The Estate Agent (part 1 of 2)

The Governor's Mansion in Virginia, 1905

The Governor’s Mansion in Virginia, 1905 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 ‘Mr Wolffram, I presume?’ said Corey reaching out his hand to the man with the neat moustache and circular spectacles.

‘No,’ the man shook his hand with a very firm grip, ‘Herr Wolffram is my client,’ continued the man, ‘I am Harald,’ his accent was almost imperceptible ‘Harald Heisenberg. No relation to the physicist.’

‘Oh.’ Corey blinked, he did not know any physicists. ‘Just let me unlock the gate and we can be off.’ He unlocked the tall iron gate. ‘Shall I drive you?’

‘I’ll go in my own car, thank you.’


‘This is it,’ said Corey as Harald stepped out of his car. With one hand Corey indicated the mansion. The facade was white, where the paint had not peeled off and left it grey, and it had a pair of pillars on each side of the front door. There were large French windows, also mostly white, with a row of short bushes underneath with small white flowers.

‘It needs a bit of paint of course,’ said Corey, ‘but even now I feel it still has some of its grandeur.’

‘Is this a belladonna bush?’ asked Harald. He was studying a bush by the side of the driveway with lots of small black berries.

‘Yes,’ said Corey, ‘I think so. They have beautiful flowers in summer.’

‘Hm.’ Said Harald wrinkling his nose slightly at the plant. He straightened up, took a small, red notebook out of an inside pocket and scribbled a note. ‘Let’s have a look inside.’ Harald strode towards the door.  


‘How thick are these walls?’ asked Harald, knocking on the walls of the cellar.

‘Pretty thick,’ said Corey, ‘why?’

‘And these bars in the windows,’ Harald grabbed one of the bars and pulled at it a bit. ‘When were they fitted?’

‘Oh, a long time ago,’ said Corey, ‘but you could get them removed fairly easily, I think.’

‘Hm.’ He said and scribbled in his red note book. ‘Need new ones,’ he muttered. ‘How far are the nearest neighbours?’

‘About two miles down the road from the gate,’ said Corey.

‘Good.’ Harald made a last note and snapped the note book shut. ‘We’ll take it.’


The next Saturday, Corey drove up to the mansion, just to see how things were. About halfway up the driveway, he passed the van of the local handyman, but when he reached the mansion he could not see any change at first. Then he noticed that there was some white dust under the bushes and around the corner of the house. He followed it and saw that some new rather thick bars had been installed in the cellar windows. The room inside was empty except for a double mattress. The bars made it look like a prison cell.

‘Why are you here?’ said a gruff voice and a shadow came between Corey and the sun. 

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