Thom sat down to write.
‘Even the bright sky can’t stop the grey impinging on me today.’ he began typing slowly, and stopped looking around his room.
‘The grey isn’t outside it’s within me. Even when I woke this morning I knew it was going to be a grey kind of day. I can’t stop it. It just happens.‘ Instead of adding to the story of Alicia’s new dream that he had been working on he had to get this feeling out, and writing was his only tool.
‘Some days it just envelops me, takes over, and even though I so much want to rise above it and claim back the sun I can’t.’ he added more words to the page. He stopped again , it wasn’t working. He saved his few words and closed down the laptop. Returning to bed with the intention of closing himself down for the day he hoped that the next day would be brighter.
“What the …?” Allen exclaimed as he sat up rubbing his head. “How did I…” he started to question. He had no idea how he had arrived outside the house he was now staring at. To be quite frank he had no idea how he had got into the forest either. He remembered being out with Paul and the other lads, but after that everything was a bit of a blank. He didn’t even have any idea of how the evening had ended, or when he left. But he was pretty sure this was some kind of wind up.
“Goddamn it,” he groaned. Rubbing the back of his head he found a lump the size of a small egg which hurt when he touched it. “What the…?” he exclaimed once more. He had no idea how that had happened, but it wouldn’t have been the first time he had hurt himself under the influence.
He pushed himself up against the tree which he had been lying beside. He looked the small house over. It didn’t look at all remarkable, yet the story of Red Riding Hood jumped into his mind, and along with it a savage hungry wolf slavering. It was a simple cottage which appeared to only have one floor, although the thatched roof could easily be hiding another. On the lower floor there were two windows on side of the small building and a wooden door to the right hand side. A run of the mill country cottage in the middle of a forest. So why was he here? And how had he got here? The nearest forest to his place had to be over fifty miles away.
As he stared back at the door he had a sudden feeling that everything wasn’t quite as straightforward as he had first considered. He had seen something strange. Although it appeared to be an ordinary wooden door for a moment Allen was sure it had shimmered and symbols had appeared down its length. He screwed up his eyes and stared at the door again. He was sure it was shimmering. The symbols appeared then disappeared pulsing in and out of sight.
Allen laughed out loud. “You gotta be joking me.” he said incredulously. ‘What is this, some kind of enchanted forest, with a magic cottage?’ he asked himself.
As he pulled himself up to a standing position, feeling a little nauseous from the bump on his head he was sure that not only did the symbols pulse in and out of sight on the door, but the door itself also appeared to be bulging outwards with the same rhythm. Allen shook his head slightly to try and clear his mind and vision, but it did no good, He simply felt more nauseous and even more disoriented.
“What’s going on?” he shouted out loud, while in his mind he asked the question ‘What is on the other side of the door?’
Looking out to sea she leaned into him, savouring his warmth, or was that her imagination? The night sky was starting to lighten; the deep black of night giving way to the suggestion of the coming dawn. Despite the warmth from his body and the gentle heat coming from the dying embers of the campfire she felt an involuntary shiver. Was this really to be goodbye? She knew it was.
It seemed like only moments ago, yet also an age since they had arrived on the deserted beach and set up camp. He’d been gallant when he had picked her up as the sun fell over the horizon, chivalrous you could almost say. He accepted her invitation and hadn’t asked about her reasoning for a nighttime picnic, despite the obvious arrival of autumn, and the looming possibility of a threatening storm.
When they had arrived in the desolate cove she had laid out the blanket and set out the gourmet treats she knew he’d like, while he gathered some driftwood and with a little help from firelighters from the car had built a roaring fire. He had opened the champagne and poured her a glass, his mind clearly on the prize and his eyes on her breasts. She knew how to reel them in when it came to it.
He had been so absorbed in the moment that he had hardly noticed that she wasn’t matching his pace in the eating or drinking stakes, or at least it didn’t seem to worry him. They spoke of love and futures, but she knew it was little more than a game for her. She had had him in her sights for some time. He was a lone wolf. He had told her he had no family and his friends were never around. He was her perfect conquest, and she to all intents and purposes his, but he had no idea of her secret. That was his error, his fatal error.
Two weeks was longer than she normally took to finally catch her prey, but in the end he had been worth it she thought as she wrapped her coat tightly around her and stood up. His blood had been rich and sated her hunger. Now as the dawn approached with more vigour she kissed him one more time and said her goodbye as she drew away. She knew the tide would clear away her debris, as she now thought of him, leaving nothing of the feast, or any sign that they had even been there.