The House, Part 28/x

I had not invited Wayne to the house on Halloween night, but I was unsurprised when he arrived anyway.  Neither was I surprised to discover that he had brought friends with him; a half-dozen in all, with the air of men and women who wished that they were wearing hooded cloaks. But I admit to a certain amount of outraged startlement when they seized me.

Admittedly, it was all prettily done.  There were no witnesses, for they had come after local curfew, and the group waited until Wayne had casually confirmed that I had dosed every neighborhood child before two of his colleagues grabbed me, and a third ripped the wrapper off of one of my own candies and shoved it into my mouth.  I swallowed by reflex, and Wayne gave me the first unpleasant smile I had ever seen from him. It seemed almost regretful.

“If it makes you feel any better,” he said, “I argued strenuously to give you another role tonight than the one you’ll be playing.” Wayne shrugged. “You’ve done more than any other tenant we’ve ever seen to awaken what lives in this house. But the others don’t trust you.”

By now I had been handcuffed and was being propelled to the door to the basement. I snarled over one shoulder, “You will not have another chance to run away. Take this one.” I didn’t bother to shout: as I mentioned earlier, sounds inside the house did not carry outside.  But I could hear things inside. I could hear the door to the basement slam open. I could hear the faint crunch of Wayne’s feet behind me as he stepped on the wrappers on the floor.  

And, deep below, I fancied I could hear the feathery whisper of wings.

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