Uneasy about the mysterious shadow that had passed overhead moments before the glass fell,
Justin glanced over his shoulder to check the greenhouse roof. Not seeing anything unusual and
reasoning that if anyone had actually been on the roof, even more glass would have rained down
on them, he followed after Susan. Maybe the shadow was just a big bird, he reasoned.
§ § §
Justin walked around the corner into the front yard as Susan retrieved a large manila envelope
from beneath the windshield wiper of the SUV.
“What’s that?” he asked, coming up next to her.
“Well, it says, ‘To: The Anders. From: Jeb Smith of Maple Woods Real Estate, Incorporated’.
We must have missed him while dodging falling glass.” Susan opened the envelope and shook
out the contents: a small ring of keys, the property deed, and a handwritten note on a sheet of
corporate letterhead. “Listen to this. ‘Sorry I missed you. Would have looked for you, but I did
not want to interrupt anything. Feel free to contact me if you have any question or require further
assistance.’ He didn’t want to interrupt anything? Did he think we were just gonna start rolling
around on the ground the minute we arrived?”
“I’m sure I don’t know, but this is the country after all. Who knows what they do out here or
how they do it?” he said with a wicked smile.
She punched him in the shoulder and after returning the papers to the envelope, Susan raised her
hand, the keys lying in her open palm. “So, are you going to carry me over the threshold or
what?” she asked with a wicked smile of her own.
Justin made a face and walked toward the cottage. When he was almost to the front steps, he
turned and ran back, then scooped a shocked Susan off her feet. “Just hurry up and unlock the
door so I don’t drop you,” he said, pretending to pant from the exertion of carrying her.
“You are so very funny, smart-ass. I’m gonna remember that comment and it will come back to
haunt you when you least expect it.”
The sun began its slow descent in the western sky as the couple entered the house. Inside the
front door, Justin let his wife down on the light-colored plank floor. An ice-cold breeze blew out
from the interior of the darkened house just as her feet touched the wood. Thinking nothing of
the eerie wind or where it might have come from, they stood facing inward, waiting for their
eyes to adjust to the dimness. From where they stood, the first floor spread around them; the
front door opened into the main entry, with doors leading to the kitchen, dinning room and
sitting area. A door in the back wall lead to the study and to the right of the front door was a
door closing off a short hallway, which according to the realtor description contained the
downstairs bathroom and the stairway to the second floor. Since the house came partially
furnished, there were pieces of furniture scattered throughout the ground floor. Among the
pieces, a small half-circle table stood next to the front door, covered with a layer of dust. Resting
atop the table and sheathed in dust, was a beige envelope addressed to ‘Master and Mistress
Anders,’ in a bold sweeping script.
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