Sarah walked down the castle’s grey, stony, cold corridors. She glimpsed into most of the rooms, some were vacant others had a few mismatched, old furnishings. She was interested in finding the stairs to the two towers. Philip had told her to head north of the castle, and there would be a thick, wooden door that lead to one of the towers. To her disappointment, there were many doors that resembled that. She had trouble opening a few of them as they were stuck, never even budging a bit. She came to the end of one corridor, and no door was there, only a wall.
She went down another, quickly bumping into the Japanese woman who was exiting one of the rooms. The woman lowered her head, and instead of greeting Sarah she walked away, with a crestfallen face. Later during diner, Sarah tells Philip about the encounter.
“That’s Aki,” he said aloof.
“Aki? you never told me about her,” Sarah would have recalled.
“It probably slipped my mind,” Philip said.
Sarah paused when Aki entered the dining room, carrying the evening meal. Aki quietly served them, then quickly disappeared back into the kitchen.
“How long has she been here?” Sarah asked.
“Some time now,” Philip didn’t bother to look up. He folded the newspaper he was reading, and placed it on the table. “I’m leaving on a trip tomorrow.”
“How long will you be gone?” Sarah asked.
“A week or two,” he said, noticing his wife’s crestfallen face. “Don’t worry, love. I’ll be home before you know it.”
The rest of the dinner nothing more was said. Philip was not garrulous, and Sarah herself found it difficult to to find something interesting to talk about. After dinner they both retired to their room where Philip sat next to a fire, smoking his pipe. Sarah went to bed, exhausted from her long day of traveling.
During the night, something awakens Sarah. Her husband wasn’t in the leather chair she saw him sitting. He wasn’t sleeping beside her or was anywhere in the room. She wondered where he was when she heard the wailing of a woman. Sarah froze in her place. She was too afraid to move as the sound got closer and closer. Was it Aki? Suddenly the door flew open, and shut itself with a slam. Sarah yelped, pulling the covers over her head. Shacking from beneath the covers she didn’t dare to look.
Sometime later, Sarah had fallen asleep and when she awoke the next morning she found Philip sleeping next to her. She wondered if she had imagined it all. At breakfast she tried to tell Philip about it. He excused her experience as being her first night in an unfamiliar place in an old castle with a draft, and it should be expected. Sarah said nothing more. Two weeks later he left for his trip. She was sad to see him go.
Though, she was far from home, Sarah wrote to her sister in Milan. They have always been close and though, the experiences in the castle kept her from feeling comfortable she abstained from telling her sister about it. Sarah pushed the thoughts aside, and walked about the castle, hoping the day would make it less scary to explore. She had gone through the whole castle when she couldn’t shake off the constant chill it emanated. She looked out the window, and saw the sun a blazing. Throughout the day, the sun’s heat didn’t melt the icy draft in the castle.
Exploring the stodgy estate, Sarah, realize it wasn’t as exciting as she had thought it was. She decided to step outside, and let the sun warm her cold fingers.