This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.
He’d bought the eccentric doorknocker on the flea market.
“I’d like to see the Jehovah’s get past that,” he’d laughed.
They didn’t, of course, but nobody else did either. In the end, he had to reconnect the doorbell faced with the obstinate refusal of anyone, from the postman to the neighbour looking for her cat, to touch the nasty-looking horned thing.
The joke had worn thin and even he began to find the sneering demonical face unsettling, almost daring him to open his own front door. He decided to get rid of it, but somehow he couldn’t find the right screwdriver and the DIY warehouse was out of stock. When he finally did get hold of one, the screws wouldn’t budge. He called in a professional.
“Fused with the bronze,” the handyman said. “I could wrench it off but you’ll need a new door afterwards.”
He was almost tempted to agree, but the house was a listed building. A new solid oak door, made to measure in the original style complete with brass studding would cost an arm and a leg. He started to use the back door instead, pushing through the overgrown privet hedge down the side of the house to the kitchen entrance. He stopped getting mail altogether and the electricity meter reader always denied there was anyone there when he called. When he tested it, he discovered the doorbell didn’t work.
He fell out of love with the house, found it cold and uninviting. The privet along the path to the back door wouldn’t stay trimmed and always seemed to be drenched in rainwater. Autumn was wet and grim, and he decided he couldn’t face another winter in the house. He put it on the market hoping for a quick sale on the strength of it being old and ‘interesting’.
In the darkest hour, as October rolled into November, he woke to a strange hush, a stillness in the house that usually creaked and wheezed to itself all night, a stillness that was broken by the hollow, rhythmic pounding of the door knocker. And he knew that the house would let the visitor in.