A woman meets a strange man at a friend’s party who invites himself for a hike in the woods near her home; later on a family outing in the same woods she finds a mysterious cottage where the strange man is working in the garden; after her husband’s death after a mysterious illness she associates with the cottage, she meets the man again.

This is a weird and disorienting story even by Aickman’s standards. Even the mysterious man’s name is slippery, with no one ever quite agreeing what it is, and whether he actually exists at all. The characters are all more than a little strange, not least Noella’s husband Melvin in his Wild West outfits with some sort of Bowie knife. Most Aickman stories are somewhat baffling but atmospheric; this one is mostly baffling.