“Would you like me to read to the young man, madam?” said Willikins. “Perhaps a man’s voice would–”
“No, I’ll go up,” said Sybil quietly. “You wait here for my husband. He won’t be long,” she added firmly.
“He’ll probably be quite rushed.”
“I shall usher him up without delay, madam.”
“He will be here, you know!”
“He will walk through walls!”
Sybil climbed the stairs as the chimes ended. The clock was a wrong clock. Of course it was!
Young Sam had been installed in the old nursery of the house, a rather somber place full of greys and browns. There was a truly frightening rocking horse, all teeth and mad glass eyes.
The boy was standing up in his cot. He was smiling, but the smile faded into puzzlement as Sybil pulled up a chair and sat down next to him.
“Daddy has asked Mummy to read to you tonight, Sam,” she announced brightly. “Won’t that be fun!”
Her heart did not sink. It could not. It was already as low as any heart could go. But it curled up and whimpered as she watched the little boy stare at her, at the door, at her again, and then throw back his head and scream.
Terry Pratchett, Thud!