My Dear Charlotte–
Didn’t I promise you a letter? This old-fashioned form seems to fit the mood of this place. Besides, there is no internet access, here! I am writing you in the library, on an enormous table, surrounded by bookshelves, white curtains billowing in the breeze.
How can I describe this strange house under a vast and milky sky, amid a sea of green hills? There are no shadows, here. We are in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest town.
As you know, Eric and I were invited by his old college friend, Howard. We hadn’t heard from Howard for years, and I was surprised he would be writing now. But, he was so insistent we come for a visit. And you know how we wanted to get away from it all. The country air would do us good.
Little did we know who we would be sharing this place with! In addition to Howard, there is Howard’s Uncle Cyrus, and his daughter (Howard’s cousin) Lucy. Then there are the Watsons–Mary and Will, who take care of the house and grounds.
What a cast of characters!
Uncle Cyrus is a true eccentric. He fancies himself an inventor. He is also an avid amateur astronomer. By day, he works on secret projects in the basement. At night, he studies the moon and the constellations.
Lucy is another story. She is a real romantic heroine, fond of long walks on the hills in the moonlight. She has the look for it, wispy dresses and long dark hair blown back in the wind. She has the most beautiful eyes, large and dark and haunted.
She’s got her eyes on Eric, that’s plain. I saw her sideways glances when she thought no one was looking. How she comes up with excuses to get him alone. Yet, he doesn’t put up much resistance.
And Howard? He is so tortured by this summer triangle. He lies on the sofa in the library, moaning while I stroke his brow. But it’s not my comfort he wants, even as he kisses my fingers.
It has been feverish in this house where no one sleeps. Doors opening and closing. Did I mention the muffled cries, the barking and howling? There is a change in the hills at night. Even the air is different. You wouldn’t believe it in the light of day.
The only ones who seem immune are the Watsons. Will says I should leave before it’s too late. Mary has suggested some herbal remedies, chamomile tea and wolfsbane and valerian, but this doesn’t help my insomnia.
Each night, the howling grows louder as the moon grows full. I don’t know how much longer I can bear it.
Oh, Charlotte, you really must come and join us here! Even now, I can see them out there romping on the hill, Uncle Cyrus and Howard and Eric and Lucy, rolling in the grass like animals.
Want more very short stories? Here’s one about a summer concert.
Like this? Why not subscribe? Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
If you have Gmail, don’t miss out. Check your “promotions” box. Move one of my posts from the “promotions” box to “primary” and you’ll never miss a post. Thanks for reading!
Filed under: Uncategorized