Today's picture prompt (below) is a Photo by Ivy Barn on Unsplash
"Is this it?" Mr Jones asked, pointing at the quaint stone cottage in front of them. Mr Smith looked at his clipboard, using his index finger to trace the names on his clipboard.
"Yes," he said. "The last one, and then we are done."
Mr Jones nodded. "Good," he said. "Let's get it over with shall we? I can't wait to get out of this godforsaken shithole. It gives me the creeps."
Mr Smith nodded. Although he may have chosen slightly less vulgar language, he did agree with Mr Jones' assessment. There was certainly something very unusual about this village. He put the clipboard under his arm and loaded a smile onto his face. "Shall I do the honours?" he asked.
Mr Jones nodded. "Please," he said. "I really have had enough of talking to these inbreds."
Mr Smith walked up to the door and looked for signs of a doorbell. There wasn’t one. There was a rather large door knocker in the shape of some kind of imp, or devil perhaps. He lifted it up and let it go. It was rather heavy, and rebounded three times onto the oak door making a very satisfying noise as it did so.
Listening very carefully - above the impatient tutting, shuffling and huffing, from Mr Jones behind him - he could here the sounds of someone approaching. There was the sound of several bolts being drawn, followed by a key being placed in a lock, and a loud click as it turned. And then the sound of more bolts being drawn. Mr Smith looked over his shoulder at Mr Jones and raised his eyebrows. Mr Jones, in turn, raised his. Curious. Mr Smith’s eyebrows said. Very curious, Mr Jones' eyebrows replied.
Their attention was pulled back to the door, when a final large clunk was heard, and they were both watching the door as it creaked open to reveal a rather frail looking old woman blinking at them from the darkness within.
“What do you want?”
“Good afternoon-” Mr Smith began.
“Whatever it is,” the old lady interrupted. “I don’t want it. Now, bugger off!” The door began to close. Instinctively, Mr Smith stuck his foot out, placing it in between the door and frame, thereby impeding the closure of the door.
“I wonder if I might trouble you for a -”
“No, young man,” the old lady said, reaching behind her and producing a large stick, that she proceeded to whack against Mr Smith’s foot. “You may not trouble me! Bugger off! I don’t want nothing you have to sell me!”
Mr Smith heard Mr Jones mutter something about “leaving the old bag to die, hopefully a slow and painful death”. He grimaced as woman changed her tactic and began to poke him in the leg with the stick. He noted, with alarm, that the stick was climbing higher up his leg and it would be a matter of moments before it made contact with his testicles.
“We are not selling anything, madam!” he cried, grabbing hold of the stick. “We are with the Department of Infectious Diseases and Unexplained Illnesses and have come to issue you with a warning.” With the hand not holding the stick, he waved the clipboard at the woman. Attached to it was his identification. The old woman squinted at it, blinking.
“I can’t read that!” she said. “I need my readers. You’ll have to come in, whilst I get them. But don’t touch anything!” She shuffled away, and after looking at Mr Jones and having another conversation using eyebrow semaphore, the both stepped through the door.
The room they found themselves was dark. Very dark. Mr Smith waited for his eyes to adjust to the limited light that seeped past the thick curtains that successfully kept most of the bright afternoon sunshine from entering the room. Mr Smith wrinkled his nose. There was a smell in this room. Damp. And something else. A metallic odour that he couldn’t quite identify.
Mr Jones, who had reluctantly followed Mr Smith into the room, coughed and pulled out a handkerchief and put it to his nose and mouth. The old lady was over in the corner of the room, rummaging in what Mr Smith assumed was a cupboard - it really was too dark to see - muttering about “readers” and “never being able to find anything in this place” before triumphantly exclaiming, “Got ‘em!”
The old woman lurched towards him a rather dirty looking pair of glasses perched on her nose. She grabbed the clipboard and peered at it. “No, no good,” she said. “I can’t read anything in this light!”
Mr Jones muttered something about turning a light on might not do any harm.
“I’m not made of money!” the old woman said. There was nothing wrong with her hearing, then.
She shouldered her way past Mr Smith and Mr Jones and stood by the door, peering at Mr Smith’s identification badge.
“Looks genuine enough, I suppose,” she said. She passed the clipboard back to Mr Smith and put her hands on her hips. “What is this about gentlemen?” she asked.
Mr Smith began to explain about the strange illness that had been reported in the area. People had been becoming feverish, after developing a sensitivity to light had fallen into a coma. Some of them had even died.
The old lady smiled and nodded.
“Oh, yes!” she said, smiling. “That sounds terribly familiar,” she said. She closed the front door and bolting it pulled out a large knife from under her skirt. “And once they come back from the dead, do they have a craving for human flesh?”