I took the silver envelope and turned it over in my hands, wondering where we were and what was going on. I clocked the bar pretty much immediately and went straight over to it. It was locked. Bloody hell. I ripped the envelope open, in the hope that it was the key to the bar. But it didn’t fit. I stood there cursing at the lock for a few moments, before storming off away from it. What the hell was the key for then?
I found a bench and sat down on it, looking at the key. It was kind of old fashioned. It almost looked familiar. I tried to think when I had last seen a key like this. I closed my eyes, holding it as if about to open a door, wondering what kind of door I’d be opening with it.
It didn’t really work, so I went back to just looking at it, hoping that the answer would just come to me. The key ring had a small wolf hanging from it. I touched it, glad to know it wasn’t silver. I guessed it was maybe steel or something. I had a look around at the houses. They were all different. Maybe the house this key was meant for would become obvious when I found it.
Lifting myself up off the bench, I set off, wandering pretty much aimlessly.
The house was definitely obvious once I saw it. It was like it was screaming my name at me. It was hardly small, or even what you would call average. The exterior was modern and built much like a 21stcentury house, adorned with hints at a time long gone. The door, for example, was a fairly average size for a modern house, but it was solid oak with a coat of arms carved into the surface. A wolf filled most of the coat of arms, a full moon up in the top right corner. As if the wolf on my key ring didn’t give it away enough.
I unlocked the door and wandered inside. I felt like a child again. The decorations were modern enough to make a 21stcentury human comfortable, but they were so very reminiscent of Gabriel’s manor house. I half expected to see Emily bustling around making beds and glaring at Gabriel for whatever he’d done wrong lately. The layout was almost exactly as I remembered. Things were different, subtle things. The shade of red wallpaper was darker in the halls than it should’ve been, the pianoforte in the music room was a modern grand piano, and there weren’t sheets of music everywhere. The string instruments were all in their cases and neatly packed away. I cleared my throat awkwardly, dropping my bag on the piano stool before heading to where the library was. I hadn’t picked up a book in years, yet here was a whole room filled with rows of shelves, all packed full with books all waiting to be read. A laptop sat neatly on the desk by the window. The view out of the window was of the woodland that surrounded the village, and even though it was different, I could’ve easily stared out of it for days on end, waiting for Gabriel to make a comment about me always looking out of that god damned window.
Licking my lips nervously, I backed out of the library, wondering how this house had ended up here. By the time I reached the bar, it had been opened. There was one other person in there, other than the bar maid. I gave her a cursory glance and ordered as many shots of vodka as she was willing to pour. As soon as they were set down in front of me, I started throwing them back like water.
“Might wanna pace yourself,” the guy near me said. I glanced over at him, but he’d already gone back to his beer.
“Why would I wanna pace myself?” I asked, eyeing his silver ring dubiously.
"So you don't end up making a fool of yourself, for starters."
"I won't. I just need to drink. My house is..." I trailed off, shaking my head and throwing back another drink. “Is the house you got really f*cked up too?”
“Hm?” I repeated myself. "Depends what your view of f*cked up is."
"Mine's like somewhere I used to live when I was younger. It's different but it's so familiar."
"We're in the same boat, then,” the guy said.
"I wonder what everyone else's are like,” I thought aloud.
"Well the chick with black hair lives in the mansion, I can tell you that much."
“I’ll be giving that one a wide berth then,” I muttered to myself.
"Long story." It wasn’t, really. I just didn’t feel like sharing.
"Fair enough." I just drank. I noticed a silver crucifix dangling from around his neck as he leaned forward to order another beer.
"Not particularly," he replied.
"What's that for then?"
"In case of emergency." I arched my eyebrow, wondering what the hell he was on about. "It's the next best thing if I run out of silver bullets, put it that way." Ah. A hunter. Well that was all I needed.