The Madman's Journal

Piper and Max looked at each other in excitement. Their parents red car rolled out of the driveway, and pulled up the street after a few seconds. They jumped away from the blinds, looking at each other once more, and without speaking a word they darted up the wooden stairs of the old house.

Piper got to the hallway upstairs first, and Max followed shortly after. The twins both worked to drag a chair from Piper's room and placed it under a small hatch in the ceiling. Max looked at Piper, a smile crossing his face, revealing a few missing teeth.

"Do you think we can do it Piper?" He asked her excitedly. She nodded, and climbed on top of the chair. Going up on the tips of her toes and reaching her hand out as far as she could, Piper grabbed onto the short rope that would bring down the stairs that led to the attic. Giving a swift yank with her small hands, the door opened and suddenly the ladder was sliding down. Piper shouted a warning to Max just in time, and the young boy jumped out of the way as the wooden ladder hit the wooden floorboards with a deafening boom. Dust rained down on the two small children, and after a few moments of coughing from both, they looked up the ladder.

Piper climbed down from the chair with a hand from Max, and both children looked up into the black hole that was the entrance to the attic. Max pulled the flashlight from the waistband of his pants, where he had been keeping it, and handed it over to Piper. Max felt his lower lip start to tremble out of fear, but Piper, the more daring of the two, started up the ladder immediately. After a second look at the wooden floorboards, Max drew a breath and started up after his sister.

Piper got up into the attic first, hearing the rustling of a few creatures through the dust and grime. After a small shiver going up her spine, she flicked on the flashlight that Max had managed to find. Shining the yellow beam around the attic, Piper let out an excited squeak. Though the weak beam did a poor job of cutting through the rising dirt and dust as well as the dark, she got a good look at lots of boxes. She completely entered the attic, helping Max come up behind her.

Walking was hard and hazardous, trying to avoid the creaking and rotting beams on the floor, or the ceiling to other rooms in the house. Max let out a scared squeak after a dark shape darted in front of him after diving from the attic's top.

"Piper, what are we looking for?" His voice quavered a bit when he spoke, but Piper seemed not to notice.

"Anything Max! It's an adventure!" Max opened his mouth to protest, but Piper let out a sudden yell of satisfaction after she dived behind a few boxes.

"Max! Come here!" The younger of the two by fifteen minutes walked cautiously after her, trying to find his way in the almost complete absence of light. Seeing the beam of her flashlight go into the air, Max fearfully dove for it. He tripped and stumbled into a small alcove that had been created behind many boxes. He sat down right next to her, peering where she had the beam focused. Her voice dropped to a mysterious whisper.

"Do you think we should open it Max?" She asked him excitedly. His eyebrows furrowed as he peered as the small door that they were faced with. And by small door, it was barely a door at all. More of a drawer with hinges that opened like a door. Max bit his lower lip, about to respond with caution when Piper jumped right for it anyway. The flashlight fell to the ground as she turned the knob and let the small door open. Another small cloud of dust flew up, and Piper picked the flashlight up again. She reached her hand into the small opening without even bothering to check what the flashlight revealed, and drew out a small notebook.

Max walked over to her and greedily grabbed the book. It was leather bound and had a type of parchment for the pages, yellow with age. It was coated with a thick layer of dust and must, which Max wiped away quickly. Out of the two, Piper was surely the daredevil, with Max as the bookworm. He opened it quickly and gently to a page somewhere in the middle, but froze at what he saw.

Over the thick yellow pages there was a deep black ink, words scrawled in old fashioned looping letters. But as both children settled side by side, they noticed the same thing. This was not written as a normal journal.

Words covered the page entirely, the right ways, wrong way, upside down and side to side, covering the page with so many words in every which way that you couldn't even read what it was meant to see, or hardly see any paper at all. Piper's eyes widened, as did Max's as his small eyes tried to decipher some of the words. His small hand rested on a page for a moment, when his whole body went rigid.

Piper screamed as he brother froze in place, and screamed louder when in the dim light she watched his eyes roll into the back of his head. She screamed, eyes and flashlight riveted on her brother. The whites of his eyes showing, his hands deftly moved to the journal again, flipping it open to the front page, which was covered in the same nonsensical gibberish, nearly blotting out everything. Piper couldn't stop screaming as Max suddenly started to utter words darkly, eyes shutting and opening only to reveal white.

"The madman cowers, you fool. The madman is with you, black night deep dark, eating monsters. The winter black is your mother, the deep hellfire pits is your master. You are a madman John. You are a madman, you foolish raven hearted scoundrel! The words you write are death and black, heart poison to the mother. You fool, coward madman…" The words resided to mumbles as tears streaked down Piper's face as she desperately called for her brother.

"MAX! MAX!" Her cries grew desperate as the hands that no longer seemed her brothers turned the page of the book. The talking returned.

"But she was not yours to have John. That was not something that could be taken from me by a thief in the night. You are a coward, and a madman, your heart of black fire. Go and kill me you monster, what will take you is the deep cover of shadow's and fake moonlight…" Piper wrapped her small hands around her brother's shoulders, and shook him with all of her might, trying to wake him. He turned the page once more, running his pale hands over the black ink.

"The sword of Maximus is the only downfall to the haughty and humble, while the prideful bask in raven's moonlight and crow's sun shadow. Cover to the poor is no more than a stone tower in fire forges, John, you are the blackest of black hearts with sandals of dragon's breath…" Piper sat down next to the boy who was no longer her brother, weeping forcefully, screaming for her mother and father, screaming to the skies how sorry she was that they dared come into the forbidden attic in the first. Max never once let up in his insane and sometimes incoherent mumbles.

"But John, you took her by your gloved hands and spike cloak of pain. You drain the knowing of any will and take it to weave and cut with shears of monster claws and make by demons help. John, you hurt me too, my blood flowing by your hands by word of the stone heart coward madman you are. Madman I tell you John, no help other than death coming to fetch you…" Piper stayed and wept for what seemed the longest time as Max mumbled the rambling of the journal, pages turning and dust flying as slowly his body started to tremble. It seemed like forever to Piper who had no idea how to get help, and was too afraid to leave him. Relief flooded her as the final page of the journal was turned, and Max muttered only a few more words in the deep and crazed voice that wasn't his own.

"But thou shall have her if they must, demon madman John! You can take her if you must, because I cannot defeat the madman that you insist shrouds you like black smoke! Kill her and kill me if you must, you madman, because I can live no longer in the presence of SUCH MADNESS! KILL ME NOW JOHN, KILL ME AND TAKE ME NOW!" With that Max fell back, the journal closing. Piper grabbed the hand the fell to the ground and squeezed it tightly the tears returning and waiting for her brother to wake.

In a few seconds his eyes slid open, and he looked at Piper with despair and fear in her eyes.

"Max!" She screamed. He sat up with a breath and a quick rub of his head. He looked down forlornly at the journal that rested in his hands.

"Oh Piper, he was in such pain. You will never know what John did to him. He took everything… He took her from him, and that John was a madman! He never saw her again, and only the demons that John cast upon him. He was in so much pain…" Piper shook her head, not understanding a thing he said. She grabbed the journal back and stuffed it back in the small nook they had found it in and shut it swiftly. She dragged Max out of the attic, using a strength and skill she didn't know she had to shove the ladder back up and slam the door to the attic shut. Max merely sat on the floor, looking at his hands.

Piper winced as he looked up at her. His eyes were still the same, pupils only pinpricks and the eyes themselves full of pain.

"Piper, we can't help him. John took him as well as her. He couldn't save her or himself. John was a madman." Max went on to describe the pain of someone so well, no one would have ever imagined someone who had lived only eight years in the world had spoken.

Piper pushed it aside, and prayed desperately that he wouldn't remain this way.