When it first started raining you were annoyed. The bus route from New York to Boston travels along the coast and takes long enough under normal circumstances, the rain would only lengthen it further.
Then the winds started picking up and the rains changed from drops to torrential sheets of water. While your watch claims that it is still several hours before sunset the sky has been pitch black for hours, though the near constant lightning clearly illuminates the storm tossed trees to one side of the road and the mad dashing of waves against the base of the cliff that the road is now winding along on the other. The cacaphonous pounding of the rain and bursts of hail against the sides and roof of the bus almost drowns out the continuous peals of thunder rendering any thought of rest or conversation impossible and for hours you have been helpless as the bus seemingly makes its way though the dark depths of Tartarus.
You can see Ezekial Coldman, the bus driver, straining to hold the bus steady against the thunderous gusts of wind and pounding rain, his shirt soaked in sweat as he leans forward over the wheel trying to see the road before him. He suddenly straightens up and points, shouting back at you over the howling winds.
"That's the Perkeston Lodge!" he shouts. "We're going to have to stop here; there's no way we can keep going in this storm."
You look around at the other passengers, themselves showing the stress of the journey, and nod in agreement.
The bus pulls into the drive and you and the other passengers dash through the downpour and into the open door of the lodge. Inside is an inviting glow of oil lamps and the heavy oaken timbers of the lodge muffle the sound of the storm.
An elderly woman carrying an oil lamp approaches you. "More visitors?" she says, somewhat surprised. "Well please, come in. It is certainly terrible weather we are having, isn't it? But please, come in, come in. Please, make yourselves at home in the lounge; you can warm yourselves by the fire in there. I'll have Jacob retrieve your bags from your vehicle for you."
A large black man wearing a bellman's uniform steps from the shadows. Coldman has followed you inside and looks in your direction. "You go on in." he says. "Jacob here and I will get your luggage from the bus." He and Jacob nod at each other then step back out into the storm.
"This way." says your hostess. She leads you across the lobby and through a large, double door. On the other side is a large room, well lit by a number of oil lamps and a large fire blazing in a fireplace. The occupants of the room look up as you enter.
Several chairs and a sofa sit in front of the fireplace. A man sits reading in one of the chairs while another stands in front of the sofa. A woman sits on the sofa and, from your first impression, she and the standing man have been quietly arguing about something.
In one corner of the room there is a piano. A woman has been playing but she stops and looks up as you enter. A second woman stands behind her, but she seems more intersted in the couple by the fireplace than in you.
Finally, there are several tables scattered about the room. Two couples are seated at one of them and appear to be playing cards. One, an older couple, looks up at you with a smile. The other is a younger couple. The younger man jumps in surprise when you enter then sits back down in obvious relief.
Your hostess addresses the room. "Everyone, we have some new guests. They have been stranded by this dreadful storm and will be staying with us for a while." She then turns to you. "I'll have the girls fix up some rooms for you. We will be serving dinner in a few hours; until then, please make yourselves at home here."
With a smile, she turns to leave, then stops and turns back. "Oh yes, I'm Elaine Perkeston. Please let me know if there is anything we can do for you. Oh, and welcome to Perkeston Lodge." With a final smile, she leaves.