Matheus stood in the middle of the foyer, letting the last of the manic laughter die away. A wide staircase led to the second floor, but Matheus doubted his father kept Fletcher in comfort. Shadows extended beyond the staircase, the outlines of a door just visible. On either side of Matheus stood two more doors. The one to his right must lead to the room with the bay window overlooking the front yard. He checked the one to his left; a closet. The final door opened onto a narrow passage, with a glimpse of the kitchen at the end. Another staircase twisted downward, the opening wide enough for one person.
Voices came from the kitchen, the floor creaking underneath heavy footsteps. A shadow fell across the doorway. Matheus ducked into the servants’ staircase, retreating around the corner. The footsteps came closer, interspersed with the rattling of weaponry. Matheus took a step back, freezing as the wooden step let out a groan. The footsteps paused. Closing his eyes, Matheus prayed, waiting for an eternity to pass. After either a few eons or a few seconds, the footsteps resumed, heading toward the front of the house.