Chapter Three

Jeremy shivered in front of the stout oak door, trying desperately to ignore the monotonous drizzle while flapping his right hand around and nearly hopping. Perhaps, he thought, it really was just negligence on behalf of the owners that the electric doorbell (Oh yes, it was electric, but by the looks of it, it had been installed about the same time that the steam engine had been invented) produced joltingly powerful shocks. Yes, the thought to himself, imaging troglodytes turning a wheel to generate power for all this antediluvian wiring.

He peered again at his watch in the darkness, unable to see clearly but certain that he had been standing there for at least ten minutes. Eight o'clock, Mrs. Trimble had specified, and with the way she had glared at him, Jeremy had decided to be a model of punctuality, lest some tragedy befall him - Mrs. Trimble's stare turning him into stone perchance. To sleep, perchance to dream...

A loud thud reverberated through the thick door, followed by a slow creaking as it inched open inwards, a dull ray emanating from a prototypical incandescent bulb. Expecting a ghoulish ancient (and therefore shriveled) butler, Jeremy held his breath until he had a clear view.

A girl. Well, a young woman, rather ratty with vacant gray eyes, ragged hair and a clothing ensemble that suggested that she was in the habit of dressing blindfolded.

"Hello," she said, "you must be Mr. Frog." She hesitated, frowned, brow furrowed, "I mean Mr. Frague."
"Errr, yes," he muttered uneasily, "and you must be?"
"Lettuce Trimble, Eva Trimble's daughter."
"Oh, but of course, silly me!" he warily responded, trying to ascertain any similarity between this girl and her mother. Surely she was adopted, he concluded, for the comparison exercise was like comparing two different species, he thought.

(C)1999 Timothy Ward
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