The manor, boarded up since Gram passed, showed signs of neglect. Porch risers creaked menacingly. Window panes, cracked and begrimed with age, blinked against the rising sun.
My keys refused to cooperate, thwarting efforts to unlock the front doors. With a final, violent shove, ancient tumblers flipped. Grating on rusted hinges, the massive oak entry swung forward, a rush of noisome air escaping.
Greying sheets covered moldering furniture, and festoons of spiderwebs created lacy bunting that draped from tarnished chandeliers.
A clear message appeared in the thick layer of dust on the mantle, written with a phantom fingertip, “Welcome home.”