She’s here, in the living flesh at the Hall. Emily is too upset about the tiger to care but the Captain is pleased young, brave blood pulses around the place. She came with Sophia to help look for Baby. Here, to this cold and damp house, shrouded in winter fog and the calls of the crows. The Captain reckons she has a strong taste for adventure and a will to match. The black dog, Beelzebub keeps running madly around, excited by her owner’s presence. It keeps taking me to the garden and then starts digging, or trying too. Getting a bit annoying really…
When she arrived with Sophia, looking frozen and slightly uncomfortable in winter woollies, Old Bill and Charles perked up immensely from their misery. With the tiger gone, the Hall would have to be sold and where, oh where would they go? Mr Sharp Suit had got wind of the missing cat and had greased himself into the house earlier that day, let in by that guttersnipe Brigitte and had gone away with a smile on his thin, dry, odorous lips.
Through the looking glass
And then the dog goes and appears to her in the mirror. She is sleeping in the room with a lilac tree outside, Maria’s old room, which is quiet and has a large circular mirror on the wall with floral prints covering most of the surfaces. There she is, brushing her hair, looking wishfully into it, when low and behold; the damn dog appears digging in the snow and generally messing about, instead of her almost perfect reflection. Even Emily, taking a break from her hunt for the beast to cast a critical eye down below, jumped. Loulou didn’t. She just gazed, looking puzzled.
“Is she stupid?”Emily asked. “Why didn’t she react?”
Emily is very jealous of the new occupant, who is stealing her feminine lime light.
“I think she has special sight…” I said to Emily, who immediately huffed and disappeared.
I do mean it though. I think she feels us around her. Just before going to sleep, Emily went to her room and heard Sophia giving her a few pointers about life at the Hall;
“If you feel them around you,” she was saying, “talk to them! Tell them to either help or be kind or get lost. You have to take charge a little or they may try and mess you about. I know it feels silly talking to a room but it works for me…”
Moments later Emily was told to leave the room and the Captain paced a little quieter in his corridor, so as not to disturb the young warm blood in her dreams.
Dream a little dream for me…
Today started with a few surprises.
She tossed and turned for most of the night, the room oddly so cold, that thin ice formed on the inside of the windows. Drafts do permeate the space but I have never seen it frozen over before. Emily and I were quite shocked when she woke with a scream and fell out the bed, making us both glide backwards into the shadows in the corner. Then it made sense. The Norse was there, smothering us with his freezing form and mumbling incoherently. I think he had been there all night and I think he had something to do with Loulou’s harsh awakening .But what? I heard the words beast, ground and snow but could make out little else. And then he disappeared.
At breakfast she told Sophia of a dream.
She was in darkness, the only noise a drip of water. Then she heard a purring which vibrated in the void around her, like the noise of a very large cat. A strange shadow had appeared, holding a lantern and had beckoned her towards his black form. Not keen on this horror film vision, she turned away and tried to walk in the opposite direction, starting to feel a growing fear. Her feet felt stuck in the mud and it took a great effort to move only a few steps. And then something tugged her clothes, almost pulling her over. It’s a dream, she told herself, trying to calm her pumping chest, wake up idiot, you are dreaming. It was so dark all around her and she took a breath before looking behind her to see the lantern, still gleaming and coming closer. Then she felt Beelzebub beside her, pulling at her to walk towards the light.
“Bl**dy dog, what are you doing here? What’s the matter?” she called into obscurity.
Her feet suddenly felt wet. Then she noticed the sound had changed. The drip had vanished and was replaced by a gushing, gurgling noise mingled with a low deep howl, almost a roar. And now her ankles were getting wet. She had to move but couldn’t. Mud, the dreamer’s nightmare, clung thickly around her feet.
“Beelzebub,” she screamed. “Help me!”
The lantern drew closer but she became engulfed in a cold so thick, she felt she was drowning.
“Go to the garden!” a voice called, before her last effort to break free brought her tumbling out of bed and onto the floor of her freezing abode.
Sophia had comforted her and then insisted that they did indeed, go to the garden. Chocked up in hats and scarves they patrolled the lawns, still stiff with snow .Emily and I watched them crunching through the icy layer, Loulou shivering in the intense freeze. The winter sun was out trying to warm the earth and the trees were crying with melted joy. Dean appeared carrying a bucket of salt for the paths.
“It’s melting!”We heard him comment. “It’ll be brown sludge in a few days I reckon,” he grinned, tripping over himself to get a better look at Loulou. Sophia introduced him to her young companion. He then promised to take Loulou on a tour of the secret historical spaces of the Hall (his speciality) and wandered off to grit the main path, whistling tunelessly and managing to catch his scarf on any branch he happened to pass.
“He’s a good lad really,” Sophia smiled and suggested they get back into the warmth for a cup of hot chocolate.
Hours later the police had been round with very little to report. They had found a tranquillizer syringe in Baby’s pound but nothing more. Brigitte could have dropped it at some point but as she had gone away for a few days and wasn’t answering calls, they would have to wait until she returned to check on their only clue.
Old William looking tired and drawn, had retired to his room. Charles was sitting with his heavy head lolling in his hands and Sophia was trying to be bright, cooking with Loulou in the kitchen.
A couple of minutes ago Emily spied Dean running eagerly to the house in the dying light of the day. He started banging on the back door and shouting about the garden and the old tunnel. The dogs began barking hysterically but Charles just shook his head. Loulou, still haunted by her dream, jumped up and sped to the excited gardener. Emily and I joined her.
On opening the door all we heard was;”It’s appeared, the tunnel, it’s appeared!”
The dogs dashed out and so must we. That’s where I leave you…till the next time….