Chapter Forty

Adam cursed; the gusts of wind had again impeded his hearing. But
he’d been inextricably drawn to the wicket-gate and was fumbling for
the catch in the darkness when light from the main hall flooded the
garden. He gave a start, wondered what had transpired inside the Hall
but managed to regain focus on his objective. What he’d heard
sounded like Daisy in agony, but now, with the help of the big house
chandeliers he could at least find the latch. Inside the sunken garden,
the time-tarnished alabaster whiteness of the stone statues emitted an
eerie pale glow in the darkness of the night.
The big lion loomed above him, a black void where he knew its mouth
should be, but as the latest gasp of wind died away he heard
coughing and groaning – more defined in its direction. It seemed a
ridiculous assumption that she could be –
Adam curtailed his forward progress; it was like being the victim of a
teenage prank, like being subjected to some kind of mindless dare –
something spontaneously dreamed up at a party that left you out on a
limb and at the mercy of a gaggle of taunting kids as they emerged
from behind the stone sculptures. “The joke’s on you, Adam ...” Yeah,
but this was no joke and no revelling adolescents were about to
materialise from behind that cover.
No, it was inconceivable, but what he was hearing came from within
the cavity of the lion, and as he fought his nerves to hold himself
steady he became more than ever sure it was Daisy’s voice he’d heard.
‘Daisy!’Adam’s concern overruled his irrational fears; he raced across
the lawn until he reached the plinth. ‘Daisy, don’t tell me you’re in
there,’ he shouted, finding it difficult to comprehend it was actually his
voice doing the yelling.
‘If this is some kind of prank it isn’t very ...’
‘Adam, don’t be stupid!’ the voice  rasped from deep within the cavity.
‘Do you really think I’d go to these extents if it was? I hate the stones
...’ a pause. ‘Get me out of here, but be careful. I don’t what’s
happening ...’
‘Get me out ...’ Adam repeated mechanically. How the hell did he do
that? Crazy girl, crazy situation. He bit his lip and looked about him.
The stones appeared to have lost their glow ...

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