When Oliver and his family moved into the house, they looked forward to a chance to start again.
Now that they had money, they were free.
Now that they had a new home, a real home, they were free.
Now that they had cut off the infected limb of the family... James... The man that had made their lives a misery for ten long years - every year since Oliver had been born... Now they were free.
The first thing Mary did upon arrival was ensure that the maid had everything she needed. Mrs Felt, her name was, and she had seemed nice enough over the phone. Mary had hired her without hesitation. Now she was only just meeting the woman, 50 or so, she seemed, and with a grin that looked like she had slept with a coat-hanger in her mouth.
The family settled in quickly. With a relaxed attitude, Mary felt that Oliver should feel more... Well, relaxed.
And that he did.
Running through the corridors of the seemingly never-ending house was all the fun Oliver could ask for. Pretending to shoot ghosts with invisible guns, and climbing up stairs which were the size of mountains, Oliver's imagination and daring personality finally came out to shine.
Within the first week, Oliver had explored and re-explored everywhere in the house, on the grounds, and in the surrounding area. Everywhere except... Except behind that door.
When he asked Mrs Felt what it was, she wouldn't say.
When he asked his mother, Mary, she wouldn't say.
Nothing could be revealed. Why was this room so secretive?
Nights resulted in Oliver sneaking downstairs, just to watch the door. To see whether anything went in or anything came out. But nothing happened. The door seemed more and more average as time went by. But despite the seeming mediocrity of the door, something called to him. Something was beckoning Oliver to open the door.
One day, his mother went out.
One day, Oliver decided to explore.
He approached the door, slowly now, seeing it in a different light. As a threat. Why wouldn't they explain it to him? He wanted to know. They daring boy had had enough of the mystery. Today he would solve it.
Mrs Felt was in the other room. He would have to be quiet.
He edged closer and closer to the door, the voice of it screaming with every step closer. He reached out for the handle, and turned it. With a mighty heave, he opened it, and entered the abyss.
Dust billowed around him and he spluttered, clearing his throat with every step forward. He made the choice not to close the door behind him, but on his fifth step away, it closed of its own accord. Slamming and crashing aas he spun around, Oliver now realised he was trapped - there was no handle on this side.
He slammed his hands against the door, but to no avail. He yelled for Mrs Felt - maybe she had closed the door, not realising the boy was inside - but she was nowhere to be heard.
Oliver had to cintinue if he wanted to escape.
As he walked on, his eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, and upon inspection, he realised that he was in a long cavern, a tunnel. The walls were rounded, and the tunnel seemed like a natural formation. There were puddles on the floor, and spiders scuttling on the walls. Oliver hated creepy-crawlies.
Running now, Oliver desperately attempted to fight through the cobwebs and puddles, but with every step, the sound echoed like the beat of a thousand war drums.
He was so engaged with propelling himself forward, that he did not notice the rocks falling from above. It was only a matter of time before one fell, hitting him in the head and knocking him to the ground, throwing him into a spiral of concussed dreams.
And it did.
Oliver sprung awake, expecting his bed. His bedroom. His house.
But he found himself in a dingy, dimly lit tunnel.
No different to how he left.
Only several hours later.
Getting up, he ran.
He never stopped. He ran and he ran.
Minutes dissolved into hours, and hours into days.
Oliver lost track of time, and couldn't help but think that he had only just come passed this rock formation, this spider web, this puddle... But he couldn't find his way out.
He cried himself to sleep, and woke up screaming. There was no end to the torment that the tunnel was impressing upon him. No end to its torture. No end to the tunnel.
Running, Oliver saw a light. Only dim at first, but gradually getting brighter and brighter. Could this be the exit? Could this be the end to the madness? He'd escape, go home, tell mum and Mrs Felt, and they'd all laugh about it over dinner.
What a crazy story it'd be, something of a party favour. If he got out.
He found himself at the mouth of the cave. He had made it. The winding tunnel had set him free!
And he recognised the scenery, too! He had driven passed it only two hours before making it to his new home. He looked to the right, and there was the road. He remembered passing the tree because it was just like the one they had in the back garden of the old house. Just like the one he used to climb. Just like the one they found James hanging from...
Oliver ran. For an entire day he ran and didn't stop. Almost home, he thought. Almost home now!
Home awaited his battered and dirty body, and he couldn't wait to see his mother again!
The village that surrounded their house became visible, and with every step, Oliver got closer and closer, until he made it. He made it to the gate of his own home.
Walking up the familiar path, he looked into the windows, hoping to see his mother's smiling face, or Mrs Felt cleaning, only to come rushing to the door to greet him.
But he saw neither of these things.
What he was greeted with at the door was not what he expected.
'Mother! Mother, it's me! It's Oliver! I've come back!'
'No. No! NO! Get away! You think you're funny don't you?! Is this some kind of twisted joke?! Get of my land, I tell you! Get away!'
'No, mother, it's me! It's your son!'
The smile faded from his face.
'My son is dead.'