The Riddle House

ThevillagersofLittleHangletonstillcalledit"theRiddleHouse,"eventhoughithadbeenmanyyearssincetheRiddlefamilyhadlivedthere.Itstoodonahilloverlookingthevillage,someofitswindowsboarded,tilesmissingfromitsroof,andivyspreadinguncheckedoveritsface.Onceafine-lookingmanor,andeasilythelargestandgrandestbuildingformilesaround,theRiddleHousewasnowdamp,derelict,andunoccupied.

TheLittleHangletonsallagreedthattheoldhousewas"creepy."Halfacenturyago,somethingstrangeandhorriblehadhappenedthere,somethingthattheolderinhabitantsofthevillagestilllikedtodiscusswhentopicsforgossipwerescarce.Thestoryhadbeenpickedoversomanytimes,andhadbeenembroideredinsomanyplaces,thatnobodywasquitesurewhatthetruthwasanymore.Everyversionofthetale,however,startedinthesameplace:Fiftyyearsbefore,atdaybreakonafinesummer’smorningwhentheRiddleHousehadstillbeenwellkeptandimpressive,amaidhadenteredthedrawingroomtofindallthreeRiddlesdead.

Themaidhadrunscreamingdownthehillintothevillageandrousedasmanypeopleasshecould.

"Lyingtherewiththeireyeswideopen!Coldasice!Stillintheirdinnerthings!"

Thepoliceweresummoned,andthewholeofLittleHangletonhadseethedwithshockedcuriosityandill-disguisedexcitement.NobodywastedtheirbreathpretendingtofeelverysadabouttheRiddles,fortheyhadbeenmostunpopular.ElderlyMr.andMrs.Riddlehadbeenrich,snobbish,andrude,andtheirgrown-upson,Tom,hadbeen,ifanything,worse.

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