When Sam first moved into her ancestral mansion on the edge of Barret’s Wood, she had big plans. And Henry, the aged caretaker who had looked after the manor house and grounds since anyone could remember, followed her orders without complaint.
All except one. When she told him to hire someone to demolish the crumbling shed at the edge of the forest, he shook his head in firm denial.
“Ain’t touching the guest house, ma’am,” he said.
“It’s not a house,” she said. “It’s an abandoned shack and it’s an eyesore.”
“Don’t make no difference, ma’am,” Henry said, his face set like concrete. “Ain’t no one touching the guest house.”
Sam wasn’t ready to deprive an old man of his situation, but neither was she about to be denied her wishes regarding her own home. The next day, she brought gasoline and matches to the shed. Henry and the rest of the staff stayed at a distance, faces white as sheets, wide eyes betraying a nameless awe and dread.
As the witnesses watched, they saw how something made Sam pause before dousing the disintegrating hovel. They saw her incline her head as if listening. And she opened the shed’s door and disappeared inside.
She was gone for an hour.
When she emerged, she returned without a word. She did not speak for three days, and in a week her blonde hair was ashen gray. When her best friend Alex called to ask her whatever happened to the unsightly shed, Sam whispered two frightened sentences, the last she would ever utter concerning the lonely place.
“We don’t touch the guest house. He wouldn’t like it.”
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