Claudia was sitting at the study table watching the rain pelt outside her window. She sighed, wrung her hands and picked up the phone. After dialling the number, Kurt picked up the phone on the fifth ring.
“Jagger residence,” came Kurt’s muffled voice.
“Hey Kurt. I know you only flew in early this morning and I am I’m sorry to wake you but I really needed to talk. There’s something that’s been bothering me these last three days and I wanted to get your opinion.”
“Okay, I’m listening.” He suddenly sounded more awake now and concerned.
“Three days ago, on Thursday I got this golden ticket with the strangest note on it.” She read the ditty and described the look and handwriting on the note.
“I ignored it and threw it in the bin of course, thinking it was just some kind of Halloween prank. But just to be sure I asked around on campus if anyone was hosting a Halloween party today and none of my friends knew anything about an event happening at the address given on the ticket.”
She paused briefly, took a sip of her coffee which she had prepared earlier and went on. “Yesterday I was sent a similar note and it read: “This is a ticket for you from me to invite you to be otherwise occupied from the stroke of nine o’ three. You’ll wind through the forest, but have nothing to fear so long as you steer clear my dear. My invite is genuine, my offer’s sincere and on Saturday you’ll find out why I brought you here.”
“It ends with ‘This is your first warning’ and gives the same address again the bottom.” Claudia paused briefly to let the contents of the note sink in.
“Mmm...this is rather odd,” said Kurt. “Are you sure no one is playing a prank on you? And it’s none of your silly Irish friends having a laugh?”
“No, and it gets worse.”
“I left the note on the kitchen table. This morning the contents of the note had changed, which is rather odd. I’m really not imagining it. The note is dated with today’s date and it reads: ‘Be careful of haunted shadows and eyes in the trees. And be sure to arrive on time, no later than nine o’ three. I’ll be expecting your presence, this is not a play. If you decline this invite you will rue this day. My invite is genuine, my offer’s sincere and today I can assure it you it will all become clear. My heart is dark but I can be kind so long as you come in the right frame of mind. It ends with ‘This is your final warning’.
Claudia paused again.
“Sounds like a definite threat and I don’t like it,” said Kurt finally.
“I know, neither do I. But it’s now seven in the morning and I am torn. The note says to be there by nine o’ three. Maybe I am just being silly and it is a party? That’s why I called. I think I should go. But I will only go if you come with me. The note didn’t say anything about going alone.”
“This is insane. Just ignore it.”
“I can’t,” returned Claudia. “I’ve been up all night thinking about it and I just can’t escape the feeling that I need to be there. Please will you take me?”
Kurt sighed. “I guess. Let me put some clothes on. I will pick you up in half an hour.”
“Thanks, I really appreciate it. I’m sure it will be nothing. And if it is a party, I know you are always game for one right?”
“Well if it’s not, then at least I can beat the guy up for getting me up after I’ve flown the red eye back from London and for threatening my girlfriend. I’ll take you on one condition. Make me a cup of coffee to go.”
“It’s a deal,” said Claudia and she hung up the phone.