Three narrow beams of light dancing in the darkness momentarily highlighting mouldy wallpaper, broken plasterboard and patches of dank, oozing liquid borne from multiple leaks in the roof several stories above them. The door however was surprisingly sturdy, requiring the sustained kicks of two of the party members to get the lock to break and the door swing inwards the process of which caused one hinges to snap completely making the door swing back and over at a unnatural angle, it was surprising that the remaining hinge has not snapped with the violence of that movement, but it had held on, begrudgingly.
They crowded around the entrance using the flashlights to get their bearings and to determine the shape of the room, one by one they had entered, fanning out to explore every nook and cranny, stepping over fallen furniture and avoiding rotting floorboards.
Jack had taken the furthest end of the room, he had swept his light methodically over the ground he had walked on; he suspected that there were other rooms beneath this one and he didn’t want a misplaced step on rotting timbers to plunge him to a serious injury or possibly even death.
The case lay on a side table, it looked out of place, being newer than the room that they had come to explore but still old and covered in dust and webs, just none of the mould that permeated everything else had found its way to the case… yet. He called out to his friends and they made their way over to him, following the same route Jack had done so to avoid any unseen dangers.
“What is it” one of them asked.
“This case” Jack Replied “it looks newer than everything else here. Hold your light against the case so I can see what is inside”.
Jack opened the case, the locks had never been engaged and so he slowly lifted the lid and peered inside, he was sweating even though it was cool in the room. Inside there was a book, the edges were battered and worn, some of the pages were coming away from the spine and the pages were yellowed and crisp with age. Carefully he reached out to the book and opened the pages, there were drawings of strange objects intermingled with writing that he didn’t understand.
He picked the heavy tome up and carefully placed it in his rucksack, they would look at it in more detail when they got back home. They stepped away from the case leaving it wide open and made there way back towards the door. Suddenly a loud cracking noise rose up from the very bottom of the abandoned house, the floor splintered and before anyone could make a leap to safety all three of them went falling into the darkness beyond, he knew at the last instant that they had bunched up too closely and the old rotting floor had not been able to take the weight of all three of them, the heavy book must have been the straw that broke the camels back…
Strangely one of his last thoughts had been about what was in that book.