It was the wind. It was the wind. It was the wind.
Enid stoked the open fire in the large stone fireplace in the living room. Snowy curled up on the floor in the warmest place she could find. Enid placed a couple of wood chunks into the fire, and then settled down on the sofa opposite, too nervous to relax completely.
The rattling came again.
Snowy heard it this time, and for a second or two lifted her head, before curling back into a ball again.
Enid watched Snowy gently breathing, in an effort to relax herself, but one of the pieces of wood crackled and fizzed in the fireplace which almost made her leap out of her skin.
“It’s only the wind!” She announced, as she stood up. Snowy paid no attention.
Enid decided she would walk into the kitchen and make herself a hot drink; but as soon as she’d gotten in there she’d heard another noise and forgot completely about making herself a cuppa.
This noise was similar to the rattling, but with it there was also a dragging noise. And it was coming from the room above.
Enid ran back into the living room, swiftly picked up Snowy – who complained briefly and then purred – and held her close. “You’re coming with me!” She said, and tentatively walked up the stairs.
The room above the kitchen was one of the bedrooms in the old stone house. It was an unused bedroom, one they hadn’t decided on a use for yet. At the top of the stairs, Enid noticed that the door was slightly open, a light was on, and through the tiny space she could see shapes and shadows moving.
It’s a mouse.
Enid knew the shadows were too large and too square to be a mouse, but nevertheless she tried to convince herself otherwise.
Enid suddenly felt like one of those heroines or victims of those early movies who investigated strange noises in the dead of night, dressed only in their night clothes, before coming a cropper. She thought about stumbling over, just to get it out of the way, and decided against it. Besides, she had Snowy. Snowy would chase the bad mouse away.
She reached the door. Grunting and heavy shoving came from the other side.
She pushed open the door.
Snowy fled from her arms, and back to the warmth of the open fire downstairs.
Carmichael screamed back at her, and then screamed again as he dropped the large wardrobe onto his right foot.
“What are you…?” Carmichael saw how pale Enid had gone.
“I thought you were a mouse” she stuttered, “or the… what are you doing in here? I thought you were out…” Her heart pounded in her chest, but she desperately tried to act calm.
“I’m back. I’ve been back a while. I’m moving the furniture around. I would have told you earlier, but you were well away, snoring. I thought I’d have finished by the time you woke up.”
“You must have woke me up, then… ‘though it could have been the fire almost going out…” Enid said, breathing easier. “All I heard was rattling and dragging.”
“It’s this wardrobe” Carmichael explained, “That’s on my foot. It’s really heavy, and the rattling is this top door” He wobbled the wardrobe gently, and the hanging door swung freely and rattled. He also managed to free his foot. He pushed the door over to where he wanted it to go, and allowed the rattling to stop. “I think I’ll leave it here for today – it’s late now, and I can finish off tomorrow!”
Carmichael walked over to the door beside Enid, when they both heard another rattling noise, coming from the attic above them, shortly followed by a heavy thudding.
Running down the stairs, Carmichael looked back at Enid and said “Nothing to worry about… it’s only the wind!”.
That night, they barricaded themselves in the living room, taking it in turns keeping the fire stoked.
Snowy enjoyed the company, and the roaring fire, and was completely oblivious to the latest unusual activity the house on the hill presented.