Although it was the middle of the night, and after a long and draining - in several senses, in Rave's case - party, neither of us hesitated for a second. Our curiosity, which had been firmly banked down over the months we had been living and working in the old house, would never have permitted us to just close the door and go to bed.

"This is weird," Rave said after we had spent a few minutes poking our noses into the cupboards and dressers.

He was right. Every drawer and shelf was completely empty: no forgotten items, no pins or hair grips, no dried-up lipstick or empty nail polish bottle lurking in a corner. And the room itself seemed remarkably free from dust, certainly compared with the rest of the house - although it had to be said that neither Rave nor myself were particularly diligent when it came to housework.

There was a smell, too; not at all unpleasant, I thought, just some exotic feminine perfume I didn't recognise.

"What's that stink?" Rave said, wrinkling his nose and frowning, "It smells like something's died in here."

"I can't smell it," I replied, "Are you sure?"

At that moment, the sole remaining bulb in the chandelier above our heads flickered and died, plunging us into near-darkness. The door behind us had swung almost closed, leaving only a faint outline from the economically dim lamp on the landing. The yellow glow of the streetlight was barely enough to outline the panes of the window.

Suddenly there was another presence in the room with us. I was sure of it. Although how I could be sure, I cannot say, even to this day. I felt an interest, welcoming and distinctly friendly, a certain very female appreciation of my body and my masculinity, at once coy and more than slightly predatory. Despite the lateness of the hour and the blood-alcohol ratio, I could feel myself becoming aroused by the unseen lady of the Pink Room

Rave had a quite different reaction. He gasped, as in surprise and pain and then as I turned in his direction, he howled and clawed at the air. It was an animal, an almost inhuman sound. He flailed furiously, screaming as if possessed and swearing imprecations, words I had never heard him use before.

"Rave, what's wrong?" I shouted.

He turned to me, his eyes wild and staring in the gloom. Then, all of a sudden he turned violent, something I had never suspected in his character. He shouted "Bastard!" in my face then struck me on the temple with his fist. I fell to the ground. Instantly, Rave was on top of me struggling to get his hands around my throat to strangle me.

I could barely breathe. Rave was a strongly-built man, shorter but much more powerful than me. I thrashed about and then, with a supreme effort composed of panic and shock, I pushed and kicked him aside. I scrambled to my feet, making a bolt for the bedroom door. He chased me, just barely failing to bring me down at the top of the stairs with a flying rugby tackle. Behind me, he crashed into the dark oak banisters with an ominous crack of wood.

I half-ran, half-slid down the stairs and fumbled furiously with the locks on the front door while Rave shook his head and found his feet. I didn't hesitate; the look in his eyes had terrified me. I yanked the heavy door open and ran out into the dark street.

I ran until I could run no more, collapsing breathless on a low stone wall in a back street I could not have identified even if I had been paying attention to my whereabouts. There was no sign of pursuit. I sat for long enough to get my breath back. Delayed shock made my body cold and my legs shake. Finally I could stand and eventually walk again; I wandered, lost and alone, scared witless of what had happened and far too frightened to even try to return to the old house.

Part 3 Part 5