As with so many creepypasta tales, today’s entry was posted anonymously… and given the author’s grim secret, it’s easy to understand why he didn’t wish his identity to be discovered.
As it turns out, on the property known as Greywater Gardens, it would seem dark secrets are a kind of currency.
The author does not explain how he came to know the location of this nightmarish place, and does not disclose those details (thought it’s suggested the site is somewhere in the UK). However, he does describe the monstrous house and its grounds in grim detail.
While the estate seemed at first to be abandoned and left to rot for uncounted decades, the author confirms that it was indeed occupied — at least at the time of their visit.
The entire place seemed to be enveloped in its own atmosphere of gloom and decay. Though it was well into the spring season, nothing alive seemed capable of taking hold here, and the sound of birds was absent from the sickly trees which surrounded the massive, colorless house. Dark clouds seemed to hover in place above the property, as if sealed there by some undefined force.
Most unsettling, however, were the murky, stagnant pools of water which seemed to surround the house like a deathly swamp, in keeping with the property’s name.
“This place is dead,” the author notes in his single entry, recalling his first and only visit. “As dead as I am.”
The door was unlocked — more to the point, it was nearly rotted off its hinges — and opened into an environment even more bleak and oppressive than the hellscape outside.
Mold and rot had taken hold here years ago, and was in the process of devouring every surface and substance, including the chairs and trappings of what appeared to be a waiting room of some kind. There was even a “PLEASE BE SEATED” sign, half-dissolved by decay.
Nevertheless, the author took a seat. Clearly, he was expected… or at least that’s what he believed.
While he waited, he reached into his pocket for his wallet, where he kept a wrinkled, worn photograph of a young woman with red hair. He never explains whether she is his wife, his daughter or his sister… only that her name is Emily (“Em” for short), that she was once as beautiful as she appeared in the photo, and that she meant everything to him.
He also hints that something horrible happened to Emily.
He was briefly startled to hear the raspy sound of an old man clearing his throat… and looked up to see the proprietor of Greywater Gardens.
To the author, the man seemed like the physical embodiment of the place: propped on a silver-handled cane, dressed in a tattered old suit and moldy top-hat, the man had ashen skin, wiry unkempt hair, and a single grey eye glaring behind blurred spectacles. The other eye was gone, leaving a pitch-black socket.
The old man’s voice sounded like he hadn’t spoken in a very long time. “You have an appointment?” he rasped.
Gathering his courage, the author responded. “Yes… I have a secret. I want to deposit it.”
“I know,” the man answered lifelessly. After a long, uncomfortable pause, he motioned to the author to follow him to a table at the back of the room, where a massive, dusty ledger sat atop a worn table. Next to the book sat a large, tarnished metal chalice.
On his way over to the desk, the author noticed a large concrete structure in the center of the room. As he passed by, he was shocked and disgusted to see it was filled with the same dark, putrid water that seemed to ooze from the very grounds of the estate.
The old man opened the book, which cracked loudly as if it hadn’t been touched in decades. The resulting cloud of dust seemed to hang in the air directly above the ancient tome.
“Your name?” he asked in a dull monotone. The author provided his name, upon which the man picked up a plume pen, dipped in an inkwell (which seemed to the author to be filled with the same grey water that seemed to ooze from every crack of the house).
Finally, having completed his scribbling, he looked up and stared at the author with that single, piercing eye. “Excellent. Then let’s begin.”
He then picked up the chalice, stooping slowly and shakily down toward the pool, letting a portion of the oily, nearly opaque grey water slither into it. Staggering with the effort, he finally returned and placed the cup on the table next to the book. The smell of rot and mold wafted from it, stinging his nose.
“Take it,” the old man said.
The author stared at the cup in horror. He knew this was something he had to do, but he was nevertheless filled with revulsion.
“Drink and the water will enter you,” the man explained dryly. “Your secret will then replace it in the vessel. No man can discern its depths.”
The man then smiled broadly, which sent a chill down the author’s spine.
“Remember,” he warned. “Once I have taken custody of your secret, you can never reveal it. You must not speak a word of it, even on your deathbed.”
The author nodded, nearly frozen with fear.
“Also know that this will not provide absolution,” the man continued, his smile slowly fading. “What has been done cannot be forgiven… only hidden forever. Once you make this choice, it is done. You cannot undo it.”
The author nodded again… this time without hesitation.
“Do you choose to do this?” the old man asked, his voice suddenly clear and strong.
“Yes,” the author answered immediately, making his priorities clear. The man bowed his head slightly, then picked up the cup… but before the author took it, he felt compelled to ask the man one question.
“Why do you do this?” he said solemnly. “Take other people’s secrets?”
The man suddenly laughed, a chilling sound that made the author flinch.
“In the land of the blind,” the old man rasped, “the one-eyed man is king.” To underscore his statement, the man pointed to his empty eye socket.
The author states that he knew what this meant, and with that conviction he took the cup in both hands and drank. There was little more than a mouthful of brackish, stinking liquid inside, but consuming it seemed like an eternity in hell.
“I did this for you, Em,” he writes in his final paragraph, clearly relieved in the knowledge that Emily was now truly safe.
Safe, like the secret that now lies deep beneath the still waters of Greywater Gardens.
Like the water of the bathtub in which he’d once held the frail, pale body of his beloved Emily until she’d stopped breathing…