A guttural moan escaped Elizabeth Mayor’s throat as she accidentally dropped her leather suitcase painfully on her foot. Unfortunately, the damage was concealed by her designer Oxford shoes, so further examination would have to wait until she reached her inherited house. Rose Mayor, her grandmother, had recently passed, leaving the keys to her vineyard in twenty-three year old Elizabeth’s hands.
“Darling, you will only be there alone for a mere week. You will survive,” Her father had told her, ushering her onto the train. Crucial matters involving his multi-million dollar estate resulted in a lavish schedule, so he couldn’t travel to his deceased mothers vineyard until one week’s time.
Elizabeth opened the lofty steel gate, and gingerly started up the driveway as a result of her injury, post an exaggerated sigh. Every step sent a jolt of pain through her foot, carrying up her leg like electricity. Via her distressed state, Elizabeth ceased to recognize the beauty in the far-reaching driveway which introduced the grand farmhouse framed by hectares of awe-inspiring vineyards.
After a painstakingly long combination of unladylike limping and Elizabeth muttering improper words under her breath that would put sailor to shame, she reached her destination. White siding and muted silver stone covered the dwelling, with pine green shutters. Victorian style peaks sprouted from the matching scalloped shingles on the roof. Elegant French doors flow from the porch to the massive entryway. Marble floor cascaded down the two conjoined ‘L’ shaped staircases, opposite the front entrance. As Elizabeth strode through the door, she let her sore foot slip her mind for a split second, to ingest the charming residence. Sapphire eyes skimmed the striking room, over the blooming flowers in a divine china vase, to the sizeable fireplace between the stairs and the vibrant floral wallpaper, before returning to her former haste. Lamely treading up the left staircase, she located the powder room to tend to her injury.
Elizabeth froze. She had barely stepped into the bathroom when there was a knocking on the door. Who would be out here? Located deep in the sticks, the vineyard wasn’t a place in which you received unexpected visitors, or any visitors for that matter. Her father would never leave strings untied at home, so it was definitely not him.
Elizabeth was pulled out of her contemplations when the knocking started again. She warily tiptoed to the base of the stairs and began descending , grasping the railing for stability . She racked her brain but couldn’t think of any person that would be knocking at her door. There was a third set of knocking, or rather pounding, at the door, then a low grumbling noise that was barely audible over the screaming of the wind from the rapidly approaching storm. Then silence. Elizabeth slowly returned to the bathroom, then slowly shut the door behind her. She flinched when the door latched, it seemed to echo through the entire house. When she was completely sure the visitor had left, she turned to examine herself in the mirror . Disgusted, she quickly spun around. Sweating profusely, her chocolate brown hair had rebelled against the heaps of pins holding her prestigious updo . Her eyes were the worst though. She had never seen someone so terrified in her entire life.
It’s okay it’s okay, it was nothing, she thought, it was nothing you’re overreacting, calm down, it’s okay it’s okay. But no matter how much she tried to reassure herself, she couldn’t stop her heart from pounding in her chest. Taking a hard step towards the door and she was suddenly reminded of the pain in her foot. Her knees buckled, forcing her to sit down on the frigid bathroom tiles. The drawer was messy and in need of replenishment, but she was still able to locate a small roll of gauze for her foot.
In kitchen, Elizabeth attempted to eat, but fostered a lack of an appetite. Oil lamp in hand, she wandered to the master bedroom and drifted to the rhythmic pelting of rain on the house.
Elizabeth was standing in the main room, right in front of the door. Something started knocking, three sets with short pauses in between, just like yesterday. There was a low, inhuman chanting outside. Let me in. Let me in. Despite her internal protests, Elizabeth’s hand reached out and opened the door. Standing before her was a dark, amorphous figure that wavered around the edges. It had no face, no front – she couldn’t even identify what shape it was. It just was. An extension of it oozed towards her – then there was nothing.
When Elizabeth woke she was addled and breathing heavily. Her heart was beating so fast her chest ached. She wiped her face and swung her legs over the edge of her bed and glanced up at the grandfather clock . It was four am. Sighing, she rolled back under the blankets. She stared at the ceiling awhile before falling asleep to the lullaby of the rain.
The next morning Elizabeth all thoughts cycled back to the dream. Maybe I imagined it. Yes, she must have imagined it. It was all in my head. But, when the clock stroke five pm, the knocking filled the silence and any iota of hope Elizabeth had that she had imagined yesterday’s encounter was demolished.
At three p.m. the next day Elizabeth was pacing around the kitchen. Blood replaced by fear, Elizabeth sobbed into her hands, refrained from noticing it was five, and fell to the ground in fear. And then the knocking started.
Darrell knocked on the door the third time this week, impatiently tapping his foot. No answer. The only reason he was still coming was the generous payment that Elizabeth’s father had provided. Probably embarrassed her daddy got her a babysitter. I don’t have time for this. With a hideous snort, Darrell turned on his heel and began his journey back home, hoping his wife made steak for dinner.