Margaret Hawke


From the main road, Bellehaven loomed large and majestic. Kate turned into the lane leading to the sand colored building. The estate structure looked more like a sun-kissed castle than a nursing home. Turrets accented each corner, and stands of evergreens almost as tall as the house framed the building on two sides like towering bookends. As she drove closer, the peeling paint around the leaded windows, several of which were cracked, screamed of neglect. Once-grand pillars surrounding the entranceway showed signs of major decay. Pigeons perched among the eaves. Even the sign by the front steps had fallen into disrepair; the first “L” and the “H” were missing in “Bellehaven.” She pulled the car around the circular driveway and past the bronze Neptune fountain that was empty except for rotting leaves, parked, and checked her watch. Early. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. A few minutes to compose herself would be a good thing.

She forced optimistic thoughts to override her apprehension and ignored little red warning flags that danced through her mind. Surely, the poor upkeep wasn’t a sign of worse things to come. She checked her watch again. It was almost time for her interview. Taking another deep breath and wiping her sweaty palms on her skirt, she stepped out of the car.
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