Rape of the Soul
The house seemed to beckon her. Welcome her. As if it knew her. The light had faded, and dark, bilious clouds had taken its place. In the three short weeks I'd spent in Cornwall, I'd learned two things: that the weather was not to be trusted, and that the wind never ceased to blow. Fair weather or foul, it whistled and murmured and moaned, like a living, breathing, tortured being. It had risen since it played innocently among the foxglove blooms earlier stirring the mists along the graveyard gate. Now it was angry, driving the black clouds inland from the sea. Waterfowl raced before it dotting the sky like a blizzard over the mighty house, and I'd scarcely pulled the car to a stop when the rain came. It was just as I remembered it from my drive-by earlier, like a creature of myth silhouetted against the storm-a huge, rambling, turreted structure of stone and timbers defying its existence in such a setting. Yet, aside from a wounded turret, a few missing boards, and a good deal of broken glass, Cragmoor approached the dawn of another century remarkably intact. I tried to imagine the house as it once must have been, ablaze with light and life, surrounded by manicured lawns and courtyards and lush, fragrant gardens. Now it rose from a tangled snarl of briar, thorn, and desolation. Row upon row of darkened windows, catching stray glints of the fading light, shuddered in the wind as the gale bore down upon it. The house was asleep, and I was about to wake it.