Thesseley ran towards her master's chambers. She passed nervous cooks and other maids on the way. She went up the three flights of stairs to the chambers.
She knocked three times on the door and waited. Her master eventually called her in. He sat on his bed, his head bent. He still wore his nightly clothes, even in the late afternoon.
He coughed a few times and took a sip of his tea. He waved towards Theseley and beckoned her. She walked towards him, her skirt trailing on the floor.
She knelt beside him and put a hand to his forehead. It was burning. He continued coughing. She encouraged him to sleep and asked Maya, a maid, to fetch a cool cloth and some water.
After some time, Maya returned with the items requested. Theseley dipped the cloth in the water and placed it on her master's head. He took a shuddering breath and squeezed his eyes.
"How are you feeling?", she asked. He looked towards her, "My head's burning. I'm pretty sure my lungs will give out. Otherwise, fine." He coughed again.
She got up and pulled the blanket over him. She then left the room to commission some food for him. When she went to the kitchens, however, she saw Edgard, the cook, also collapsed in a fit of coughs.
His assistants sat beside him, not knowing what to do. "Thesseley," they called as she entered, "Edgards sick too. Warm head and coughs."
"Move," she told them and sat beside Edgard. He had lost quite a bit of weight since last week. His breathing was laboured.
She ordered his assistants to take him to the basement, where they isolated the sick. After that, she went to the chapel downstairs and prayed.
She stayed there for a good half-hour when Maya came to summon her yet again. Thesseley went with her. Maya walked too slowly and she was slightly bent over.
"Are you alright, Maya?", Thesseley asked. "Fine," Maya replied, "Worried, that's all." Thesseley didn't press too hard. They went upstairs to their master's chambers yet again.
He seemed agitated. He muttered to himself and shifted about. "Is he possessed?", Maya asked, "The devil's influence is strong here."
"Might be. Or he might just be very sick," replied Thesseley. Maya stayed at the door as Thesseley cautiously approached their master.
"What's the matter, sir?", she asked. "Somebody's whispering to me. I hear it every time I sleep, Thesseley. Heal me, quickly." he said.
She paled and sent for the Reverend and his clergymen. Maybe they would exorcise him for good. Thesseley attended to her master while they arrived.
Soon after, the Reverend and a group of priests arrived. They were dressed in embroidered black robes and a mask covering most of their faces.
"Carter," the Reverend said, "He finally got to you, didn't he. I warned you, not even Thesseley can save you," Her master stayed silent. "Matt, start it." the Reverend said and forced everyone else outside the room except her master.
She stood by the closed door and listened. They chanted in Latin while her master groaned. She felt a slight chill as they ended their ceremony. After that, however, all hell broke loose.
Her master shouted and she heard a thump as he hit the floor. She opened the door and the priests backed out. Only the Reverend stayed.
He yelled in Latin, encouraging the Devil to abandon its host. Her master clutched his head and shouted again, and again, and again until his voice went raw.
The Reverend bowed his head and turned to leave. That was when her master grabbed a knife. leapt across the room and plunged it into the Reverend's neck.
He sprayed blood and fell to the floor, unmoving. The other priests fled. Thesseley was too shocked to do anything. Her master backed away, looking in shock at his hands and fell to the floor.
She knelt beside the Reverend. His blood pooled around him. Thesseley knew it was too late to save him. A young life cut short. She always hated seeing this, yet she couldn't avoid it.
She went over to master, only for him to shout again and charge out of the room. He grabbed a hatchet off the mantle on the wall and started a massacre.
He buried the hatchet in Maya's back and pulled it out, spraying blood everywhere. He yelled again and went off to the side and started killing everyone in sight. Maya clutched the door frame and slid to the floor.
She tore up her skirt and bound her back as best as possible. Then she uttered a small prayer and rushed off to help everyone else.
But it was futile. The others were in much worse shape. The floor was slick with blood. It covered the walls and stained the pictures.
She walked past people irretrievably lost and tried to save the ones she could. She found her master on the bottom floor, exhausted. The door was wide open. At least some had made it out alive.
He collapsed to the floor. He still clutched the hatchet in his right hand. He then sat up as if pulled by strings, then plunged the hatchet in his chest.
He left in there and fell. Thesseley couldn't do anything to save him and so she ran. She ran and ran until she couldn't any longer. Away from the haunted place, forever.
A few hundred years passed and none so much so entered the big mansion in fear of curses. Then there was Carter, who decided to explore it.
He was an ambitious young man who bore the namesake of the lord of the mansion. He decided to investigate it with his sister, Ava.
He approached the ruined mansion. No care had been given for hundreds of years, and it was very visible. The paint was flaking, the roof had all but collapsed and there were holes in the floor.
He grabbed the door and swung it wide open. It creaked and fell off its hinges. It crashed with a thundering noise and sprayed out dust.
The very first sight threatened to set them off running. A desiccating corpse laid out on the floor. Blood was absorbed into the wooden floor and permanently stained it.
An axe lay in his ribcage, whose sternum was shattered. Ava nearly puked as they went closer. Carter knelt beside the body. It was dressed in nightly clothes and had rings on one hand.
They looked around. They found more rotted corpses, presumably of maids and servants. Ava found a stairway leading to the upper floors and they walked up.
A similar sight greeted them. It seemed like a massacre. "Did the guy down kill them all?", Ava asked. "Might be, he did have a weapon but what could prompt him to do something like this?" Carter replied.
"Madness, you think?" Ava enquired.
"Definitely. Nothing else could cause such an outburst," he said.
They continued their search. They found the kitchens. Rotted food lay in plates and wine in cups. It smelled awful. They didn't linger.
They searched through rooms when Carter heard a scream. He wildly spun his head around but Ava was standing next to him. "What is it?", she asked.
"Did you not hear it?" he asked.
"That scream. Somebody screamed."
"I didn't hear anything."
He continued forward. Then Ava heard a scream too. "I heard it," she said. "High-pitched, in pain?" he asked. "No", she replied, "Angry, murderous, loud." "I heard a different one," Carter said.
"What the hell is happening?", she asked and they continued.
The closer they got to the top, the more creepy things started to happen to them. Carter thought he saw someone else, running away. Ava heard more screams.
They reached the top floor. A big room was to the side and a bathroom of sorts was to the other. He went to the room while Ava went to the bathroom place.
He found a small book on the floor. It contained scriptures and religious references. He saw a body next to it, in black robes and a mask around a skull. A knife stuck out of its neck.
There were bloodstains here too, except in the room itself. Only at the entrance. Footsteps had disturbed the blood. He consulted his notebook.
It was the notebook of Thesseley, the house doctor who escaped and lived to pen down the tale. He held it delicately because of its age.
It said that her master was sick. Coughs, fever and loss of appetite, leading to weight loss. Supposedly tuberculosis. He had a fit of madness after a bunch of priests tried to exorcise him, leading to his murderous rampage.
He felt a tap on his shoulder and turned, expecting to see Ava, but there was nobody. He went to the bathroom and saw that Ava was nowhere in sight.
The window was busted wide open. He looked out and saw Ava below, a pool of blood forming around her. She had jumped.
Then Carter started to hear whispering. Desperate voices pleading him to save them. Only for them to scream as they died. He closed his ears but it continued. Ava's voice was among them.
He felt his sanity slowly slipping away. He felt phantom hands ripping him away, his brain turning on him. He huddled into a corner, waiting for the voices to vanish, but they didn't.
He screamed in pain, anguish and grief. he continued until his voice was raw and his throat in pain. He closed his eyes and saw spirits, floating around, coming closer with each blink, getting more hostile.
Then, nothing. His heart gave out and his brain shut down, ending his torment. He died due to pure fright and so did Ava.
Nobody dared enter the mansion after their misadventure until it was finally razed to the ground, which only released the 'spirits' and they started terrifying the whole town.
The town eventually became a ghost town. Not even the government tried to do any work there. And so it was left for the spirits to run wild.