Guilfoyle House stands on the outskirts of town, a sad and dilapidated building. The lawn is choked with weeds, and the tree branches hang sorrowfully down, bare of leaf even during the wettest summers. It’s been thus for as long as anyone can remember; or at least says Old Cob, the oldest man in the area.
It’s been a right of passage for children to dare one another to stand upon the rotting porch and count to ten. Most of the residents at one time or another have gingerly climbed those creaking stairs, placed their back to the house’s blackened front door, and suffer the dilation of time that only abject terror can create on an impressionable young mind.
Thus has it always been, and thus has everyone expected it would always be. The spoiled land, the ruined house, and the pall of mystery all conspire to keep folks away and renovations a folly. Until a tenday ago, that is, when a young couple took one night in the town’s inn.
Well dressed and even better spoken, they took dinner in the common room. The innkeeper, Anathos Broodmire, could barely contain his composure when the man introduced himself as Allistar Guilfoyle, and his wife Tabita. They were lodging just the night in Mr. Broodmire’s establishment to sleep off the ill effects of an arduous journey, and would thereafter be residing in the family home.
True to their word, the young Guilfoyle’s checked out and progressed on to that wretched domicile. The earth itself seemed to be trying to warn them away, as a bitter wind began to grow, and an unseasonably cool rain fell upon the parched dirt. Mrs. Umalary, closest neighbor to the Guilfoyle house, saw the couple walk resolutely up the stairs, arm in arm under a posh umbrella. Without hesitation, but with some small struggle against the long-unused door, they entered.
Lights were seen in several windows over the following days, and nearly the whole population of the town had their eyes locked on the Guilfoyle windows any time an unobstructed view presented itself. People dawdled on errands, and took the long way round to nearby destinations, just to be afforded one more glance at the mysterious house. Lights, yes, but never were the couple themselves seen. No shadows outlined against the curtains. No visits to the mercantile in town; no stops at the greengrocer for sustenance. The couple entered, and never came out.
A weak smoke was seen sputtering fitfully from the Guilfoyle chimney last night.