"This looks like a comfortable place to stay the night..."
“I’m almost positive I’ve heard those names before somewhere."
“Milk? And sugar?”
“It doesn’t look in the least bit dead. Who did it?”
Billy Weaver is a businessman traveling from London to Bath for work. It is a cold, windy night and Billy is searching for a place to stay. At around 9 pm a local Bed & Breakfast catches his eye and pulls him in.
Christopher Mulholland CardiffJune 7, 1973
Gregory Temple BristolAugust 14, 1974
Billy thinks it looks warm and comfortable and the price is extremely cheap. The old woman who owns the home makes him feel very welcomed. After getting settled into his room, he signs the guest book. He realizes that there are only two names in the book, both sound familiar to him. While trying to figure out how he knows the two men, the land lady makes him a cup of tea. The woman seems to be avoiding the conversation when it comes to the two men, but tells him that they are still there....3 years later.
Once Billy hears that the two men are still there, he gets a little confused. He realizes that something is off when the woman tells him that her two pets (a dog and a parrot) are actually dead and stuffed. "I stuff all my little pets myself when they pass away."
The woman offers Billy more tea. He denies it and claims "it tasted faintly of bitter almonds, and he didn’t much care for it." When Billy asks if anyone else has stayed there since Gregory Temple, the land lady replies "No, my dear. Only you."
Two guests in three years?
The reader can assume that Billy is killed by the land lady and that she stuffed him like her "other pets." That is what she means when she says the other two men are "still there".
This is a clear example of a person vs. person conflict. The main character is being targeted by the once trustful old woman. The theme of this story is that "looks can be deceiving."