The sun was shining, sparkling off the flat calm of the evening water in the bay as Ellie cycled gently back to her small flat over the boat house in Porthgarron. An exciting new job had bought her here to the far end of Pembroke and with the enchanting tiny flat she had found her life was looking wonderful. New friends, new experiences and an interesting and challenging job.
As it was such a beautiful Friday evening she had decided to take a long slow detour back to the village. Carol, a new friend at work, had been telling her about an amazing cafe where you could eat at long tables right on the beach. It was apparently completely casual so there was no need to go home before eating; what a lovely ring that word home had. So now she had time to explore.
Over the open heath land away from the immediate coast she followed tiny winding lanes, breathing the soft air which blew the scent of wild flowers towards her. A good flower book was going to be needed, and maybe a bird book. There was just so much to see and enjoy in this beautiful area. Just now it was still early in the season so very few holiday makers were about and the lack of cars rushing at and past her was such a novelty.
After half an hour she started to feel too dry and wondered whether she ought to find something to drink. It must have been the warm evening that was making her strangely thirsty for she had had a good drink before starting off. At that moment she was passing a set of open gates leading to a short drive. On impulse she turned off the lane and cycled slowly up the drive. She decided to ask at the house for a drink, this was something she would normally never have considered, but it just seemed the right thing to do at that time.
Propping her bike on a bench at the front of the house she approached the door which was slightly ajar. Unable to find a bell she tried knocking causing the door to open fully, so she decided to call out asking if anyone was at home. Something made her pause before calling and she then felt drawn into the hallway. Blinking to accustom her eyes to the gloom after the bright evening sun outside she saw she was in big square hall. A grand staircase swept up from the centre and there were dark, heavy wooden hall stands on each side, the mirrors reflecting gloomy portraits hung on the walls.
Curious, she ventured to the back of the hall and cautiously opened a door. This led into a long depressing passageway with no natural light coming in. Perhaps this was the way to a servants’ area of the house. She wanted to leave the house and felt uncomfortably in the wrong but was unable to resist the urge to continue along the passage. It was cold and unsettling and she gradually began to feel a growing sense that there was a powerful, unnatural presence here.
She should turn back and leave before she had gone too far, but could no longer fight the force that was pulling her onwards. On through a side door and into a narrow, dark room with china cupboards and old sinks, all the while the sense that she was being controlled by something unknown and powerful increased. Slowly it was filling her whole being with a burning hatred, not towards herself but within her to someone in this house. How could this be, she was new to this part of Wales, but the feeling continued grow. Someone here meant her great harm and this overpowering sense was drawing her deeper into the house.
Pushing open another door she found herself in a great old fashioned kitchen. Her eyes were drawn inexorably to a rack of magnificent kitchen knives and she knew she had to arm herself with one. She seemed to have lost all control over her thoughts and actions as she picked up a wickedly sharp, pointed meat knife.
Unable to act on any rational thoughts she had abandoned her mind to whatever had taken control and she walked on through the kitchen into a maze of passageways that led to the main part of the house. Eventually a door ahead of her lay open into a lofty library, the walls lined with ranks of dusty books. In here, she knew, was the source of all the anger that was now burning so overwhelmingly in her, filling every part of her being. She had to stop this person at all costs or her life would be finished, there was room for no other thought in her fevered mind.
Rushing into the room with an agonising cry she launched herself at the chair by the window and buried the knife she was wielding deep into the chest of the woman who was sitting there. It went straight through her heart, so she died instantly, falling across the will she had been writing.
Suddenly, Ellie was back in the world gazing in horror at the slumped form before her. In panic and terror she felt for any signs of life, but there was nothing, absolutely nothing. She had killed a defenceless person. Her first thought was that she must go straight to the police, but how could she, she had just killed. No one else was there, her finger prints were everywhere and she was covered in blood.
Stumbling blindly out through the house she was followed by a triumphant and awful laughter, turning she saw the ghostly shape of a figure watching her from an upper window. Then she fled across the garden and out onto the open moor, where, utterly, utterly terrified she crawled into the thick tangle of bracken and curled up into a tight ball of despair.
By Elizabeth Fowler.