Wary Perceptions - I

Written and Illustrated by Benjamin Andrew Fouché

Upon someone opening the door, I was unexpectedly greeted by an extremely peculiar man with a hideous, and somewhat corpselike, appearance. “Greetings, my dear sir. My name is Mansfield, and I am the caretaker of this Inn. We are very pleased that you have arrived safely––and do excuse my odd appearance; I have an aberrant condition, so I hope you are not afraid. But I do insist that you come inside. I fear we might have a heavy snowfall tonight.” Saying “thank you” to Mr. Mansfield, I stepped into the antechamber and took off my hat and coat. “My friend, Chester, will lead your horse to the stable near the Inn’s rear. But please follow me into the dining quarters––we have prepared a small meal precisely for you.”

Gaiting warily into the parlor, I observed the exquisiteness of the furniture; oval tables with elegant, spindled chairs rested in the nooks and corners. Maroon velvet chairs sat against the towering walls on opposite sides, and a comforting, crimson, tufted sofa sat in front of the wall facing the curving stairwell. The interior of the Inn was exceptionally charming, but was in need of minor maintenance. For there were cobwebs and thin layers of dust on the furnishings. Yet, now that I was an official butler, I would certainly be obliged to help clear away the dust and forsaken spider-webbing. As we turned down a short hallway, I was led past the doors to different guestrooms. Each with a silver numbering above the doorway.

Upon entering the marvelous dining room, there was a hot dish of porridge awaiting me, at the end of the table. Although it was simply a humble meal, and not a boastful feast, I did not care. It was a warm plate on a frigid night. And for this, I was especially pleased. Mansfield began to walk out of the dining room, but then turned around slowly, and approached me. “Oh, and before I forget, here is the key to your room, which may be found on the second story––it is number eighteen. Goodnight.” And so, I was left alone in the empty dining hall, with the increasing wind outside, resonating throughout the lofty interior.

Despite the odd appearance of Mr. Mansfield and the deadness of the Inn, I was quite at ease, realizing that this place was not as dejected, in comparison to my expectations. Finishing supper, and realizing that there could be a ghost or two, I formally excused myself from the table and withdrew to my bedchamber. As I strode down the hallway, I noticed that the candles in the dining quarters were suddenly snuffed out––the luminosity from behind abruptly vanished. At first, I felt slight apprehension, but shortly after, I began to realize that it was nothing more than Mansfield, or his other assistant, Chester. Continuing on, I moved through the parlor for a brief moment and then neared the stairwell. Gazing upon the winding case of steps, I admired the beauty of its white spindles, gradually curving aloft. Afterwards, I began my ascent.

Passing over each step, I reached the doorway to the hall on the second story. Entering, I then moved down the hallway to the eighteenth room––my room. While inserting the key into the lock, the door made a clicking noise, as if it had not been unlocked in decades. Turning the doorknob steadily, I entered into what was now my sleeping quarters. Quietly closing the door from behind, I thoroughly observed my surroundings. A pillow and two, small cushions rested against the head of the bedframe and a thickly quilted comforter was tidily folded at the footboard. A nightstand, with a single candle, rested along the wall, next to the bed.

There was a wardrobe in the corner of my bedchamber, next to a small, oval mirror that was mildly tarnished. Two curtains hung like ghostly spectacles over the window and below it was a small, secretary writing desk. It was a comfortable room, and that is all the mattered to me. As the brisk gusts wailed menacingly from the outside, I became all the more gratified. Changing into my nightgown, I climbed into bed and blew out the candle. I forgot to lock my door, but it was of no concern to me––for I was safe and sound, in a place for which I could now gladly call home.

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Inn of the Weeping Sparrow by Midnight Syndicate

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