There was a room in Brashears’s house with four doors set into its walls and heavy locks upon them. She didn’t like to go into the room; it was always cold and unsettled-feeling, like right before a storm. Sometimes at night she’d wake to the sound of rain and know the storm had broken. One key fit all four locks, and that she always wore on a chain around her neck, after one of the housemaids had taken it and disappeared behind the door of earthquakes. It had taken her months to find the key; the maid she never found.
Her familiar came knocking at her chamber door as she sat dissecting a field mouse. “Brashears,” it said.
“What is it, Pretty?” She wore her graying hair tucked up into a bun to keep it out of the viscera. She held an eyeball up to the light with a long pair of tweezers. “Oh, the cornea’s torn.”
“You have a visitor, ma’am.”
“A visitor? Really?” Brashears frowned. “Did someone knock? I didn’t hear anything. Where is the maid?”
“I sent her away. He came knocking at the door of frost.”
The loupe fell from her eye. “Brauggi,” she whispered. “He’s returned!”