‘Only fools expect consistency,’ said Will.
‘How so?’ I said. We were hanging out in the corridor which led from the old hall down to the main one.
‘Just look at this place. Built in the sixteenth century. Used as a political meeting hall, school and pesthouse. In the world wars, a military hospital. See that bit of skirting board in the corner of the corridor?’
‘Yep,’ I said, shivering. ‘They wheeled the trollies past there to the make-shift morgue in the north-facing, coolest rooms. I read all about this stuff.’
Above the high skirting board, the chipped wall revealed layers of different coloured paint; years of collisions, pushing and shoving one another out of the way.
A couple of students, each carrying a heavy, book-laden rucksack, bounced off each other, grinned and moved on. They were followed by a slight, pink-haired girl, wearing a long black skirt and purple hand-knitted cardigan. Her arms were folded; a cotton bag slung over one shoulder. When she drew level with the corner, she moved as far away from it as was feasible without hitting the opposite wall.
Will and I exchanged a glance.
After the girl turned left to enter the old hall, a gust of wind blew in a huge maple leaf. It swept up and stuck itself over the chipped paint of the corner, like a giant gloved hand, red, brown, golden, and still a little green.
Sarah Crabtree is a UK based writer. She has two books of short stories for adults, and two children’s picture books available on Amazon, along with a non-fiction light-hearted guide for aspiring writers. Her latest story appears in the Amazon #1 Best-selling Christmas horror anthology Wight Christmas. Sarah is currently working on another short story collection for adults.