Remote. It housed a secret. The house was the most isolated the couple could find to rent. Nestled amidst the north Pennines hills, the medium sized cottage enjoyed picturesque views of the surrounding countryside.
The couple, both in their early thirties, were greeted by Mr Jackson, the landlord, who looked as though he was in his sixties; proceeded to show the couple around.
Mr Jackson Turned to Carl and asked, “Mr Rhodes, what do you do for a living?”
“I’m the Senior Cashier for a bank,” Carl replied.
“And Mrs Rhodes?”
“Miss Porter. He won’t ask the question,“ quipped Karen. “I’m a graphic designer for an app company.”
Mr Jackson mulled the information, as he stroked is grey beard, with a confused look on his face. “So why do you want to rent this house for a month?”
“We need the solitude,” answered Karen, “I need uninterrupted peace, to get to down to some serious work.”
“And I have a backlog of books to read,” added Carl. “How many bed rooms has this cottage?”
“Four bedrooms,” said Mr Jackson, “plus the ‘Forbidden Room’!”
Forbidden Room, suddenly gaining Carl’s interest. “Why is it called the Forbidden Room?”
Mr Jackson shook his head, “It contains the Forbidden Window. So, stay out!”
Saying something was forbidden, secret and mysterious, magnetically attracted Carl, who tried hide his curiosity, which was met with a disapproving look from Karen, his girlfriend of five years.
* * * * *
A few days after moving in, the beautiful English countryside was illuminated by the summer sun. June was always Carl’s favorite time of year, thus he decided to spend the day in the garden, to read. Whilst reading a book by his favorite author, he happened to glace up at the back end of the house, upstairs. There it was, the forbidden window. Unlike the other windows it didn’t have a new frame. The old paint peeling on the old wooden frame, surrounded a smoked glass window.
Is that it? The fabled window. Maybe it’s a gimmick or perhaps the landlord doesn’t want to maintain that room. Whatever, it had a strange lure. Karen came out in a cyan colored shirt and black shorts revealing the legs that Carl adored so much. She took off her baseball cap, to kiss him, revealing her green eyes and hazel colored bobbed hair. Although Carl loved the sun, he did burn easily. He was wearing beige shorts and a black top. As ever he was clean shaven with short blond hair.
“There it is", said Carl pointing to the old window. “The fabled window.”
“Oh! You’re not still on about that window, are you?”
“We should investigate.”
“We should respect the landlord’s rules," after a short pause she continued with, “anyway, I came to ask you if you fancied a walk into the local village tomorrow?”
“It’s two miles away.”
“I know,” she said putting her arms around him, “it’ll be romantic.”
As she went back to work, in the house, Carl looked up at the window. It was clear!! And just briefly he thought he could see a face looking out. As though the window was calling, beckoning.
Carl grabbed his phone, and searched the internet for ‘Northall Cottage’, Northumberland. The internet this far out was sketchy, and searches only brought up pictures of the cottage; and valuations. There was nothing about a window, but wait... Ten years ago, a family of five stayed, and have never been seen since. Getting more interesting. Intriguing.
* * * * *
Carl awoke at 3 am to a tapping sound, that sounded like tapping on glass. He carefully got out of bed, as he didn’t want to wake Karen, and went to investigate. Following the tapping sound led him to the forbidden room. Putting his ear to the door he thought he could hear movement from the room. He tried the door, but it was locked. He turned to return to go to the bedroom, when he heard a loud whisper. ‘Caaarl’.
He went to wake up Karen, who was not too pleased.
“I heard a sound from the forbidden room," he explained.
“You and that f**king room. Your obsessed. Come back to bed.”
“You dreamt it,” she snapped. She in no mood for argument. He settled down, before falling asleep.
* * * * *
The following day was another sunny day. They walked down the scenic country lane, stopping occasionally, to admire the view, and each other. After walking for 40 minutes, the small village came into view. There were a few scattered houses, round a church, shop and pub. By then they were both ready for a drink.
They entered the pub, to see a traditional northern pub. There a couple regulars chatting a nearby table, and man standing at the bar in his sixties.
“Could we a pint of bitter and pint lager please?” Carl asked the barman.
“I recommend Northern Black,” said the regular at the bar, “they pull a good pint here.”
Carl nodded a said, “a Northern Black and Carling please."
“I haven’t seen you two here before," said the regular at the bar.
“We’ve rented Northall Cottage,” Karen said.
The regular looked a little confused. “I thought they stopped renting that place, ever since that couple mysteriously disappeared, a few years ago", the regular took a sip of his beer and continued with “I couldn’t tell you who owns it now.”
“William Jackson", replied Karen.
“Old Bill”, said the old man, “We buried him a couple of years ago.”
“I was at his funeral" inserted another regular.
The old man pointed out a photo on the wall. It was a photo of the old pub darts team. There on the front row was a man with grey hair and a grey beard. It was the man they knew as Mr Jackson. Simultaneously a shiver went down both their spines.
“Something is not right", muttered Carl.
“The vicar will know more. He’ll be in later" said the old man.
* * * * *
Carl and Karen sauntered back to the cottage, discussing whether they should stay or leave. The forbidden room was disturbing enough, but at least it was locked. Mr Jackson, apparently of late, was an added confusion.
When they returned, they found the door to the forbidden room, was wide open. From the doorway all they could see was just an empty room with a smoked glass window. Carl walked in, looked around and shrugged, “it’s empty, apart that hammer.”
“I don’t think we should stay in this room too long” said Karen signalling they should leave.
“I told you stay out of this room,” Said Mr Jackson, startling the couple. Where the hell did he come from?
The window then started to clear. The couple could see a multitude of faces and hands trying to escape, pressed against the surface. Carl looked at Mr Jackson with confusion.
“They are souls trapped in the window. For eternity", affirmed Mr Jackson.
“What if you break the glass?" asked Carl.
“The hammer is there" said Mr Jackson pointing to it.
Carl picked up the hammer and...
“NO!!!!!” came a yell from the doorway.
They turned to see a vicar who continued with, “DON’T break the window. If you break the window, it will suck you both in and then repair itself.”
Mr Jackson was nowhere to be seen. Carl put down the hammer.
“Thank God I found you in time” said the vicar.
“And Mr Jackson?” asked Karen.
“He's with the window, luring in its victims,” explained the vicar. “I thought I locked this door.”
The couple were dumbfounded. They saw the window frost over again.
“If I was you, I would pack up and leave quickly!”
Carl and Karen didn’t need telling twice. They quickly left and spent the night in small hotel near the lake.