The portico’s walls were slightly taller than Danielle’s blond head, so she couldn’t see over them. The walkway to the house went in between two walls, directly to a dark red front door. Had Danielle not still been a little nervous about collecting, she may have looked longer at the walls. She might have noticed that each wall had a vague shape or design in it. Neither wall had a uniform, stucco surface; the lines in the walls may have been cracks, but looked more like they’d been lightly carved in. It almost appeared like a very large wing had been pressed into it before it dried.
As Danielle marched between the fence-high stone walls, towards the door, she glanced at the walls and thought it very curious that each wall had a single, amber-colored circle of glass, about the size of a quarter, embedded in the surface. So intent was she on making her final collection, she failed to notice the house number above the door was not on her list. As she reached up to use the door knocker, she was startled by a rustling noise behind her.
Spinning around to look for the cause of the sound, she saw feathers littered all around the sheltered area, between the portico walls and the front door of the house. She’d never seen feathers so big, and she thought they might be as long as her arm. However, now that her attention was on the walls, she thought they looked odd.Why would someone go to the trouble of carving wings into them, on both sides?she wondered.
The sun was glinting off of both amber-colored glass circles. With a shudder, she realized they looked almost like eyes. As she looked down again at the feathers, one gently fell from the top of the right wall, landing with the same rustling sound she’d heard.
Relieved to find the source of the feathers, Danielle turned back to the door, happy she was nearly through with the collections and eager to hurry home to count the money. She was already visualizing her father helping her sort out the bills, dividing what she could keep and what had to be paid back to the newspaper. So when she lifted the knocker away from the door, her attention was only on the door, not the peculiar portico behind her. The portico walls quickly collapsed without a sound, dissolving, melting into weird, grotesque shapes.
At the sound of the crack of the knocker on the door’s metal plate, Danielle heard two more cracks, like rocks splitting. At the same moment, there was a bright flash of amber, and a storm of feathers blew up around her. Something brushed by her right ear. Just as she turned to look—and felt an enormous talon squeezing into her shoulder—there was another crack, followed by a scream. Her scream. The red door vanished. The house vanished. She shut her eyes, unbelieving. Her heart pounding, her shoulder aching, she opened her eyes, surrounded by darkness…and four amber orbs. The orbs slowly changed shape, becoming more like the shape of a football. Then blinked. And Danielle fainted.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish