In Lord Shadow's House, part five
Read part one here
Read part two here
Read part three here
Read part four here
The street that had always ended just past the second bend, didn’t. It continued on, going closer to the river than Jarius was comfortable going, but his desire and curiosity bid him onward.
The road began to look like one that may have a Manor on it. It dipped and rose, and flourished with trees and other flowering plants. Far in the distance, Jarius could make out a stream of smoke drifting into the sky, as from a chimney.
Jarius began walking faster now, now that he was convinced his walking wasn’t in vain. The grand house presented itself on top of a hill Jarius had never seen before. It was the perfect placement of a perfect house. It had neither too many windows, nor too few. It was entirely lovely, a house of dreams.
Jarius traveled up the lone drive that cut through the gardens, leading to the estate. There was no sign of life, at least not as far as Jarius could see. None of the windows were open to let in the summer breeze; the front door appeared quite unapproachable.
Jarius reached into his pocket and pulled out the calling card he had received. His thumb ran alongside it, over it, as he convinced himself he was indeed, most welcome.
Jarius knocked on the door, a very feeble sounding knock that disappeared the moment his knuckles ceased rapping. He waited for several seconds, convinced that no one had heard him, and if they had, they weren’t coming.
Much to his surprise, the door swung open, revealing the man who had been in his office just that morning.
“Mr. Taylor?” Jarius asked, astounded.
“Mr. Knigglesby,” the man responded, not nearly as surprised as Jarius was.
“If this was your residence, than why did you leave such a card with me?”
The man smiled. “But this is not my residence, sir, not anymore. I am just leaving. The man you are looking for is Lord Shadow. He will be most pleased to see you. Now, if you will follow me, I will take you to him.”
A very perplexed Jarius followed behind the broad back as it led deeper into the Manor. Now Jarius was not all that perceptive, but he did note that as they were walking Mr. Taylor’s clothes seemed to be changing. No longer did he appear to have a woolen coat, instead it seemed to be a rather shabby muslin. Even the boots that Jarius had noted before did not appear the same. They were scuffed and had several holes filled in with newspaper.
When the man finally stopped and turned to face Jarius, he was so completely altered that Jarius almost didn’t recognize him. No longer did he look like new money or old money, or any money. He looked as poor and as uncleanly as the beggars who hassled Jarius daily on his commute to and from his place of business. But it was none of those things that stuck with Jarius as the man pushed open the door. It was that he looked happy.
Jarius stepped past him through the open door. He wanted his own happiness.
Come back next Monday for part six.