You walk up the cracked concrete steps towards the imposing, ink stained door. Unlike before, the tabby is close at your side, his tangerine fur grazing your jeans. He seems somber, subdued. Frightened. Does he know what lays beyond the door?
Though it is august, the air has become decidedly cool, and you shiver as a breeze rustles the leaves behind you. You raise your hand to the imposing iron wolf knocker, but you hesitate. You withdraw your hand, slowly, carefully, as though it has teeth. As though it would shred your skin, given the chance.
But you’re being silly. Of course you don’t think that, you’re only uneasy about what you may find inside. Right? From the minimal information you’ve learned about this place, you can’t imagine whatever is inside will welcome you. Nothing that lives here would, would it?
A noise from behind startles you, like an empty paint can being kicked over. Forceful, violent. You jump, the tabby hisses. You turn on your heel, whirling towards the noise, and find nothing. You scan the yard, the surrounding trees. No sign of life. Silence.
You laugh, and a renewed sense of bravery surges through you. You turn back towards the door, intending to open it and sneak through, but it hangs on it’s hinges, a gaping mouth of darkness that seemingly creeps outwards to meet you. It wants to swallow you up, you can feel it.
You aren’t laughing now. You don’t look around this time because you know you won’t see anything. Who – or what- ever this is doesn’t want to be seen. You won’t catch a glimpse of it unless it wants you to. It’ll show itself, you’re sure, but on its own terms.
Abruptly, you can hear voices that sound like they’ve been talking for some time, but you can only just hear them, as though you’ve suddenly walked into ear shot. You can’t hear what they’re saying, you can only pick up the high intonations of their voices. Children, maybe?
You don’t want to eavesdrop, but you can’t help yourself. You inch towards the cavernous opening of the front door, the tabby still close at your side. You’re at the threshold now, the darkness is imminent. Your knees are vibrating slightly, and your breath is coming out in low, ragged rhythms.
You can hear the voices still, and though you’ve barely moved a foot from where you first stood, the voices appear to be getting louder. You take one sharp inhalation of air and step into the house. Then, the voices stop and the door clicks shut behind you.
Tune in next Thursday to see what happens next. Previous chapters can be found here.