The listener at the door

The last few days have been windy and rainy. Doors and window shutters rattle as if unseen people are pushing at them, anxious to get into the abbey. Or perhaps they are trying to get out.

This windy weather has left the hob unsettled. Indeed, all of those who live here at Crowfield feel the same sense of restlessness. The fire in the warming room burns fitfully, more smoke than flame, and is miserly with its warmth. But it is the rattling of the doors in particular which makes Brother Walter nervous. He scurries past them as if frightened of what might be on the other side. I must confess, I have caught a little of his uneasy mood and find myself reluctant to open certain doors in the abbey.

This morning I found him hiding in a corner of my workshop, his fur bristling and his eyes wild. There was, he told me, someone outside the door last night. Someone who came and went, rattling the latch, scratching on the wood, and listening.
            'How do know that they were listening at the door?' I asked.
            The hob patted his head. 'I could feel it in here.'
            'Who was it, do you think?' I will admit, I was not sure I wanted to know the answer to this. The hob's eyes were as round as coins, more gold than green in the light from the fire. He shook his head and whispered, 'I don't know, but I think they were trying to find something that is lost and gone, though I don't know what that might be.'

Brother Walter and I busied ourselves in the workshop for the rest of the morning, but neither of us felt inclined to talk. I had the feeling that the hob was still listening for that hand at the door.

Perhaps, when the door rattles again, as it surely will, we should open it and see who is there.

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