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“Clever you!” she said and dashed off to the house. He heard her keys rattle in the lock and heard the creak of the sodden, old door as she opened it.

“Come one,” she said in a theatrical whisper.”

For a moment Dan stood still, weighing his options. What’s this, second thoughts? Not like you at all.

Through the dim light of the porch he could see her walk up the stairs, a moment later a light on the top floor came on. Still he stood rooted to the spot, something gnawed at him deep down. He knew he should just walk away, he also knew he wouldn’t.

He entered the house closing the porch door behind him and stepped into the house. It was warm, the central heating ticked away and felt like it had been on for a while.

“Hello?” He called up the stairs that came out in to the hallway on his right.

“Right with you.” Came the reply, “Make yourself at home.”

He slipped out of his raincoat and hung it on a rack next to, what he guessed, was a couple of her husband’s old coats. She probably didn’t want to part with them he thought, though it’s been a while. He shrugged and carried on down the hall into the vague darkness of the house.

He looked for a light on the wall as the darkness grew greater the further he went from the porch. He could see paintings and sculptures in the gloom, obviously Belle lived a good life and she’d probably been well provided for.

“Not to my taste most of this you know.”

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