An unexpected encounter

I seem to be doing a bit of plodding with my writing, it’s not coming very easily at the moment, but no doubt I’ll get back into the swing – in the meantime I’m squeezing out word after word, sentence after sentence, and yes, I am making progress.

Sometimes an image comes to me, something which can be triggered by anything, something I’ve observed, a phrase in a book, a song, an unexpected flash of memory which I can’t actually properly remember… I keep these mental ‘snapshots’, and eventually they will find their way into one of my stories. For quite a while I’ve had a snap of someone on a staircase, and it has now found its way into the story I’m working on, ‘Winterdyke’. It’s my next Radwinter book; Thomas is staying with a very wealthy family in their very large property, researching their family tree. He senses an atmosphere which he can’t quite identify, and it makes him feel uneasy and anxious…

I wandered round the corridors and met no-one, but took photos, having to use flash now because the day was fading and I didn’t like to switch on any lights – although I would have to eventually… I was sort of surprised they didn’t come on automatically. Using flash gave reflections, but I was jotting down where the pictures were, with a little sketch map I had to draw, and if any seemed sufficiently interesting I could come back.
I did find other staircases both up and down, and came across a mezzanine area above what seemed to be a very large reception area at the back. I stood looking down into the gloom and suddenly felt lonely… I choked it back… and turned to continue my progress when I heard voices below; curiosity prompted me to have a gander over the balustrade but whoever it was directly below me so I couldn’t see them.
“You shouldn’t kiss me like that, I’ve probably got lipstick all over my face… Yours is all smeared…” I heard a man’s voice but couldn’t make it out, there was a bit of an echoey effect in the empty area.
I stepped back – I didn’t want them to walk across the room and spy me, and I opened the door I’d come through and set off down another dark corridor… except it wasn’t the door I’d come through. I only realised when I’d taken a couple of turns and found myself lost. Not lost obviously, I just wasn’t sure where I was in the house. I do have a direction problem sometimes; I go left instead of right or vice versa then can’t remember whether it was left or right…
I found a staircase, an ordinary domestic one, not the sweeping film-set stairs in the main part of the house. It was extremely dark now, and I decided that next time I found a light switch on would go the illuminations.
I came to a small open area with three doors… this seemed a bit surreal, a bit Alice in Wonderland. Two of the doors were locked but the largest one opposite the stairs opened and I stepped through and as I did so another person came through a door opposite. He stopped and stared at me, his head slightly lowered a fixed, almost aggressive look on his face, a big bulky bloke I’d not seen before.
He stared at me without speaking and I was slightly afraid… don’t be ridiculous Thomas and I stepped forward – and so did he…
And then I had to laugh, I would have guffawed like a donkey except my heart was still pounding… the bloke was me! There was a huge mirror on the wall and I’d been looking at my own reflection, not recognising myself in the half-light…
I stood staring at myself now, and somehow it really spooked me… How could I not recognise my own self? Surely I looked the same as I always did? But how did I think I looked? I guess I rarely wear a suit and tie, so seeing a suited figure I can understand… but the rest of me… How do I think of myself, a chubby shortish sort of a bloke, a bit of a buffoon looking sort of a guy… The man I’d seen staring at me looked bulky but not in a fat away and the cold stare was not how I usually see my face looking back from a mirror as I comb my hair or check I’ve not got crumbs in my beard or toothpaste on my cheek.
Is this how others see me? Or is it just something about this house which has made me seem watchful and fierce…
I’d sort of scared myself. I tried to laugh it off and give a rueful shrug, but the bloke in the mirror seemed to give a sinister grin and move his shoulders in a threatening way… I didn’t like this and I turned and scampered away.

If you haven’t yet read any of my Radwinter books, here is a link:

This book will be the first which is not in an ordinary domestic setting, in an ordinary small town, with ordinary mysteries… I hope t works!

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