sister. There were no items that I could recognize, not even the chairs or brands of cereal. The room housed only person, sitting at the head of an oak table. His face was younger than I had ever known it, and his blonde hair was cropped short, but I knew exactly who sat before me.
“And who the bloody hell are you?” my Uncle Rick demanded.
Written by Xannytoes