School English exercise.
I walk down the dusty corridor, slowly but without fear. The door taunts me and I go towards it, kicking it, striking it--with all my anger and frustration and fear I do my best to destroy it, but as I try it starts to scream, and its voice is the voice of the child that I heard on the marsh, crying out and calling for help. I jump backwards, staring at the door in horror and shock. The cries continue, on and on.
I hear footsteps and I turn around. The woman stands behind me. Her eyes look from me to the door for a second that seems to last a lifetime.
"Why won't it open?" I ask; my voice is soft and falls dead as though in a fog, as though the air is heavy with the mist. She stares for another lifetime. I reach out and take the glass of brandy, which is shining, giving out light, promising comfort in my disturbance. I am ready to throw it if she comes close.
"The area is unsuitable," she says, and walks towards a cupboard. The moment she is behind it she vanishes; her dress no longer trails on the floor leaving patterns in the thick grey dust.
I rattle the handle of the door again; it sounds like hooves. The crying stops and I turn to leave, relieved but unsettled. Keckwick is behind me, holding a candle. His face is pale, cold. I start to run towards the bedroom, heart thumping, and he does not follow. And yet when I look behind me he is standing just behind my shoulder. He has not taken a step.
In panic I try to open the door and it is locked. The lights go out and I try to scream but the fog muffles it; the sound would never reach the village across the marshes. I search for some way to alert the sleeping villagers of my danger and then I see that I am trapped. I try to open the window--the iron lock burns my fingers so that I flinch away, back towards my pursuer.
This time he is not alone. The woman is there, her ghastly face angry and burning with a passionate fire. I try again to open the window, ignoring the pain.
I feel a hand on my shoulder. As I tense, waiting for the worst, my two pursuers flee, no longer concerned with my destruction but concentrating merely on their flight. I hear what it was that startled them--a bell. A bell, a bell, is ringing....