Elara felt her heart pounding against her chest. This time, the sign said ‘Collingwood’. Without hesitation, she darted towards the owner’s usual bakery.
This time, she was more confident and passionate as she spoke to the owner. They connected, sharing stories and laughter over coffee and pastries. The owner was moved by Elara’s genuine affection for the house and handed her a small envelope.
“It’s a letter for the house,” he said, his voice cracking. “Do not open it until you are inside.”
Elara nodded, her eyes welling up.
She sprinted through the streets, her shoes pounding against the pavement. Mr Anders, the conveyancer, was at his desk, paperwork already spread out. It was as if he had been expecting her.
“Got the owner’s agreement?” he asked, not even looking surprised, despite the fact that in a way, this was the first time they had met.
“Yes!” she exclaimed, her voice echoing in the small office.
They worked tirelessly. As the day progressed, Elara could feel the time ticking away; everything seemed to move in slow motion. The town itself seemed to resist, the lights flickered and shadows danced menacingly.
As she finally held the keys in her hand, she could feel the day slipping away. The shadows grew longer, the lights flickered more violently.
The conveyancing lawyers at the office, including Mr Anders, looked almost transparent. She could hear whispers, the voices of countless people who lived in the town before.
She bolted out of the office. The entire street was bathed in an eerie glow. As she reached the gate of the Victorian house, the world began to blur. She clutched the keys and the envelope tightly.
“I will free you,” she whispered, her voice merging with the whispers of the town as everything reset.
Among the conveyancing firms in the Collingwood area, this day would be an echo – a memory of the day that almost ended.
She hadn’t been quick enough to get into the house, but now she just had to hope that when she awoke in the motel, the keys stayed with her. She thought it likely, given the house itself seemed to resist the time loop. Hopefully, it was the same for the keys.