Clarise Stewart was taken aback by the relator’s remark.
“They vanished..” Mrs. Huntley stated.
“Someone doesn’t just vanish..” she replied curtly.
“Well the owner just up and gone one day. But I am glad you like the place, the keys are yours, but let me tell you, there is a story in these walls; I can’t quite put my finger on it. But I am happy that you are happy with your decision.” She said smiling.
Clarise had been out of veterinarian school for about 5 years. Her move and her new practice brought her over seas from her native California roots to England. East Anglia to be exact. She loved the area. As a child, she had visited many times and was fortunate to have the support of her family to move and start her practice here.
In her hands she held her new sign, black and gold:
”CLARISE STEWART DVM”
She stared at it quickly again, and then her attention drew back to the real estate agent, as a bunch of keys landed in her hand. They were all cold.
“How long has the house been vacant?” she started looking around the kitchen they just entered.
“Over a year, dearie. The bank took ownership. Before you not many really showed interest.”
She had gotten a good deal on the house, now she understood why, least she though. A brief glance out the window proved its lack of occupancy. Gardens overgrown, roses higher than herself, and the lawn looked like a field of alfalfa. The old barn adjacent to the driveway that she planned to make a horse hospital, looked dusty but not as bad as the yard. Just needed new red paint but, it was very empty and lonely as the house was, which seemed to speak to her as well.
Out of the whole she liked her kitchen. French country was her favorite. The white and blue tiles and white rustic cupboards really played the theme well. She had decided, the kitchen was her new favorite room of her old little house. She glanced around again but an out of place locked door a blue door, more like a cupboard, or maybe a small door or closet drew her eye towards it.
“Mrs. Huntley? What is that door to the garden,.. there on that wall, by the dinette area?” she asked walking towards it.
“Oh that door? I don’t know. It has been locked since I have showed the place. I guess you could take it out and repaint if you don’t like it.” She said briefly.
“No, it gives this room character. I kind of like it.” She said as she walked towards the door.
“A key for it should be on that ring I gave you…” Ms. Huntley said pointing to the keys Clarise held in her hand while looking up from finishing up the closing paperwork. Clarise looked at her keys again. There were five.
“Alrighty, then the place is yours Miss. Stewart. Wish you luck. Here are your copies of the deed and everything. Now don’t you go vanishing on me too.” She said with a wink.
“Oh I won’t. Maybe the barn with some horses in a few months.” She laughed.
Ms. Huntley shook Clarise’s hand and saw herself out to her little bicycle and carried on her way down the village road from Clarise’s new home.
Clarise looked at her keys, the paperwork on the table, and the boxes that had come so far.
“And there will be more.” She sighed.
Curiosity drew her to the door once again. She looked at the keys and tried some of them. She went through four of the five she had. None worked. The last one, an old fashion key, kind of like a key she remembered from a childhood movie, “Return to Oz” she tried finally. It worked. The door opened. Expecting something, nothing happened as she opened it. It opened to another entry into the garden.
“Old door you are in a funny place, but I like you.” she said to herself while closing the door back up. She felt a breeze of cool air race in front of her as she closed it.
“Drafty.. Must be a storm coming.” she said, as she looked to the horizon.
There were not many clouds. She shut the funny blue door and left it unlocked. She was going to put some flowers in the entry and make it like a garden window she thought, out of place as it was. She thought again. Enough fun time, time for boxes she though to herself, as she made her way to the back of the house to unpack 12 years of her life into her new home.
* * *
Dreaming never came easy to Clarise. She always had too much on her mind, but that night, with all that had happened, and unpacking, she did dream. She was in a field with her childhood pony, Bucket. How she loved that pony. Dreams like this brought tears to her eyes when she woke up. But it was the sound of breaking glass and a very real snort that quickly pulled her from sleep.
Clarise shot up in bed and facing her was a huge black warhorse, armor and all. She pinched herself. No she wasn’t dreaming. There was a horse in her bedroom staring at her with black dark eyes wild.
“There is a horse in my house… and it has armor…” She muttered to herself.
Maybe this is why she got a deal on her house, it was haunted. She put her hand out to touch the horses face. He was smooth as silk, mane wild and long. He was real. He was defiantly not a ghost.