I don’t know how long I stood there, looking out of my window. I watched each drop of rain sliding down the panes of glass. Slowly a tiny drop joined another, making it heavier, wiggling its way down and ending its journey by soaking into the rotten, wooden window frame.
As I hold the little book from Jayne, my mind drifts back 40 years to my childhood, cycling along country lanes. At speed, Jayne and I freewheeled down to the bottom of the hill. “You’re going too fast!” Shouting with excitement, clinging tightly to the handlebars and braking hard as we approached the old wooden gate. We flung ourselves off, letting our bikes fall into the bramble hedge and clambered over the gate. Hidden in the undergrowth, a weathered sign for Hill House. As we scurried nervously up the track looking back towards the road, by now out of sight, it was silent, except the distant hum of farm machinery.
The front door of Hill House hung precariously between two cracked, ivy clad pillars balancing like children’s building blocks. Charming windows with their wrought iron catches, frames rotting, some left hanging open. We held hands as we climbed up onto what had become the first step, others had since dropped away and were vaguely visible beneath us.
The winding stairway had splintered and fallen away leaving a place only small creatures would dare to climb. Sitting at the bottom of the stairs we looked up to the exposed sky. Bowed wooden planks had fallen through exposing the ground beneath us. Without a word to each other, we stood up and left.
My mind resets. The book, a small note falls out.
“Suzi, this is the journal we found under the floorboards. It’s time to tell the story, isn’t it? Jayne”