Mr Laurence House Empty The Next Morning

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Jen was relieved to find the Laurence house empty the next morning. There was a note from Mrs Laurence on the kitchen table, reminding her to check the weekly grocery delivery, and not to answer the door to anyone else. She was hoovering the stairs when the doorbell rang; she looked through the landing window, but couldn’t see the delivery van. Remembering Mrs Laurence’s warning, she crept down the stairs and peeped though the spyhole. She’d expected to see a teenager with a case of substandard tea towels and ironing board covers; instead, the man standing with his back to the house looked old or middle aged; his hair was grey and balding at the crown. He turned to ring the bell again, and Jen stepped back. There was something wrong with his face; the skin was pink and shiny, and stretched tightly over the bones. His features were nondescript, except for his lips, which were full, the corners curving upward, as if carved into the flesh with a knife. He slid something through the letterbox, and left. Jen ran up to the landing window to see which way he went. She caught her breath. He’d crossed the road and was staring up at the house. He was wearing a cardigan under a badly fitting suit, and his shoes were down at heel, but he looked confident, even arrogant, standing with his legs apart and his hands in his pockets. As she watched, he crossed the road and disappeared from sight. She was glad Mrs Laurence had warned her not to open the door; the man was unsettling, and

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