Everybody living in the area knew about The Palace of Pain and Pleasure.
It was a red-bricked house – some might call it a mansion – standing at the top of a hill – looking down at the town below.
People talked about it in whispers.
During the day, there was little to see or hear – but at night there were rumours of blood curdling screams coming from within the bowels of the house.
Now as the shiny black limousine – with the tinted windows swept up the driveway, Cora took a few deep breaths. Her Master Percy of Harmonington had warned her that she was going to stay at the Palace of Pain and Pleasure and it was for her own good.
As the car smoothly came to a stop – someone dressed all in black stepped out of the shadows and opened her door. A slim hand caught hold of her arm and helped her out of the car.
She stood for a moment – blinking in the bright lights that were coming from within the house.
A cold shiver went down her spine and just for a moment she was paralysed with fear and unable to move. Then the hand on her arm shook her and guided her towards the imposing heavy oak front door.
Cora’s eyes widened as she took in the details. The whole scenario – the entrance hall with paintings on the walls – the thick pile-carpet beneath her feet – the overstuffed sofas and the crystal chandeliers overhead – all these screamed out luxury – sheer unadulterated luxury.
Still being guided by her escort, she moved forward down the hallway towards a wide staircase.
However, as they approached the staircase, the hand under her elbow moved her to the left. Going through a leather-padded door, she found herself in a stone floored passage with a stone staircase straight ahead of her – a stone staircase with no banister – leading downwards. She shivered again – but this time it was the stark coldness mingled with fear that struck terror into her very being.
She stood at the top of the stone staircase – her high-heeled shoes threw her off balance and if it hadn’t been for her escort’s steadying hand she would have overbalanced and fallen down the flight of twelve steep steps.
At the bottom of the stairs she felt herself relax slightly.
Now she was being led down another passage – through another stout wooden door.
Up to this point, she had been able to hear the sounds of music, conversation and laughter from above – now there was an eerie silence, except for the clicking sound her heels made on the stone flags.
When the sound of screaming cut through the silence she jumped at the suddenness of it. She knew then what fear real raw fear felt like.
Then a door on the left of the passage was pushed open and Cora was pushed roughly inside.
She looked around her in horror.
To be continued…