For the month of October, I will be publishing a choose your own adventure. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday will see a new post based on the most popular decision. The goal is for everyone to reach the end of the story by surviving the month. Cast your votes by replying on the post itself, Facebook, Twitter, or Straw Poll.
The tale of Mirewood Manor was well known throughout town well before your birth. While it may have had some roots in factual, worldly events, time has a way of twisting and perverting the truth. By the time you heard it on your first camping trip all those years ago, several decades had passed, but your friends held their collective breath right along with you.
The story began as most do. It involved a happy family consisting of father, mother, and son. They lived in the renown Mirewood Manor just outside of town, nestled in the thick woods that surrounded the Western half of the county. They were paragons of the community, having lived there for generations themselves. Mr. Fletch was the great-grandson of one of the town’s founders, Augustus Fletch. While the family had always been well off, it was their steel mills that kept the town running and their coffers flush with cash. As the first great war broke out, the Fletchs saw untold riches funnel into their vaults.
But success has a price. Having just become a man himself, Mr. Fletch’s son, Cecil, had been called to serve his country. It was in some horrific battle across the sea in a foreign land that Cecil drew his last breath. Upon hearing the news, his grief-stricken mother hung herself from the spire overlooking the estate. His father, driven mad with sorrow and anger, locked himself away in the labyrinth of the manor, never to be seen again.
After months of no contact, the shareholders took action and seized control of the company so the town wouldn’t die along with the family. For years, they held a vigil for their leader in hopes he would come back. But as the years passed, it was clear that Mr. Fletch wasn’t meant to return. It was said that when the police finally searched the home they found only bizarre shrines to the lady of the mansion and the son who would never return.
As for Mr. Fletch, the story went that the pain was too much for him. The way it was told to you, all those years ago, was that Mr. Fletch snapped when he found the body of his wife. Mirewood Manor became his tomb as he lost his way wandering the halls. Now the ancient mansion sits abandoned, haunted by the father, the mother, and the son whom never returned.
For years, it was a rite of passage for kids to creep onto the overgrown property and knock on the ancient oak doors. It was said the mother would answer in hopes her son had returned. However, a noose would be tight around her broken neck and her eyes would turn hollow as her voice filled with rage upon seeing a living soul once more. There were always stories of kids from years ago that went missing. Some said they got lost in the halls of the manor and others who were dragged off by the mother to a far worse fate.
Knowing all of that hasn’t helped as you find yourself standing at the end of the driveway leading up to Mirewood Manor. Your time has come and you can scarcely believe you’re actually here. Several of your friends have already run the half mile to the front door, knocked, and then run back in pure exhilarating terror. You know it would be easy enough to do the same, but where’s the fun in doing what everyone else has?
No, you came prepared. A lantern sits in the back seat of the car. It was your plan to carry that lantern to the same spire the mother had hung herself from and light its beacon for all to see. But, now that you’re actually here, in the middle of the night, with only the moon to illuminate your way, do you still have the courage to do it?
Reply KNOCK if you simply want to knock on the door.
Reply LANTERN if you want to follow through with your original plan.