That Saturday afternoon George had gone to Buxton with several friends and his Aunt in her last blue mini. They had stopped on the long hill leading down in Buxton’s centre, and climbed out of the car, following Gertrude’s rather large brown boots up the path of an old semi detached house on the left. Her emerald scarf was hell bent on blowing away in Buxton’s unruly winter wind and no one had a clue why they were there. The house said ‘Paradise House’ in dark slate over the door. No one spoke because they knew the rules from before.
Eventually a worried bald man opened the door and asked them in. He looked like a retired music teacher with his lemon shirt and and corduroys and went by the name of Phillip Jameson but preferred just Phil nowadays. Phil told them to take their time and to wander around the house really exploring the dimensions of the place.
He smiled a lot at Gertie and George decided his wife had left him to his music sheets and nylon shirts and that the house had to be sold in a hurry. He hated him too of course, for his cloying hopefulness, but small bald men were no match for Gertrude even on a quiet day such as this.
Gertie lightly laughed at the grandmother clock in the hall and touched Phil slowly on his pale wrist, whispering haste and eagerness and so Phil disappeared happily to the kitchen promising tea and shortbread.
Don’t gallop children. I need to consider everything. But you are my special eyes as always.
They hurtled ahead, leaving Aunt Gertrude behind to think. They met a grey Persian cat sleeping on a rug who ignored them and found a room with a colossal iron bath standing in the middle of the floor but with no toilet to be found.
Corridors were everywhere. They seemed to dip down in places and then went up again which was all very mysterious for their hurtling feet and minds.
Even the top floor was made up of corridors. There were also three rooms with small, yellow glass windows, looking out over slices of Buxton, from at least 100 feet up they were sure.
George was the only one who risked standing on a window sill and besotted Helen held his jacket, so he could make out the Pavilion in the distance.The room smelt of lino, perfume and fear and George decided this was the room where Philip’s wife would watch for her secret lover, planning her escape from nylon and endless Brahms.
The Woman in Black
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