Haunted Chapter EightErik
I spent the next several days lying in wait in the old warehouse, in what appeared to be a long-abandoned basement.
Despite the familiar comfort of a cellar, I could not tolerate the gray. The room in which I was obliged to sojourn was gray---impersonal, industrial, mechanistic, hideous gray, from the endless maze of pipes that wove across the low ceiling to the crumbling stones set into the wall to the stained concrete floor. Geometrics, stark, uninspired geometrics; not a flourish of art, not a hint beauty. All was graythe loose hospital garments, the low, rumbling sky, the shadows of the maskgray, gray, gray, and I could not escape from it.
One would assume that an individual in my precarious condition would concern himself with matters of greater importance than the heinous architecture and drab color scheme, yet I was fixated upon it. And by God, I could not abide by it. It was sickening.
For I thirsted for beauty, and yet beauty seemed determined
Haunted Chapter NineNadir
The exterior of the house was suitably immaculate: perfectly trimmed beds of flowers lined the windowsills, the walkway leading to the front door appeared to have been recently scrubbed to an unnatural cleanliness, and even the old bricks did not betray a speck of muck. The front door, too, had been freshly painted, or at least so ruthlessly cleaned that it remained a pristine sharp white, gleaming smartly in the midday sun.
I moved to ring the doorbell, but before my finger could even press the button, the door swung open. The woman standing behind it had pressed her mouth into a thin, terse streak.
"Come in, come innone of that bell-ringing fiddle faddle. I've been expecting you, anyway. I figured as much, what with well, come in."
I had seen Antoinette Giry twice in twenty years, and-- unlike myself-- she had defied time to ravage her. The slight lines around her pale blue eyes suggested grace rather than weariness. She remained, as she ever