Fall had come to Oakdale in all of its colorful glory. The town of 1,000 people lay in a sheltered valley. Entering the town you came in past the brand new shopping center and once having driven all the way down Main Street you left the town driving past a large hill with an eerie looking mansion upon it. There was no drive to reach the house oddly enough but there were steep stone steps leading up to it. One could also go straight up the side of the hill. It stood there looking down upon the town and the people living there silent, shuttered and still. It had been that way for a good number of years it had even withstood the turn of the century.
Now with another Halloween approaching Bill Turner stood looking apprehensively at that mansion known as Devil’s Manor. His son Tommy was now eight and looking forward to having some spooky fun with his pals. Bill had warned his son never to approach the house especially on Halloween and he had been glad that from his parent’s house you couldn’t see up that hill. Everything was well hidden by large oak trees. However once you got to Main Street it seemed as if the house had eyes which would follow you and the feeling was quite eerie. He now stood outside of his hardware store gazing upwards where the windows of Devil’s Manor glinted in the afternoon sun.
What no one knew was that in 1900 in the empty valley had come a horse and cart. Upon the cart sat a man named David Rakula and his wife Pretoria. They both had on wide brim hats shielding them from the pale, watery sun shining down on them that October day. Oddly enough they were white as sheets and when one looked at them it seemed that they never ever ventured out of doors. So this trip was strange indeed for them. As they came to the hill the man stopped the cart, looked at his wife who nodded and he got down off the cart and went up to the top. Satisfied with what he saw he returned and in a week’s time Rakula returned with a group of men and began building a house. All of them were strangely silent and unusually pale people and if someone had been around to witness this at that time they would have been amazed at how fast that house went up. Oh, yes if there were any records of these events people would have many questions as to how they constructed that mansion but no one knew. When it was done they all performed some sort of ritual beneath a full, glowing moon and the couple settled into their mansion and years came and went.
When people first started coming to the valley in 1960 the mansion was just there silent and empty with no signs of any living thing. By 1965 the town of Oakdale was established and people came to build houses and businesses. Among them were also Bill Turner’s parents. Bill was born in the fall of 1973 and for some strange reason he didn’t get to enjoy his first Halloween until he became eight in 1981. The parents in the town were very apprehensive about that mansion on the hill. Stories circulated about odd lights, noises and other strange happenings upon the hill especially on Halloween.
They felt that their children would be safer enjoying themselves at the Halloween parties their parents threw every year but they wanted to be able to go about the town on their own collecting candy and horsing about. The old timers shook their heads and said that if the children were allowed to resume normal Halloween behavior they would awaken the evil upon that hill. As with all things when nothing happens in a very long time when Bill became eight the parents had lifted the ban on Halloween and were ready to allow their children to traipse about the town warning them not to approach the hill and to return to the parties at which they would find their parents.
Bill didn’t like remembering what had happened but because he was afraid for his own son he went over the events carefully in his mind. There he was eight years old with two of his best pals Henry and Peter both now also proud parents dressed like pirates ready to gather their treats. They had had such fun until suddenly they realized that they had reached the last set of houses within the town and there was the hill just beyond. Boys being boys they tried scaring each other with all the stories they had heard about that mansion and then began daring each other to go on up and have a look. Finally they made a pact not to separate from each other and slowly went up the steep stone steps.
The house stood waiting with a bright moon shining behind it illuminating the windows in a silvery light. Having reached the top Bill and his pals approached the mansion and climbed up onto the porch. They tried the door but it wouldn’t budge then they decided to look into the windows and standing next to each other pressed their little faces against the window panes. Shadows seemed to be moving and suddenly the glow of two red eyes appeared. In a panic the boys ran head over heels down the side of the hill and were almost safe when Henry fell and when Bill and Peter turned to help him up there against the moon they saw a hoofed creature with a terrible snout and horns and tail and it began braying.
It was a most horrible sound. Henry had begun to scream that his ankle was sprained and Bill and Peter were all eyes. Then everything escalated in a fast pace. The creature seemed to be leaping upon them and they rolled down the hill in a heap. Shaken and terrified they lay there staring up at the sky their Halloween bags scattered about. Once they got themselves up on their feet Henry could just drag his leg along, Bill had awful scratches on his back his costume torn and Peter had a long scratch on his arm. They had just managed to escape whatever awful fate had awaited them. When they reached Bill’s parent’s house everyone was horrified to hear what the boys had been through, the doctor examined them and the sheriff and his men went up to have a look. Once again the house was quiet as if nothing happened and whether it was right or wrong they didn’t try to have a look inside. Several weeks of nightmares put the boys to rights and life went on. The following Halloweens not one child dared to venture up to the mansion.
Then came the year 1998. Bill’s parents moved to Florida, he got married and he and his wife Judy moved into his parent’s house. Bill had set up a hardware business in town which was doing quite well since the town had started to expand a little again. A man named John Smith came to Oakdale to open up a new real estate business having heard that there were rumors going around of a company wanting to build a new shopping center at the edge of town. He found office space next to Bill’s Hardware. It was March and that spring a young family with two small children came to town. They were Will and Amanda Greene and had a 5 year old son Bobby and a 6 month old daughter Molly. What surprised John about them was that they specifically asked him if that mansion on the hill was for sale. He promised to look into it for them and they settled in Helga’s Motel to wait. Now the first thing that John discovered was that apparently the mansion had just always been there and no one had ever bothered to find out where it had come from, who built it and when. So being a businessman and not one to be foolish when it came to making money John asked the sheriff and his men to go on up the hill with him and take a look around that mansion.
Once again the old folks shook their heads and sighed they were just asking for trouble it was better to leave whatever was up there alone. The group of men reached the porch and discovered that the house had been waiting for this opportunity the door stood ajar. They entered the dusty hallway with spider webs hanging all around. Downstairs the rooms were full of molding furniture and rats scurried about. They went up the stairs to discover that the master bedroom looked as if it had been lived in there wasn’t a speck of dust anywhere and an odd smell hung in the air. It was very odd indeed. In the attic they found an old trunk containing a deed made out to David Rakula in 1901 but no indication as to who had made the deed or where it had come from. In the basement they found two coffins which thankfully were empty and had been serving as nests for dozens of rats. John decided then and there that he would sell that house to the young family and let them take care of their own renovations. He only knew he had to get rid of those two coffins.
The Greenes were thrilled to be able to buy the mansion and they worked on it all through the spring and summer. By September they were pretty much settled. The people of the town found them to be friendly and polite and everyone liked them and their children. Came Halloween and all the children as usual went happily collecting candy about town and even up the hill to the Greene’s house. The parents had their parties and everyone seemed happy and content that year. The town had already fallen silent by midnight when the sound of awful screams echoed around town and a horrible braying could be heard.
The first people who ran from their houses and reached the point where they could see up the hill saw a terrible sight. A hoofed, horned, tailed creature was braying up at the moon. The sheriff and his men hurried up there. All the lights were burning and the door stood wide open. Amanda Greene was in the blood spattered hallway her throat cut, Will Greene was at the bottom of the stairs his neck broken and claw marks down his back. They ran up to look for the children. Molly was in her crib not an ounce of blood in her body and little Bobby was lying on the floor of his bedroom his eyes glazed and unseeing. His head had been turned round. The following day once all the bodies had been removed they shuttered up the mansion and it became known as Devil’s Manor. That same year in November Bill’s son Tommy was born.
Eight years had passed since that awful Halloween. All of those years had made parents nervous about their children but the creature on the hill seemed to have left. Bill looked about and realized he had been standing by his store for over an hour. He shook his head and wondered what this Halloween would bring. His son Tommy wanted to be a hobo he thought with a smile. That night as Bill’s wife and her friends prepared the Halloween feast for their party he helped Tommy get dressed. He would be going out with his best friends Linda – Henry’s daughter and Brad – Peter’s son. He and his pals had remained close all through these years. As he waved to the boys from the doorway he couldn’t help being worried. He just felt that that Halloween something wasn’t as it should be.
There were laughing children running all about and returning to their parent’s with their goodies to stuff themselves with more Halloween treats. It was already dark and close to 10 PM and there still was no sign of Tommy, Linda and Brad. Bill and his friends were considering going out to look for them when there came a loud and wild pounding at the door. There stood Tommy, Linda and Brad white as sheets, tear stained faces and bloodied costumes. They had a lot of scratches. Their story was that they had not ventured up the hill but had stood looking at it trying to scare each other when that creature whom everyone by now was quite sure was the Devil himself had begun braying at the moon and then swooped down the hill and as they had tripped and tried running from him they all in turn could feel his hot breath upon their backs and his sharp claws scratching them.
Their parents brought them to the hospital to be examined and the sheriff and his men marched up that hill and as they approached Devil’s Manor they heard that awful loud braying and there upon the roof of the house appeared that horrific creature. This time there was no doubt he was the Devil himself. They burned the house down to the ground. The following morning the smell of smoldering ashes wafted over the town and with each passing Halloween the town folks continued to gaze wearily at that hill and what they didn’t know and still don’t know is that slowly but surely that mansion was renewing itself slowly rising up out of the ashes.
To be continued in Part 2