The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the leaves were changing such pretty colors. It would have been nice if it were any other day. Just not today. Any other day, but today.
I took a mental note to stop by this area again when I was currently not being pursued by a pack of rabid dogs.
My chest heaved painfully, my lungs burning as I sucked down air. I could feel my legs protesting every step I took, muscles cramping, but I had to continue on. Risking a quick glance behind me, I could see the dogs gaining on me, gnashing teeth dripping with saliva. My panic continued to rise. With sweat dripping down my face, my feet pounding against the sidewalk as I ran, I quickly squashed that very same panic. I was NOT about to get mauled by a couple of dogs; not today.
The suitcase in my hand swung back and forth beside me as I ran. It carried all the clothes I had bothered to pack. The satchel strapped to me, however, carried my most valuable belongings. My pencils, colors, paints, a sketchbook, a notebook, and a picture of my family. These were my most treasured objects.
My family… They weren’t here anymore. Nearly a year ago, a fire had broken out, killing them all. I had been away from the house at the time, and the fire department had no explanation as to what had happened, only that the fire had inexplicably broken out within my own room. The men had offered me their condolences with sad faces.
I shook my head. Come on, Raven! Run faster! There’s no time to think of stuff like that now. I told myself, long inky hair whipping behind me. I needed to find a way to escape these dogs. I didn’t want to hurt them if I could help it. I looked for an out, anything really. Nothing. With a groan, I continued running through the countryside as the road turned more twisted and the trees became more ominous looking.
Now, if this were one of my novels, the heroine would have avoided this kind of route all together by any means necessary. She would have thought things out rationally. Funny thing is, when you're actually in danger, rational thinking tends to fly from one's thoughts. Not that I even had a choice, really.
I knew I shouldn't have, especially since I had already done it once and had gotten away with it, but I looked over my shoulder anyway, ignoring all inner protests. I wanted to see what kind of dogs were chasing me. Like I said, rational thinking out the window.
The dogs that pursued me were big, black… Dobermans… crap!
I was growing tired and I was pretty sure, I couldn't outrun Dobermans. And just like that, as I suspected, after looking over my shoulder, I fell to the ground, my foot snagging a tree root. I hit with a heavy thump!—my body sliding down the path, loose dirt and pebbles adhering to my skin. Keep moving… Keep moving! I told myself, scrambling to lift myself up.
Before I could get to my feet, the Dobermans descended on me like the plague, their paws scratching at my arms, leaving shallow marks, as I attempted to cover my face and throat. They growled viciously, snapping at whatever they could reach. I screamed, one of the three latching onto my leg, shaking its head wildly. With all the force I could muster from my awkward position, I slammed my suitcase against its head before swinging it in a large arc making the others back off warily. I was up and running again before they could comprehend what happened.
My injured leg burned as I ran. I could feel the blood dripping down my calf, staining my jeans. But there was no time to worry about that now. The dogs were after me again!
A bridge was suddenly in sight and I made a mad dash for it. It connected to halves of a large chasm, the path changing into cobblestones. I silently hoped I'd be safe whenever I got to wherever I was running to, hoping it wouldn’t turn out to be a dead end.
It wasn’t long until I could see a large structure coming closer, or I was getting closer to it. No matter. Maybe it was a building. When it became clearer, I couldn't help but sigh in relief. It was a tall wall made of stone, an menacing building looming behind it.. My relief quickly vanished when I slammed into the gate and shook it. It was locked and it didn't appear that I was close enough for people to hear my screams… if there were any people left inside.
I could hear the dogs getting closer. Making a split second decision, I threw my suitcase and satchel over the wall and climbed into a nearby tree. Not even a minute after reaching the first branch, the dogs attacked the tree, jumping up in the air to try and reach me. I used my good foot to kick at a dog that got too close.
As I climbed the tree, my wound continued to bleed and my adrenaline was beginning to wear off. I was getting a little lightheaded, but nothing unmanageable. I could not afford to stop. There was only a few feet separating me from the dogs, after all. I climbed even higher, finally getting to a position where I was higher the top of the wall. Carefully, I walked across a long, thick branch, praying to the Goddess I wouldn’t slip. It was still a good six foot gap from the tree to the wall.
Using all the energy I had, I sprung off the branch like a springboard, and leapt towards the wall. I landed on the very edge of the wall my feet skidding across the stone, clambering for purchase. At last, my toe found a threshold between the stones, the dogs snapping down below. I flung my leg over the other side, straddling the wall and stuck my tongue out at the dogs, teasing them in their failure. Flinging my other leg over the side of the wall, I jumped down and retrieved my bags.
I sighed and took a minute to catch my bearings, not believing how I had managed to outpace the speedy animals. Someone must surely be looking out for me… that or the dogs were just too stupid to give a proper chase. Either way, you wouldn’t hear me complain.
Shouldering my bag, I continued onwards, walking towards to what I hoped would be a safe place.
List of Things to Do:
Take a Bath
Pick My Jaw Up Off the Ground
I decided that completing the third objective would be the most feasible, considering I practically ate dirt when I saw the building in front of me.
After walking up a long, cobbled path lined with creepy looking trees, crows sitting in just about every branch, I came across what appeared to be a flipping castle! Well, castle might be an exaggeration, but it was more or less a mansion. I couldn’t place the era, however, as the design appeared to combine many different styles of the many different centuries of Hyrule’s history.
The large structure towered over me with its dark, eerie towers reaching up into the sky, resembling that of the Northern gothic style. The detail carved into the columns that surrounded the building were so defined, I could make them out in the distance, vines and florals so real, I thought they might grow right out of the masonry. The mansion seemed to jump out the pages from my favorite story, "Beast in the Twilight Shroud."
Debating whether or not I should approach the door or just leave, I remembered the dogs at the gate and decided right then and there that I would take my chances with the potentially abandoned and/or haunted mansion . Slowly, I approached the doors, taking note of the oaken grain, and hoped that I wasn't right and that it wasn’t abandoned. I grabbed the big, brass knocker and banged it against one of the doors a good couple of times. The knocker was in the shape of some gruesome and grotesque creature with gleaming eyes, a ring in its jaws. I waited for a moment and held my breath. Was it truly empty?
Suddenly, the door began to swing open, the hinges groaning and creaking. I observed in fascination as it appeared to do so without anyone there. Shrugging it off, I grabbed onto my bags and slowly walked in. This place was a mess. There was dust everywhere and cobwebs were attached to whatever they could grab, namely the intricate chandelier hanging above me as I walked into the foyer. There was no way anyone lived in this filth. This place seemed to be abandoned after all.
As I took note of my surroundings using the light from the doorway, the door suddenly shut behind me. I jumped with a yelp. "I-It was the wind! Y-Yeah… It had to have been the wind…" I laughed nervously. I reached for the door, only to find it stuck. "Great," I muttered.
It was rather dark with the door shut and the windows were covered with thick drapes, so I dug into my satchel to see if I had my pocket flashlight with me. Luckily for me, I did. My flashlight flickered on, and I let out a silent cheer. Deciding to look around, I made my way up the stairs.
After about twenty minutes of aimless walking—trying to ignore the hushed whispers I swore I could hear—I made my way down back into the foyer, the mansion too big to explore in one day. My head felt fuzzy and my body was growing tired. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to stop for a quick nap, right? Nothing would bother me accept a couple of spiders, maybe some bats. That wasn’t too bad.
I found a loveseat resting up against the wall, a dust cover draped over it. I took the cloth and revealed a comfortable looking piece of furniture with burgundy cushions. I sneezed lightly as I moved to sit. And as soon as my butt hit the cushion, I laid down and was out like a light, the whispers in the room lulling me to sleep.
My eyes opened slightly, a ceiling coming into a focus with a dirty chandelier that would undoubtedly be very pretty if it was clean. I yawned and sat up on the loveseat, recollecting the prior day’s events. I was alive and hadn't been mauled by dogs; I was relatively happy.
Remembering my wounds from the day before, I started to walk around the castle again. Maybe I could find a medical kit or something. The scratches had already started to scab over, but my leg definitely needed to be treated. I wandered around the first floor when I eventually stumbled upon the kitchen.
The kitchen was actually pretty big. There was a large hearth in the far corner of the room with a cooking spit hanging over it. A long table for preparing food was in the middle of the room and a long counter rested on the opposite wall of the hearth. Cupboards hung over it, probably once containing food, now most likely containing dust. There was on old pantry to the right. On the back wall was another door.
I would have thought there might have been a medical kit in the kitchen since that's where all the knives are. But no such luck. No matter how long I searched, I couldn't find any trace of a kit of any kind. Would there even be any medical kits in this place considering how old it must be.
Deciding to see where the aforementioned door would lead, I was surprised to see a courtyard on the other side. This section of the courtyard was fenced in and tiny, but charming nevertheless. There was a small well in the middle and what appeared to have been a garden.
Walking over to the well, I peered down inside. "Hopefully, the water in there is still good," I said to myself. I threw the bucket resting by the well over the side. The rope attached to it became taught after I heard the familiar splash of water. I started to crank the lever, pulling the bucket up, my sore muscles protested and strained. I could feel the scabbed over scratches on my arms reopening.
Finally getting the bucket up and out, I took off the flannel I wore over my shirt and ripped it into strips. I soaked one of the strips in the water and began to clean the scratches on my arms. Thank goodness the water wasn't stagnant. The scratches didn't hurt to terribly bad, so I quickly wrapped them with pieces of my shirt and moved to my leg. I rolled up the bloodied up pant leg and winced at the sight of my calf. A large chunk had been taken out of my leg, dried blood was crusted throughout the wound and around the edges. It was getting infected.
I pressed the wet cloth against the wound and immediately cried out in pain. If it burned just from cold water, I wondered what the wound would feel like with warm water or disinfectant. I hissed as I continued to treat my leg to the best of my abilities. After getting the use out of the cloth, I wrapped my calf in the rest of my shirt and proceeded back inside after dumping out the water.
Walking back into the foyer, I sighed. "You know," I said to myself. "Maybe I could live here. It's pretty intact for being so old." I scoffed. “Yeah, sure. As if I could ever afford a freaking mansion.” Of course, then again, there was quite the amount of damage, despite how well this place was maintained. "If the town does own the castle, maybe the value will decrease when they see some of the damage," I wondered aloud.
I took out my notebook and began listing the amount of damage in the foyer alone. There was a bit of water damage, loose floorboards, chipped paint, broken furniture, rust spots, holes here and there, and due to the imprints of dust on the walls a few stolen paintings. With all the damage, the value of this room alone would be cut down by at least half. Maybe I would be able to buy it after all. It would have to be done in many installments.
Leaving my bags on the loveseat, I walked to the front door and braced myself to yank it open. Using all the strength I could muster, I yanked the door open and flew backwards. Apparently, it wasn't as stuck as I thought it was. Note to self, add door to the damage of the room.
As I stood to leave, the sound of rustling drew my attention. A piece of paper was fluttering along the floor, the edges yellowed with time. Picking up the paper, I took note of the official-ness of the document. It was… the deed to the mansion! What the heck was this doing here?! Why was it here? It was definitely not here before.
With a skeptical glance, I turned away and began my walk down the long driveway. Upon reaching the gate, it was already open when it wasn’t open yesterday. What was going on in this place? "Strange," I murmured. I turned around to look in the direction of the castle. "Well, I'll be back my future house!"
I started the long walk to town. I swore I heard the words, "Hurry back," on the wind's breath. Then again it was probably my imagination.
By the time I got into town, I was tired and sore. I felt like laying down and sleeping forever. I meandered around town before eventually stumbling upon the Town Hall. Walking inside, I felt a cool blast of an air conditioner, suddenly very grateful for that small gift. I approached the front desk and was greeted by a pretty lady with short red hair. She gave a quick bow before saying, "Welcome to Faron Town Hall. My name is Anju. Do you have an appointment?"
I smiled at her kind manner. "No ma'am, I'm afraid not. I'm new in town and would like to purchase a property," I explained.
"Oh, may I inquire what property? We have many fine homes available. And are you of legal age to purchase a property?"
I nodded. "Yes, I’m eighteen, so just barely old enough. But the thing is, I don't know if it's available. I stumbled upon it in the woods. It looks like an old castle. Here’s the deed," I said, sliding the legal document to Anju.
She put her hand to her mouth in surprise. "You made it through the Lost Woods?!" she asked.
Anju nodded. "The Lost Woods weren't always called that. It used to be called the Hylian Forest. But that was hundreds of years ago. The forest overgrew and all who enter it become lost, until today. Now, you mentioned something about a castle?” She examined the deed carefully. “Well, I do believe you've stumbled upon the Twilight Manor. A long time ago, the Twilight Manor housed a beautiful lord and lady. One day, the lady of the house became enraged and jealous of her husband's wealth, for she had come from a poor family. She killed her husband and cursed the servants to wander for all eternity," Anju said in a storyteller-like voice.
So the castle I'm trying to buy really is haunted? I asked myself.
Anju continued. "Well, so long as you have this deed, we can legally say you own the mansion, given that there are no living relatives to inherit it.”
“Is that possible for there to be any relatives?”
She shook her head. “Very unlikely, but I’m going to do a data search just in case.” The redheaded lady tapped away quickly at the computer for a couple of minutes. Soon after, she returned her gaze to me and smiled. “You are lucky. There are no living relatives of the lord or lady to inherit the mansion. Nor is there any will signing it off to someone.”
I let out a big huff of air. It felt so good to know that I had a home: some place I could go back to in the evenings and know I would be safe. "Do you mind giving me a ride back? It was a long way to walk here. We could mark the road as we go too.”
“Of course. I would be happy to.”
"Whoa, I never realized how big this place is," Anju gasped as we drove up to the castle. She parked the car and we filed out, heading for the building. As we entered, Anju looked shocked at the damage. "All this history, gone."
"I've started a list of all the damage. I hope to renovate and install electrical and better plumbing for sure. Hopefully, I can restore most everything.”
Anju smiled. "You could attempt to plea to the Province for a grant in the hopes they’ll take in the account of historical value.” I nodded, taking in her words. "Well, all right. I have the proper paperwork here. Just sign on these lines here, and I’ll take a quick picture of the deed for documentation… and done!"
“Thank you so much, Miss Anju, for everything,” I said, shaking her hand. “I’d hate to be a further bother, but would you mind sending for the doctor? I need a rabies shot for sure as well as a bit of treatment.”
"Sure. That’s no problem at all. It was nice to meet you…" Anju drawled.
"Raven. Raven Phillips."
"Well, see you later, Raven," Anju said, leaving.
I waved bye to her and showed her the way out. I listened as her car putted down the driveway. Closing the door, I sat down on the loveseat, exhausted. Without meaning to, I fell asleep.