“Liam?!” I jolted at the sound of my mother’s voice. I had been standing here for longer than I had originally thought, obviously, because she called my name twice more and I cringed.
Slowly, I dropped my hand from the scored mark on my calendar and replaced it on the wall, supposing I had marked the date as a half term before we’d moved. Shaking my head at myself, I strode down the stairs slowly, glancing around at the pictures of family that we’d already placed on the walls.
I shuddered as the staring eyes got the better of my determined facade and I jumped the last few stairs, landing on a suitcase and nearly putting my foot through the canvas top.
“Damn.” I grunted, kicking the case aside, and following mum’s voice into the kitchen. She was standing alone, slicing tomatoes and putting them quickly into sandwiches, and I grimaced at the images that raced into my brain; gothic horror stories, Dracula with blood streaming down his front, Frankenstein... Mary Shelley – well, alright, not Mary Shelley per-se, but somebody like that.
We ate lunch, and like a good mother, she insisted on filling me in about the history of the place, how in the Victorian Era, my great-aunt and uncle had owned the place, and had horses in the building that was now the garage.
The stables had, of course, been ravaged in a fire, both tremendous and terrifying in equal measures. It had taken the stables, reducing the building to a shell and foundations, the three young horses, and the well-behaved, sensible stable boy.
Nobody found the body. He has simply disappeared, and though part of the village thought he had run away on one of the horses, intending to sell it, to make money from the misfortune, the other half of the villagers were adamant that he hadn’t, and the urban legend was that he was still around, watching and waiting for a friend, his age, to talk to, to explain himself to...
I couldn’t help my questions.
“When did it happen? How old was he?”
“He was seventeen, supposedly, and it happened at the end of October.” Mum said, and, seeing the expression on my face, she burst out laughing. “Sweetheart, don’t worry! It’s only a story!”
I laughed with her, though there was an unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach. We continued eating, in silence for the most part, until a loud thump from above us made me choke on my sandwich, and I warily raised my eyes up to the ceiling.
“I’m gonna finish sorting my room,” I decided, pushing my plate away and slowly stepping up the stairs, looking around the other rooms as I did, wondering what had caused the noise.
And yet, as I opened my bedroom door, I froze.
“Mum!” My mouth was running before I could stop it, “Mum, my calendar’s on the floor...” My voice dropped to a whisper as I spoke the final words.
“What?” She shouted after me, and I bit my lip.
“Nothing.” I called back, not wanting to sound like an idiot.
The nail had probably come out of the wall...
I picked up the damn thing, staring at it, then at the wall, where I’d hung it earlier.
The nail was still hanging straight in the wall.
I think my heart skipped a beat or seven, and then I regained my composure and scowled at the photo of Fabregas adorning the October page, hanging the thing back up, flinging and poking at it to try to make it fall.
It had to be lifted to make it hit the ground.
Something had to lift it.
Someone had to touch it.
But there was only us.