The trawled through the classifieds and saw the tiny ad for a cleaner. She phoned, and the voice of an elderly man answered. She went around that day to see him. She laboriously climbed the stairs to the top floor. Out of breath, she paused a moment before knocking on the door, which could only be described as like verdigris on a copper object. There was a little grill over the glass pane in the door. It looked more like the entrance to an alchemist’s retreat, not a flat in the middle of town, well yes, it was the old part of town.
She knocked. The door creaked open, and standing in the middle of the room was a strange wizen man, his white hair floating up as if it had a life of its own. He wore an embroidered velvet coat flapping about his knees.
“Ah, you must be the new cleaner.”
Her heart was still racing from the climb, and now the sight of her new employer did not help. “Yes, sir, my name is Mrs Kucharski.”
“Well, Mrs K, come on in, let me show you around the place.”
She thought the living room was musty, dusty, and faded elegance. She followed him into the bedroom. Opposite was the bathroom, nothing unusual. The kitchen was, well, a kitchen. He waved to a door at the end of the passage.
“Never open that door.”
She cleaned regularly, always avoiding the door. Until it became an obsession, she needed to know where it went.
She opened it.
He sat at a worktable and looked sadly at her. “Oh dear, Mrs K, you were doing so well. Now you must go.”
He waved his hands. She found herself out on the street and could never find that address again.