The food was not long in coming, and looked mouthwatering. The Earl was having the duck also. As they ate he asked the girls about their reasons for traveling through this part of the country so late at night and in such appalling weather conditions. In return, he spoke of himself, the house and his family. He explained that he was the last survivor of his family, and that his estate streched for miles around the house. At one time the estate was propserous, with many tenant farmers cultivatig his land and providing a healthy income for his family. But things started to change. His sister died at the age of thirty-two under mysterious circumstances. She was found dead in a clearing in the woods wirth strange marks on her neck.
News travelled fast, and the ignorant locals started muttering about witchcraft and black magic. In their eyes, the house was cursed. Pure superstitious nonsense of course, but gradually the farmers moved to new pastures, avoiding the estate.
She would then sit upright with an excited face. "Really? A cursed house? I'm so sorry.. I love these kinds of tales. But I'm sorry about your sister.... do you have any idea what might have happened to her or was it so mysterious... that all ideas were ruled out?" Julia hoped she wasn't being too snoopy but she loved these stories and she had a taste for mystery and for the supernatural and dark magic. She had always been amazed.
The butler, still with a sombre expression, said "This way if you please." He led the girls up a wide staircase with carved wooden banisters. A landing at the top lead to various different rooms, each with a name plaque on the door. The butler stopped outside one which read 'Erasmus Room' and opened the door, wishing them a good night's sleep.
The room behind the door had been prepared. It was not large, but as huge mirror appeared to double it's size. Crisp white sheets had been folded back on the double bed, and a warm fire burned in the fireplace. The door closed as the butler left the room.
The girls knew that if they did not leave immediately they would not make tomorrow's appointment in time, but if it was true that there was no useable phone, what could they do?