The Mannequin House
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The heavy slur of black clouds shrouding the sunlight suggested a storm, something terrible that occurred most always over the town of Shardvale. No matter what season, the tempest arose, beginning with these deep blankets of clouds, and usually ending in a thunderstorm of horrendous lightning.
Many of the townsfolk had grown accustomed to them over time, and as this one came, they knew it was to pass, and thought hardly of it. And the ones who paid no attention to it whatsoever would have been the children in the Shardvale schoolhouse, a small rundown building, used since the town itself came to being.
Besides, the schoolhouse was lighted anyway unlike the darkened atmosphere of the outside. Oil lamps were lit on every windowsill, and it gave just the amount of light Ms. Harwin, the aged school teacher, needed to supervise her students properly.
Not much of this had to be done, for her students were obedient, nearly inhuman as they sat among the flickering lamplight, assiduously reading their study books. And when school was over, they stood from their desks and left the school house in a synchronized fashion.
Simply a routine, this was done everyday when adult eyes were over them, watching all of their moves, and when they weren’t—it was different. Children’s imaginations rose for mysteries and adventures, especially as the massive storms approached and it would be harder for them to be spotted.
They’re watching you. He’s watching you.
Four of these children were Simon Peters, Emmett Rothery, and the Amber twins. These were Jill and Lily who tagged along behind the boys on nearly all their ventures, because they dared not leave by themselves.
Every child in Shardvale knew of the rumors that were passed around saying all of Shardvale was cursed by the devil Himself, and haunted with His trail of wickedness about the mountains that surrounded the small town. No one ever knew the reason why this tale was told, and never thought to believe them, disregarding the idea told to them that demons’ eyes would watch and know what they did….
Simon and Emmett hardly contemplated on the tales, and had their own enjoyment hiking up on the mountains every weekend afternoon. And it was just what they thought to do when the mighty thunderstorm approached, exciting them.
The devil’s pets are watching you. You shouldn’t go up there! They know what you’re doing, and they hate you…they’ll hunt for you, for your blood.
It was that afternoon, when the storm had begun its raging, that Simon and Emmett gathered their things at home, preparing to leave for the mountains.
“East side? Right, we’ll just have a little more of an adventure today—never been there before. You think there’s anyone there?” Emmet ceased packing his sack, and turned slowly to look at Simon.
There was a slight pause before he answered. “No. No one’s up there, and no matter what they say, no one’s going to see us. Let’s go….” He finished packing his sack, pulled the string tight, and threw it over his shoulder.
They see you…