Lord Mortimer didn’t really know much about the girl who was to marry him. Only that she was barely nineteen and had an A-level diploma with ink that was still wet.
The family curse essentially required that all Lords Mortimer have their marriages pre-arranged, despite the growing difficulty of negotiating one in the twenty-first century. Still, the lawyers found a suitably distant poor relation, negotiations entered, contracts signed and money changed hands.
“You must be Jill,” he said, helping her from her taxi. “I’m Evan.”
She looked relieved. “Oh, thank goodness. You aren’t nearly as terrible as I’d imagined. You’re not warty and seventy at all.”
He chuckled. “I’ve just turned thirty, not a pensioner yet. No warts, but relief might be premature before you’ve seen all of my habits. Welcome to Apis Hall, Jill.”
“Pleasure to be here, Lord Mortimer.”
“Evan. You’re doomed to be a Baroness soon. Believe me; the blush fades from the ‘ooh dearies aren’t we formal then’ rose very quickly.
“Your luggage will be moved upstairs,” he said. “You must come in and meet Mother.”
“Meet the family so soon? I just may faint.”
“It’s a very large family. Take a deep breath.”
A hugely loud droning buzz carried on a blast of febrile heat washed over her when Evan opened the front door. Jill screamed when a hand on the small of her back pushed her into the fetid cavern inside Apis Hall.
“Meet Jill, Mother. Fatten her on royal jelly and she’ll make a fine next Baroness Mortimer.”
256 words. Inspired by this week’s Flash! Friday prompt:
Elements: A lord under a family curse, cunning, isolated country manor, Hound of the Baskervilles.