“I should be returning home now,” she whispered more to herself than to her tall, dark companion.
“Not yet. Oh, not yet my love,” his replied, his warm breath caressing her ear.
He opened the second door to the right on the landing. All the others were closed, lights playing under each door frame. How many creatures were in this house she mused as she was led into a dimly lit room. Candles provided the only light, just as she had noticed downstairs and a large bed overpowered the room with its size and demeanor. Four dark posts rose up to the ceiling, providing the perfect framework to support the heavy draping that folded and fell towards the floor, hiding most of the bed behind rich royal blue material. Her fingers traced the embellishments on the dark material and fell away as she was drawn to the centre of the room where a small armchair sat facing a large fireplace. He pulled her to him, holding her in a warm embrace. She wrapped her arms around his large torso, using him as an anchor to this strange world she had entered.
“Are you afraid Maria?” he asked, searching her bright brown eyes for his answer.
“No. I’m not afraid,” she whispered. She smiled as he drew her close again, his head leaning towards her soft lips. Seconds passed as his mouth hovered just above hers, his eyes watching her face as she closed her eyelids and prepared for the kiss. At last he plunged in, devouring her mouth with a force of passion that made her gasp. The onslaught lasted only a few seconds before he released her again, stepping back to allow her to take a breath.
“More!” she demanded, closing the gap between them.
Their mouths locked in fierce abandon and hands followed buttons and zips, tugging and struggling to release the burning skin within. Limbs exposed themselves to the soft light and fingers searched mounds and dips in a tantalizing dance. Their bodies twisted and folded into each other, the large surface of the bed their safety net as they tumbled behind the blue material hiding their passionate embrace.
Laughter filled the silent landing between the rooms. The flickering lights danced madly as the two lovers continued their wanton dance. Alas, all was not as it seemed. Rushing blood flooded the minds and bodies of the embracing couple, sending them into a maddened frenzy. No-one heard the door open. No-one saw the figure approach the bed. Only the blood curdling scream that followed held testament to the end of passion and the rage of murder.
Screams rocked the old Georgian house and the surrounding scrubland where the house resided at the edge of Hopley Village. The deathly silence that followed sent shivers up PC Stanley’s spine. He was making his way home to his little cottage at the end of the narrow country lane. All had been well all night, until that unearthly scream up in the scrubland where no-one dared wander on their own at night. Rumours ran amock about the old house on the cliffs belonging to the devil himself. Evil deeds were done up there and it wasn’t uncommon for their younger, pretty parishioners to disappear for days on end; only to return with child from the cliffs.
He hesitated outside the white picket fence surrounding his miniscule garden filled with roses, sweet peas and peonies. Betty, his buxom wife, would be furious if he woke her now. The vicar was on the other side of the village and the fire brigade master, Sir William Stanhope III, would not be happy if he was disturbed on a Sunday evening. PC Robert Stanley was on his own. There was nothing for it – he would have to climb the steep pathway up the scrubs to the cliffs on his own and find out what or whom had made that awful sound.
Nervous footsteps stumbled and scuffed the stony pathway. Only the moon watched the lonely policeman’s dangerous progress over loose stones and sharp edged rocks, turning and twisting closer to Dead Man’s fall. At last he reached the level plain of the top and the pathway opened to the scraggy, lonely old Georgian façade. A chill breeze greeted him as he inspected the dark windows and cold faced door. His hand shook as he raised it ready to grip the heavy gilded door knocker. Suddenly another scream filled the silent night with terror and his first thought was to turn and run like a bat out of hell from this unholy ground. His grit and strength of character held him fast as his hands gripped the door handle and turned it. It was open. With a hefty push, he ran into the candlelit entranceway and sprinted up the stairs, barely catching his breath as he reached the first floor of the galleried stairs. Another burst of energy followed another shrill scream, sending him flying up the second flight of stairs and up to the landing on the first floor. Doors lined each side of the rather large passageway. He watched the light dancing under each doorway and hesitated.
Did he want to see what was hidden behind each door? Would he be able to un-see whatever was trapped behind those doors? He gave himself a mental shake and wandered forward. The second door to the right had no light shining under it. Another scream seemed to squeeze itself out from that room. With a fluttering heart, he stepped towards the door. The gold plated handle was warm to touch and he pushed it down, forcing the door open. Darkness greeted his curious eyes and the smell of staleness hit him as he moved into the room. Something tripped him on the floor and he fell heavily, catching his feet on whatever was in front of him.