John felt apprehensive staring at the varnished oak door that stood ahead. He’d been told to wait by the door by Madam Lutzier. He was awaiting his punishment for escaping the Home.
“I’m not sure you quite understand why you are here.” Madam Lutzier’s words were sharp and patronising as she crept up behind him. The permanent frown on her bony face never revealed her emotions, but today, her voice sounded crueller.
“I’m ‘ere ‘cos I nicked a coat.” John replied with a false cockiness to hide his trepidation. He knew it wasn’t true. There had been a string of minor offences before-hand. He’d lost his temper too many times after having his head bog-washed, and he was always the first to get physical. The stolen coat was only the latest of a dozen appearances at Magistrate’s Court.
It was the seventies, which in the North of England meant miner’s strikes, rolling blackouts, protest and riots. None of that concerned John, he was merely a product of his time. He had attended a strict Catholic School, where missing Mass was punishable by the cane, but bullying was ‘just a part of growing up’. John’s mistake was that he often retaliated when the bigger kids picked on him. He only lasted six-months before he was expelled, then his over-zealous Headteacher phoned all the local schools to warn them of his behaviour. He wasn’t accepted anywhere after that.
“It’s not just the coat.” the unnaturally tall Lady of the Manor replied. “You are a rebel. And now you have a choice to make.”
John had arrived at Madam Lutzier’s Bradbury Manor Home for Problem Boys on a court order. It was a feudal Manor House, passed down through the generations from the aristocracy of a distant time. Now it served as a practical solution to so-called ‘problem children’ under sixteen years of age, a restricted home, an alternative to prison.
John noticed on his arrival that there weren’t any bars on the windows, or even gates to the grounds, yet none of the other boys seemed to run away. He asked a few of his fellow residents if they’d considered it, yet no-one answered. Most of the boys just fell deathly silent.
The same thing happened when John asked about the oak door. He’d seen Madam Lutzier come and go freely, yet none of the ‘residents’ went in. Everyone was silent about it, like an omerta. On one single occasion, a young lad, about ten or so, whispered to him,
“Boys don’t come out from behind that door.” before walking off quickly.
Madam Lutzier pulled out a big iron key, placed it in the lock of the hefty oak door, and twisted with her pale skeleton fingers. John’s apprehension turned to dread as she opened the door. His blood curdled like milk.
“Follow me.” she commanded.
Jack arrived kicking and screaming a few days after John. Jack was fifteen, violent and uncontrollable, and he escaped within a day. The police brought him back, then Madam Lutzier took him behind the oak door. To John’s surprise, Jack came out. It was Jack that convinced John to run away, though he didn’t need much convincing. Jack assured him that behind the oak door was the cane, and they’d both experienced plenty of spankings, so that night they snuck out and went their separate ways.
John only just managed to get home and hug his mother, as the police were waiting outside. They took him straight back to Bradbury Manor. When he arrived, Jack was being pulled through the door, kicking and screaming the most horrific scream John had ever heard. It echoed through the Manor and sent a chill down his spine. It was then John decided that Jack had lied to him, and that there was something far more sinister behind the oak door.
John followed Madam Lutzier up a windy medieval staircase lit with candelabras. A blood-red carpet led a trail to the top of the stony staircase. With every step, John’s heartbeat became faster, and it skipped a beat when he reached the room on the first floor. A large banquet table sat in the middle, and glass cabinets lined the walls. In the distance he saw a twelve-year-old boy holding a silver platter, wearing nothing but a dirty pair of white boxer-shorts.
“School is designed to mould you. You have to be a useful contribution to society. School hasn’t worked for you, the courts are fed up of you, so you are here. We will mould you.” Madam Lutzier spoke as if she was speaking to a crowd, leading John to one of the cabinets. “Jack here was a rebel too. He knew to never speak of this room, and to never run away.”
John looked into the glass cabinet to see Jack sitting in a chair. He was securely strapped in, and had a tube in his arm attached to a drip. His eyes were rolling in the back of his head like he was having an overdose.
“Jack here gets to watch, and he gets watched. He is one of our art pieces.”
John visibly recoiled in horror.
“This is just the viewing room John. The pleasure room is upstairs again, I’ll let you imagine what goes on in there.”
John backed away and tried to look elsewhere, but everywhere he turned was another cabinet, with another drugged up Problem Boy. Another rebel.
“So you have a choice to make John.” Madam Lutzier’s viscous tongue hissed as she spoke. “You can leave this room and never speak of it, and abide by the rules of the Manor. Or you can be a rebel.”
Blog Battle 11 entry. (945 words)
Theme: Rebel Genre: Horror