Lady Salinger-Wallis imagined herself to be covered in dust and cobwebs. She could feel the ladder in her stocking had run a little further, and she could still feel the mouse running over her foot. She could also feel that one of her fake fingernails had come loose. She quickly dusted herself down, although she couldn’t really see anything in the darkness. She was relieved that she’d managed to get the door open.
She heard two pairs of footsteps running down the wooden staircase at the other end of the hallway.
“Lady S!” she heard Scott shout from the lounge.
“I’m here, dear!” she replied. “I’ve had a bit of bother getting out of this room, but I’m out now. The phone isn’t connected, which I’m confused about.”
“Come to the lounge, you’ll be even more confused.”
Lady S quickly walked along the hallway and into the lounge. The empty lounge. There was no furniture, no paintings on the wall, no fireplace. She stood in the centre of the room open-mouthed. “What? I?” she stuttered, and laughed nervously. She then noticed that there were no portraits on the walls in the hallway either.
Scott, Icewolf and Lady S almost jumped out of their skins as they heard another shout from outside the front door.
“Hello!” The man shouted once again. Icewolf looked at Scott.
“You go and open the door, Scott. I’m still trying to work out what’s going on. I mean, we were all sat on a settee that is so not here now.”
Scott walked along the hallway and opened the front door without difficulty. He discovered a policeman in the porch, who shone a bright torchlight into his face. Scott recoiled slightly because of the brightness.
“So you are in here.” The policeman said. “I noticed the three cars parked at the bottom of the drive and thought oh no, not again.”
“We only called in to use the telephone, my dear.” Lady S explained. “The strange family who live here seemed to welcome us in at first, and then it all went rather peculiar. I was locked in the parlour and couldn’t get out and a mouse ran across my foot.”
“We were locked upstairs in the bedroom” Icewolf continued. “When we came down again, after finally getting ourselves free we found that everything and everyone are gone. We weren’t stuck up there for that long either.”
The policeman took a sharp intake of breath. “Come outside, all of you.” He said.
A few seconds later, the quartet was outside in the fresh air. The rain had stopped, and the sky above was beginning to clear. The policeman pointed to the house.
“This house has stood empty since the early fifties. It’s actually scheduled to be demolished. For the past couple of years or so, around Halloween, Midwinter or Midsummer, I’ve come by to find people like you who have somehow got themselves trapped inside. They come out talking about either a Daddy or a Mummy, or a pair of twins, sometimes sisters, sometimes brothers, sometimes a brother and sister. For one reason or another, all visitors find themselves needing to use the telephone. Most times, the phone is disconnected, although sometimes it is connected, but whoever is making the call is always connected to a telephone operator but they can’t make out what the operator’s saying.”
Lady Salinger-Wallis trilled with nervous laughter. “At least I didn’t get the operator! The mouse was bad enough.”
“Well, we’re out now.” Scott said. “We’ve had a bit of an experience, something for you to blog about, hey, Icewolf?”
Icewolf pondered for a second. “Nah. I don’t think so. Nobody will ever believe this! Let’s get back down to the cars… mine may actually start now that it’s not raining.”
Lady Salinger-Wallis, Scott and Icewolf started walking down the driveway.
“Ooh, just a moment.” Lady S stopped. “I need to ask the policeman something – he didn’t mention Eddie being asleep in my car.” She turned back to face the policeman, and gasped, rather audibly.
Scott and Icewolf turned around as well. The policeman was nowhere to be seen. And not only that: the house too had vanished.
“Well, of all the things…” Lady Salinger-Wallis glanced back at Scott and Icewolf. A split second later, all three of them ran as quickly as they could down the driveway, hardly stopping to breathe, let alone look back.
As they reached the iron gate all three heard what sounded like four people laughing, which stopped abruptly the moment they were through the gate.
Swiftly, Lady S checked on Eddie who was still fast asleep in her car. Another car approached them, from Mid’s direction, and parked just behind Lady S’s vehicle. Lady S was shocked to see her butler Oswald get out of the car, carrying a can of petrol.
“Sorry it took me so long to get here after your phone call, ma’am, the storm had caused the Mid Bridge to seize up. At least I’ve got here by midnight. I think this is for you.” Oswald handed the full petrol can to Scott.
“But… but… but…” the colour drained from Lady Salinger-Wallis’ face, “I didn’t make the call.”
Icewolf, Scott and Lady S all looked at each other in a kind of stunned silence, until a clap of thunder caused them to leap into action and run to their respective vehicles. Scott emptied the can into his transporter van, and leapt behind the wheel.
“See you around, Lady S!” he shouted. Icewolf had got into her car and already sped back up the lane. Scott followed her, with the intention of filling his van fully at the nearest petrol station up the lane.
Lady Salinger-Wallis sat in the passenger seat in Oswald’s car, as Oswald carried Eddie and gently put him onto the back seat. Eddie was still snoring, blissfully unaware. Oswald then drove his car in front of Lady S’s, connected the tow rope, and then headed back to Mid.
Lady S roared with laughter, relieved that this weird night was now over.
(This is a repeat presentation, originally posted in 2015)