House Arrest/R. Stone
hour of one in the morning. I surmised therefore that the Colonel had settled himself for the night. Returning to my chair I once again commenced my study of the Times, kindly loaned to me by the Colonel before he retired. I was a good way through the crossword when I suddenly heard the faint, bum, bum of distant drums.
At first I thought it was my own heart beat in the dead silence of the sleeping house but second by second, the sound grew in volume and intensity. Placing the newspaper on the bureau beside me, I walked to the banister and called down onto the next landing. My colleague, PC Cropper was looking up at me. He too could hear the noise. The violent banging from the other side of the study door, made me jump and brought me to immediate alertness.
"Quickly George, get the others." I called, as I fumbled in my
pocket for the key. I heard George race down the stairs, blowing
his whistle, and the doors of the servants rooms in the lower
part of the house bang open.
"For Pity's Sakes man, let me out." screamed the Colonel. "He's in here with me, Oh Dear God, he's here." The drumming had reached such a fevered pitch and volume now that it physically pressed against the eardrums and the fear in the Colonel's cries was so terrible that it was almost palpable. My hands were shaking so much that on my first attempt to unlock the door, I dropped the damned thing. As I bent to pick it up my blood froze in my veins at the scream that erupted from the room beyond. So anguished and terror filled was it that I scarcely believed it was possible for a human being to utter it. As heavy, footsteps raced towards me from the stairs, I managed to twist the key and throw open the door. What confronted me in that room will stay with me to my dying day.
The Colonel was stood erect by his desk, fixed to the wall by a short, African spear, its broad, vicious point embedded in his neck. His features had been frozen into a look of such abject horror, his lips pulled tightly across clenched teeth in a grim rictus. But it was the eyes that held me. They had been placed neatly on his blotter, leaving two ragged and bloody holes in his head where they used to sit. As my stomach lurched I just managed to note the sound of the drums fading into the distance.