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Here is my rather Gothic take on the A-Z Challenge #1:

A dark and stormy night hung over the moor like an Elsinor arras. Boughs bent near breaking, the trees whipped and dipped in a wind-tossed tarantella. Crazy for man or beast to be out in a night like this!

Driving down a hedge-lined road, ‘crazy’ Zandra searched for refuge from the torrential downpour. Each cottage she passed was locked tight and empty, as if the inhabitants had long since fled to higher ground. Far across a field, lights flickered through unshuttered windows, beckoning.stormy night

“Granville Grange” read the carved plaque to the right of the oaken door. Her hand grasped the massive brass knocker and gave it a solid thunk. Ignoring the rain running under the collar of her jacket, she shifted back and forth, waiting – hoping – for rescue.

Just as she was about to resign herself to weathering the tempest in her car, a pale, wisp of a man opened the door.

“Killer weather we’re having,” he said, ushering her into the front hall. “Leave your coat and shoes and come dry off by the fire.” Madeira and sandwiches were set out in the parlour as if she’d been expected.

“Nights like this have a way of bringing visitors,” her host said cryptically. “Once upon a time the Grange was the only shelter to be found for miles. Pardon my manners: I’m Damien Granville.”

‘Quirky’ did not do the man justice. Rubbing his hands together, he served his guest a glass of wine then, adjusting his waistcoat, struck a Byronic pose by the mantelpiece.

“Sure must get lonely out here,” Zandra remarked, the amber potable muffling her mind like an angora tea cozy.

“Terribly,” Damien replied, “but then the winds always turn. Ubi sunt the days of quiet summer, eh? Voila! Wild and wicked,” he grinned. “Xmas in July.

“You will have this room,” he said, escorting her to a chamber more Wuthering Heights than St. Mary Mead.

Zander crumpled onto the canopied bed, eyes heavy with unbidden sleep, as he closed the door and turned the key.