Under the Ashes

We huddled together on the porch, Kirsten between Andrew and I, drinking in the empty air and wiping wet streams from our faces. The rain continued to pound down across the garden. I shivered with the release from it.

On rolled the storm. Kirsten gave a little whimper as a bolt of spiked lightning ripped across the sky. The following wall of thunder rattled the porch around us.

As we took those precious minutes to recover from the downpour, the blaze of hatred from the house seemed to recede. It was replaced by a feeling of sinister invitation to step inside. Come into my parlour.

There was still the option to turn back. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that if we did, we wouldn’t get a second chance. We had confronted the house, and if we showed weakness now it would devour us.

Kirsten’s words iced my spine. “There’s a presence watching us through that window.” The pane was spattered with mud.

Andrew looked at the intricate but heavy wooden door, its windows obscured by netting on the inside. He looked as if he might be about to break it down.