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by Joseph Bush

Copyright 2012

Smashwords Edition

Bring a coat, she said. How ridiculous. It was the coldest, wettest, and windiest winter I could remember. Of course, I'm sure I was blowing it out of proportion at the time. More than likely I was just angry about having to trek the half mile through the snow and slush from the gate of the castle to the inner courtyard. Really, the driving had been a cakewalk compared to that frosty nightmare of a walk.

Trudging further, I found myself thinking it's no wonder the place hasn't sold. The weather made the place a veritable playground of mortal hazards. Black ice on the sidewalks, ponds of water in the road, stone blocks ready to topple under the weight of the soggy layer of snow. It was a miracle I made it to the door.

But what a door it was. Magnificent, ancient burled oak with a wear-polished bronze knocker in the format of an octopus and a pearl. Unusual. Massive, well maintained fixtures revealed a less cavalier attitude about the maintenance of the main building than the grounds. It was a relief. I felt myself warming to the place as I slammed the weighty ball down on the strikeplate.

But nothing happened.

So I waited.

And waited...

“Hello?” I shouted at the viewing slot.

“Anyone here? Mrs. Videre? Are you there?”


I rubbed my shoulders, shuffling uncomfortably from one sodden boot to another. I was going to catch my death if I didn't get inside right off. I knocked again, waited again, and finally gave up. I've never been a very patient person.

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