Kate Winstead’s shoulders rubbed against the intricately carved wooden door as she tried to steady her breathing. It wasn’t just the ominous weather or the flash of lightning that had struck too closely as she exited the car that ignited the booming in her chest. She couldn’t quite shake the creepy stares of the locals as she drove into town. The way they stood almost catatonic, every eye piercing through the comfort and security of her tinted windows, sent an uneasiness creeping over her as wholly as the approaching clouds darkened the sky.
As she listened to the rain pattering against the roof outside, and the house sighing and groaning like a bored, petulant child inside, Kate regretted having to make the trip alone. Her husband had offered to accompany her, but she convinced him it would be best not to use up any more sick days. The truth was that he wasn’t a Galloway. Allowing him to come would only open the door to questions she couldn’t answer.
A mechanical buzzing drew her attention and she followed it to one of the many automatic light timers spread throughout the house. With each passing second, the cloud cover dipped the sky into deeper shades of gray. The house would be cloaked in darkness before the timers had a chance to do their job. Clicking on the lights, Kate took in the sheet-covered furnishings and was surprised at how much she remembered even though she hadn’t been within Townsley’s borders since she was five.
She walked over to the rocking chair in the sitting room and pulled the sheet, sending sparkles of dust into the air. Her eyes drifted across the ivy leaves carved into its curved back and traveling down along the arms. A burgundy pillow with an elaborately crossstitched “G” was still perched on the seat. Kate’s mind flooded with memories of sitting on her grandmother’s lap, listening to tales about their family. A memory that would make most nostalgic made the hairs on the back of her neck bristle.
Kate questioned again whether she should have come. Whether any of this was even necessary. What if she was acting on the whim of a family tradition born from unwell minds? On tales passed down and told so often they morphed into an undisputable truth? With every mile traveled to Townsley, the more she had believed that to be the case. But what if she was wrong? The consequences were too great to find out, so it wasn’t a chance she could take. She hadn't wanted the responsibility, but Kate was the last living Galloway and she had a job to do.
READ PART 4 HERE.