The atmosphere caused by the mysterious visitors had still not worn off after a while, and Eveline spent a good deal of the time sat nervously in her chair, eyes fixed on the doorway. The house, I had come to realise, was incredibly boring. I was only allowed in my own guest room, the bathroom, and the living room and kitchen downstairs. The third floor, the other bedrooms, and the basement were out of bounds. Yet, I found that when I approached the front door of the house, fresh air and the outdoors didn't appeal in the slightest - I found myself almost nauseous at the brightness of it all. I supposed that it was because I'd been in this dark house so much.
Letting go of the heavy curtain, I left my room and descended the stairs slowly, noticing the way the wall was cracked, and the cobwebs in the corner of the ceiling that even the spiders had deserted long ago. I sighed and sat down on a step, glancing to my left, where the open doorway revealed the living room. There was Eve, hair and make-up perfect as usual, her head fixed in the direction of the window, at an angle that make her look posed for a photograph. I wondered just what she could find so fascinating about those drawn curtains.
As soon as I moved again, though, her gaze snapped towards me, and her sullen expression became the usual reserved smile.
"Good morning." she greeted me.
"Is it morning?" I asked, absentmindedly. I checked the clock - twenty past six - before remembering that it was wrong, as all the clocks here were. I wasn't certain what time I'd woken up, or how long ago it was. Eve didn't reply to this, but stared at me for a few moments, suddenly making me feel very uncomfortable. Her hands, in her lap, were trembling a little. She murmured something to herself that I couldn't hear.
"Pardon?" I asked nervously.
She cleared her throat.
"Would you mind fetching Emily Rose for me?" she asked, a veneer of calm over her voice about as thin as her smile.
That was the first time I felt it. Not the sinking feeling that so many people speak of - more a rising feeling if anything, a horrifying sensation that built up in my chest, quickening my heartbeat, pulled my shoulders up tensely, and jumped up to tighten my throat, before reaching my widening eyes. It was as if something, some kind of memory, was niggling at the back of my mind, and every time I ventured near it, I leapt away in horror at it.
Don't think about it. Don't think about it.
I blinked hard, and it worked - the feeling was gone. I nodded to Eve and left the room, banishing all questions about what was happening to me from my mind. It would be fine, as long as I didn't think about it.
As if she could read our minds, Emily was already half-way down the stairs, still holding a small doll and wearing a white night-gown. She was shivering a little. I smiled weakly.
"Your mother was just asking for you." I told her.
As Emily went to greet her mother, I stood in the hallway, wondering what to do next. Glancing around, the door to the basement caught my eye. Despite the sudden notion that I shouldn't, I put my fingers on the door handle.
Like an electric shock, that feeling ran through me again, so badly that I couldn't breathe.