dark – side – thursday – eight
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Join me and fellow blogger Andy, each Thursday, and share your dark side.
Andy Townend invites you to join him either by writing your own dark story, week by week, or, if that is too much, by dropping by, now and then, perhaps when the mood suits you or, perhaps, when it doesn’t, and by sharing a photograph, poem or a suitably dark piece of prose. To cross over to dark | side | thursday create your post, tag it dark side thursday and link to it by clicking on the dark | side | thursday badge abov, where you can also find all the contributions so far.
The Invited: Part 8
She sits back down on a stone step in the smokey gloom of her mothers mausoleum, surrounded by broken brown laterite; dust, and dead leaves, and thinks about the crumpled invitation that sits in her pocket. She wonders momentarily, who had sent it, but forming at the back of her mind is the growing certainty that she already knows the answer to that question. It seems completely absurd, but she knows.
…….and this line of thinking is giving her strength. She is in control of her own destiny now, and only by her own actions can she discover what advantage can be had by taking this journey through to the bitter end. “There has to be a way out”, she says to herself and she carefully returns to the bottom of the steps over the jumble of rocks, to confront the door once more.
Grabbing the rusty doorknob again and shaking it fiercely, the door moves a fraction towards her. With all her strength she pulls at it with her foot on the frame and there’s a grating and grinding as it inches open, though she has to stop several times to clear rock fragments that snag under the bottom of the door. She quickly realises that if she’s going to get the door open wide enough for her to get through, then the large stone that bruised her ankle is going to have to be moved. With a six inch gap the door is hard up against the piece of rock, and although she attempts to squeeze through the gap, she can’t turn to get her shoulders through. The stone has to be moved but she struggles to get a grip on it, let alone lift it, and swinging the door hard against it just forces the rock up against the wall.
There has to be a way………..and she looks around for a possible solution. Something to lever the rock away, she thinks, and looking up at the gate above her she sees that when the elephant dislodged it, the hinge bar was pulled bodily out of the side of the column. Aren’t gates normally designed to lift off the hinges? And she climbs up to pull at the hinge bar. It proves to be heavier than she anticipated and the one end is out of sight, but with much tugging and edging back and forth, it slowly moves away from the gate. With it now dangling down at an angle, it has to be lifted back up so that it can be pulled out. Summoning all her energy she gives it a final heave and it clatters down the steps to land between her legs.
The heat of the day is building and the smoke from the fire is making the air very unpleasant and oppressive. She flops down on the rock and leans against the wall, panting for breath and covered in perspiration.
In the heat she dozes, and once again sees the wet cat in her minds eye. Its name is Willow, though how she knows that a cat from a dream is called willow she’s unsure. Then the cat is wrapped in a towel and she’s trying to dry it, but Willow keeps jumping out of her arms, and then it curls up on the rug in front of the fire, so she crawls over and turns on the fire……
An extraordinarily loud crackle of burning forest, followed by a dull thump as a nearby gum tree explodes, awakes Helen, and she looks up as a shower of sparks drifts down into the stair well. Thick smoke can be seen above the broken gate and the air is heavy with choking fumes. Standing the hinge bar from the gate on its end, she manages to manoeuvre it between the rock and the stone step, and then after several attempts manages to rotate the rock away from the door.