Authors: Peter Wilson
Tags: #universe, #fantasy, #magic, #supernatural, #funny, #teen, #monsters, #portal, #evil acts
Copyright 2015 Peter Wilson
Published by Peter Wilson at Smashwords
Cover Illustration by Blake Girven
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Table of Contents
Jack ran, eyes wide with a mixture of fear
He twisted his body as he fell, looking back
at the door as he landed hard on the ground. Through the smoke he
could see it was still there, with not a mark on it.
“No way!” said David, throwing his cap to
the ground. “I really thought we had it then.”
“What’d you expect? That you’d be the first
Gregson in ten generations to get the door open? Jack, are you OK?”
Rosie said the three questions in quick succession as she rubbed
her hands together to warm them.
“Yeah fine,” Jack replied as he got up and
dusted himself off. The fall had given his jeans and t-shirt grass
stains, and some mulch and dirt clung to his curly brown hair.
He stretched his arms and legs, making sure
none of the pains he felt were serious.
“It was dynamite,” David muttered under his
breath. “Freaking Dynamite! That door shouldn’t be there. The whole
wall shouldn’t be there!” his muttering had turned into slight
hysteria, and Jack had to stop himself from laughing as his chubby
cousin continued his rant while running up to the door. It stood
there as it had before, looking as solid as ever. The only evidence
that the dynamite had gone off was the plume of smoking drifting up
into the sky.
The door in the Western Gardens of the
Gregson Manor has been a family curiosity and secret for
generations. Jack, like all of the family’s children had been
brought up with fantastic stories of what lay beyond the door, told
by his aunties, uncles and grand parents.
While other families read to their children
from books, Jack had gone to bed with true tales of monsters,
wizards and fantastical beasts as his bedtime stories, handed down
through his family over hundreds of years.
As he got older, he wondered more and more
whether the stories could possibly be true, believing a little less
each year. The only thing that kept them alive for him was the door
itself. Locked for countless years, no matter what the Gregson’s
tried, nothing could get it open. The fact that dynamite had not
even left a mark, meant that it had to be magic.
“We need to go,” Rosie said while picking up
her bag. “The explosion might have woken mum and dad, and you know
they’ll kill us if they find out it was dynamite we set off and not
“I didn’t set off anything. Jack did,” David
casually replied as he bent down and scooped up his cap.
“We drew straws!”
“It doesn’t matter if no one knows. So let’s
get out of here.” Rosie finished the argument before it could
begin. At eleven years old she was two years younger than her
brother David, and her cousin Jack but she had a knack for getting
what she wanted.
Except when it came to the dynamite. She’d
tried talking them out of using that for hours the previous night,
but here they were at six a.m. in the chilly Autumn dawn, freezing
their bottoms off.
“Let’s go then. Great Uncle Peter will want
to know how we went,” David said as he started off towards the main
Gregson Manor was built in the 1500’s,
making it extremely old and due to the families finances, a little
rundown. The three-story mansion stood in the centre of the
property, surrounded by four main gardens: The Western Garden, The
Eastern Garden, The Front Garden and The Rear Garden. Considering
the place came with a door that was magic, Jack had always thought
the family could have put more imagination into the naming of them.
He often thought that once he owned and ran the manor, he’d call
them all something more exciting.
The East and West Gardens were massive, each
the size of a large football field. They were also almost identical
in every way. Each had multiple paths throughout them, weaving
their way through sitting areas, large statues and garden beds of
different plants and flowers.
Both had a great staircase leading down to
them from the main house. At the base of each was a long wall; the
only difference between the two being that one had the mysterious
door and the other did not.
Once you turned from the wall to each of the
main gardens, you came to a grand marble table capable of seating
eighteen people, which overlooked each of the gardens beyond.
Today was a special occasion. In a matter of
hours, the whole Gregson family would sit at the large table in the
Western Garden, and have their annual get together with food,
drinks and games.
Cousins near and far would travel to the
family home and stay for the weekend.
The adults would join together and re-tell
fantastic tales from a time their ancestors could travel beyond the
door, and then debate between themselves about the history,
accuracy and timelines of the stories.
Meanwhile their children would hunt the
grounds for the missing key that opened the door, scouring every
room in the house, every nook and cranny of the garden. Even though
they never found it, it was Jack’s favourite part of the day.
After the hunt they would feast and then the
games would begin. Most of them revolved around trying to get the
door open. Some favourites were trying to pick the lock, smash it
with a battering ram, or coax it open with secret knocks. The same
sorts of things were tried every year. Everyone wanted to be the
one to get the door open, and the annual event was where some
friendly family competitiveness came out.
Jack was pretty sure this was the first time
dynamite had been tried though and it was all thanks to his
eccentric Great Uncle. It had been his idea to use it and he’d
supplied it. Considering that he rarely left the house or had
visitors, Jack had no idea where he’d gotten it from. He did know
that if Grandma or his Aunty Mauve found out, none of their lives
would be worth living.
The kids reached the top of the stairs and
turned towards the Front Garden. While not as big as the West and
East gardens, it was still very large and the most well maintained
of the four. It was a large field of grass, with a 60-metre pebble
driveway splitting it right down the middle, from black iron gates
at the roadside, right up to the front of the house. There were
potted plants, placed at ten metre intervals on both sides of the
driveway, a red bloom of roses in each that Jack had helped his
Grandma plant at the beginning of spring.
Jack had grown up with his Grandmother and
Great Uncle on the property, moving to boarding school when he was
twelve. Now when he returned for holidays, he earned his pocket
money helping in the gardens driving the lawn mower, sweeping and
weeding to keep it presentable for guests.
He found himself doing many chores, as he
got older, being told it was character building and that he would
grow into a man his parents would be proud of. He had tried
pointing out this was impossible as his mother had died on the day
he was born. His dad had also abandoned Jack right after her death,
so why should he care what his father thought?
He soon learned this tactic resulted in more
work as it upset his Grandma, which in turn made his Great Uncle
angry with him, so he’d stopped trying that angle and went about
doing his chores as efficiently as possible so he had more time for
They continued their walk to the front door
and crept into the house. The foyer was designed as a sitting room
for guests as they waited for their hosts to greet them. Back when
the Gregson’s had more money and could afford staff, the butler
would bring them in and seat them on one of the two lounges and
offer them tea.
The walls were made of wood panelling and
there were racks against them for winter boots and cloaks. In more
recent times a bathroom had been added for their guests to use.
“Let’s use the passages,” David said as he
walked towards the coat rack. “It doesn’t look like we caused an
alarm but better to keep out of sight”.
There were six hooks on the rack and all
looked exactly the same. David grabbed the far left one and twisted
it to the right until they heard a “click”.
One of the wood panels on the wall suddenly
swung open to reveal a dark passageway.
They stepped into the darkness and Jack
closed the panel behind them, the coat hook snapping back into
place in the now empty foyer.
“Nobody ever puts the bloody torch back in
“Here, use my phone,” Rosie said while
rummaging through her bag. She found it, turned on the light and
gave it to Jack.
“Thanks,” he replied grabbing it and
pointing it down the dusty, narrow corridor as he continued
“Whoever built these passages should have
added lights,” David declared.
“There wasn’t electricity back then moron,“
Rosie replied. “Most of the passages were planned and built when
the house was first constructed over 500 years ago.”
“My little sister, the history
“Shush. Anyway, I found a book in the
library that says that some of the upstairs passages were built
more recently by our great-great Grandpa William.”
“A book about the house? Who would bother
writing a book about a house?” David asked.
“Dunno,” replied Rosie. “It doesn’t say who
it’s by, but it’s huge! It has chapters on every room and goes into
immense detail. For instance, you know the passageway that has a
spy hole into the kitchen? Grandpa William apparently had that
installed because he thought one of his maids was stealing
“He sounds nutty. Too much time on his hands
if you ask me,” replied David.
“Quiet,” whispered Jack as they approached a
chair facing the wall, one of the many spying stations throughout
the passageways. “I think I can hear your Mum.”
Jack sat down on the chair, put his eye to
the spy hole and looked down on the room below. His Aunty Mauve -
David and Rosie’s Mum, was in the main living room standing with
her back to Jack, wearing a pink floral dressing gown that was
easily three sizes too small for her, making her butt look huge. A
pink towel was wrapped around her head, with pink slippers
completing the brightly offensive outfit.
“Alice! Alice! Where is that woman?” Aunty
Mauve yelled out at no one in particular.
“I’m coming Mrs Gregson!” Alice called as
she shuffled down the hall. Alice was the Gregson Manors last
remaining staff member. She was once in charge of a whole household
of staff including a butler, cooks, gardeners and cleaners. Now she
was the last one left.
For most of the year she just had to look
after their Grandmother and her brother, Great Uncle Peter, as well
as Jack for the school holidays, but with all the relatives
converging on the house for the annual festivities, she had her