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The Old House

My profession was a detective and I had a mission. My client wanted me to look at an old house. I took a private jet over to Ibiza. At Eivissa Airport I met a guy called Juan Consuelez. He picked me up in a beat-up white limousine. There are not many of those in Ibiza. He had long white hair with a beard and was wearing a t-shirt full of holes. His jeans needed a wash. In Ibiza the hippie island, anything goes. We took the car and headed to the house. It was up a hill. I don’t know how we got there without flattening our tires. The road was rocky and steep. We stopped and started again and again. In the dry heat, my hands were sticking to the cracked leather seats. We bumped along up a hill until we seemed to come to a full stop in front of a stream. Just when I thought we were stuck, the driver jerked the oversized car to the left around the trunk of an enormous tree and down a secret mini underpass.

When we came out the other side, in the distance I could see a huge rectangular white shape through the deep green evergreen forest. It was just sunset and as we got closer, a beam of white light seemed to hit a top floor window, its curtain blowing in the gentle breeze.

We finally made it to the house. It was derelict. The white paint was peeling. A window looked freshly broken, with crystals of glass on the ground in front of the house. The driver stopped and nodded toward the door. I got out of the car into the lazy, warm night.

As I got closer I noticed one plant that curved around the house. Great brown tufts of grass surrounded the gravel path. It looked like it had been a beautiful retreat once but nobody had tended what was left of the garden in years. There were several enormous pots now overgrown with dry, creeping weeds.

I went up the front steps. I tried to open the elaborately carved pine door with its splendid tarnished doorknob. The door was stuck at first. I prepared to give it a heave when it suddenly gave way with a creak. I was in a dark hallway. I took out my torch. It was a wide space with a chandelier. I pointed my flashlight along the walls. The pools of light stopped on what looked like a colourful mural. I skimmed over a doorway, opening the door slowly, into a kitchen with a wood - burning stove. I nearly fell on a cracked tile. Then I went through a hallway to another room. The torn heavy curtains were pulled back to reveal the last of the orange and red sunset. I walked past the tattered velveteen couch to the French doors that led out to the balcony. What a view! A romantic deep blue horizon, no cars, houses or people.

Complete silence. I stepped out into the fantastic space outside, taking in the fresh sea air.  I heard a scream. It was coming from upstairs. I raced upstairs. There hung a mirror with a ghost’s reflection. As I went through the hallway I saw a painting. I went into a bedroom and I saw someone dead, who looked like the lady from the painting, lying on the middle of the bed. I walked closer to the body. It wasn’t the woman in the painting after all; it was a much younger woman. It was Rosa Cadiz, my client. I decided to go back to London. My client was gone and I would never know why. This was a mystery that would go on and on. Only the old house could tell Rosa’s secrets, the house in Ibiza with the beautiful view.

Back in London, I knew that scene would haunt me forever.

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