“Hello?” Charles’ voice echoed around the empty entrance hall.
No one responded. He was just observed, solemnly, by the bear who had the unfortunate pleasure of being the rug in the hallway. Some great uncle had killed the thing in America and shipped it back as a gift for his father.
“Well that’s a fine welcome for a war hero, a wounded war hero at that!” Charles said to no one in particular, dumping his greatcoat on one of the various chairs that dotted the walls of the hall. He walked through to the sitting room, the furniture was covered in dust sheets, the house shuttered for the duration. Charles plonked himself down on one of the chairs, ignoring the dust sheet and pulled out his pocket watch. It had stopped. He shook it, but it still didn’t respond.
“This bloody war.”
He wound the mechanism and went looking for a clock to set his watch to. He remembered there was an electric clock in the butler’s office downstairs, and had begun to wander in the direction of the servants staircase at the back of the room, when he heard footsteps on the floor above him.
“Oh good, someone’s home.”