The house in the square. (Part one.)

The alarm had sounded its shrill alert, awakening him at 6 a.m. and he had responded by reluctantly forcing his tired eyes open.
“Another day, another dollar.” Davey muttered his usual slogan as he crawled out of his warm bed.
He washed and shaved and ate a very quick breakfast.
He never liked to be late for work.
As he neared the door to his apartment the phone rang.
He snatched the phone from the hook on the wall and muttered a hurried “Hello?”

“Ah, good morning David.”
It was his Aunt Emily, he knew that instinctively, as she was the only person who ever called him David.
She was a stickler for courtesy and correctness.
“Good morning Aunt Emily. What can I do for you,?” Davie answered.
“David, I have a wonderful surprise for you.
Can you come and visit me on Friday evening and I’ll tell you all about it then.”
“Of course Auntie, I’ll be there around six o’clock if that is suitable for you.”
“That’s perfect David, I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me. Bye for now until Friday.”
Davey hung up the phone wondering what all that was about.
A surprise?.
That would be a first he thought.

Nevertheless, at six o’clock on Friday evening he was tentatively knocking on his Aunt’s front door.
She lived in a big old house in the centre of Bristol, in a very fashionable part of town, and Davey was well aware that one day this house would come to him as he was his Aunt’s only living relative.
His Aunt opened the huge front door and beamed at him.

"Hello David, on time to the second.
I do like that in a man, promptness is a virtue well forgotten by the young today, but not by my David.
That’s all thanks to your Mother’s upbringing, and it does you proud.
Come along in and we’ll have a nice cup of tea.
They entered the sitting room where the small table was already set for two people.
David sat silently in the big armchair.
He had decided it was best to allow his Aunt to broach the whole purpose of her invitation.

When they were nicely settled his Aunt cleared her throat and smiling at him she said, “I’m sure that you are wondering what the mystery is all about David. Well let me explain.”

She went on to explain that for the last several years she had been studying the occult and that she had attended dozens of psychic meetings and that she was totally convinced in the existence of spirits and the after-life.

Davey listened to all of this in silence.
He had no idea where all this talk was leading, but he decided that to humour his Aunt was his best move.
She was eighty now, but she was still active and intelligent.
It was strange that she had become so engrossed in this spiritual malarkey so late in her life, but he supposed that she had little to occupy her time.

He was diverted from his thoughts when his Aunt proudly announced, “So David, I called in at the agents and I have the keys for the weekend to view the property.”
He had no idea what she was talking about, but eventually he discovered that his Aunt wanted to view the big old house on the end of the square.

It had been empty for quite a while and the owner had been unable to sell it.
He’d had several tenants stay there, but all had moved out within days of taking occupancy.
“So, what’s the plan Auntie, are we going visiting a haunted house over the weekend?”
He was aching to laugh, but her serious flushed face warned him that he had better not even think about doing so.

“Not the week-end David, tonight,” she hurriedly told him.
We will go along about ten o’clock and spend most of the night inside the place."
Now Davie didn’t like the sound of this, but if an eighty years old woman was willing to go, then he would appear cowardly if he refused.
“Of course Auntie, I’ll be happy to accompany you.”
He only wished he could have said NO, but he didn’t have the heart to disappoint her. She very obviously had her heart set on doing this thing, and she had chosen him as her aid.

Later that evening, at ten o’clock precisely they left the warmth of their lovely sitting room and purposefully set-out for the house on the corner.
The evening was dark but calm, without a breeze.
As they approached the house it looked even bigger than his Aunt’s house, but he was sure it was exactly the same size.
Only his imagination, and the darkness of the house playing tricks on his fertile imagination.
His Aunt handed him a bunch of keys and it was fairly obvious which one was for the huge front-door.
He slipped the key into the lock, and secretly prayed that it wouldn’t fit, but it did and the lock clicked loudly as he turned the key.

The door slid silently open revealing a long dark corridor leading to a huge staircase. This was far different from his Aunt’s home.
A different layout entirely.
He wondered why.

“Well Auntie, last chance to change your mind and come back in daytime,” he lamely suggested.
“No David, it HAS to be tonight. Let’s go in now.”

She bravely walked into the dark hall and Davey followed sheepishly behind her.
He went to turn on the huge torch that he had brought, but it wouldn’t work.

Now that was strange.
He had tested it several times in his Aunt’s house and it had worked perfectly well.
He shook it vigorously, but it just didn’t work.
“Never mind David, I’ve brought candles too, so we won’t be completely in the dark,” said his Aunt.

They proceeded along the long corridor in the weak illumination of a solitary candle.

Kitos. (To be continued.)