The Mansion In The Mountains
by Stella Brians
Photography by Stella Brians
He could hear them in the walls, feel their touch on his skin, but most of all the smell of the dead girl in the attic was still in his nostrils. Vincent lay in his bed while his pets milled around his tower, the owl flying to the high ceiling. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to change the past week, from losing Eloise to discovering the cult murders in his own attic. The reality that he would never see her again washed over him like a hot chemical gas, and the emotional pain that it put him through paired with absolute terror from the cult in his attic left him numb and unmoving. Would he die in the tower or would they find him? He blamed himself of course, youthful pride and impetuous behavior had led him to quickly buy the house without his own research of past owners or thorough investigation of the premises. Now he churned in his bed when he did move, twisting in blankets and sweat he wondered what would become of him.
The voices he heard now sounded concerned, and he could just make out a sentence every so often. The old man should have been here by now. Do you think he was stopped? Vincent surmised that the old man that they referenced was the very same he had spoken to on the phone, the one who had threatened him. What frightened Vincent was not what the old man had said exactly, but what they had done. The dead children in the walls indicated that they were not only delusional to a religion with a false god who did not exist but they held no respect for human life. His whole world that he had created in peace had been mocked, and even worse, had never been. He heard banging on the gate, assuming it was them trying to break through, coming to kill him and hide him too in the walls of the attic. Vincent knew that if he did not submit and join them they would do just that.
He heard Eloise’s voice, screaming in desperation, breaking him out of his trance. Stumbling out of bed his legs snared in bed sheets, tripping over his cats he ripped the tower door open and ran down the flights of stairs and to the front door, brave only for her. By the time he reached the front door, her shouts were accompanied by the blasting of a car horn. At this point she was trying to climb up the gate and had made it halfway. Her hair looked so light in the sun, legs stretching out from underneath her skirt. He had never seen her so upset, or in such desperation. Vincent’s gaze fell to the dark youth with long wavy hair who was going at the horn and looking after her watchfully.
Vincent reached for the key in his pocket and unlocked the gate hurriedly.
“Eloise, get down from there!” He rushed after her as she nearly fell in surprise. The young man drove her car on through and parked it respectfully away from the mansion.
He got out of the car and leaned against it, watching them and taking the grounds in all at once. When Vincent approached him finally….and wearily…the man offered him his hand to shake.
“My name is Leon, and I love Eloise very much. Thank you for taking care of her.”
Leon and Vincent shook hands, two very different and kind persons who had been brought together by Eloise and would later come together in friendship.
“Where are you from…your accent?” Vincent asked.
“I am from Greece, and grew up in London. I suppose that my accent is mixed.” He laughed, a warm, good natured laugh.
“Vincent,” Eloise said taking his hand, “The leaders of the cult have been shot and killed, they drove over the edge of the mountain on the way here.”
“Who shot them…did you?”
She shook her head, waves of the untamed hair he loved falling into her face.
“One of the men in the car shot the driver. We don’t know why but…”
“There are others in the attic…please…they want to kill me!” Vincent knew how insane he sounded, so he explained everything that had happened to them.
Leon listened, fear never wavering over his face, and Eloise looked terrified. They seemed odd together to him; Leon was so well dressed, with his tailored to fit looking jeans, nice boots, with an exotic gentleman look to him that could also pass for a rockstar, while Eloise dressed simply, laughed often, and if was nothing else, original. He loved her natural beauty, sweet disposition, how she loved things most people didn’t and found her own joy. Vincent could only guess that this was what Leon loved about her too, and knew that he had to let her go.
“May I go upstairs and see?” asked Leon.
“He wants to bless the house.” Eloise explained.