The rain was falling harder than ever, beating against the clattering window panes with a vengeance. Cyrine walked along the unfamiliar corridors of the new house, wishing more than ever that she had gone along with her parents to Uncle Robert’s place. Staying alone for the first night in a strange new house didn’t seem quite a good idea somehow.
A huge bolt of lightning flashed above, splitting the sky in two. She waited for the roar of thunder to follow, but all she heard was a deafening silence, during which the shadows of the room grew noticeably deeper. A chill ran up her spine. Brushing off the uncanny pause as completely natural, Cyrine walked ahead towards the safety of her room. Her shadow trailed long and black behind her, skipping, dancing in the flickering light of the candles on the walls.
She pushed the wooden double doors open and walked towards the promised warmth of her four-poster bed. On her way, she glanced at the huge pendulum clock by the door. The hour hands stood resolutely still, and she counted two more hours before she would have company. Sighing, she flopped down on the bed and tried to sleep.
A tap on her shoulder, a sudden gust of wind across her face, and Cyrine jumped up, her eyes ablaze with fear. There was no one around; the empty walls of the room stared blankly at her. She shivered, hoping against hope that the hours would trudge on faster.
Just as she was about to sit down once more, she felt the tap on her shoulder again and turned round violently, her heart beating faster than ever. “Who’s there?” she called out. The gushing gale outside answered her call with a disembodied wail.
Hugging herself in fear, Cyrine stood helplessly rooted to her spot. The room seemed to be completely empty, except for herself. As she looked down, she suddenly noticed that her shadow was stretched out long on the floor behind her, its arms outstretched, as if getting ready for an attack.
Gulping, she realized her own hands were folded tightly across her chest.