She’d walked around the lonely house, going clockwise. She knew better than to go widdershins. That way lay madness, and she didn’t need any help there.
The house was closed for renovations for a month at least. It wasn’t exactly off the tour, but you still had to get a ticket to go on the grounds. It wasn’t far from the main house, the star of the show, but it was far enough to not attract attention. It was perfect for walking alone with her own thoughts. They were loud enough as it was.
She’d rounded the back and discovered the sundial. Set in concrete, it was an anomaly. It spoke of other residents, from other times. It spoke of people past those named on the placards out front, in the public area. She jotted down the names and dates in her sketchbook and continued on down the ramshackle brick path.
How many of these bricks were original? How many were replacements? She suspected nobody who worked here could tell, but she could. She could feel it, sure as if the bricks spoke out loud to her, told her of the day they were made, showed her the hands that had removed them from their molds.
She knew more than she should tell.
Perhaps she should have been an archaeologist, gotten paid to do what came naturally. She could speak to the ghosts of a place, know the history, the story. Sometimes they spoke quietly. Sometimes they were very loud. Like now.
One brick stuck out. Perhaps it was the shadows at that time of day that helped. There was something magical about the hour before sunset, when the colors deepened and the shadows got longer. Things became visible that were overlooked before. It wasn’t as if they weren’t there. It was more like they simply blended in before. But now, in this magic time, there was an aura around them to those who had eyes to see.
It didn’t take long to decide to check.
The brick came up easily, quickly. It wanted to be moved.
But what was inside?
The shadows that had helped her “see” the place rendered the cache almost invisible. A closer look was required.
She still could not tell. But her sense had never been wrong before. She’d have to come another time, earlier, or with a small flashlight. Or perhaps a trowel. There was more than meets the eye here, she knew it.
It would hold its secret well until then. She had no fear of that. It had waited this long for her. It could wait another week.