As I went to depart, I was aghast to see that the staircase was nothing more than a faint reflection. I could actually pass my hands through the railing at the top. Frantically I sought another avenue to escape the second floor but there was none. A painful realization quickly set in. All the material riches in the world mean nothing to a man trapped in the lost realm of spirits. As if to put even more irony in my salted wounds, my bulging pockets were now full of worthless river sand. I could almost hear the unknown master of the house laughing at my predicament.
The spirit of the determined can be hard to kill. Although disheartened, I still hadn’t completely accepted my fate in ‘Phoenix House’. The survivor in me sought an alternative means to the ground floor. What first appeared to be a survivable leap; changed when I witnessed that the downstairs floor was nothing more than a hazy mist. I could see the foundation; two dozen feet below. A fall from that height would mean almost certain death. At the time I still had a fleeting hope of survival.
Even that desperation was about to fade; along with all evidence of this accursed place. A new level of panic set in to my sinking resolve. I watched as the house burst into phantom flames and slowly faded away. Soon I was the only physical entity left in the smoldering ruins. Fear of the unknown brought me unprecedented anxiety. I couldn’t fathom what my future held and I wouldn’t wish that empty feeling on my greatest enemy.
The truth is, there is no future here and there is no past. I’m just a part of Phoenix house now. One cog in a very complex, entrapment machine. Time has no meaning within these walls. I am uncertain of how many years has passed since I fell prey to it. What remains of my former self is subject to the same arcane rules that all parts of the mechanism are bound by. I cease to exist for all but one brief period per year. Upon that anniversary, I spring into action and attempt to document this woeful tale in my journal. Each entry brings me closer to completion of my truthful testimony; before the cycle ends. It is my hope that soon, no one else will ever have to share my wretched fate.
If you’ve found this testament on the riverbank, then I must have found a portal to the outside world; to toss it from. Please consider and accept my dire warning! You are very close to unimaginable danger! I can’t implore you enough to avoid the accursed place and to flee from here immediately. Save yourself before it is too late.
The entity who was once
Samuel Archabald Hain”