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July 20, 2022

Ep.146 – Murder Mansion 3 of 4 - What Evil Lurks in the Shadows?

Ep.146 – Murder Mansion 3 of 4 - What Evil Lurks in the Shadows?

Episode Notes
Things are heating up as the trapped inhabitants of Grimm Manor realize just how NOT alone they truly are...
Murder Mansion part 3 by Rob Fields
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Support us on Patreon...

Episode Notes
Things are heating up as the trapped inhabitants of Grimm Manor realize just how NOT alone they truly are...
Murder Mansion part 3 by Rob Fields
Get Cool Merchandise
Support us on Patreon
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Murder Mansion: Part 3






Previously on Murder Mansion . . .

 Bethany Martinson is returning to Strickfield after spending a week in Shore City. It’s a very dark and stormy 4th of July night as she’s almost to Strickfield when she’s forced to take a detour that takes her into the backwoods area. 
 Bethany has an accident when she hits a car that’s in the middle of the main road. Upon seeing that the car was the result of an earlier accident – with the people inside dead – and her own car wrecked, she walks in the storm until she comes to Grimm Manor and enters. Trapped inside the mansion, she meets up with three former detectives she has history with and the owners themselves, August and Dorothy Grimm. 
 After hearing the story of Grimm Manor and about the possible fortune hidden somewhere within its trapped rooms, Bethany is escorted to a bedroom where she goes to sleep. 
 In the middle of the night, Bethany is hungry and goes to the kitchen. After she finishes eating, she decides to explore the mansion. As she crosses the living room, she sees both Dorothy and August Grimm are dead – hung by their necks. 
 Shortly after, a ghostly apparition appears to snatch Bethany and take her away.
 The three former detectives are racing against Bethany to try and find the hidden fortune of Beauregard Grimm. They end up in the attic, where they narrowly escape from their near-death experience. Bethany ends up in a hall of mirrors and has to come face-to-face with her worst fears. At one point, Bethany’s darker self emerges as the vengeful Harpy. Both the men and Bethany are able to escape their respective challenges. 
 But as Bethany has escaped her challenge and overcomes Harpy, she is again confronted by the apparition and is thrown to her death. 
 And now . . . Murder Mansion: Part 3

Ed Smith
 We turn down one corridor right after another. It’s like we’re in some maze or something. We’ve been through worse scenarios to get treasures. Our pocket flashlights keep lighting our way. 
 “We’ve been walking down these corridors forever,” John Riddle complains. “How do we know we haven’t been down this way already?”
 “We can’t just stay down here,” Brian Davenport points out. “We gotta find our way outta here. For all we know, maybe we’re in another escape room.”
 “I can’t imagine all these corridors being a whole other escape room,” I say. “I’d still rather be walking around . . . wherever the hell we are than to have to deal with all those spiders.”
 “I’ll never be able to forget those damn things,” Brian mutters. “Especially since we almost died up in that attic.”
 “We’re still alive,” John mutters. “So let’s find our way out of here and find that old man’s fortune.”
 “But where the hell are we?” I wonder. “I know this mansion’s huge, but it seems like we’ve been going down this corridor a long time.”
 “We can’t be going down one long corridor,” John argues. “We made a few turns, remember?”
 “Well, we need to find our way outta here and back into the house itself, or that damn college brat’s gonna beat us out – again,” Brian’s quick to point out. 
 “And how the fuck do you suppose we do that?” John demands. 
 “Guys, come on,” I snap. “We got out of worse spots than this.”
 We come up to another corridor. For a little bit, we argue on whether to take it or not. There’s even talk about us splitting up and going in different directions. 
 “I don’t suggest we do that,” I say. “Remember, we’re in a haunted house here. The best thing to do is stick together. We split up, we may never get out of here. Now, come on. Let’s turn here. One way or another, we’re bound to find our way out of here.”
 John and Brain follow me down this new corridor. We walk for a few minutes before we finally come to a door. I push it open, and we’re back in the house. 
 “It’s a hallway!” I say with excitement. 
 “About goddamn time,” Brian mutters as he comes out. 
 “I thought we’d never get out of that shit,” John adds. 
 We shine our pocket flashlights around. The storm is still raging strong. Interesting 4th of July this turned out to be. It was raining cats and dogs when I picked up John and Brian. I’m surprised there weren’t multiple floods when we came to Strickfield. And that lightning was horrendous. 
 Suddenly, the lightning flashes and makes all of us cry out. We get calm, and I close the door. Turns out it’s a full-length portrait of a young woman. Maybe it’s Beauregard’s wife. Maybe it’s a daughter. Who can say for sure? 
 “Which way?” John asks. 
 “Well, we’re back in the house itself,” I reply. “I say we just move around all the floors and search each room if we have to.”
 “We can’t possibly search all the rooms before morning,” Brian points out. 
 “Well, we’re going to have to try and find something,” John says. “How do we know Bethany isn’t out looking for the fortune herself?”
 “Do we know where her room is?” I ask.
 “We never saw where that old woman took her,” John mutters. 
 “I think she’s on the second floor somewhere,” Brian’s quick to say. “We can find her and make sure she stays put.”
 We don’t get to really decide what we’re going to do when this thing suddenly drops right in our circle. It looks like a cloaked – Ohshit!
 We all scream when we see the skull underneath its shroud. I ain’t sure if this is Death himself coming for us or what, but we quickly turn and run. We hear that ghostly thing chasing us down and laughing its ass off. 
 We make it to the big stairway at the center of the house and quickly run up taking multiple steps at a time. We turn off and start running some more. The ghost is right there now. It flew up and intercepted us. 
 “Shit!” we all yell together. 
 We turn around and run down the west wing. I get the idea to open the first door so we can all run inside. That turns out to be a very bad thing. 
 A skeletal woman is standing there wearing what looks like what’s left of her wedding dress. She glares right at us with her dead eyeballs. Then a groom appears right next to her, looking a lot worse than his bride. 
 “This room is OCCUPIED!” the groom yells in a glutaral voice. 
 We scream again when he slams the door in our faces. We don’t have time to really think as we hear that ghost almost on us again. Why does that goddamn thing have to laugh all the time?
 We reach another door, and I try the knob. When we walk in, we see some people gathered around a table. Looks like they’re playing cards. They’re smoking cigars and have glasses of iced liquor at their places. 
 We scream again when they all raise their heads to reveal they’re all skeletons wearing clothing from back in the Civil War years. 
 “Do you mind? We’re trying to play our game here!” the skeleton dealing the cards yells. 
 “Go find your own game!” another one adds. 
 “Plenty of rooms in this house, and you pick ours to come in?” another one mutters. 
 We quickly turn and get out of that room. We’re running again and end up going back downstairs. Again, that damn ghost intercepts us. It never says one word, just keeps laughing like crazy. 
 We turn and run down another hallway. Realizing that ghost is almost on us, I try one more door. Nobody there to scare the living shit out of us this time. We all go through the doorway, and I slam the door shut behind us. 
 Even that don’t help! 
 The ghost suddenly floats right through the door and glares right at us. We turn and run for another door. John opens it, and we run outside into a brightly-lit courtyard – and back into the storm. 
 “Aw, shit!” Brian groans. 
 “Jesus!” John complains. 
 We turn around to see that ghost floating at the doorway we came through. Guess we really don’t have a choice here. We either stay out here in the storm, or we take our chances with that ghost. 
 “It ain’t coming after us now,” John says. 
 “But look at what’s behind us,” I say. “We’re out here at the graveyard.”
 “Do you think Beauregard Grimm mighta hid his fortune in the graveyard?” Brain asks. 
 “We can’t possibly search every grave, you idiot,” John yells. “We’ll be here forever trying to do that. What time is it, anyway?”
 We dig into our back pockets for our smartphones. 
 “What the hell?” I growl. “I can’t find my fucking phone.”
 “Me, neither!” John groans. 
 “Shit!” Brian mutters. 
 “You know what? Just forget about this goddamn shit!” John yells. “We ain’t never gonna find the fortune. Way too many goddamn ghosts here.”
 “Yeah, Ed, let’s just go on home,” Brian agrees. “Maybe we can try another day when the weather’s better. Key word here – day.”
 We try to go around the house on either side, but that ghost quickly moves to block our way each time. We got no choice but to find a fence or wall on the sides and get out that way. We turn and start walking to enter the graveyard. We seem to be getting farther away from the mansion. We’re walking and walking, but we never hit a fence or wall. I mean, we turned to the side, right? We turn back around and return to the courtyard. Then we run into the graveyard on the other side. Again, no wall or fence. It’s like we ain’t getting nowhere. 
 “We’re totally fucked!” John yells. “God dammit!”
 I really don’t want to agree with John on this, but I think he’s right. This haunted house ain’t going to let us leave. We’re stuck out here in this raging storm. But if we try to go back inside, that ghost is still there waiting for us. John’s right in saying we’re fucked. Boy, are we ever fucked! 
 All we can do is to keep trying to walk the graveyard and hope to find a way out. 

 I’m still screaming when I open my eyes and see I’m in a room lit entirely by candlelight. And my extreme fear suddenly turns into extreme delight. I’m practically drooling now when I see I’m in the biggest dining room I’ve ever been in in my life. The table is huge and has lots and lots of food on it. Why does food have to be my favorite pastime? As I’m looking at this beautiful, bountiful, delicious spread . . . Okay, I’ll be honest here. I hate having to eat as much food as I do, but at the same time . . . I just love to eat. There’s even plenty to drink here, too. 
 I’m about to sit down and help myself to what looks like roast duck, but then – and this is very uncommon with me – the light bulbs in my mutant brain come on and tell me not to touch any of this food. I remember that I’m in a haunted house and that things from ghosts to other manifestations are trying to kill me. What’s to say this banquet isn’t here to tempt me? Okay, I am tempted, but still . . .
 I think I may be in another escape room here! 
 I look and see I can easily walk out of here in either direction. But what kind of an escape room just lets you walk in and out freely? In my experience with escape rooms, things are seldom as they seem. This buffet was definitely placed here to tempt me specifically. I’ve eaten two huge meals here earlier, so something here knows that I eat to live and live to eat. 
 I look around the dining room and am quite thankful for the candlelight. The lightning flashes next to me at the windows and makes me shriek. Rainwater continues to splash against the windows. I’m surprised this house hasn’t sunk into a big mud pit as hard as it’s been raining. 
 I come to a serving platter on wheels and pop the top to see some roast turkey with stuffing and savory gravy. It’s like this room knows what I enjoy and is tempting me with it. And then something gets my attention, aside from the storm. There’s a Greek mythology book sitting here on a little table at the wall. I do a once-around and look for other books. There’s only the one mythology book. It’s rather odd that a hard-bound book is in such an extravagant dining room. 
 This has to be some kind of a clue. I pick it up and see it’s bookmarked. I open the book to see it’s the story of Persephone that’s marked. For those of you who have never read Greek mythology, Persephone was the daughter of the goddess Demeter, who ruled over agriculture and harvest. One day, Persephone was kidnapped and taken to the underworld by Hades, the lord of the dead. When Demeter found out, she refused to let trees and other vegetation grow their plentiful bounties until her daughter was returned. After Zeus, Persephone’s father and king of the gods, had ordered Hades to return his daughter to Demeter, Hades reluctantly agreed. However, he had a condition. Persephone must not have eaten any food while in the realm of the dead. To Persephone’s dismay, it was revealed that she had eaten four pomegranate seeds. Persephone would have to spend one month out of the year in the underworld for each seed she had eaten. She married Hades and became the queen of the underworld. She spent four months in the underworld for the seeds eaten, but the rest of the year she would get to spend with her mother. 
 I’m thinking more about this story and how it pertains to me and this room. Of course! All I have to do is eat this very food in front of me here. I’m the Persephone of this particular story. The food placed before me is the food of the dead. Remember, I’m in a house of the dead. Yes, I ate food from the refrigerators in the kitchen earlier, but it’s not the same thing. I’m still alive and solving escape rooms. And this particular room isn’t about basic escape here. No, it’s about escaping your innermost wants. I want to eat as much of this delicious food as I can so badly. I can still smell how appealing it is. But the food in this particular room is the bait and trap for me. If I eat it, I’ll end up becoming like Persephone. I’ll be condemned to live in this haunted mansion for the rest of eternity. This is one time I’m going to have to turn food down. Escape rooms usually provide one or more hard-to-find clues. This mythology book was the clue to my solving this escape room. 
 I close the book and put it back down. Then I quickly pick it back up and look at the spine. There’s a number on it – 6. There was a number for me to find in that hall of mirrors I escaped from. Now I have two numbers. 
 Suddenly, I’m given another jump scare as the lightning flashes again. Then I look and see that a section of the wall across the table is opening up. This is a definite confirmation that I’ve solved this escape room and that I have to go through that opening to continue. There’s no way I could just leave here and go back up to my room. I’m sure the spirits of this house won’t let me, especially if that phantasm returns for me. I have no choice. 
 And then I feel my darker half pushing me, making me move to the secret door. I’m still very scared, but I let my darker half move me. I walk around the table and walk through the secret door. Once I’m through, the door slowly closes behind me until it’s shut tight. 
 The lights come on to reveal that I’m in a gallery. There’s no question this is the next escape room. I’m quick to notice things are quite crazy when it comes to this particular gallery. For one thing, the carpeting has many different colored patterns. Actually, there isn’t a set pattern. It’s like somebody just threw some paint on the floor and went from one end to another, then threw a different colored paint down and did some more. There are also statues and portraits that are pointing in different directions. In the center of the far wall is a beautiful marble fireplace with a fire burning bright. 
 And there’s no door!
 I scream as a disembodied voice speaks to me. “The only path to your freedom is the ONE NOT TRAVELED. Choose wrong and it will spell certain doom. From there, you shall remain here with us FOREVER!!”
 Suddenly, I feel the vengeful Harpy trying to take control again. 
 “No, Harpy! No!” I yell. 
 “It’s my body, too, Bethy!” I hear her say in my head with her Brooklyn accent. “An Harpy wants out!”
 “No!” I yell again. “Not now!”
 I feel Harpy pulling me back down into my body as she’s trying to emerge again. I have to fight to remain in control and keep my darker half from fully emerging. Once I feel fully in control again, I keep taking in soothing deep breaths until I feel fine again. Not only do I have to fight with my hunger, I have to fight my inner darkness too. 
 “Ya can’t keep Harpy inside foreva, Sissy . . .” she sings. 
 “Leave me alone,” I snap. 
 I wait a moment to see if there’s any trap that will automatically start up, but nothing happens. I’ve got as much time as I need to try and get out of here. The problem is that I need to find the correct way out, and I’ve got to do it right the first time. Something tells me I won’t be able to pick the wrong way and be able to back away. One wrong choice and I’m dead. 
 I’m studying everything in this room carefully. I’m checking out where the statues and the figures are pointing. I’m even looking at the patterns on the floor. Clearly, each pattern is a path. That part’s easy to figure out. But I need to find the correct one to get out of here. I can take my time and think since there are no traps to make you move along faster.
 I’m eyeballing the different paths, which all end at a part of the wall. This leads me to believe that there are multiple secret doors in this room. Again, I try to follow the directions where the paintings and statues are pointing, but there really isn’t a clear path. Also, there aren’t any windows for me to try and climb out of. No, there’s no backing out of this particular escape room. I have to solve it. 
 Then I think about what the voice told me. The only path to your freedom is the one not traveled. But aren’t all of these paths indicated in some way? Right about now, I’m ready to say I’m sick and tired of doing escape rooms. But I know if I get out of here, the first thing I’m going to do (after eating at Denoyer’s Grill) will be to look for other escape room contests to sign up for. I guess these things will always be my addiction.
 And then the lights come on in my mutant brain one more time. I’m thinking about this thing way too hard. In fact, this room is a lot easier than it seems. I’ve just made the connection with the patterns. The paintings and statues all have very light hues on them that match their particular-colored floor patterns. But then I see the ones that don’t have any kind of a hue and look carefully. There’s no indicated path on the floor to follow – the one not traveled. 
 I follow the directions right to the fireplace. The fire’s burning brightly in here, but something’s not right about this. I can see the fire flickering. I can hear the wood cracking and popping. However, I’m not feeling the fire. There should be heat.
 I lower myself enough to be able to walk inside it. The flames are touching me now, but they don’t burn me. And then I know I’ve solved this escape room when I see the number engraved on the inner wall – 24. Then a secret panel opens once I’ve passed through the fire. I go through the doorway and find myself in a downstairs hallway. The panel closes right behind me shortly after. 
 I can’t believe I’ve actually gotten this far. Well, wait a minute, Bethany! Why the disbelief? You solve escape rooms and puzzles for a living. Day after day, it seems you’ve always got some kind of a problem placed before you. And you always – always – manage to solve it. That’s all you do is solve puzzles. Even you helping the police is solving puzzles. You always manage to connect the dots. Even somehow finding the money to pay for what your scholarship doesn’t cover is a puzzle. 
 Is that what I’ve been placed on this planet to do? Is there some supreme being who created me just to solve puzzles and eat? And to fight my inner darkness that curses me? I suppose the grand scheme of life is the one puzzle I’ve never been able to solve, isn’t it? Where do I fit in the grand scheme of life? Why do I have such blessed intelligence and can be so happy-go-lucky in the face of both danger and people who would persecute me? I guess I’ll just have to get out of this horrible place to be able to try and answer those questions. 
 I walk around until I find myself back in the big living room again. Now I’m looking at that portrait of Beauregard Grimm again. I’m feeling there’s something about it. It’s not that it feels like he’s looking right at me. No, it’s something else. Then I look at the places where I saw August and Dorothy Grimm hanging from. 
 They’re not there now!
 I gulp. “Oh, God!”
 “Ya scared, Bethy?” I hear Harpy taunting me in my head. “Ya can always let Harpy out. Harpy ain’t scared a nothin’. But poor Bethy . . . Such a scared little fraidy-cat.”
 “Why are you doing this to me?” I demand. “What did I ever do to you?” I shake my head quickly. “No! I’m not talking to you! You’re just my other personality. You don’t really have life.”
 “Ya keep tellin’ yaself that, my darlin’ sista,” she returns. “You an I are really gonna get ta know each otha in tha comin’ months.”
 Suddenly, I hear that fiendish, awful, menacing laughter again. I look to see that phantasm quickly making its way toward me. I scream in horror as I turn and run. 
 But it doesn’t have to touch me this time!
 I manage to get maybe twenty feet away before the floor opens up below me fast and I fall into a dark pit. I somehow managed to survive being thrown off that banister earlier. But now, I scream at the top of my lungs as I truly fall to my death!