The inside of the Night estate was now surprisingly bare, as if it’s furnishers had only a rudimentary interest in the comfort of its inhabitants. The rooms were large, with vaulted ceilings that only added to the feeling of stark emptiness. Here an there, an apparently abandoned workroom was cluttered with charts and scribbled notes; and an occasional strange object of fantastic design, with gleaming gears and levers. But now, even these creations lay covered in grey dust, for they had not served their purpose in the far grander design of their makers.
Other rooms had perhaps once been designated for eating or sleeping, although no mattresses or sheets graced the rusting springs, and the tables had long sat empty of anything resembling food. The kitchens were empty, the storerooms were empty, the closets were empty. The taps ran no water, the fireplaces no wood, the lights no electricity.
One would wonder, what sort of sleepless, soulless creatures still lived in so inhospitable a place? And one could run through a list of the supernatural, each possibility more terrifying than the last. And indeed, what sort of horrifying beings could have been created to posses the power or will to defeat the Gate?
In the exact center of the grand house, a room stood apart from the others. It was long and low, more like a corridor than an actual room, and there was only room for one person to walk comfortably between the rows of objects to either side.
Not that one would ever walk there comfortably. The objects were corpses.
Each grey, leathery face wore a similar wide-eyed silent scream, though this was the result of time rather than torment. Or perhaps not—the conditions of death are known only to the dying, and the bonds that strapped each desiccated corpse to the wall belied a morbid story yet untold.
But time had demoted these things from horrors to mere relics of some unspeakable event. There was no blood; no stench, and any answers to the obvious question had long since faded.
At a certain point in the long, corridor-like room, the display of mummies abruptly ended and a far more bizarre procession began. Unobserved and unappreciated in the darkest and gloomiest room of the empty estate, were hundreds of perfect, exquisitely beautiful wax dolls.
Each face was unique, and each could have easily been the master work of a great artist. Their clothing was obviously of quality cut and fabric, and each one wore jewelry or absurdly expensive watches. Even the shoes were shiny and fashionable. All in all, it was like a fancy dinner party gone wrong, horribly wrong. Too perfect, too deathly perfect.
Here and there along the wall, a space was missing, as if some of the figures had simply decided to animate their limbs and wander about. This wouldn’t be far from the truth—for as the clock struck seven and it’s brassy clang reverberated throughout the estate, through empty halls and unused corridors, something shuddered to life.
And the real spectacle began.