Thanks to Sadje for this weekly challenge. You can check it out here
Image credit- Pixabay- ArtTower
For visually challenged reader, the image shows a road leading towards a dwelling in the forest. It is hidden in fog and surrounded by tall trees. A light is shining brightly out of the window of the house.
She was totally lost, tired, cold and hungry.
The path was almost invisible in the darkness, but the light from a window ahead was sufficient to guide her.
Tentatively knocking on the door, she should have been anxious as to who or what she might find, but she was too miserable to think of anything but shelter and a warm drink.
The light continued to shine, stable, unflickering, constant in its intensity.
Silently, the door opened and a scrawny hand beckoned her inside.
She could not see the face under the dark shawl to determine whether it was male or female and as no words were spoken, she took the seat gestured.
A hot drink was put in her hands and she drank gratefully.
The figure bustled in a kitchen which housed no more than a cupboard, sink and burner and soon returned with a sandwich on a clean plate and a lace doily which made her smile.
She ate, and as she did so, looked around the small room furnished with just the basics.
The figure was in constant motion, the light from upstairs casting shadows throughout the cottage.
She was brought a blanket, and wordlessly encouraged to rest and sleep.
Feeling warm and fuzzy for the first time in what seemed hours, she curled up and closed her eyes.
She was awoken by the sound of excited shouts and dogs barking.
‘Over here! Here! We’ve found her!’
Shielding her eyes from bright torches, she felt strong arms lift her up and carry her to a waiting vehicle.
After a thorough check up, she was asked how she came to be in the woods.
She said she didn’t actually know and was lucky to come across the cottage.
Her saviours looked at her strangely.
‘There is no cottage here. Never has been.’
‘But I was given food and shelter.’
‘We found you in the undergrowth. It looks like you may have stumbled and hit your head.’
‘I had a blanket……… you must have found a blanket!’
‘No, nothing. You probably have a mild concussion, but other than that, you’re OK.’
‘But there was a light, a cottage, she gave me a drink and a sandwich, on a lace doily!’
Her voice was rising and verging on hysteria as they didn’t believe her.
The sad smiles and shaking of heads were her undoing.
‘There was a cottage. It was real…………. I know it was real……………….’ she sobbed.
As they prepared to take her home, she reached inside her pocket for a tissue……………… and pulled out a lace doily.