“This place creeps me out.”
The two deliverymen had been driving for hours, just now coming up on their destination as the sun was readying to set below the horizon. Why anyone would choose to live out in the middle of nowhere miles from any town was beyond him. And why they would want a delivery out this late into the day was beyond his understanding.
The driver side eyed his partner as he parked the truck to a stop, tires slowing down on their crunch against the gravel of the driveway. “Just shut it and let’s get this over with, the quicker we get this done the quicker we can leave. I’d rather not stay out here after dark.” He grumbled, eyes darting nervously towards the looming presence of the house. The windows were dark as night, the last rays of sunlight not even allowing him to see beyond the dark glass.
It was jarring just how quiet it was around here, made noticeable when his partner opened the back of the truck, the screech of metal on metal echoing through the surrounding property like an empty cave.
“Hey, help me out here, this thing is heavy!”
“Yeah, yeah quit your whining.”
The package in question was hidden inside of a large wooden crate and it was heavy, extremely so. If he had to guess he’d say it was some large fridge of some sort. But it was heavier than any fridge he’s ever moved and larger too. It barely fit in the truck as is and was even more of a struggle to get out than it had been going in. But seeing as how the instructions given had explained it needed to be put in the back gardens the possibility of it being a fridge or any household appliance was immediately crossed off.
He didn’t continue to ponder over it further, impatient to get the delivery done and start heading back home. The vibe he got from the manor creeped him out. It felt like he was being watched and he could do well without the chills that ran down his spine at the thought.
They both struggled to wheel the package around behind the manor and towards the back gardens, stopping at the tall, wrought iron gates that kept outsiders away. Hedge’s lined behind the thick bars, keeping whatever lay inside the gardens out of sight from anyone that dared come close.
Although why anyone would travel miles out to give the owners a need for privacy was beyond him and above his pay grade.
As per the instructions he located the gate key that had been hidden under a large rock, unlocking the gate with a shrill shriek of ungreased metal hinges worn from time and wear. The sound was unholy as squeaky hinges went, echoing through the quiet of the waning daylight that still remained.
Shivers ran down both the men’s spines at the hollowness of it all, eyes darting around as if expecting someone or something to jump out at any moment.
Still following the directions given they carted the heavy package to its final destination, struggling the whole way and having to stop every few minutes to get a breather before continuing.
By the time they finished it was dark out and without another wasted moment they left quicker than they came, the tires of the truck squealing against the gravel before the truck's doors had even fully closed.
Rumbles of the engine faded the farther they went, pitching the forest and property into a deathly silence.
As soon as the last rays of sun had gone out it was like a switch had flipped. Animals that had been silent before now made their usual rounds of sounds as they left the safety of their homes. The flapping wings and pitched squeaks of bats cut through the air, frogs croaking and splashing in the large pond that occupied the gardens a ways down at the very edge. Fireflies fluttered about lazily, lights blinking in and out of the night air like twinkling stars.
And from within the manor a figure that had been watching the proceedings of the two deliverymen finally stirred, the silence and prompt return of the usual night sounds a sure signal whoever had been outside was long gone now.
A back door opened with a slight slam, the decades of use having made it too easy to slam open at the slightest touch. Footsteps that sunk into the soft dirt with low, muffled sounds started a path that ended at the still open gate, the shrill squeaking of metal and a slight clang signaled it closed, a hard click of a key turning in to lock it startling the frogs enough for them to fall silent before returning to their night orchestra just moments later.
The steps resumed their continued journey, creeping along the worn stone path that enveloped most of the gardens and allowed for easy access to all of the flower beds.
Following in their steps was a plain tabby, brown with thick black markings that made it appear the cat was apart of the night itself, it’s glowing eyes peering forwards to focus on its owner in front of it, soft meow leaving its tiny mouth every few steps. Almost as if it was reassuring the larger that she was still here.
The cat knocked against the others legs as they stopped, playing it off by brushing up against their legs lovingly while meowing loudly. Whether to complain or show her affections they didn’t know, she was an oddball like that.
Dark eyes peered at that large wooden crate, the contents a mystery to the only living tenant in the manor. Although they lived here they weren’t exactly the owner of the property, their living here merely a form of the actual owners of the property's generosity to repay a debt in full.
A pale hand pressed against the wood, the cold of it seeping into heat sensitive skin that shivered in response to such a temperature change. Moonlit fingers curled over the edge of one of the sides, the nails that had been embedded deep in the wood to keep it secure drawing out long squeals as they were pulled from their places.
The night seemed to quiet once more, a silent anticipation of the unveiling of whatever lay inside the crate.
The wood was carelessly thrown aside, although just carefully enough that it was well out of the way of the cat's general area so as not to hit her.
Dark eyes hidden behind shades, more of a habit than a need, peered into the interior of the crate, scanning over the contents with a critical eye.
As was specified earlier by text it was indeed a statue. Made of marble as white as snow, gray and black veins of coloration covered it in it's entirety.
It was like every other marble statue that came through. Although the posing was different than the others. Whatever figure that was represented was sitting upon the pedestal they were made from, legs bent to their chest and head laid upon their knees, an arm wrapped securely over their face as their one free arm laid prone on the ground palm up.
Why someone would choose to sculpt something like this they didn't know. Didn’t care enough to warrant any energy towards finding out either.
With another show of strength (making sure the cat was well out of the way) the rest of the crate was torn away, moving the statue that was larger than their own self into the designated spot with their full body weight.
There was a bit of a grind of marble against loose stones before it was settled into place. As soon as it grew silent the night animals started back up with their orchestra of twilight sounds, filling the once empty air with noise.
They took a moment to view their handiwork, another sweep of the area around and they were already moving back into the house with a cat on their heels and the sounds of crickets chirping behind them.