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It would be two full months before I’d hear from him again and I was beginning to lose sleep wondering if his initial enthusiasm had given way to indulging the drama of love induced melancholy . Unable to reach him by telephone my concern over the matter escalated. I wrote again insisting he correspond in a timely manner with updates. To my relief, his response was immediate. He apologized, going on to explain that in order to post or receive correspondence he had to go into a village called Ashton some two hours away. He also pointed out what I had already discovered; there were no telephone lines in that primeval forest to which I had exiled him. (Edited excerpts from original below)
“Regardless of the almost insurmountable hardships’ he had written with obvious sarcasm, ‘this new book is practically writing itself.” He then went on to inform me that it would, however, take a few months to complete a rough draft, reminding me again that it was to be his first real book and not a novella. As to my questions concerning the title and why he thought the house was haunted, he offered this explanation:

“Out of my self imposed exile was borne a need for companionship if only what the creatures of the wood might offer. One afternoon, I decided to explore the narrow overgrown paths that led away from my desolate hermitage and hopefully to the summit of the mountain overlooking my property. Despite the quiet beauty of the surrounding woods it wasn’t long into my climb before I became aware of strange echoes and mysterious whispers being carried on the wind. I ignored them at first, thinking it was my unfamiliarity with nature that caused unfounded anxiety but suddenly I was struck by an indefinable fear. I wanted to turn back but for some perverse reason, I quickened my pace, glancing over my shoulder at regular intervals to see if something or someone was following me. I saw nothing though my instincts told me otherwise. Despite this sense of impending threat, I continued on, congratulating myself when at last  I reached the peak. There I was standing on the edge of a rocky outcrop when there came an unexpected hand on my arm. Startled, I turned, finding myself face to face with what appeared to be the ancient, withered remains of a woman; her face horribly disfigured, her crippled body draped in a faded shroud of rags.
 

 

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