Hannah woke, to the sound of rain splintering against the window pane, her limbs ached. She staggered bleary eyed to the bathroom and ran her bath, the sound reminded her of the water flowing down the stairs last night and she shudded. Wrapping the towel around her, she walked to the wardrobe and grabbed her jeans, jumper, coat and boots, wishing there was instant heating in this place.
Morning had come, there weren’t any sounds apart from outside. She managed to force a smile, as she peered through the glass, hoping her mission to the village would be fruitful.
She opened the door to the post office, no library existed, she couldn’t search records. The only stores were a butchers, a pub, a small grocery store, a hardware and home goods store and the post office. Finding someone who could impart some information may be a struggle. The butcher told her to head to Lily at the post office, she was the one to talk to, if she couldn’t help her, then to try the publican, Hugh.
Lily stood behind the counter, an elderly woman of short stature, round dark rimmed glasses and a slightly too colourful paisley dress . Hannah approached her, introduced herself and began with her many questions.
Firstly did she know of her aunt, the lawyer, the children who were haunting the castle. As luck would have it, Lily was the village gossip, well informed on the goings on of everybody and everything in the village.
What Hannah found out shocked her. Lily told her that her aunt had not died, or not that she knew of anyway, that she had been placed in to a mental institution for three months, but then had been released. The lawyer was her husband, who was now overseas on a business trip and had been gone for over a month now. The children, twin girls had been adopted by them.
Lily hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Isabel for months, or the girls in fact. Apart from coming down from the hill to purchase groceries once a month, she said Isabel kept pretty much to herself and even more so since they got the girls.
Hannah returned to the castle totally bewildered, where on earth was her aunt, why was she institutionalised, why would her husband send her a letter saying that she had passed and that Feltone was now hers? The children that she heard, that she only heard at night but she hadn’t seen, were they Isabel’s?
Another storm was rolling in, the cloud pattern had moved from broken strips to a bulbous mass. Hannah was fed up with the weather and dreading another night of broken sleep. Hopefully they won’t come out tonight.
Night fell quickly, too quickly, Hannah made herself something for dinner from the vast array of food in the pantries, which since she arrived thought very odd. if her aunt had died, why would there be food in the house still?
Hannah walked the stairs, some lights thankfully worked, upstairs some worked spasmodically. Oil lamps were the only forms of lighting otherwise, as she walked the stairs, lamp in hand, she heard the scream.
She stopped on the staircase and for the first time yelled back “Why, why should I leave, who are you, the twins, why are you trying to scare me away”?
There was silence.
…to be continued