Reggie returned to the Hall an hour later to take a late supper of raw steaks in his room near the back of the house. Neville attended him when he was finished. Together they wound the chain they’d purchased at the general store three times around Reggie’s arms and chest, then Neville secured it with the padlock.
“You sure you made the right decision, boss? Letting that fool go?” Reggie asked. “He’ll be back.”
“Undoubtedly. It is the mark of a good host that his guests wish soon to return,” Neville said. “There. I think this will hold.” He put the key of the padlock in his vest pocket, where it clinked against the silver bullets. “Oh, I forgot about these,” he said. “I assure you I’ll dispose of them safely. They couldn’t have harmed me, of course, silver does nothing against mummies. But we wouldn’t want them around where they could do you any mischief.”
Reggie nodded, looking down at the floor.
Neville headed out into the hall. Mrs. Patavatsky waited there with several nails in her mouth and a claw hammer in her hand. The two of them sealed the door shut. “You know, we don’t have to do this every night there’s a full moon,” he told Reggie, through the door. “I’m not afraid of you getting out.”
“Speak for self,” Mrs. P said. When the last nail was in place she retired back to her kitchen, leaving Neville alone by the door.
He lingered a moment, waiting to see if Reggie cared to reply to what he’d said. A reply did come, though not the one he’d expected.
“Maybe save one of those rounds,” Reggie called, his voice muffled by the thick wood of the door. “Maybe just one. For emergencies.”
Neville said nothing more. He headed upstairs and stopped by the room where he kept his golden artifacts. There he placed one of the silver bullets inside a jar that had formerly held emollient oil. A place where no one was likely to find it by accident.
He then took himself to his own bedroom, a rather cozy chamber with a big fireplace and a good reading lamp on the bedside table. He put on quite unnecessary pyjamas and climbed under the covers with a book. It had been a rather trying day and he’d only read a few lines when he began to doze off.
Only to wake with a start a few moments later.
A very tall, athletically-built man stood at the end of his bed, staring down at him. A fellow wearing the head of a jackal and more gaudy jewelry than was strictly fashionable.
“Neferkare-Ka-Imsety,” the psychopomp intoned. Pronouncing Neville’s true name exactly right. “The hour has come. A place has been prepared for you in the underworld. Are you ready? Will you kneel before Osiris? Will you have your heart weighed against a feather, knowing that should it fail the test, you will be thrown to the Devourer?”
Neville replied in the same language the god used. Perhaps not with the appropriate quantity of reverence, though. “Are we really going to do this every single night?”
It is bad form to answer a question with a question, especially when addressing a being of near omnipotence. Anubis looked more confused than peeved, however. “I require an answer. Are you ready?”
“I’ll give you the same answer I always do,” Neville told him. “Not as yet.”
Anubis just stood there for a moment. As if unsure what to do next.
“Truly?” he asked, finally.
“I like it here,” Neville said. “I think I’ll stay a while.”
Well, there we have it! One episode down. I hope you’ve enjoyed your first visit to Grimbly Hall, and that you’ll return on Monday for our next installment: EPISODE TWO: THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE HELLBEAST IN THE NIGHT-TIME. Starting now we’ll be posting five times a week, every weekday, so the action will be more pulse-pounding than ever! Please don’t forget to tweet about #GrimblyHall, and tell your friends to drop by. We do so love visitors!