dark I side I thursday I one

dark-side-thursday

Fellow blogger and friend Andy Townend has invited us to join him in order to explore the dark side of story writing. He intends to write 500 word chapters of his very dark and intense story that will appear each and every Thursday for a whole year.

In joining him, if only for a part of the year, I have adapted a story line that my creative writing group has been working on recently. Our aim is to work collaboratively on a story; each of us picking up the thread of the story line where the previous one left off. Our group effort can be found here, on Stewartry Writers and it is still in the process of being added to.

My contribution was the second one in and some of us have decided to continue and complete the story from where we left off, and this is what you will find here. The opening line was contributed by Margaret and the first section came from Helen. The rest of it will be my own story line. Below you will find part one. If you would like to take part in dark – side – thursday, I refer you to Andy’s excellent blog here.

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The Invited

The outline of your future path already exists, for you created its pattern by your past.

Sai Baba

—————–

The road winds intriguingly as though it knows where it’s going and wants to guide her with intent towards something new, and mysterious.

The invitation had come in a plain white envelope, with no indication of its source in the postmark. The stiff white card inside was printed in her favourite font, an elegant Lucida Calligraphy.

‘You are invited to the Erewhemos Garden on Sunday April 1st. Acceptance may prove to be to your advantage.’

Written on the back were the instructions for finding the place and so here she is, on this country road, apparently in the middle of nowhere. As she goes on the road gets narrower and the trees now join their branches overhead into a tunnel, making the prospect of advancing a little frightening. ‘Why on earth has she come?’ she asks herself, feeling a bit stupid, as if she might be putting herself in some danger, but the mystery of the invitation had been too enticing.

At last, in the gloomy distance, she sees a vehicle advancing towards her. She slows down, pulls into the side of the road as far as she can and winds down her window.

The driver of the large estate car draws level and greets her with ‘Can I help you?’

​‘I’m looking for the Garden which I understand is somewhere up here. Are you anything to do with it?’

The woman smiles and says ‘No – and you’ve passed the gates about a hundred yards back down there.’

After thanking her she drives on till she finds a gateway in which she can turn the car round, not without some difficulty. ‘Why on earth have I come?’ she asks herself crossly. ‘Am I being stupid?’ But the mystery of the invitation draws her on. Sure enough, as she peers along the roadsides, she sees, set back amongst a thickset stand of trees, two large doors painted to match the thicket beside them, almost camouflaged as if they didn’t want to be seen. There is no name on them, no indication of their existence on the postal map. She stops the car, gets out and turns the large brass handle on the right hand door and pushes it open. There is a notice on a board on the right hand side of the drive that leads on before her: ‘Please close the gates behind you for security reasons.’  She opens the other heavy gate, drives in and then closes the two of them behind her as instructed. She gets back in the car and sits for a moment, contemplating.

‘What on earth am I doing here?’ she asks herself. ‘Curiosity killed the cat, you know! How on earth can all this be to my advantage?’ The only way she can find out is to drive on.

Alongside the gate, the forest had been dense, but as she rounds the first bend in the track, the trees open out into a glade with a stream, and the track almost immediately peters out. She thinks to herself how beautiful it is, then…..

“You have reached your destination.”

This sudden and unexpected announcement from the sat-nav makes her jump. She didn’t remember even switching it on: and sitting there for a moment, completely unnerved, she finds herself preparing to reverse the car.  A movement in the rear view mirror catches her eye and her heart leaps. With white knuckles she grips the steering wheel fearfully, frozen by indecision.

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5 thoughts on “dark I side I thursday I one

  1. Thank you John for contributing this great story to dark side thursday! Some great stories and excellent photos! And I love the idea of the writing collective, look forward to seeing how this develops!

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