Condemned – Chapter One: Pandora’s Box

(Excerpt from the Bayview Journals written by Kassandra Fotheringham from 1933-1935, discovered in June of 2009 and appended by Pastor Hugh MacGregor of Heron Bay First Church of Christ through May of 2012)

Nothing, of course, ever begins the way you think it did.

I believe Lillian Hellman, the famous playwright, said that. And thinking back on things, I believe she was right. I had thought I’d known where it all began: when Jonathan Fotheringham butchered his wife, his children, their nanny, and his sister in 1935.

I have never been so wrong. But I’m not the only one; everyone had it wrong. But no one knew it until I went to the house.

The house… Can a structure be evil? I don’t think so, even remembering back to what happened. But a structure can house evil, and since a structure can’t fight back, can’t seek exorcism, perhaps the distinction is not so important.

The Manor gave sanctuary to evil for decades; it might even to this day, in spite of everything I tried to do to expunge the forces within. I may never know—no, I will never know, because I will never set foot in the house again, nor should anyone whose ears hear this tale or whose eyes read it.

But when I am gone?

Ah, best not to dwell on that. You can only do what is within your power during your lifetime. After that, the gauntlet is taken up by God’s chosen…or not at all. Will the evil walk in that house again? Will it claim more innocent lives? Perhaps.

All I can do is weave the tale and hope it isn’t looked upon as some deranged fairy tale, a trivial work of fiction.

It begins with Rachael Payne—well, the beginning I know, I should say. Such a sweet, giving young woman, and so talented too. The last I saw of Rachael, she was staggering away from Bayview Manor, reeking of gasoline, her hand blistered from the flame of the match she used to set fire to the mansion.

But Bayview Manor is still standing. I wonder sometimes…is Rachael?

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Character-driven fiction. Because characters matter.

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