On March 26th 1986, in a small town in Nevada called Stonetown, a house at the end of a street called Mayview sat in utter silence. The shutters were shut tight, dust and cobwebs speckled the front, broken windows were covered up with boards. The house, as shoddy as it was, was home to something.
What that something was, nobody was sure of. Whether it was human or otherwise nobody knew. They only knew that on this day, March 26th, somebody would go missing. The police had since given up on looking, and even though a missing persons report would be sent in, they all knew looking was pointless, they would never find them until a week later. mutilated and hanging from a tree with the words "SEVEN" written all over their skin.
Emily Devou was new to town, she hadn't been popular, but people knew and loved her. She dressed strangely, however. Emily wore spiked bracelet -blunt of course- black skinny jeans that were ripped (purposely) and black band T-shirts. She normally wore black lipstick, eye shadow that seemed to give her an air of mystery, and a pair of industrial earrings. Her skin was unusually pale, almost like she herself was a ghost. Yet, despite her appearance, she was not a Gothic girl who wrote poems on the woes of life, or bitched about her parents -in fact she was grateful for her parents and everything they did for her.
Today was Emily's birthday, the fateful 26th, and she planned on visiting the house to prove it wasn't haunted, and what better day than this? She had only been in Stonetown for two months, but already she knew what the house was; a place of strange happenings and disappearances, all of which were linked to the house simply because of it's mysterious appearance. Her parents were not superstitious, they were both atheists, but even they had to admit there was something strange about the house that they didn't like, a "feeling."
"We don't want you to go, Emily." Her father said. "It's dangerous!"
"Well, I don't see the big deal dad. It can't be as bad as people say. Maybe it's all some big hoax."
"No, you're not going out, end of story."
Emily went upstairs to her room, slipped the window open, and walked out. From there, she was on her own. The day had since winded down and the sun had shone it's last peak of light on an otherwise dark world. Shadows licked at the edges of the lights around street lamps, monsters sat in complete darkness waiting to pounce, yet Emily moved onward toward the house, her mind set on a mission and her eyes not seeing the evil shapes that lurked at the edge of their vision.
She reached the old oak doorway, a lion head knocker was in the exact center, and she swung it back and forth, rapping on the door and praying nobody answered.
She held her breath. Nothing.
She knocked again, each time she brought it into the door it sounded like an explosion.
Once more, she brought the iron knocker into the door.
What was that? She heard something inside, moving, foot steps shifting. They were heavy footsteps and each step resounded with the sound the knocker had made.
Emily stepped back, slipped, and fell onto her back. Suddenly there was no light, the street lamps had dimmed to nothingness, the houses were all blacked out, all she saw was an endless sea of darkness.
The door pulled open and Emily was washed in an overpowering light, brighter than the sun and sky, whiter than paper and snow. In the center sat a man who must have been seven foot. Emily, being only five-five herself, felt infinitesimal. Huge hands wrapped around her arms and pulled her in.
The Tall Man brought her into the light, his words almost passed her by in her awe.
"Welcome," he said, "To the Rabbit Hole."
Emily threw her head off of her desk, confused, she gazed around the classroom and realized it was all a dream.
"Glad you could join us, Emily, you nearly missed all the excitement."
"Sorry Mister Cage, I... I didn't sleep last night."
"Well that's no excuse for sleeping in my classroom," Mr. Cage said, "maybe you can't sleep at home because you keep sleeping here. That desk is not your bed."
Emily always found it easier to sleep in class, she thought maybe it had something to do with her being bored out of her mind or maybe just that she found sitting more comfortable than laying down.
Emily gazed at the paper at her desk and read the date. It was March 20th. Wondering if it was correct, she let her eyes wander to the other kids' papers. Two didn't even have the date, the one other was written in fancy cursive but she could clearly see the 20.
Mister Cage went on about ancient vikings. Emily was only half listening, she wasn't interested in history, she always looked towards the future rather than a glance at the past.
After what felt like eternity passed, Emily was finally let out of history class, the last class of the day! She nearly sprinted to her locker, threw everything she had in there, then left the school building, glad that she was finally out of there for the day. She jumped on her bus and went home, since she was the first stop it took only about fifteen minutes before she stood on her door step. Inside her father was playing guitar on his new amp, her mother was cooking dinner, and her 8 year old little brother was upstairs probably playing his video games already.
When Emily stepped through the door she breathed in the fresh smell of pancakes. "Breakfast for dinner?"
"Yep," her mother said, "I really wanted pancakes today. And if you guys don't, you can feed yourselves."
Her mother was beautiful, she had blond hair that was shoulder length, curvy waist, petite body, elfin features and big ice blue eyes. She always wore dresses even during the winter because she felt that a woman "Always has to wear a dress and look her best." Her voice was the sound of honey and when she spoke everyone waited for her to finish, hanging onto each and every syllable for dear life.
Her father walked in and gave her mother a kiss on the cheek. He seemed to be just the opposite of her mother. He was tall and rugged, he looked more like a woodsman than the manager of a grocery store. He had a full black beard that had specks of gray in the middle of it, a square head, and almond shaped brown eyes.
"Hello hun," he said to Emily. "How was your day at school?"
"Boring as ever, fell asleep during class. Again."
"I'll see if I can pick up some melatonin tomorrow, that'll help you sleep."
Emily thanked her dad and went upstairs to her room. The walls were lined with Sick Puppies band posters, a guitar hung on the wall, a bed was pushed against the farthest wall and right beside it was a computer. The walls were the darkest shade of blue possible without being black. She fell down onto her bed and sighed, she began to think about the Rabbit Hole.
The Tall Man skipped around the field, picking flowers and crushing them in his palms. The world around him was an endless field, spanning millions of miles in every direction, and it seemed like the sky itself was far away. The clouds rolled on by miles above his head. A field of blood sat before him, endless crimson, endless blood, but it wasn't blood. He was prancing in a field of roses, each time he picked one up and crushed it a new one instantly grew in its place. He'd watch for a moment before doing it again and again. The Tall Man hadn't ventured too far out of the field, he did know, however, that there was a mystical forest filled with strange contraptions that were wonders in this world. Nobody knew how to work them, nobody knew what they did, they only knew that they were there. Ancient technology left behind by what they now called the Ancient Ones, who were lost to the unrecorded history of the new world. The Tall Man liked to call the world Otherland, mostly because it sounded sweet to the ears, partly because it fit. It wasn't the land it was before, there were no trains that passed by -though the Tall Man knew not what they were called- and the biggest advance in technology that was recent were crossbows.
It seemed that the only time technology was updated was to fuel the war between the Azure Knight and the Crimson King.
Both of them had done evils, neither were "Good", but the Azure Knight was the lesser of the two evils, and the land had been torn apart in their war. The Tall Man didn't know why there was a war, he only knew that it had been going on since before he was born. He doubted, even, that they knew what they were warring about nowadays. Perhaps they had some semblance of it, but ultimately it was forgotten in time.
The Tall Man was not, in fact, tall. He was actually an average size man with a very large top hat. The top hat was the color of coal, speckled with sparkles, a dead rose pinned to the left side. The Tall Man wore a purple coat, a neck kerchief wrapped around his neck, and a black vest that was lined with buckles. He wore purple slacks, black shoes, and a belt with a smiley face pinned in the center. His face was hidden by a mask with a very wide grin spread across it's face and the eyes were hidden beneath his top hat. His clothing was very... Strange, but he didn't care for what other people thought. He didn't care about anything really, or at least anything other than himself. The Tall Man was an egotistical pessimist who saw the worst of everything. He had a dark sense of humor and it showed itself easily.
His belt was lined with knives, each razor sharp, and each had it's own share of blood. He was not partial to killing, it came naturally and he knew that nature couldn't be denied.
The day began to wind down and finish itself in the farthest corner of the sky. In the Otherland, rather than the sun going down, it went up until it disappeared, and the moon rose from the bottom of the sky. It hadn't always been like this, the Tall Man knew, it was the Ancient Ones technology that made the sun and moon forget themselves. Sometimes days seemed to last minutes, months lasted hours, years lasted days, or the other way around. Time was gone, everyone knew it, so who knew how old they all were? They could all be a million years old!
Lately, the Tall Man had been suffering from terrible nightmares, or strange dreams where he traversed time and space and went to another world, where time knew where it was, where the sun and moon had not forgotten who they were. Where everything was just right. Here, he was normal, human, he knew how old he was but when he woke up he'd forget again. The Tall Man would sit in a house that was abandoned, he could hear the creaks when he walked, smell the musty air, he knew it was real but he didn't know how. Occasionally people would come into his house and he'd kill them out of fear. He didn't know these people, he hadn't seen them, what were they doing here? Nature took its coarse, and his instincts told him to stab and tear and rip.
But he also knew that he had to hide the bodies, to get them as far away from his home as possible. So he'd tie them to tree limbs in the forest nearest to his home, then return home and wait for the dream to end.
He did this every day; he would go into this dream realm, he'd wait, he'd kill, and he'd be gone again. One night, however, something different happened.
He was dreaming, as always, and he sat in his new home's couch. It was comfortable in a strange way, he'd never experienced a couch. He only knew the bed of roses.
A girl walked to his home, she was different somehow, strange in that she wasn't actually there. She was dreaming too, the Tall Man could see it in her eyes. She approached the house tentatively, she banged the knocker against the oak wood door and waited. The Tall Man fell back into the shadows, his hands went to his knives, but... he didn't kill her. Nobody had ever knocked on his door before. The others had barged in. She knocked again, the Tall Man began to rise out of the shadows. Once more she knocked, the Tall Man erupted from the darkness and pulled open the door. What came next, not even he could explain.
"Welcome," the Tall Man said, "To the Rabbit Hole."
He pulled her in, and then he woke up.
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