By Johan Theorin
'The lifeless are our neighbours far and wide at the island, and you've got to get used to it.'
It is sour mid-winter at the Swedish island of Oland, and Katrine and Joakim Westin have moved with their young children to the boarded-up manor residence at Eel aspect. yet their distant idyll is quickly shattered while Katrine is located drowned off the rocks within sight. As Joakim struggles to maintain his sanity within the wake of the tragedy, the previous condominium starts off to exert an odd carry over him.
Joakim hasn't ever been the least bit superstitious, yet from the place are these whispering noises coming? To whom does his daughter name out within the evening? And why is the barn door for ever ajar?
As the top of the 12 months ways, and the notorious wintry weather hurricane strikes in throughout Oland, Joakim starts to worry that the main spine-chilling tale he's heard approximately Eel aspect may well certainly be real: that each Christmas the lifeless return..
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I had not supposed Mycroft Holmes possessed such eloquence as he displayed on that bizarre occasion. Moriarty protested at first, darting little ferret-like glances from one to the other of us, his blue eyes pale in the light of the single turned-down lamp. But Mycroft convinced him. I did not know then what power the bulky giant held over the little scarecrow, but it was to Mycroft he deferred. Finally, on our promising to pay his way in the business, he at last assented, reminding us fervently what explanations we must make to Headmaster Price-Jones so that his position at the Roylott School should not be forfeit by absence.
To one side, a thin black bannistered staircase led up to a charming little balcony that ran in a semi-circle over our heads. "Please, this way—come," the maid gestured, still smiling openly, and she ushered us into a cramped study which opened off the vestibule. When we had seated ourselves, she offered to take Toby and find him something to eat. " But I argued that the professor would never dare any manoeuvre so precipitate. "Oh, very well, perhaps you are right," he agreed, considering the matter while smiling icily at the grinning maid, who waited for our decision.
Fog, is it? Must be a regular corker if I haven't 'ad a shillin' on account of it. " He sighed again and appeared to look about him, a ghastly exercise in view of his deficiency. " I enquired. "No, no—bless you, sir, for offerin', but I don't. Why, it's all the same to me, in't? All the same to me. " And with this he scooped out the money I had placed in his hat and deposited it in his pocket. I bade him farewell and he shuffled off, using his stick before him to feel his path—no different from any ordinary man in the midst of this cursed fog—except that he was singing again, his voice dying away as he disappeared from view and was swallowed up by folds of smoke.