chapter three

You can read chapter two HERE

There’s a certain feel that one get’s when you’re being watched, you don’t even have to see the person doing the watching, you somehow just know. That feeling brews inside me and I realize now I should have just closed the damn door. The only reason I left it open was because I wanted the extra light. I frown and look up at the stranger invading my privacy to tell them off but as soon as I see her I’m instantly overwhelmed by a strange sense of familiarity. I squint a little to block out the light silhouetting her and try to inconspicuously scan her from sneakers to cropped hair. It’s like looking into a mirror but at the same time not. Before I can say anything though she mumbles apologies and scurries off and I hear a door open and close. I get up to close mine as well before sitting down back in front of the sheet of paper but I push it aside and pull my laptop back in front of me, open up a blank page and start writing. I’m not sure what exactly it is I’m writing though, there doesn’t seem to be much sense in it at all but I feel like I need to get this strange feeling I’m feeling out, the words flow and bubble out of me, a small trickle that grows bigger and bigger threatening to turn into a waterfall that will carry me over it’s edge and drown me within it’s dark depths.
Dawn breaks, the sun is hidden behind the silhouette of trees but the sky turns into a canvas of pink and orange hues and I crawl up into the corner of the cabin to lean up against the window as I watch the colours change and the day become brighter. Someone walks past the door with a bell signaling the end of the line coming up and I look around, I’ve somehow managed to use every single inch of space the cabin has to offer, my bags must have unpacked themselves at some point as I don’t remember creating this mess. I stretch and chuck the blanket off then reach down and start shoving stuff back into place, once it’s all in I sit on the bag so that I can close the zip. It all fit in here before, maybe they had a party last night and multiplied. Damn slutty clothes.

There’s no one waiting for me when I step off onto the platform. I keep my head down, my hair falling forward creating a barrier and shuffle through the throng of people. I man squeezes past me and I watch him lift what must be either his wife or girlfriend up into his arms and hug her tightly. Just past them I notice Jack, I grip my luggage tighter to my side and quickly make it through the rest of the way all the while trying not to stand on anyone or bash them with my bags.  After what feels like forever I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, or at least the edge of the crowd and fasten my pace till I’m out and I feel I can finally breathe again. I take in a deep breath and assess my surroundings. The train dropped us off in the heart of the city, you can smell if before you even see it, the city that is, it smells of hard work and shattered dreams. I’ve never enjoyed the city but I am here now so I best make the most of it. I think of how my character would see the world around him if he were here, he’d see the bodies, the people as individuals instead of as a pack, he’d sit quietly and watch them, wondering to himself what they’re thinking of and where they’re headed, he’d contemplate the sonder. And then he’d pick one. Someone bumps into me breaking me away from my thoughts and I nearly fall on my ass, I scowl at the culprit and mentally curse them before realising it’s the girl from the train, “hey! you could say sorry!” I shout in her direction right before I notice she’s got earplugs in and obviously doesn’t hear me, she seems so preoccupied with her iPod that I doubt she even noticed she’d nearly knocked me over. Rude much?

I flag down a driver who peers over the middle into the back at me once I’ve shoved my luggage in and gotten into the cab “where to love?” I rummage through my bag and pull out my notebook with the address on it, “Forest lane, Stoneridge?” I’m not really sure why I say it like a question though. He puts it into this navigation then frowns back at me  “That’s a far drive love, might run the meter up a bit, are you sure?” I suppose I could always hire a car, but then how would I get it back here again “I know, that’s okay, I have the money” I take my wallet out and wave it in the air a little, this seems to satisfy him and he nods before turning back to the front and starting the engine. We slowly pull out into the traffic and I rest my head back on the seat and sigh deeply, driving in traffic always makes me nervous which is another reason I don’t want to rent a car. I watch as the tall buildings start to give way to the smaller buildings, moving out of the city’s center and heading outwards to the residential area, it’s a little greener here, but I know that it can’t compare to where we’re headed even though I’ve never actually been there before. Somehow I fall into an easy chatter with the driver who apparently loves to talk more than he does drive and before I know it the scenery changes into something more eery with low hanging fog creeping between the trees of a forest that seems to have appeared out of no where and I barely make out the sign reading Welcome to Stoneridge. I’ve never been here before but I googled photos and it seemed like a perfectly idyllic little village town with it’s tree lined streets and surrounding forest. When the lawyer phoned and called me to his office I’d never have guessed I’d walk out of the meeting with a house located in a random little village in my name.

I knock on the door and enter slowly, the walls are lined with bookshelves that are filled to the brim and spilling over in places. Behind the stacks of folders on the desk in the middle of the room sits an older gentleman who looks nothing like I pictured, instead he seems short in stature and has long grey hair pulled back into a pony tail. He actually looks a little like I’d picture an elf to look. He looks up from the notes in front of him and smiles widely “come in , come in, I’ve been waiting a long time to meet you Ms Riverdale” I have no idea who this man is and I wonder how he knows who I am “Um, hi” I give a small awkward wave and then drop my hand feeling a little stupid. He stands and gestures to one of the chairs in front of his desk “Please, sit. Can I get you anything to drink? Tea, coffee, water?” I take a seat and shake my head “No thank you”. The old man sits back down and folds his hands together of the documents in front of him. “Ms Riverdale, I’m sure you’re curious as to why I’ve called you in here today?” I nod my head and he smiles again “I’ve been a friend of your family for many many years, yes I knew them well and have kept an eye on you as I was asked to.” I frown at this because he clearly knows more about my family than I do which I suppose isn’t too hard as I’ve never known them at all; my parents died in an accident when I was a few weeks old and I’d grown up with an aging relative so far removed I didn’t even know how we were related. Mr Earthsap doesn’t seem to notice my perplexity and carries on talking as if we’ve known each other forever. “… And that brings us to why exactly you’re here. I was instructed to call you in once you’d turned 25 and with your birthday last week marking your 25th year it’s now time. You were left this.” he pulls a page out of the docket and pushes his glasses up his nose, looking over it before handing it over to me“this my dear is your inheritance.” I scan the page, not entirely sure what’s happening. “I’ve been left an inheritance? By who?” Mr Earthsap clears his throat and looks sheepish “unfortunately I’m unable to divulge that information, but if you agree to sign that you accept it I do have a letter for you.” I look back down at the piece of paper in my hand that lists all that it is I’m apparently to receive. I’m baffled but I nod my head, he hands me a pen and another sheet “sign here and it’s all yours my dear”. I nervously take the pen and hesitate a bit before actually signing. “Um, is there anything else?” Mr Earthsap takes back the sheet and shakes his head “That’s it dear” he rifles through a few more pages and then locates a sealed envelope which he hands over to me. 

The driver clears his throat and I’m pulled from the memory. “We’re here love”. I peer over the seat and squint at the meter so that I can figure out what I owe him only to realize he’s turned it off. “Hey Sam, why’d you turn the meter off?” He chuckles and shrugs “You’ve listened to me chatter on the whole drive, I can’t have you pay me for that, in fact I should pay you psychology fees” I shake my head and pull out several bills “please take it?” but he shakes his head. “No love, you keep it”. I smile and nod my head then sneakily tuck it between him and the back rest so that when he stands up it should fall onto his seat.

I wave Sam off as he drives away down the road then turn back towards the large wooden cottage. The moment I saw the photograph of it on the village website I fell in love. Built around a thousand year old tree it blends into the woods that surround it with the garden being overgrown with wild flowers and ivy. Rose bushes edge the patio and I stop to smell one of the blooms before I climb the stairs. I can just make out that the railing is carved but the ivy has taken on a life of it’s own and looks like it’s trying to strangle the poor rails, in fact the whole garden is in need of a little well, gardening. “Naughty little plants. Oh well, something to help me procrastinate”. I say to one of the blooms before I head up the stairs. I look around till I spot the pot I’m searching for then lift it up, the lady helping with the transition of the house said she’d hide the key under it and there it is, right where she said it would be. I unlock the large oak door and swing it open, it’s dark inside with all the curtains drawn closed so I fumble about looking for the light switch which I locate quickly and turn back to get my bags. I look down the path and see a man standing under a tree watching me, I’m about to ask him if he needs something but I blink and he’s gone. I must have been imagining it, I suppose the trees could look a bit like people in this fog so I shrug and head back in, doing a strange yoga slash ninja pose to try close the heavy door with my foot because I’m lazy and don’t feel like putting my bags down to close it like a normal person.

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