Shadows Of Guta 140-159

Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 141) Control

Looking at her phone, Nadja does not see a reply from Viktor nor does she have an update from Carl as to what is happening with Aaron. She just wants him gone, away from the village and out of her life forever. Just as she is about to call Carl, a message comes in from him.

“My dear, the fungus has been ejected from the village and is currently in a police car heading out of town. The authorities contacted airport security to make sure that upon his arrival he boards the next plane out. They will call back here to confirm.” The message reads and Nadja feels a bit of relief.

“That is very good news Carl, are you on the train and heading this way?” Nadja quickly replies.

“Yes, I just boarded the last train up the mountain. Forest rangers have reported it has already started raining up on the ridge, is this true?” Carl questions.

“Yes, unfortunately it is and with heavy thunder as well.” She states quickly.

“With this being the last run up, even if the dimwit returned, and he won’t, then he would have a heck of a time climbing up to our location. Ha! I’d love to see him try!” Carl replies in a sarcastic manner. “I will see you in a little while and we will head to the cottage to see if your friend arrived. If I don’t like his demeanor, I may have to kick him out as well!” He ends his message with a smiley face icon.

“Ha ha! Sounds like a good plan, I will see you soon. Thank you Carl.” Nadja replies as she smiles at Carl’s comments.

Pulling from her purse the sandwich Carl purchased for her lunch, she begins to unwrap it, but then realizes she is not hungry and tucks it back in place. Her thoughts go back to the night she left Aaron. He was so cruel yet she remained in control and it is now, while looking back, that she realizes how strong she was to take the step out the door. She felt a dread and was full of fear, but she made her move and stuck with it.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 140) Rustic

Viktor grabs his travel bag with one hand and walks to the living room where he sets it on the sofa cushion. Continuing on through the living room into Josephine’s bedroom, Viktor looks for the little lock and latch that exposed the entrance to a ladder.

“Hum, it must not be as easy to find as I thought or, it isn’t real.” Viktor says aloud but then he notices it.

There at the bottom left, near a book about spices and herbs is a small lock attached to the wood frame of the cabinet. Flipping it up, the shelf opens to a dark room below the cottage.

“This is so cool.” He grins as he peeks down into the darkness. “I can tell it’s a room but to keep myself from being in more trouble with Nadja, I better just build a fire and sit it out. It’s not like she can contact me or anything.” He shakes his head, disgusted with himself for losing his cell phone.

Pulling the latch back to its original position, the shelf easily glides into place and the lock clicks shut. Standing up he heads back to the living room and begins to crumple paper to start a fire. There is plenty of wood in the bin but he knows he will need to bring more in once the rain stops. At this point, Viktor is unaware there is a severe rainstorm coming and the predictions are calling for extreme flooding followed by layers of snow.

Keeping true to Carl’s directions after arriving at the train station, Nadja walks directly to his cabin and lets herself inside. It is a cozy place with his taste much in line with that of Aunt Josephine’s, but on a more rustic masculine side. Thick iron lanterns and lamps as well as deep colors adorn his place with a wood stove centered in the main room for heating purposes. The sweet scent of cherry tobacco fills the air much like the scent of soap fills the cottage. Even though it is a comfortable and relaxing place, Nadja feels jittery, on edge, and finds herself pacing from the main room back to the kitchen, checking the locks on the doors and windows each time.

“The police have Aaron, I saw this with my own eyes.” She mumbles to her nervous self. “But he is so sly and manipulative; there is no telling what his side of the story will be.” She says as she stops to look out the window. Thunder rumbles at the glass and rain begins to fall almost immediately after. “Oh great, the rain is here.”


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 159) Serious

Looking down at the entry hall Stephen focuses on the events of the morning and is wondering if he should give up, sell the place and go back to the states, or try to rejuvenate the building into what he believes it once looked like.

“Are you going to try to revive it?” Zsofia asks as she looks up at him.

“What do you mean?” He questions without looking in her direction.

Stephen is too preoccupied with his discomfort to realize how intuitive Zsofia is as she sits on the step, looking around and watching him.

“You are very serious aren’t you?” She states as fact as she stands up not expecting an answer because he has been dodging any depth in their conversation up to this point. “I’ve never been past the first floor, unless you count the walkways in the conservatory. I’ve been up to the fourth level in there.” She smiles but again does not receive much from Stephen except for a nod.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 158) Relief

With the palm of his hand pressed against the door, Stephen slowly pushes it open and immediately hits the light switch on the wall. Two lamps come on which brighten the room to such a degree, that no areas are dark or shadowed enough for anyone or anything to hide in. Stepping around the door, he finds the room is empty of anything human or inhuman, other than him, and he takes in a deep breath of relief.

Whatever or whomever was here is now gone, but with the numerous rooms, hidden panels, and area’s not yet discovered in this enormous structure, it or they could still be here watching and waiting.

“Are you okay?” Zsofia asks as she peeks around the corner from where she is now standing, which is at the top of the staircase.

“What?” Stephen asks in a nervous manner as he steps from the bedroom into the hallway. “You were supposed to stay downstairs.” He shuts the light off and pulls the door shut quietly as if not to wake a sleeping baby.

“Sorry, I was worried.” She replies as she sits down on the top step and leans back on her elbows to look down the hallway in the opposite direction. Her long tresses flow back with the bottom ends barely touching the floor “Have you been all the way through?”

“Through what?” He questions in a curt manner as he walks toward her.

“Through what,” she repeats as a mumble with a grin as she shakes her head slightly and turns to watch him. “Through the entire house.” She laughs as if an explanation was not truly necessary.

“No, only the first and second floors.” He replies as if distracted as he walks past her then stops to lean on the banister railing.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 157) Validating

Stephen finds himself worried that he may be subjecting Zsofia to danger for just being here in the manor, but after all, she ventured here on her own. One thing he knows for sure is that he cannot leave the manor yet, not without validating what he believes he experienced and keeping her at a distance is all he can do as a form of protection.

Stephen’s face feels warm and his hands are sweaty as his body responds to the stress he feels about entering the room. Is that horrible creature here, in this house? Will it kill again as he believes it has in the past? Is it responsible for the death of his great-uncle as well?

He wonders if he is next on the fiends list, or if he himself is actually as delusional as the doctors have stated. Could it be that he is losing all sense of reality because of one tragic loss after another? Are the images merely his twisted minds way of dealing with painful moments he has endured in his life, such as the sudden death of loved ones?


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 156) Deep Breath

Zsofia grins for she knows Stephen is now playing with her, which she finds to be a refreshing change from his mostly serious demeanor. As she follows him, stopping short of the first step, she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

“I feel okay in here, don’t you?” Zsofia asks as she reaches up and touches his arm before he starts up the next step.

“I guess.” He replies as he clears his throat one more time while slowly walking up to the second floor.

He wants so badly to tell her how much he enjoys her company and that touch just then, made his heart skip a beat. Zsofia stays down at the foot of the steps and watches Stephen intently as he looks in the direction of the room where he heard the breathing sounds. He glances at her then begins walking lightly and in an unhurried manner down the hall.

The large strategically placed windows that run along the masonry wall of the second floor corridor fill the space with much appreciated light. However, even this is not calming to his nerves nor does it suppress the dread of what he fears may happen next. He can no longer see Zsofia from where he is and he yells out.

“Zsofia? Are you still there?” He questions nervously.

“I am.” She replies loudly and after several seconds and no other response from Stephen, she continues with, “do you want me to come up?”

“No!” He replies abruptly. “No, just. . . please stay where you are.”


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 155) The Rules

“I’m closing the door.” Zsofia says quickly as she pushes it shut and latches the bolt. “Grandfather has always been adamant about the rules of the doors here at the manor.”

“And what rule is that again?” Stephen questions with a laugh.

“No entry or exit doors are to be left open and unattended, ever.” She replies in a serious tone.

“Oh yes, I remember you saying something about that the other day. It seems like a bizarre rule and besides that, it’s been open the whole time I was sitting out front.” Stephen says quickly with a playful sarcastic tone.

“Ah, but you were sitting out front watching it.” She replies as she continues to look up at the next floor.

“What is the reasoning behind such a ridiculous rule?” Stephen laughs at this silly process.

“I’m not sure,” she grins at her own sarcasm, “I guess I never really questioned it.” She turns around to watch him. “Maybe it’s to keep stray animals or something out.”

“Or keep something in.” Stephen mumbles and it seems that Zsofia did not hear his comment.

“I just know grandfather says it’s a rule and I plan to follow it.” She replies smartly as she looks at Stephen’s somewhat playful expression.

“I thought you were your own woman and made up your own mind.” He teases as he steps up three steps of the staircase while looking up at the second floor landing.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 154) Distraction

“Other than the moment you pulled the tarp off the window, I’ve never been here to see this.” Zsofia smiles as she points at the window. “Don’t you love catching it at just the right time?” She turns to face him. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” she smiles and Stephen finds himself more mesmerized by her than the glass focal point of the room.

Nodding yes in response, Stephen watches her reaction to the streams of color spilling in from the second floor. Her light colored hair glistens as she steps through the beams highlighting individual strands like golden threads woven throughout. He is at ease around her, which is not a reaction he finds familiar. In fact, it is very far from normal. Somehow, she relaxes him and he is glad she has come to visit.

“Ah see, you are smiling.” She says with a wide grin as she walks toward him.

He did not realize he was smiling, and quickly clears his throat as a distraction before she comes any closer. Stepping to the side he walks over to the staircase on the right, which is the very set of stairs he ran down as he fled the house in a panic earlier this morning.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 153) Sunlight

Stephen watches Zsofia for a moment but as she approaches the entry door to the manor, he stands as well. She has no idea of what he encountered, and for that matter, neither does he and one thing is for sure, he does not want her to enter the dwelling.

“Where are you going?” He questions as he quickly follows knowing good and well that she is heading toward the open door. “I don’t think you should go in.” He blurts out almost panicked that she is putting herself in danger but she does not respond as she continues to move forward, stepping through the threshold of the entryway and into the shadows of the manor.

With his eyes fixed on the blackness beyond the doorway, he quickly approaches the opening and stops just inside the door. Zsofia is standing in the center of the room looking up at the large round window of the second floor. With the sun just now reaching the roofline of the east wing, rays of sunlight slowly burst into the room filling it full of golden and multicolored lights.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 152) Playfully

“I’m only asking because you seemed frightened when you ran out the door.” Zsofia says in a calm tone. “As a teenager that was the most interesting thing about this place. No one would live here and we all knew it had to be haunted but I never felt that way as a younger child. It was a wonderful place that seemed magical to me.” She pauses and Stephen knows she is looking at him, but he continues to look straight ahead. “I never felt threatened while cleaning the few rooms I was allowed in. Well. . . ” she hesitates. “Until your great-uncle had the electricians in to update the wiring, after that it was never the same.”

“In what way?” Stephen asks, now intrigued as to where this conversation is leading.

“I felt. . . uneasy.” She replies as she runs her fingers along the lace that trims her long sleeves and the conversation pauses once again, but then Stephen speaks up.

“I thought you only came here on Monday’s, today is Tuesday.” He points out as they sit there on the hill together.

“I run my own business, so I can do as I please.” She says playfully as she stands up and starts walking toward the manor.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 151) Feel It

“I want you to know that even though I respect and love my grandfather dearly, I do have a mind of my own.” Zsofia states in a serene voice. “In other words, we do not think collectively. His ideas and reactions are not necessarily a reflection of my views or my opinion on things.”

“Why are you here?” Stephen asks in a cold tone as if she is irritating him and in a way, she is. “He told you not to ever come back.” His gaze does not waver from looking at the windows he has been focused on now for nearly an hour.

“Grandfather means well, but his temper can get the better of him at times.” She leans toward Stephen slightly and lowers her tone. “I am a grown woman. I believe I can decide for myself who I need to stay away from.”

Zsofia grins at him but she does not receive a glance or response from Stephen and the conversation stops for several minutes until she speaks again.

“Did you feel it too?” She questions softly.

Startled by her query, Stephen looks in her direction but does not make eye contact. Instead, he focuses on her delicate hands as she fiddles with the buckles of her knee boots.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 150) A Loner

“Aren’t you cold?” Zsofia asks as she approaches Stephen from his right.

Startled at first for he did not see her coming up the hill, Stephen looks at her then directs his focus back to the manor and remains silent. He is embarrassed by what happened earlier as he ran from the house but another part of him could care less of her opinion or anyone else’s, for that matter.

Through his years, he has been a loner and this current situation is no different from other moments he has already experienced in his lifetime. He is, however, unsure as to why Zsofia has come back after her grandfather’s directness was clear in forbidding her to do so. Still, he does not say a word or act responsive in any manner.

“I want to apologize for what happened between you and my grandfather.” She says in a calm tone as she walks up to him, stopping only a few feet away.

She too begins to gaze at the manor in silence but for only a short time before she sits down next to him. The grass is almost dry now that the sun is higher in the sky and the air is warm. Stephen detects the scent of lemon and raspberries carried on the breeze as Zsofia looks at him waiting for a response, but he does not acknowledge her at all.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 149) Rather Odd

Just now, he notices the same iron and wood woven pattern that is on all the exterior doors, it appears to be on the trim of each window as well. Again, he finds this odd for it seems too detailed but in a random almost sloppy manner. It is unique, but rather odd and not necessarily what he would describe as beautiful. No, his word for description would be, eerie.

The sun has barely risen and with it, the slight glow of morning surrounds the manor like a golden halo. The west side of the structure and the main door where Stephen is sitting, is shaded and appears cold compared to the other sunlit walls and roofline. Birds are beginning to flutter around, in and out of little crevices in the masonry work, and a slight breeze ruffles Stephen’s wavy hair as it passes by.

He has lost track of time as he sits and waits and watches. He knows what it is that keeps him stationary. It is the same as it has been for years, incredible fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of what he knows. It is once again holding him hostage as it keeps him from reentering the dwelling or even getting up to pull the entry door shut. He wonders if it is truly something sinister that inhabits this property and if this is true, then is it the reason no one has lived here for years? Will he be able to find the peace he craves inside the thick enigmatic walls of the manor?


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 148) Imagination

Not only is Stephen frightened from what he believes he has encountered, but humiliated from this recent interaction with Zsofia’s family. The old man called him crazy and acts as if he is a threat, which is how most people look at him. It has been this way for as long as he can remember. He is the outcast and troubled soul no matter where he goes but here, in this new place, he thought he might have a chance to erase this title.

Turning to face the open door of the manor, he stands very still trying to understand what he just witnessed. He does not recall seeing anything, he simply heard a strange noise but did not see a shape, or eyes, or even a torso for that matter. Is it possible the old man is right? Is he crazy? Is this all the figment of his over active imagination? After all, this is what three different psychiatrists told him, well not exactly in those words, but that is how they made him feel.

Stepping back from the entranceway, he looks up at the second story windows and slips a pill into his mouth. Slowly with his tongue, he flips the pill around before swallowing. With the main door still open, he backs away, about thirty feet from the manor and sits down in the damp grass as he continues to watch for any type of movement in the windows or at the door.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 147) Inability

“You. . . you,” it is obvious Laszlo wishes to use words he finds unfit as he stammers with his statement. “You stay away from my family!” His face is red with anger. “You should not have come here in the first place and. . .” Laszlo’s voice trails off before he turns and starts to walk away.

“And what?” Stephen challenges as he tries to control the shakiness in his voice because of this unfortunate interaction.

No response, not even a hesitation, is offered. The three family members start to walk along the path in the direction of the woods and on to their home located on the other side.

Twice Zsofia quickly glances back and Stephen cannot tell from her expression if she is angry with him or if she feels pity for his inability to stand up to her grandfather. Either way, he doubts it really matters. He has felt alone in this world now for several years. In his mind, what does it matter if he is thought of as an outcast? He has nothing to prove to anyone, even himself. This is what he tells himself as he leans against the door, pinching at his eyes to keep himself from shedding tears.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 146) Scolding

The old man steps back from Stephen and points his finger at his nose not allowing time for Stephen to explain what it is he is running from. He then turns to his granddaughter to continue his statement.

“You are not to visit this place or him anymore! Do you hear me? Neither of you are to come here!” Laszlo states in a blaring tone.

“But grandfather. . .” Zsofia protests.

“No! The discussion is over!” The old man says quickly, he then turns to Tamas. “You are not to come here ever again, you hear me Tamas? Never again.” He states with gritted teeth.

The young man of nineteen looks down at his feet and his demeanor is that of a little boy taking a scolding as he lets out a whimper like sound. He then leans into Zsofia for comfort much like a son would to a mother. Gently, she wraps her arms around him in a protective way and kisses his forehead.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 145) Darts Out

Frantic and shaking with fear, Stephen slams his body against the double doors and pushes at the large metal clasp that holds the bolt. Pulling on the handle, it stays tight and unmoving. Stepping back, he rams his shoulder into the doors once again but this time, with a loud squeak the bolt finally slips open. Looking out the corner of his eye to see if this creature is anywhere near, Stephen darts out the door, crashing into Laszlo Eszes nearly knocking the old man to the ground. Laszlo grabs onto Stephen and nearly punches him while trying to steady his own footing.

“What the hell is wrong with you, boy?” Yells the elderly man as he grabs Stephen by the throat. “You are as crazy as a loon, just like everyone says!”

Laszlo pushes Stephen back against the door just as Zsofia, holding Tamas by the hand, steps up next to her grandfather. She looks shocked and worried as she glances from Stephen to her elder as if wanting to jump in and break their hold on each other. Tamas is quiet as he looks down at the ground like a child in trouble.

“Grandfather!” Zsofia starts but is quickly interrupted.

“This is why you cannot come up here. He is a nut case! Just look at him!” Laszlo yells in a booming tone.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 144) In Fear

To steady his stance, Stephen frantically pulls himself along the cold rough stones, all the while watching the dark doorway of the room. His gaze remains fixed until he reaches the large round window that looks out at the flourishing conservatory. Only then, does he dare take his eyes off the doorway to the room as it stands open exposing the erroneous darkness within. Now that he has made it to the landing, he dashes to the left staircase that curves down to the ground floor and the front entrance. Nearly falling down the last six steps his head is pounding as his body floods in fear and adrenaline.

He has not looked back to see if the evil beast is near but he believes it is gaining on him, overtaking the distance he put between them as he fled the second floor. A rushing feeling consumes him as he braces for a touch or attack. As he reaches the main door, he grabs the handle of the large bolt that he secured across it on his way in, but it will not budge. Pulling as hard as he can, the bolt holds steady and does not move, and his hands slip off the metal nearly dropping him to the floor. He is now panicked and unable to keep himself from yelling out as he struggles to remove the barrier of his only way to escape.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 143) Dark Corners

Stephen remembers this distinct sound and relives the moment when he realized the breaths of his beloved family member were not the source. The intakes of air were coming from the hideous creature that tortured and killed his grandfather. Is it possible somehow, for some reason, this awful appalling thing is behind him now, in the very room in which he is standing?

Stephen turns, but not in a bold or heroic manner, for he is petrified at the thought of seeing what he believes is there.  Staggering backwards, he looks into the dark corners of the room but his eyes have not yet adjusted to the obscurity that consumes and disguises the air around him. Falling backwards into the hall he feels faint and not in control. Digging his heels down he gains enough traction to jump to his feet but as soon as he stands, he begins to trip again. Unable to secure his footing, he falls hard against the outer masonry wall of the hallway.



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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 142) Each Gasp

“Hey!” Stephen yells as he leans over to that side of the railing. “I bet that’s Zsofia in here sneaking around.” He says as he bolts back through the room to beat her to the hall so he can intercept her.

He is actually a little excited to think that she is here for he does like her company and he must admit it would be more interesting to discover this place with a friend. Stepping out into the hall, he turns to his right and immediately enters the next room not stopping until he is nearly in the center of it. Turning, he faces the door believing he has discovered his newfound friends hiding place. However, his smile and excitement quickly fades as he realizes no one is there, except for an odd yet familiar resonance.

Here in this darkened room, it sounds like someone is having difficulty breathing, as if each draw of air is excruciating and unbearable. Following each gasp is a very faint catlike hiss that lingers far longer than it should as the air expels before the next draw. This noise rushes Stephen’s thoughts back many years in the past to his grandfather’s bedroom.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 141) Next To

“Well, hello Tamas.” Stephen says in a lighthearted way. “What are you doing here, are you alone?” He asks for he now believes Tamas must have been the individual who ran from him earlier while in the north wing.

However, now that he thinks about it, he knows he locked and bolted the main door when he came in. The entrance Zsofia used to sneak in through is secure as well as is the one in the mudroom off from the kitchen. So, how is it that Tamas could have been inside the house? Surely, there is a door open somewhere on the lower level that he gained entry through.

“Is Zsofia with you?” Stephen quizzes but Tamas just turns to the side and giggles once again.

Next, Tamas finally waves at Stephen but then does something very peculiar. He covers his mouth as if laughing hysterically and points to the window of the room next to where Stephen is standing. Once he regains his composure, he then makes eye contact with Stephen but as the young man looks back at the window, his smile fades and he cowers slightly but his eyes stay focused.

With a serious expression and complete control, he backs up a few steps as if trying to see further into the second story room. Stephen follows Tamas’ gaze and this is when he sees the curtain in the room next to him move.



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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 140) This Early

Looking down Stephen places one foot onto the floor of the balcony to test its strength. Feeling confident that it is secure, he steps out and to the edge resting his hands on the railing. To Stephen’s surprise, standing alone on the green grass of the front lawn is Tamas. The young man is looking up at the second floor, staring at the window of the next room over, and does not seem to notice Stephen at all.

“What is he doing up here this early?” Stephen says to himself as he waves at the young man.

Tamas does not wave back. Instead, he steps sideways as if trying not to lose sight of whatever has caught his attention. All the while, he keeps his eyes on the window of the next room over. To Stephen’s surprise, a wide smile flashes across Tamas’ face as he laughs and wrinkles his nose as if someone just told a silly joke. Tamas then nods and grins as he finally looks at Stephen.


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