Things moved quickly after that dinner. The next day, Bernice knocked on their front door bright and early announcing that she was there to take Sarah over to the mansion to introduce her to Andrea, the assistant Bernice insisted Sarah was a shoo-in to replace.
Feeling somewhat eager herself, Sarah willing accompanied Bernice and found herself at the front door of the house that held so much mystery for her as a child. It looked much the same as she remembered. All of the windows were covered, although now it was with locked shutters rather than boarded with clumsy 2 x 4’s. She had a hunch that her childhood break and enter had a little something to do with this change.
The grass was freshly mown, the flower beds that lined the front of the house were weed-free, and the paint on the house looked fresh. Bernice strode up to the door and rapped the knocker. The door opened and she immediately introduced Sarah to the Andrea. Andrea peered at her over her thick-lens glasses for a few long, awkward moments. Finally, she nodded, reached out her hand for Sarah’s resume. She read through it thoroughly while they stood in the open doorway. So far she had not uttered a single word to either of them.
Finally, she lifted her head, nodded, and said, “I’ll be in touch. Thank you.” Then she shut the door. Sarah looked over at Bernice questioningly. Bernice just gave her a encouraging smile. “I think that went well.”
The next day Sarah was called in for an interview. The following day she was hired. The day after than she began training.
“It is important that the house is kept ship-shape at all times. You never know when Mr. Shultz will show up.”
Andrea took her on a tour of the whole house. Room after room was spotless and looked unused. They finished at Andrea’s office, now Sarah’s office. “We have a landscaping crew that shows up once a week. It is your responsibility to ensure they are paid. No one is allowed inside the house unless you’ve hired them and they are to be closely monitored. You are not to bring friends inside under any circumstances.” Andrea showed her all of the files and when things needed to be paid. “If you need Mr. Shultz to sign anything, you need to let him know at least a month in advance by putting a note on his office door.”
“Doesn’t he have email?” she asked.
“No,” Andrea said. They left the office and walked to the other side of the house to the room that Sarah had found as a child. She remembered where the hole in the wall had been. Now, instead of a hole, it was another door.
“Now, this is his office. You are not to go inside.” She stuck a note on his door then turned to her. “He already knows I’m leaving and I’ve explained who you are in this note so he’ll know who you are when he gets back.”
Sarah stared back confused. “Is he in there now?” she whispered.
“Of course not. Don’t be stupid.”
“But how’s he going to see your note if he’s not here?”
“Your job is to do what you’re told. He’ll see it. That’s all you need to know.”
They walked to the front door. “Alright, you have my number in case you need it. I’ll be in town for another couple of months and then I am off on an around-the-world-cruise. Feel free to phone anytime until then.”
With that she stepped outside leaving Sarah staring at the open front door, unsure where to start first.
Over the next couple of weeks she feel into a nice routine. She was always a quick worker and managed to get everything done in the mornings which left the afternoons free to explore and snoop. But after two weeks she was no closer to discovering the mystery of her missing month than before she started.
She had only one room left to search and that was the office. She stood staring at the locked doors trying to figure out her next move.
She still hadn’t seen any sign of her new boss when suddenly there was a great crash and someone muttering and cursing. The door flew open and out stepped the man from her past.
He was still oddly dressed in 70’s apparel and sported a thick brown mustache. He seemed to be the exact same age that he was before. He stopped short when he saw her.
“Who are you and what are you doing in my house?”
She just stared, mouth agape, back at the man that had filled so many of her nightmares.