Marina wiggled her toes in the sand and a smile formed on her lips. She couldn't remember the last time she went bare-foot outside. There were so many sensations going through her. The grass, tickling her feet with each step she took. A mild summer breeze, swept through her long hair. And the flowers… their sweet fragrance was all around her.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath; taking in her surroundings. It’s so peaceful, she thought. Lifting her arms, she slowly spun around. It felt like she was flying; soaring, higher and higher.
It was the sound of a twig snapping in two that eventually brought her back down. She turned around to see where it had come from.
Just then, it was as if her feet had a life of their own. They started walking towards the place the sound had come from.
The big trees surrounding that part of the field cast a blanket-like shadow over the flowers and the mild summer breeze suddenly turned chilly causing Marina to shiver. She rubbed her arms as she continued to follow her feet.
She regained control of her feet right in front of a big oak tree. Marina looked around; took one more step past the tree and saw the cause of the sound.
There, between the flowers, sat a woman with her head bowed. She had raven-black hair that flowed gracefully down her back. She was sitting in front of what looked like a headstone made of white marble. Marina couldn’t make out the name written on it because of a bright light cast directly upon it. It reminded her of a lens flare on a picture.
‘H-hello… excuse me…’ Marina whispered, but the woman didn’t turn around. She never even flinched.
‘Hello…’ Marina whispered again, moving a bit closer.
But the moment she took another step all started to fade to black. ‘Wait…’ Marina said running towards her. It got darker and darker until all that was left was the flare cast from the headstone.
‘Please… w-wait! Who are y- ‘
In the light of the flare she saw the woman turn to face her, but then it went completely black.
Marina took in a few irregular breaths. Even after an entire night’s rest she still felt tired. The yellow numbers on the clock showed 4.30 in the morning; half an hour before her usual time. She could close her eyes and try to fall asleep again, but she knew it’d be useless. It always took her at least 15 minutes to fall asleep and the remaining 15 minutes ‘til her alarm went off, didn't seem worth it.
She threw back the covers and stepped out of bed. Looking down at the stables the horses seemed sound asleep. Why wasn't she…? She opened one of the shutter-windows and let the cool night air calm her nerves.
Not near 7 minutes had past when there was a knock on her door.
Not waiting for an answer, the door swung open and Lubinnia came in. ‘Rise and s… What the? You know, you could at least turn on the night-light. Maybe then I won’t spill the tea falling over my own feet’. She walked over to where Marina was sitting in the dark. After putting the tray with the over-sized tea cups on the coffee table, she clapped two times, turning on the night-light, to then join Marina on the couch.
Lubinnia knew that look. She had seen it time and time again. ‘So what was it this time; Field of Flowers or Homicidal penguins?’ Lubinnia resumed turning to face Marina. What? When did I dream of homicidal pen…? Marina thought, a frown appearing on her face. The frown turned into a weak smile when she realized it was a joke.
‘Field of flowers’ she sighed.
‘Okay, well like I’ve told you a million times. Count them, I’m serious! Flowers = Happiness! So dream explained. Happiness is somewhere around the corner’ Lubinnia said half getting up.
‘Do marble-headstones equal happiness too?’ Marina answered turning her gaze from the window.
‘What?’ Lubinnia said sitting down again at the serious turn this dream had taken.
‘I saw a head-stone this time, Binny. A white marble headstone with gold ‘round the edges. There was a woman sitting in front of it. I called out to her, but she didn’t hear me – didn’t even move. I thought maybe if I got closer… but with each step I took it got darker. She turned around right before it went pitch-black. I don’t know Binny, What if she was me?’
‘What on earth would make you think that?’ Binny said getting a bit irritated.
‘I don’t know, I mean she had my built, black hair as long as mine and…’
‘You think you’re the only one with that kind of hair? Please, spare me! Why do you do this to yourself, huh? Negative vibes like that will only hurt you. I know it’s been hard for you this past year, but it’ll get better – trust me! Yes, it’s scary, seeing a head-stone and things like that. But maybe you should see it as the end of this phase of your life. You know, start anew…’ Binny said rubbing Marina’s hands soothingly.
‘I don’t know, maybe you’re right!’
‘Of course, I’m right!’ Binny made a scuffing sound ‘I’m always right. Sheesh! Wasted my time explaining dreams; I could’ve been cleaning the kitchen by now. Now drink your thee. I don’t get up early to have my efforts wasted’
‘Thank you Binny’ Marina said with a smile on her face as she watched Binny make her way down the stairs and out of her room.
‘…yeah yeah… and take a bath, ‘cause you stink!’
From her car window Charlotte clearly saw some movement between the bushes and it looked too big to be an animal. In the real sense of the word that is. She cocked her gun and silently, like a predator on the hunt, walked into the woods. Eyes on sharp. She stood still at the exact spot she saw movement; her eyes, still scanning the nearby area. Nothing!
‘I could’ve sworn there was something here!’ she said loud enough, hoping that whatever it was would panic and give itself away. Nothing! She started to back away slowly when she stopped. There was rustling in some bushes not too far from her. She aimed her gun in that direction. It got closer and closer… Her fingers twitching to pull the trigger!
‘Son of a b…’ Charlotte exclaimed. She released the breath she had been unknowingly holding, as the young buck that just appeared, also frightened by her sudden exclamation, ran in the other direction; tripping over its own feet.
Charlotte finally got a hold of herself when she was safely in her car. She may be one of the better hunters, but she had to face the fact that she was alone right now. If it had been an actual ambush... The thought alone send shivers up her spine. Maybe the long road home would clear her thoughts; although the destination wasn't something to look forward to either.
It felt bittersweet going home to a soft bed that was calling her name, but also to a Lillian waiting for a full report. Another series of shivers found their way up her spine as she put the car in drive.
RiverBlossom Hills - South
Marina watched as Nina proudly pranced around the small meadow she helped her father built. There was a faint glow all around her making it seem like she stepped out of a dream. She looked sideways at Marina for a long time; as if she wanted to say something. Or maybe with that look she did…
Marina sighed. ‘Maybe I should follow Binny’s advice and live a little’ Nina made a sound at that exact moment. As if she was in agreement with Binny’s suggestion. ‘But, I don’t think going to the club tonight like she suggested is going to change anything though!’
‘This ominous feeling I'm having - I hope I'm wrong…'