I’m not sure exactly when it started. The brick wall encircling my property winds through some uncultivated areas and though my intention was to walk the perimeter once a month, that intention was often suppressed by my sedentary nature. All I can say is that I found the first breach in the wall a month ago when I stumbled over the bricks that had been removed, piled in a disorganized heap as if to mock my desire to keep the rabble out.
It was unsettling, of course. If the breach existed then who could say what manner of creature or man had made its way inside. I am, as I stated, a sedentary soul at heart – one whose most pleasant evenings are spent in the company of a very few like-minded friends who share my fondness for single malt and my disdain for the bourgeois. The thought of some unkempt intruder running loose inside the wall was intolerable. Can you imagine how unutterably distressing it would be to look out the window one night and spy the dull, half-witted gaze of a peasant fixed with envy on those of us inside? Intolerable!
I set the grounds crew to repair the wall and to search for the thing that may have gotten in. They made quick work of the repairs, good men that they are. But no sign of any intruder could be found. It appeared that whatever had invaded the estate was now gone and, with the wall repaired and strengthened, no longer able to gain ingress. I put the matter from my mind.
It must have been two weeks hence that I took an after dinner stroll through the back garden. The scent of the roses was intoxicating though I noted more than a few fading blooms that should have been culled earlier that day. I made a mental note to speak with my gardener in the morning as there was no excuse for such an oversight. And then I saw it.
It was what I can only refer to as a structure, a crude structure to be sure but certainly built with some intent. The structure was made of brick and stood about waist high. The bricks were stacked in such a way as to suggest an entrance, a way into some strange and unsightly abode. I am not a fanciful man by any means but the sight of this, this thing brought visions of some baleful creatures bent on destroying the serenity of my garden. And I was certain that the bricks had been ferried from another breach in the estate wall. As I peered into the structure once more, a shudder possessed me. I hastened back to the house.
The next day I set the grounds crew the task of dismantling the brick abomination in the garden as well as that of finding the new breach in the wall and repairing it. But I continued to feel uneasy as the day wore on. I cannot say why exactly, only that the sense of being pursued by or afflicted with something that meant me harm became more intense as time passed.
The days went by and still the sense of foreboding was with me. There were times when I thought I heard some creature moving through the brush, echoing my steps as I walked around the estate. And then there were the bricks. I found them everywhere I went. They lay on the ground in little heaps. On the garden benches, they stood on end like little sentinels. They were strewn across the walkway as if moving toward the house. Indeed, more than the estate wall had been breached. The carefully tended order of my existence had been ruptured. I became fearful and reclusive. I spent my evenings peering through the windows to the dark. Looking, always looking for some sign of those that plagued me.
This morning, at my house man’s insistence, I set out for an early walk around the garden. The head gardener assured me that any loose bricks had been removed. The fresh air should have helped to clear my head. But as I stepped outside, I chanced to look up at the front of the house. How had I not thought of it before? How could I have been so blind? The mansion’s walls were made of brick! Here and there on the facade, I could see that some were missing. It looked indeed as if some thing was slowly making its way from ground level to the second floor, to the section of wall directly below my bedroom. I confess I succumbed to terror, retreating back inside at a run.
The servants have been knocking at my door for hours now, ever since I locked myself inside this dressing room. They don’t understand. This room has no exterior walls, no brick. If I stay here, I may yet be safe. I can’t be sure, of course, but what else can I do? I won’t come out. No matter what, I won’t come out. And nothing will make its way in. I am armed. I am ready. I will keep the fiends at bay.
© Karen Kleis – All Rights Reserved
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