Her husband allows her all things but one — she cannot open the door in the tower.
He is a private man — coyly old fashioned. His face is ageless and strong, his smile is more habit than joy. She has read every book in his library, but she is no closer to knowing him.
The door is lacquered red and iron-knobbed. The room behind it cannot be very large; sitting at the tower’s very top.
He is often away on business, and her mother and sisters visit her and dine in the echoing hall.
“He doesn’t want you to know how rich he is,” says one sister. “That room is piled high with gold.”
Her mother snorts.
“The bodies of all his old wives are hung in there like trophies,” says the other sister.
“Never mind her,” her mother says, “she’s jealous.”
When they leave, the door has moved. It waits for her at the bottom of the tower now — its blood red stain is unmistakable.
Her husband shrugs when she shows him on his return.
“Hasn’t it always been there? And anyway, it’s nothing important. Just a closet.”
He is sorry, but he’ll have to go away again soon.
In her dream, veiled corpses hang from the rafters, swaying with the drafts. Treasures from the four corners of the earth are piled in gleaming heaps. In her dream, he is waiting for her there, stripped bare and on his knees.
The next morning, the door is in the hallway outside her bedroom, red and gleaming. Soon it will eclipse the house.