Thanks as always to Sue for this week’s challenge:
For visually challenged writers, the image shows an imposing stone gateway, with pillars carved with foliage and strange faces… and the gates standing ajar.
No-one saw anyone enter or leave Farrow House.
There was no letter box, no doorbell, no intercom system. In fact no way to communicate with anyone on the inside that someone outside required access.
The gates were huge and heavy, the stone pillars ornate and foreboding, the centre of the concrete threshold green with lichen through lack of traffic.
The property stood in solitary grounds, the townsfolk accepting of its presence and the reclusive family who resided there.
Delivery was by appointment. Orders were placed on-line, a time agreed and a gate left ajar accordingly for a window of just ten minutes. Instructions were to leave the goods on the inside of the gate in the receptacle provided, and not to venture further. Drivers were requested to ensure the gate locked behind them before driving away.
It seemed to work very well.
That was until a replacement driver had more than delivery on his mind having glimpsed the magnificent Manor House and after leaving the customer’s order, deliberately stopped the gate from locking with double-sided tape so that he could return later.
When night fell, he slipped through the unlatched gate, making sure that it didn’t lock behind him so that he could get out again.
The property was just visible through the trees and he was thinking of his potential spoils as he approached.
He heard music, a gentle lullaby that was unfamiliar.
He stopped to listen and get his bearings when he heard a rustle in the bushes.
Six pairs of yellow eyes glared at him from the shadows, a low growling becoming apparent.
The music stopped as the growling increased.
A figure appeared at the window, bent and hooded in the half light.
‘I wondered if you’d come.’ they said.
He could not determine if they were male or female.
‘Your ploy with the tape was futile. It has been tried before and failed. The latch is electronic anyway, so automatically seals, as it has now. Everyone leaves us alone, but once in a while, someone, like you, tries their hand to take advantage or steal from us.
‘You should know that the gates aren’t to keep people out, but to keep my pets in.’
With a snap of fingers, the creatures emerged from the foliage.
‘Dinner is served my beauties!’
As the music resumed, they were upon him before he could think to scream.