It was the 4th night in a row that Daniel Wyke was stuck sleeping in the Foyer of his house. Nothing but his knapsack for a pillow and his jacket to make due as blanket. Restlessly shifting around on an expensive persian rug.
Though it’s nothing as simple as just being locked out. It wasn’t exactly his house.
It belonged to his uncle, August Thorburn. A wealthy man and beloved mayor of the town of Harbourstone (Pop. 8,023). Daniel acquired ownership when August was no where to be found.
Under the assumption that he was probably dead, the city read out his will. In it, Daniel became sole heir to the estate and everything inside, since August had no other known next-of-kin. When Daniel arrived in Harbourstone (Pop. 8,024) and stood in-front of the estate, It quickly became apparent that he was never given a key.
His uncle only ever had one key for the house, which he kept on his person at all times. A precaution he took upon himself to make sure he never forgot where it was. It’s something that nobody knew, and even if they did, August was still nowhere to be found. A slight oversight during the making of the will, where a second key should have been made, just incase a scenario like this would ever happen.
At the very least, Daniel was relieved the door to the Foyer was never locked, and made himself at home with what was available. The room alone was at least 2x larger than his previous flat and plenty more comfortable. So he decided to stay in the space until he could figure out where the key might be.
It was the 4th night in a row, and he still couldn’t find it.
On this particularly thunderous night, the rattling of the front door was keeping him awake. The wind kept opening and closing the door, as if it were trying to annoy a man that couldn’t enter his own house. Mocking Daniel mercilessly, by blowing under his coat to send shivers through his skin. All Daniel wanted to think about, was a warm bed. A thought that was growing stronger by the second, and he could no longer stand the thought of lying on this floor.
Daniel stood up and stared down the hulking 9 foot door, examining any possible means of entry. Thinking he may be able to find a way to budge the door open, he pressed up against it. Due to his size and general weight in comparison to the door, there was very little strength in the push to even feel it move.
He tried again with a little more force. Still nothing.
Frustrated by the thought of spending another night in the foyer, his motivation to open the door quickly became aggressive. He pushed with both of his hands until his wrists got sore. Hitting the door with such force that it echoed the halls of the empty home.
Knowing there was no longer a point to pushing,Daniel threw his shoes on and began to kick the door. With each effort, came a momentum that made every kick faster and stronger. (Or more desperate than the last, depending on how you looked at it.) 23, 24, 25.. And with one more, the 26th kick to the door, it finally came off it’s hinges and fell to the ground.
Daniel took it in. He now had access to a house he could call his own. A house larger than he could ever imagine, more rooms than could ever use. A realization that would be much more exciting if it wasn’t for the fact that he did not hear the door give a louder thud.
A door clearly made of hickory, that should have hit the floor with such force it could wake the dead from the next town over. His eyes focused downward to his inanimate rival, and noticed something strange. The other end of the door was hovering as if something was lodged underneath. Something that had to be the culprit as to why the door wouldn’t budge. Something he had to move out of the way if he was going to start making use of the entrance.
The heaviness of the door was too much for him to lift up from the side he was on. So he crawled overtop of it, and shifted himself underneath the door. He used his strength to lift it up, hoping to balance it straight and be a proper door again. Yet the moment it stood upright, the momentum only toppled it over again. This time into the foyer and with the loud bang he would have expected the first time it fell.
As the crash echoed through the halls and the 20 meter radius surrounding the house, his mouth was gaping open with shock. The object that made this door so trivial to open was in fact his cold, dead and recently flattened uncle, August Thorburn.
Horror crossed his face. The front door continued to flap in the wind as if it was slowly, sarcastically clapping.
The next morning, all manner of people were at the house to deal with the situation. An ambulance to take the body, the police to file the report. Daniel sat on the front steps of the house, hunched over in his coat, miserable and tired from the entire night’s events.
“Well uh… That’s quite a thing isn’t it?”
A short man with thick glasses and charcoal overcoat stepped in front of Daniel, brushing his mustache with his fingers. “That’s August’s body alright, but don’t worry. According to the coroner, he’s been dead for quite some time. If I had to guess, he was probably on his way out but just stopped dead in front of the door there… Who woulda thunk he’d be here this whole time?”
Daniel looked up with the relief it wasn’t him responsible for the death.
“Oh uh, we also found the key.” The man pulled it out of his coat’s breast pocket. “Turns out, August had the key on him… Though I suppose that makes sense, if he was about to leave somewhere. So here you go.” The man hands Daniel the key.
“But I don’t know if it’s going to do you any good. Apparently you broke the lock right-good when you kicked the bloody door down.” He brushed his mustache with his fingers again.
The man had been doing that since he’s arrived. Most people like to believe he does it because he likes the feeling of facial hair, and it’s rumoured he keeps the moustache due to the vain idea of losing all of his hair on top of his head. But it’s actually a social twitch that he developed for the many hours of public speaking events, and he constantly gets the feeling of the hair going into his mouth.
Eating his own hair is something he finds extremely uncomfortable.
“Ah… doesn’t matter,” the man continues, ”we’ll fix it right up, get you a new key and everything.. Names Howley by the way. Benson Howley.”
Howley extended his hand to shake. Daniel complied, “Daniel Wyke.”
“Ah!” Howley’s ears perked up, and began to point at him excitedly “You’re the kid, you’re August’s nephew hey?” Daniel nodded while Howley became cheerful, “Ah gee little Dany Wyke. You’ve come a long way since then, and BOY are you tall!”
Daniel wanted to be conversational, but the moment he opening his mouth to speak, a large yawn was let out instead, followed by an apology. “I’m really sorry mister Howley, I haven’t slept too well since I got here.”
“Ah no problem son… Listen, we all gotta go and deal with this stuff now. So you just try and make the best of things. Make yourself at home. If you have any questions about what to do and where to go around Harbourstone. Call the office whenever you like.”
Howley just smirks and shakes his head, patting Daniel on the shoulder. “Look, I wish this was better circumstances. but it’s really good to see you.”
Daniel looked on as all manner of people started driving away from the property. Thinking about the strange circumstance of everything so far. Originally, he felt grateful to have such a magnificent house handed to him, but now it felt like a stroke of dumb luck. Surely, he might still have an uncle if anyone had half a mind to look for him in his own house.
The lot was now empty, and he no longer had a purpose to answer more questions about the events. The only thing left for him to do was go back inside, and find a nice warm bed to curl into. As he stood up within that moment, the many hours that have kept him awake from the sight of his dead uncle, turned into a sudden rush of fatigue.
Every part of his body didn’t not want to move any further. From the bottom of his sore, purple foot, all the way to his brain, an emergency shut-off switch was flipped throughout his nervous system.
His consciousness went dark.
It’ll be 4 hours until he realizes that he’s face-first, on the pavement of a house that he hasn’t officially called home yet.