Carol wound around the cobblestone drive under a canopy of color, lulled by the beautiful contrast. Perhaps that was the reason she was so stunned when the estate came into view. She stopped suddenly, her purse sliding from the seat onto the floor. Oh my God, she thought, her mouth agape. The estate loomed over the plants and trees like a gray cadaver. It was three stories of gray stone, with rows of windows on every story. It was hideous. All the windows were dark, like blind eyes. Suddenly darkness enveloped her. She glanced up to see massive dark clouds racing to hide the sun. A tremor passed through her.
She removed her foot from the brake, and slowly drove forward. A circle brought her to the front door. The door, large and red, was as ugly as the rest of the building. A small overhang, that looked like an afterthought protruded above the door. The yard was unkempt. The oval of grass within the circle drive was dead, as were several plants hugging the building. Carol turned off the car and sat, looking at the huge manor. If you were to drop this building into the center of New York, it would look like a factory. A factory devoid of workers.
Carol sighed, as she retrieved her purse from the floor, and removed the keys. She was hoping she could get in a quick run-thru, but this place was much to large for that. She tossed her purse back onto the seat and got out. She stood for a few minutes, just looking around. Something seemed out of place. It's too quiet. No birds, no nothing. Just silence. She shivered again.
What's the matter with you, Carol? she asked herself. No answer. She turned the key, and pushed the door open. The door protested on old hinges. She stepped into the gloom of a large sitting room. Her second surprise of the day was that the manor was fully furnished. Couches and chairs, coffee tables, and end tables surrounded a grand piano in the center of the room. Nothing was covered, unless you counted dust. Carol tried the light switch, no electricity. She had a flashlight in her trunk, but hoped she wouldn't need it.
With her pen and notepad in hand she wandered throughout the main floor, taking notes as she went. She was discouraged to find so many things wrong. A contractor or two would have to be called in this place was to be sold, other than as-is.
Climbing the stairs, she jumped, as a flash of yellow light filled the room, to be followed by the boom of thunder. Damn! she thought. She hustled up the stairs to the second floor. If possible, the second floor was even darker than the first floor. This floor was like a hotel, room after room after room. Each room had a double bed, two chairs, dresser, closet, and bathroom. Carol had to stand near the window to get enough light to write. Another flash of lightning, and Carol moved away from the window, and closed her notepad. She had intended to drive back to the city tonight, but that plan was scrubbed. She'd have to find a motel, spend the night, and come back tomorrow and finish this up.
As Carol was descending the stairs, she glanced out through a rain streaked window at her car. There was something white on the hood of her car. She wiped a circle of dust from the window, but couldn't make out what it was. Probably leaves, she thought.