Victor flipped to the previous page and stared at its similar colourful spots. The green ones read: THE DREADFUL BEAST GOD. “What is this?” he said. He took off his jacket and laid it on the desk, took the notepad and sat on the bed. Starting from the first page of the book, Victor examined the bright artwork throughout, taking note of the words spelled out in green dots on each page. For the letters to be legible the artist had made them fairly large, which meant each page contained only a few words. Some of the letters were unclear, and there was no punctuation, but after five minutes Victor was able to decipher this message:
3 FEBRUARY 1992. BEEN HERE 4 MONTHS. I AM NOW ALONE. CANNOT TELL WHAT IS REAL. LAST NIGHT I SAW HIM AGAIN. I CANNOT STAY HERE. HAVE TO ESCAPE OR I WILL GO INSANE. MARK WAS RIGHT, BETTER TO DIE QUICK. SO BE IT. TONIGHT I WILL FACE THE DREADFUL BEAST. GOD HELP ME.
There were only blank pages in the notebook after that. Victor sat for a long time in silence. He remembered the other notepads on the floor beside the desk; he took them and laid them out on the floor. As he opened the books he saw they were all filled with the same style of spotty artwork, each piece containing a few words written in green spots. On his hands and knees he began scouring the notebooks, and, noticing dates regularly recorded, arranged them in chronological order. He took the earliest notepad and sat on the bed. This is what he read:
27 DECEMBER 1991. MY NAME IS DARREN TAYLOR. MY CREW AND I ENTERED THIS HOUSE TWO MONTHS AGO TO MAKE A FILM DEBUNKING RUMOURS OF A CURSE. I AM NO LONGER A SCEPTIC.THE CURSE IS REAL. MICHAEL LANG WAS KILLED IMMEDIATELY BY THE VAMPIRE IN THE PAINTING. HE LEAVES BEHIND A WIFE AND YOUNG DAUGHTER. TONY HARRISON DIED THE FIRST NIGHT, KILLED BY THE BEAST. HE WAS ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED. ARNOLD FORSYTH WAS WOUNDED THE SECOND DAY BY TOILET BEES, AND DIED THREE DAYS LATER.
“Good Lord,” said Victor. He continued reading:
I AM HERE NOW WITH MARK O’SHEA. WE ARE SURVIVING. 30 DECEMBER 1991. MARK IS HOPEFUL OF ESCAPE. I AM NOT. I WILL IMPART WHAT I CAN IN THIS BOOK. IT MAY HELP YOU OVERCOME THE CURSE. I HAVE TALKED TO THE PEOPLE OF STORK, READ GARY’S DIARIES AND EXPERIENCED THE EVILS OF THIS MANSION. HERE IS WHAT I KNOW: THE CURSE IN EACH ROOM MUST BE DEFEATED. WHEN THE CURSE IS LIFTED FROM EVERY ROOM, THE FRONT DOOR WILL OPEN AND YOU MAY LEAVE. IF A ROOM IS LIT BY ELECTRIC LIGHT, IT IS CURSED. IF THE ROOM HAS A CANDLE, THE CURSE HAS BEEN BROKEN.
Victor double-checked the candle on the desk before reading further.
IF YOU WISH TO RECORD ANYTHING, DO NOT WRITE IT. GARY WILL ERASE IT. USE POINTILLISM LIKE THESE DRAWINGS, ALWAYS THE SAME COLOURS. GARY IS COLOURBLIND.
Here the first notebook ended, and Victor took up the next.
DO NOT GO UPSTAIRS. THE CURSE DRAWS ON GARY’S FEARS AND HATES. HE DIED AGE 11 SO SOME OF THOSE FEARS MAY SEEM TRIVIAL TO AN ADULT. OTHERS ARE TERRIFYING. THE VAMPIRE IN THE PAINTING CAN ONLY SEE YOU WHEN YOU CAST A REFLECTION. STAY OUT OF THE MIRROR. IT SEEMS THE PREVIOUS CAPTIVES SLEPT IN THIS ROOM AND URINATED IN THE CORNER BY THE WINDOW AT NIGHT. I HAVE DONE THE SAME. BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND 6AM THE HALL IS PATROLLED BY A GIANT BEAST. YOU WILL NOT MAKE IT TO THE TOILET. DO NOT USE THE TOILET. USE THE BUCKET UNDER THE SINK, THEN OPEN THE TOILET AND TIP IT IN. FLUSH IT AND RUN. FOOD AND WATER IN THE KITCHEN. WATCH FOR SNAKES. DO NOT GO UPSTAIRS. EVER. GOD HELP YOU.
Thus ended the second book.
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