The Wax Factory(A Modern Gothic Horror Novel)

By Justin Bienvenue(@JustinBienvenue)

Horror, Paranormal, General fiction, Thriller, Hybrid & other, Young adult

Paperback, eBook

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126
13 mins

 

Chapter 1: Origins

1888

The look of the room was distinguished and impressive with a clean rustic style. The smell within the building was that of a mix between a freshly started fire and the fine smell of polished wood that was just right within the crisp air.

While ceilings are usually built high in factories the ones inside here where at a reachable level and for a good reason. For every five sheets of wood a beam sat nestled between them and it was structured in such a way that it was easy for a person to display something hanging from it.

A sixteen light candle style lithium chandelier hangs from the ceiling as it slowly burns a crimson red flame and dripping wax disappears into the clear glass base. A set of old but hard-working hands reaches over to check on the candles to see if they are burning adequately. The man forms a cheerful smile upon his inspection of the chandelier. He then carefully makes his way down from the ladder and wipes his hands back in forth satisfied with his observation.

"It looks just marvelous Mr. Vandaldrake, simply marvelous!" a man says.

"It does doesn't it Edward? And my heavens we're partners call me Ghyslain. You and your formal etiquette." the small and old but youthful minded wisdom filled Ghyslain says.

"Force of habit I suppose," Edward says laughing afterward as he pushes his glasses up and scratches his mustache.

Edward Langston was as humble as they come. He was quiet and kept to himself and despite being Ghyslain's partner he would act as though part of the factory wasn't his. Attentive, neat and coordinated, Langston was in many ways a total opposite of Jacob Marley.

Ghyslain was quite a jolly fellow. He was friendly, outgoing, and enjoyed the simplicities of life. His partner and his employees would consider him not only a respectable man but a nice and great boss to work for.

"But a good habit to have nonetheless good sir," Ghyslain says back.

"So Edward what do we have set for today? Mr. Ausenbury was most pleased with his abundant amount of purchases yesterday. I do say I have never met a man who loves wax more than you or I until I met Mr. Ausenbury."

"While I do enjoy wax I think you're being humble Ghyslain because no one loves wax more than you do, although Mr. Ausenbury sure does appreciate our work doesn't he?" Edward says and asks.

"Right you are Edward, right you are. Yes, he's just one of many people who enjoy what we do and as they should because wax is the future!"

"I have the latest ideas and designs we came up with here. There's also a few from our employees, I think you'll be quite surprised and enlightened by some of them." Edward says.

"Ah, very good and oh! I value each and every single one of our employee's and I always enjoy hearing some of their great ideas."

Edward lays out the paper and grabs two wax paperweights and places them at the top corners of the paper. He then points to the top of the list of ideas written down indicating to Ghyslain where to start. Ghyslain picks up his bifocals and examines the details of the paper. While Ghyslain requires bifocals it's hardly a flaw of someone his age. He could skip, jump and dance about and yet you'd never know he's as old as he is and he'd never tell you if he had any slight pain afterward.

"Chandeliers, cups, cabinet's, picture frames, and oh my goodness I've thought about creating this but never said a word but now that someone else has thought of it we must do it! An ottoman made of wax would be most exquisite" Ghyslain says joyfully as his cheeks become slightly red.

He keeps reading down the list until he reaches the end and continues to read the paper which also contains Edward's notes as well as few orders on hold for frequent customers.

Upon my observations of the list above I have concluded that many of these items are a need but not a necessity per se. I attribute many of my own personal ideas and contributions to the objective that they can be obtained and created in an orthodox manner and correctly. They all meet my approval as I am sure they will also meet Mr. Vandaldrake's as well. If done correctly without any mishaps or error I believe that these items will hold up and make for interesting conversation starters or at the very least be some eye-catching objects. 8/14/88-E.L.

Satisfied with the list and Edward's notes, Ghyslain signs off on the paper and adds his own small note which means the plans to go forward in creating the items is approved.

Chandeliers are one of our best sellers. Some of these items we have made before so there should pose no problem. As for the new items I see no problem whatsoever in making them. I am most pleased with the great ideas that have been presented and it will be intriguing in the creation of these formalities that will be stupendous representations on the materialization of wax. 8/15/88- G.V.

"Here you are, Edward. I like that ottoman idea so much. Who thought of it?" Ghyslain asks.

"That would be Jarrod I believe," Edward says back.

Ghyslain gives Edward a smile and nod as he walks out from his workshop at the top of the room and begins making his way down the room's assembly line. He gets to the beginning of the line before taking a handkerchief from his jacket pocket. He then bends down, unravels the handkerchief and folds it and folds it again so he has a long rectangle in his hand. He then brings the handkerchief down to his shoes and begins shining them. His wife hates when he does this as she always wonders what he does when he needs to blow his nose and he's already used the gentleman's towel for his dusty shoes.

After a good thorough shine, Ghyslain gradually gets up, tucks his handkerchief back into his jacket pocket and slowly begins his walk down the assembly line. He nods and smiles as he's greeted by his employee's as he passes them by. When he gets to the middle of the assembly line he stops before he gets to the station of the young man who had the ottoman idea, Jarrod.

He tells Jarrod what a great idea he had and how he not only looks forward to this creation but will be giving Jarrod the lead on it and that he would like to oversee it as well. Jarrod smiles as he and Ghyslain shake hands before Ghyslain makes his way back onto the floor and begins walking all the way down until he gets to the end of the assembly line.

Ghyslain goes to his office but stops for a moment as he looks across from his office and to the other corner end of the room. In the corner sits a large machine in the shape of a large tub/ container. The container takes up the entire corner and blocks the entire window on the right side but only a portion of the window on the left side. The container is filled with a massive amount of wax. Ghyslain admires the large container before he is interrupted by Edward from across the room.

"DON'T FORGET TO SET A TIME FOR THE IDEAS!" Edward yells out.

"OH YES, THANK YOU EDWARD, I'D HAVE FORGOTTEN!" Ghyslain yells back.

He smiles as he makes his way into his office. He sits down at his desk and opens the top drawer to his left and pulls out a long green glass bottle of absinthe. He places the bottle on his desk before picking up his pencil and removes the paperweight from the large stack and picks up the first piece as he sets the rest aside. He looks over on his desk to a picture of his wife Elizabeth. He picks it up with his right hand and admires it as he smiles.

"All for us my dear Elizabeth. I do love how you push me throughout each day," he says out loud to the picture. He holds the picture to his heart and sighs before he places the picture back in its spot and his eyes avert back down to the paper. He jots down a few things before he sets down the pencil. He gets up and walks over to Edward's desk.

"My, my Mr. Langston how incredibly neat you are." he chuckles.

He then looks through a small amount of paper's on Edward's desk looking for one in particular. After skimming through three pieces he finds it on the fourth. He then notices a small Egyptian figurine made of wax sitting upon the desk. He picks it up and examines it. He looks at it long and hard and looks on the bottom but sees no indicators or carvings of a date. Just as he goes to set it down the office door opens.

"Everything in order Ghyslain?" Edward asks.

"Indeed it is Edward. Say, when did you make this figurine? My memory escapes me to when we had these made."

"Last winter I believe. We had a series of them done and as I recall, you made Elizabeth one of an angel." Edward says back.

"Oh heavens your right! I remember now. She absolutely loved that figurine."

"Yes, they were quite the creations. Admiring my figurine?" Edward asks.

"Yes. We should make more of these, in fact, there was a rather big idea I had in mind I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on it." Ghyslain says.

"Of course Ghyslain, what did you have in mind?"

"Imagine this figurine…but bigger!" Ghyslain says.

"Bigger?" Edward asks back before he believes he knows what Ghyslain means.

"Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?"

"I believe I am Edward. What do you think of life-size wax figures and our very own wax museum? Ghyslain says excitedly.



3 months later

The container of wax in the back of the room made a faint bubbling sound having just been refreshed by Ghyslain. He now at the front of the room at his workshop area working on the latest project. Most of the employees were at their stations working on assigned projects so in typical fashion it was quite the usual scene in the wax factory. Ghsylain laughs to himself seemingly excited and to be enjoying the project he's working on. As he's enjoying his work a creaking sound is heard as the front door opens slowly. Ghyslain doesn't notice right away but then looks up as he sees a man. The man has on a top hat with a long black coat covering his chubby and wide frame. His cheeks are a rosy red having come in from the cold. He taps his rugged boots together to get off the snow and in his left hand, he holds a gentleman's walking stick. He slowly walks toward the workshop area but before he can he is met by Ghyslain.

"Ghyslain Vandaldrake or Edward Langston? The man asked.

"I'm Ghyslain Vandaldrake, Edward Langston is my partner but he isn't in yet. What can I do for you, good sir?"

"The name's Thom Brockington. I'm a businessman from Chicago. I heard about this place from a few of my fellow business associates. Is it true you've been in business since 1835?" Thom asks.

"Why yes, it is. In two years time, we'll have been in business for 65 years! Tell me, Mr. Brockington, what brings you to my factory?"

"Well you see Mr. Vandaldrake my associates and I heard about this place as we are looking to expand," Brockington says.

"I'm sorry? I'm not sure I follow. What business are you in?" Ghyslain asks.

"I am in the business of steel and iron manufacturing. I have a decent size factory myself back in Chicago. My associates told me of a place near Albany here in Craven Hollow and I just had to come and see it for myself. You see I'm looking to expand my business here in New York and I think this factory would make a most grand addition to my business." Brockington says sternly.
Ghyslain's jubilant smile suddenly fell and turned into a cold saddened expression. He felt an icy chill run down his body upon hearing Thom Brockington's words.

"I'm afraid you're mistaken sir. My business is not for sale." Ghyslain says softly.

"It's not your business I want Mr. Vandaldrake, it's the building. I think it would make a great place to store and manufacture steel and iron. After all, metal is the future." Thom says back.

"The building? Again, sir, I'm afraid you're mistaken as my business nor the building to which we stand inside is up for sale." Ghyslain says.

"I know that Mr. Vandaldrake and please understand that I've come here without any harsh intentions. I knew when I saw this place for myself that it'd be just the spot I'd need for expansion."

"But it's not for sale so-

Brockington cuts him off before he can finish.

"I didn't realize you'd been in business so long that's why I asked when I walked in. I was sort of hoping you'd consider selling me the building and you could set up shop somewhere else."

"Set up shop somewhere else? Mr. Brockington my partner and I have been doing this for quite a while now. This building has been around since 1820 and it's been a wax factory since 1835 as I stated. I plan on continuing to run this business for many years to come."

"I get that Mr. Vandaldrake I do but you have to see the big picture here," Thom says.

"And what might that big picture be?" Ghyslain asks.

"Well, wax isn't exactly in demand. In fact, it's not even considered a reasonable type of material in which such a large factory should carry it."

"I beg your pardon? Ghyslain asks feeling insulted by the remarks.

"Look, you seem like a very hard working man and you care about what you do, I see it in your eyes but you have to understand that industrialism is only getting bigger and it's expanding. This building simply won't hold up much longer as a wax factory."

Ghyslain though insulted suddenly feels like the smaller man in the room. While he wants to defend himself he finds himself choked up and unable to get a word out. He goes to speak trying to find the words but before he can Thom continues.

"Believe me, if there were any other spot here in town I'd gladly move there but this building is massive and perfect for steel and iron. The fact is Mr. Vandaldrake there's just no need for wax. Besides, it's not like you'd have to go out of business I mean surely you could set up shop at a smaller spot in town or perhaps in the square."

"Again, you think I could set up somewhere else? It's not just about the business itself Mr. Brockington it's about the location. This is where it all started. This place is perfect, it is the core of Craven Hollow. I've never considered moving, I have no need to move, this is where I need to be, this is all I need and all I'll ever need." Ghyslain says.

"Mr. Vandaldrake, from one businessman to another I get where you're coming from and I'm sorry. I came here to hear you out and my heart goes out to you but business is business and if not me then someone else will come along and tell you the same thing. One way or another steel and iron are going to be made in this building I'm merely speeding up the process and assisting you with the inevitable."

"Speeding up the process? Assisting me with the inevitable? You speak as though you can predict the future Mr. Brockington." Ghyslain says.

"I'm by no means Nostradamus Mr. Vandaldrake but I see things clearly. After all didn't Nostradamus predict the start and rise of industrialism? Surely he saw this too but again I'm not him. I'm just telling you that you should consider selling me this building rather than having it get ugly with other people down the road in a year or two." Brockington says.

Suddenly he no longer felt the urge to defend himself. He heard Thom's words and while he despised them he knew he was partly right. Wax was not needed and even though it could still be made who was he to withhold it inside a large building? It was true, it was only a matter of time before someone else came in staking a claim. Brockington was not the first nor would he be the last.

"I hear you, Mr. Brockington, I do it's just a lot to process as I'm sure you understand. I'll tell you what, I'll consider your offer." Ghyslain says.

"From one businessman to another I appreciate that. Please just know again that you would be better suited selling me this place than constantly having to do this again and again with other businessmen."

"I don't have to sell to you if I don't want to," Ghyslain says.

"Look, I'm here out of respect okay? Just consider your options, please." Thom says back.

"Can you at least give me a little time? I still have to go over this with my employees and partner, Edward."

"Yes, of course, that's fine but remember you're just prolonging the inevitable. I'll send word to check up and I'll be back at the end of the month. I hope by then you'll have your priorities in order. Good day, Mr. Vandaldrake." Thom says.

"Yes…good day…" Ghyslain says softly.

Thom puts his hat back on then gets to the door and leaves the factory. Ghyslain slowly walks over to his workshop. He looks over at the assembly line and sees everyone still working hard. How would he break the news to them? He thought to himself. How would he break the news to Edward? To his wife? Most importantly of all how would he convince himself?


One Month Later

Thom Brockington returns to The Wax Factory to speak with Ghyslain and Edward. As he enters the building he sees that Ghyslain is the only one there and he's at his workshop alone working on a project. He coughs to get Ghyslain's attention.

"Oh, Mr. Brockington my apologies as I didn't hear you come in," Ghyslain says.

"No worries Mr. Vandaldrake. Say where is everyone? Did you lay them off already? I was hoping to speak with your partner this time, Mr. Langston was it? Brockington asks.

"Yes, Edward Langston and no I haven't laid anyone off they are just not in yet. It is only 9:30 a.m and my employees usually come in at 11:00 on Fridays, I like to be a little fun of a boss. Ghyslain replies laughing.

"I see and Mr. Langston?" Brockington asks.

"Will also be in shortly. I usually get here really early to start on some things such as personal projects and to just touch up the place. Besides, it'll give us a chance to talk without distraction."

"Mr. Vandaldrake it's been a month. I've had two associates check in and they gave you a contract and you told them nothing. Now I'm here and I have a feeling you're having second thoughts on selling this place?" Brockington asks.

"Mr. Brockington I'm not one to beg but please take pity on an old man. I've given your offer some considerable thought and while the idea of setting up a small shop elsewhere does sound somewhat intriguing, my life, my principals as a businessman are here in the factory. I owe it to the wax." Ghyslain says.

"I'm afraid this was going to happen which is why I already took the liberty of having other papers drawn up for you to sell this place over to me. All it needs now is your signature, please Mr. Vandaldrake don't make this any more difficult then it needs to be."

"But you haven't seen my work! Look at my workshop here, take this project you see before you. Do you know what it is? It's the start of a small wax figurine. Mr. Langston and I made a series of these last year and decided to start them up again."

"Mr. Vandaldrake-

Brockington is interrupted as Ghyslain keeps talking over him.

"Look over here to our left, do you see up there? Do you know what that is? It's a one of a kind chandelier, no other like it in the world, none.

"Mr. Vandaldr-

"Come, come see what my employees are working on. I'm sure they have some leftover things from their projects."

"Mr. Vandaldrake enough!" Brockington says with a tone in his voice.
Ghyslain keeps rambling on and talking over him until finally, Brockington slams his fist down on the workshop area.

"Enough! I won't hear any more, do you understand me? I am sorry that this is difficult for you Mr. Vandaldrake but I think it's time for a change, time for you to move on. Business is business, industrialism is booming and steel is the future. There is no need for wax anymore and to be quite frank I don't think there ever was. Besides, I get what I want one way or the other. Also, I happen to know that if the state were to come across this place I'm sure they could find some back taxes on unpaid property or certain holes in business expenses."

Ghyslain's expression goes from pleading joy to utter sadness and shock as he looks down at the floor overcome by Thom's sudden threat and demeanor.

"I'm not a bad guy Mr. Vandaldrake I'm simply trying to make a business transaction and I'm sure you understand that but I will play dirty if I have to. You're not getting any younger and a man of your age simply cannot afford to keep this up for so long."

Ghyslain keeps the sad expression on his face as he looks up at Thom Brockington. A tear falls down his left cheek. He remembers the bottle of absinthe he retrieved from his drawer that's now sitting on his desk. He'll surely need a glass or two of the distilled beverage after this is all said and done he thinks to himself.

"That may be true Mr. Brockington but I have made up my mind and I'm not selling this place to you or any other person who may come along and inquire about it."

"Perhaps you didn't hear me the first time or maybe I didn't make myself clear Mr. Vandaldrake but I know people from the state and I'm sure they could find issues with your taxes and on some of the things you failed to write down in your expense reports," Thom says.

"Edward takes care of all that along with a mutual friend of ours who is a broker. They are both very thorough when it comes to our finances so I'm afraid your state threat is not going to work Mr. Brockington." Ghyslain says back.

"Hmm, I see. Well, that may all be fine and dandy but as old as you are and as old as your partner is I highly doubt you've kept this building up to code. In fact, I'm sure I could find several issues with it and if you're not going to give me the building then I'll simply have to go to some building inspectors and contact the NFPA. I'm sure a building of this stature and the material manufactured in here don't go hand in hand and you've broken many rules and regulations."

Brockington notices now that Ghyslain has become tense and nervous. It appears he has set in a threat that has registered into Ghyslains old helpless brain.

"Would you really call them Mr. Brockington?"

"I take that as I'm right aren't I Mr. Vandaldrake? Your building here isn't up to code?"

"No, I'm afraid it's been some years since an inspector came by, I'm man enough to tell you that. The better question is though, what kind of man are you, Mr. Brockington? Are you a man who would goes through on his threats to an old man just trying to make a living or are you simply a big man full of hot air who just likes to push his weight around? "

Brockington is taken back a moment as this is the first time Ghyslain has stood up to him with such defiance, However, this only angers him and Brockington lets him know exactly what type of man he is.

"You want to know what type of man I am? Do you Mr. Vandraldrake? I'm the type of man who will indeed call them up and tell them exactly what I suspect which I already know to be true. I am also the type of man who grew up on the streets, and let's just say I know other people that if I wanted them to, could handle you very easily and get me this place in no time. So before you go and run your mouth again you pathetic excuse of a man, I suggest you think hard about your next choice of words because they will determine just the type of man I am."

Ghyslain turns white in fear. While a part of him considered selling the building he never truly leaned toward the thought and he simply thought he could convince Brockington to be on his way. Now Ghyslain suddenly finds himself being threatened with an ultimatum that does not benefit him one way or the other.

"So that's what it comes down to eh, Mr. Brockington? You'll bring harm to me if I don't sell you this place?"

"I was more than reasonable with you old man. I gave you time to consider, time to read the contract, and I tried to get you to see the silver lining here for you but your stubbornness has angered me and if you don't do the right thing then I'm afraid I'll have to make other plans."

"No, no that will not be necessary. It's true, you have given me time and I should have considered the options more. You're also right about my age. I am not getting any younger and industrialism…is the way of the future. I apologize for my pleas as I'm sure you understand. Let me just look this document over you and I'll sign the place over to you. Please don't hurt me, Mr. Brockington."

"Thank you Mr. Vandaldrake, I do apologize for any issues I may have caused you and I do say you are a most dedicated man and a very nice man to do business with," Brockington says back with a wide evil looking smile.

Ghyslain tries to smile as he reads over the contract. After he's done he leans over his workshop area to retrieve a new ballpoint pen so he can sign the building over to Thom Brockington.

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