Chapter 1:

Sound Of Light


On a gloomy autumn day, a veil of rain shrouded the city, blurring the edges of the towering buildings and turning the bustling streets into a symphony of honking horns and splashing tires. Escaping this urban symphony, a father and son, their faces etched with a shared weariness, ventured deep into the heart of a sprawling forest. The middle-aged man, his eyes shadowed by unspoken grief, gripped the steering wheel, following the winding road with a distant gaze. Beside him, his young son, barely nineteen, watched raindrops streak down the window, his own thoughts a swirling vortex of confusion and unspoken concern.

Their journey stretched on, a silent testament to the weight they both carried. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the trees parted, revealing a secluded clearing bathed in the melancholic light filtering through the rain-laden clouds. Nestled amongst the ancient oaks stood a house, its once-grand facade now marred by neglect. Moss and mildew clung to the exterior like an unwanted guest, and broken windows stared back with vacant eyes.

The father brought the car to a halt, the silence broken only by the sigh of the wind rustling through the leaves. He turned to his son, his voice thick with emotion.

"This is it, Jack," he said, his words hanging heavy in the air, "our new home."

Jack offered no response, his youthful face betraying a stoicism that belied the storm brewing within. He simply nodded and stepped out of the car, the damp air clinging to him like a shroud. He surveyed their new surroundings, a sense of isolation pressing down on him like a physical weight. The forest, shrouded in mist and the dying light of day, seemed to hold its breath, its silence broken only by the occasional chirp of a startled bird.

The house loomed larger than it appeared in the faded photos his father had shown him. Closer inspection revealed its true state of disrepair - far worse than anticipated. The paint was peeling, revealing the weathered wood beneath. Cobwebs draped from the neglected corners, and the air hung heavy with the musty scent of disuse. It was clear that no one had walked these halls in a long time.

Jack, with a numb indifference, shouldered the boxes his father handed him and followed him into the house. The interior mirrored the bleakness of the exterior. Dust motes danced in the dim light filtering through the grimy windows. Furniture, shrouded in white sheets, stood like forgotten mourners in a dusty ballroom. The dampness had seeped in, leaving a trail of peeling wallpaper and a lingering chill in the air.

Despite the overwhelming sense of neglect, an air of mystery clung to the place. This wasn't just an empty house, it was a repository of forgotten memories, whispering tales of a life once lived. As the rain intensified, drumming a relentless rhythm on the roof, the father closed the creaking front door and turned his attention to the old, iron stove that dominated the center of the room. The woodpile beside it offered a glimmer of hope, but a closer inspection revealed logs damp and rotten, their usefulness long gone.

Undeterred, the father rummaged through the remaining logs, finally finding a few sturdy enough to coax a fire to life. As the flames danced and crackled, casting flickering shadows on the dusty walls, a semblance of warmth began to seep into the house. Exhausted from their long journey, both father and son felt the pangs of hunger.

With the house slowly warming, the father pulled together a simple meal, their quiet movements the only sound breaking the silence. He attempted to lighten the mood, his voice strained with forced cheer.

"I know it's not much," he said, pushing a plate across the table, "but with some work, we can make this a place of comfort. A place for us to start again, together."

Jack, picking at his food, replied in a monotone barely above a whisper. "Sure, Dad," he mumbled, his voice thick with unspoken emotions.

"This might come as a shock," the father continued, "but as you know, we had to leave the city in a hurry. And with work demanding my immediate attention..."

Before he could finish, Jack cut him off, his voice surprisingly firm. "Don't worry about it, Dad," he said, forcing a small smile. "I'm nineteen, not a child. I can handle myself for a few days."

Hearing his son's words, the father didn't press the matter further. The last thing Jack wanted was to cause his father any more trouble.

With the meal finished, they decided to go to bed to rest from the day's exhaustion. As the morning light illuminated the surroundings once again, the father kept his word and bid farewell to his son without wasting any time and set off for the city for work.

Left alone in the big house, Jack was at a loss as to what to do. So he spent most of his time exploring the surroundings and making the house more habitable.

The storm was raging outside, intensifying by the minute. The wind shook the trees, clouds hid the sun, and thunder deafened the ears.

A strong gust of wind had opened a window upstairs. Startled by the sound of the glass shattering, Jack went upstairs to close it. As he reached out to close the window, he noticed something strange outside. He tried to get a better look by wiping away the dirt on the glass. There was a bright light in the leaves. He was fascinated by this light, something he had never seen before in his life. His curiosity urged him to go outside. He put on a coat, opened the door, and stepped out.

As he stepped outside, the wind blew him away. His hair clung to his face, his eyes watered. He walked towards the light in the leaves. With each step, the wind grew stronger, the air grew darker, and lightning flashed across the sky. Jack, oblivious to these, bent down into the leaves. He parted the leaves with his hands, eager to see what the light was. But there was nothing there. There were only leaves. He couldn't find the source of the light.

Just then, a powerful bolt of lightning struck the tree in front of Jack. The tree, struck by the lightning, began to fall rapidly towards Jack. Jack realized he was about to be crushed under the massive. When Jack realized he was going to be under the big tree, he had no time to escape. He closed his eyes and took one last breath.