I pulled up to the gates of the Ridgewell Estate, grateful that my old Honda hadn't died on me... yet. Just as I had remembered, the road leading up to Ridgewell's mansion was a narrow winding one that cut through the dense woods. It would've felt like a nice morning drive through the countryside, had I not remembered that I was going to the funeral of a old guy I hardly knew. Life is weird.
As I made the last turn around the bend before the mansion would pop into view, a man appeared on the side of the road. A little surprised, I slowed my car down enough to get a good look at him. He was wearing a fine, obviously expensive velvet suit and had two dead ducks in his hand and a rifle strapped to his back. In his other hand he was holding a glass of what appeared to be some sort of alcohol. Is this some sort of joke? As I approached him, he smiled at me, causing his bushy, curled mustache to twitch. He took a step towards my car, so I cautiously rolled the window down-not all the way, I'm not a complete idiot- and said hello.
"Hello!" He bellowed. His eyes were small and nearly hidden behind his round glasses. on his equally round head sat a floppy straw hat that clashed with his suit.
"Why you must be Barty's son!" He said in a loud, British accent. "You look just like him!"
Bewildered, I shook my head. "Ah, no. Just a family friend."
"He leaned in closer to the window and I instinctively retreated further into the car. He smelled like cigars and whiskey.
"Speak up lad!" The man yelled. "I can't hear very well!"
"Oh," I said, raising my voice. "I'm not Barty's son! I don't know who that is. I'm a family friend!"
"You're Jeremy Flend?" He asked, cocking his head.
"Yeah," I shrugged, giving up.
"Well I've never heard of you Jeremy. Say, you're not some long lost son of Credence, are you? She was always a bit of a floozy, if you ask me."
"What? NO." Who the hell is this guy?
The man leaned in even closer, seizing me up. "Hmm... I suppose I believe you, Jeremy. You seem like a good enough lad. You're not allergic to duck are you?"
I eyed the two birds hanging limply from his grasp. "Don't think so..."
The man grinned. "Good! because it's what we're having for dinner!" He spun around and walked back into the woods, whistling as he went.
"Okay." I continued down the road. "This is going to be the worst week of my life."