MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Juvenilia 5 - Vex Not His Ghost (continued) -

A 1996 ghost story, continued from yesterday...

Vex Not His Ghost (continued)


Janet made her way down the stairs with slow, laboured steps. She knocked on the door to the living room very gently, and whispered. 'Arthur? Are you there?' There was no reply, only the distant rumble of thunder and the hiss of the rain outside. 'Arthur?' she repeated, this time louder, and more urgently. The draught underneath the door was quite strong, and the smell was becoming overpowering. It smelt, well, almost like her son's new kitchen. She slowly opened the door, and looked inside.

Gareth thought for a moment, and then realised what he had found. 'My God, it's a head!' he cried, and fell backwards on to the rough wooden floor. He scrambled backwards into the hallway, whimpering slightly from sheer terror. He pulled himself up the chair near the front door, and picked up the handset on the ancient phone on the wall. There was no dialling tone, all he could hear was his heartbeat and the hiss of the rain. He furiously pushed down the lever, and listened again. Still no tone. Through the corner of his eye, he thought he saw something move, something coming out of the kitchen.

When Janet opened the door, the stench was so strong that she thought the septic tank must have overflowed, but as her eyes adjusted to the dim light, she saw something horrific. Across the floor, among a drift of rotting leaves, was a human skeleton, covered in rotted pieces of flesh and tendon, and what once were clothes. There was no skull, the neck ended just above the shoulders. Janet screamed, and passed out.

A great flash of lightning illuminated the kitchen, and Gareth saw the face for the first time. Among his tub of margarine and a bottle of cider was his father's face, staring out at him, as if in warning. Gareth screamed, and almost fainted when he saw a faint, shadowy outline moving towards him. The door behind him was jammed, and all he could do was cower, and try to protect himself from this thing. It looked almost like a man, and appeared to be carrying some sort of primitive axe. Gareth could not stand this any longer, and grabbed the chair beside him, and smashed it through the door's window. He then put the chair down, and clambered over it, and through the window, badly cutting himself in the process. He ran, panicking, his head full of the sound of his breathing and heart beating, before reaching the deserted road, where he collapsed. Behind him his dark, forbidding house began to glow from within, a bright, flickering yellow, which slowly grew brighter, until the whole building was engulfed in flame.

Gareth collapsed on to the road, terrified and exhausted. He crawled into the hedge, and slept fitfully, spending most of the night half-awake, becoming ever more drenched by the rain. In the early morning, the sun rising woke him up, still frozen and stiff, and still afraid. The rain had stopped, and the sky was clear. He pulled himself up, and he looked over the gate to the smoking remains of his house. Only the outer walls remained, the rest lying in a smoking heap on what was the floor. He picked his way through the blackened rubble, looking for any remains which could prove what he had seen last night. He saw none, other than a large, gaping hole underneath where the kitchen floor was. Despite the smell of the smoke, the strange, musty smell was coming out of it, and he looked down.

Janet came round slowly, cold and confused. Light was streaming through the window, but the awful scene was still present in the centre of the room. She looked around for her husband, then realised that the skeleton was wearing an identical signet ring as him on one of its decayed, shrivelled fingers. She screamed, and ran into the hall, and, trembling fearfully, picked up the phone and called the police.

The hole Gareth was looking down was lined by four huge, rounded boulders, and was partially filled with earth and ash. A small, dark opening was present at the bottom, out of which a few old, broken bones protruded. He stepped back, knowing that this was some sort of burial site, for those Neolithic people his friend had often talked about. He sat down among the rubble and wept, for his father, and his possessions.


You should have seen the original ending. Oh dear. But for tomorrow - a world-exclusive look at the original story concepts for MINERVA: Metastasis!

Article Comments (now closed)

fuzz's gravatar

1. (typo)

Posted by fuzz at 10:06AM, Sunday August 20 2006

2nd paragraph, second sentence:
"My God, it's a head!' he cried, and gell backwards"
fell backwards?

nice story :)

Cargo Cult's gravatar

2. Typo? What typo!

Posted by Cargo Cult at 11:42AM, Sunday August 20 2006

Note to self: spell-check retyped stories... ;-)

Holy Socks's gravatar

3. A few things

Posted by Holy Socks at 12:45PM, Sunday August 20 2006

Nice story, I'm sure its possible for somebody to "gell backwards", now im looking forward to this early Minerva concept.

I know this is very off topic, but could somebody tell me if its possible to use ep1 models in a map. I was wanting to make a map using those nice green trees you see at the end of ep1 but when i finally got round to starting it I couldn't find any of the ep1 models.

fuzz's gravatar

4. typo?

Posted by fuzz at 5:01PM, Sunday August 20 2006

oh well, must be my mistake then ;)

had a bored weekend so I'm played all the way through Project Quantum Leap, and although it sounds like arse kissing, yours is one of the best levels in there, nice to go back to a bit of old school halflife, get my ol' twitch reflexes back up to speed :)

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