Nobody seemed to remember the old house on the hilltop. The white walls worn and yellowed by time were speckled with thousands of small pinholes where termites have eaten through the wood leaving a complex web of faint lines. Pieces of blue shutters hung precariously on rotten joints or crumbled into piles of sand on the porch floor. A door fanning on its hinges whimpered in the cold breeze of its glorious past.
Brine and mold blended with scorched grass, the fragrance of forgotten things warning about invisible dangers of useless memories and moth-eaten stories in discolored tapestries. The town legend spoke of a haunted house and a hungry ghost devouring impertinent children and thieves.
Walter knew better, and still the rubble of the past squeezed at his heart unmercifully. Was there any spoil to salvage the tiny thread of hope he had clung for nearly 2O years? The sky sudden blackening startled him, the dwindling light of a scythe moon playing tricks on the broken canvas of house and barn. Something caught his attention, there in the farther corner, behind old lace curtains with fade burgundy ribbons billowing and saluting the night through huge and broken windows, a faint flickering light moved along the spiraling turret whispering a call he would do well not to listen.