Kraken Manor Chronicles – Chapter 1

For two centuries Kraken Manor has stood unwavering in the centre of numerous mysteries, there are many tentacles to the tale but there are only eight that truly stand out as the most unnerving and horrific. The manor stands at the top of Hook Hill looking out over Winter Rose village, a village that used to be full of vitality and character. When Kraken Manor was built the locals praised it as an architectural beauty and loved it for the positive effect it had on the town. It brought in more tourists and businessmen ready to buy property and businesses as word spread and everyone seemed to think that Winter Rose could be akin to a phoenix: reborn out of the ashes of obscurity into the modern world and put back on the map.

The man responsible for such a feat and honored by the community was none other than Jackson Glass, a man who grew up in the village and always looked back at his time there in fondness but as time went on he grew ambitious so he took a big chance and moved to the city of Liverpool where he started working in the largely lucrative Bank of Liverpool. Over the years and under the mentorship of Sir Clark Stewart, he became one of the most successful bankers Liverpool has ever seen. A tall, handsome and athletic man with flowing long black hair, kind eyes and a stubble many thought Glass would be a ladies man but due to the rural upbringing and respect for everyone instilled in him from an early age he only had eyes for one lady.

Her name was Francine Stewart, Clark’s daughter and quintessentially the funniest girl he had ever met, many criticized his choice of woman since critics thought she was only average looking but Jackson couldn’t see an average girl, with long curly blonde hair and an infectious smile she was certainly cute as a button and every day with her was an adventure. One of the many things Jackson could see is the woman he wanted to wake up next to every day and be the happiest man alive. Years went by and the years were good to Jackson and Francine, they were blessed with four amazingly joyful children who were just as funny and cheeky as their mother and as handsome and smart as their father.

It’s late 1815 when Jackson decided to uproot his family in the aftermath of a fraud investigation which he was absolved but his partner was arrested and imprisoned. His eldest son Wayne is twenty and currently taking after his father in the banking sector and quickly becoming one to reckon with in the boardroom. He’s the spitting image of his father when he was his age but clean-shaven and short-haired. His eldest daughter Jessica Glass has the same infectious smile and curly hair as her mother and the kind eyes of her father, easily thought of as one of the most promising and sought after beauties in the city.

The youngest of the family are the twins Harry and Diana, seven, who sometimes are annoyingly inseparable and they each compete at anything that comes to mind at the aggravation of their mother who is finding it hard to keep up with them, but always succeeds in keeping them safe. Jackson believed it was time to move after the fraud investigation that had a stressful effect on the whole family and the added benefit to show his family where he came from. However the years have not been kind to his beloved village. It seems that through advancement of neighbouring cities the village has been cut off economically from the rest of the county.

Many people scraped by and Jackson saw sorrow where he once saw hope so he put a plan in motion to make his native village great again. He paid for contractors and architects out of his own pocket and within a year Kraken Manor was born. A colossal manor with a tower in the centre and eight grand interconnecting rooms and is covered in exquisite art in every hallway from the Glass’ unique collection. Outside at the front there are gardens on each side with a fountain right under the bedroom window to ensure a hypnotic and alluring view. It has a great ball room and extensive library that opens up from the main hall, with bedrooms for thirty people many investors can stay, see the village and see where improvements can be made. It’s a perfect place to entertain the rich and convince them to invest in the village and for a while it worked. Within six months trade started to come back and everyone had a glint of hope in their eye again that hasn’t been seen in a while. However as Autumn gave away to Winter tragedy struck the family, a tragedy that would have repercussions for everyone in the area and would become the stuff of legend for years to come.

The story doesn’t start at Kraken manor though, it starts on a dark muddy road at the back-end of November. Rain was bombarding everything in sight and thunder echoed in the heavens above making the road treacherous and the horses nervous but that didn’t stop the carriage from charging through. The driver, Blake, didn’t care what happened to his cargo, the bars on the windows said it all and there was only two of them but the fact that one of the prisoners he heard of were responsible for the deaths of five innocent people by way of poison somewhat bothered Blake.

The poisoner was a doctor and if there was one thing Blake couldn’t stand its people in a position of trust abusing that same trust. He made the trip to the prison plenty of times before so he was used to every eventuality, well almost every eventuality. Rounding a corner a lightning bolt exploded twenty feet in front of him, he was only stunned but the horses turned sharply to the right in a panic leading the carriage crashing down the embankment. Blake only had seconds to react so he leapt clear of the carriage as it flipped on its side and rolled down to the bottom of the slope flattening trees as if they were made of paper.

Blake got to his feet since he seemed OK but he looked himself over just in case. A few cuts and bruises, he breathed a sigh of relief as it could have been easily worse and looked down to the carriage that was on its side, he can see the horses. All of them lied motionless. Blake had a twang of sorrow for the horses since he’s known them and rode them for years but as his eyes fixed on the carriage which landed on its side he suddenly had a knot in his stomach as he realized he might have to e****t the prisoners the rest of the way on foot that is unless they’re already dead.

He saw no activity at the bottom of the embankment but he still had to take a look, the last thing anyone needed was a killer on the loose. He made his way down grabbing each tree for added stability going as fast but as safely as possible. As he clambered to the bottom only a few yards to the carriage he saw the back door of the carriage burst open and one of the prisoners came crawling out. Panting heavily the figure tried to stand on both feet but fell down and yelled in pain realizing his left ankle was broken. Blake grabbed his revolver hurried over to the carriage before the prisoner could stand again and pointed his gun at point-blank range at the head of the downed prisoner.

“Is the other one dead!?” he shouted, his own voice surprised him as it came out unnerved. Blake positioned himself between the convict and the carriage.

“I don’t know. Go check yourself,” he snapped with an obvious annoyed tone in his voice. The guy was small, scrawny and with receding hair it was almost inconceivable such a small guy could commit any malicious crime, a big gash from the top of his forehead to his eyebrow streamed with blood and one of his lenses from his glasses was missing.

Blake noticed he didn’t have his shackles on and sized up the situation, he needed to check if the other inmate was dead but can’t risk turning his back on this one so he decided on the only logical course of action.

“OK you stay in my sight while I check if the other guy is dead,” the scrawny guy didn’t say anything, just nodded and moved to the side. Before Blake could do anything however he felt large hands grab his ankles with a pincer-like grip and a split second later he was lying flat the mud. The other convict was on top of him and he was enormous, easily reaching seven-foot and arms like tree trunks. In what seemed like one smooth motion he swiftly knocked the gun out of Blake’s hand, gripped his head in one hand and twisted forcibly with amazing strength snapping Blake’s neck in an instant.

The convict looked up, face full of blood from a deep wound on the top of his head and stared wild-eyed at the skinny guy. He took one step towards him and his legs buckled and he fell down, passed out in a heap. The small man smiled and looked up towards the road and then the other way deeper into the forest and finally at his fallen companion, thinking about his next course of action.