Explantions and memoriesMature

‘You’re in my home, well, our home to be more exact. My father and brother live here too. Just the three of us.’ Brett stood up, but respectfully kept his distance. He could still see the fear in her eyes, the panic that she may have some how gotten away from one murderous rapist, only to have been made a prisoner of another. ‘Can I get you anything? Water? Tea? Some food?’

‘Where is this place? Who are you, how the hell did I get here? What…what happened to that bastard Carl?’ Lexi sat up a little further in the bed, and grimaced as pain lanced through her. She pulled the blanket up around her chin. A futile protective measure really, but one that always seemed to be necessary to keep the bad things at bay. Her nails were torn and bloody. Every knuckle looked like it had been sandpapered. Shallow cuts and scrapes covered her hands and arms. Every muscle was sore, some from the act of running for her life, others from bruises where Carl had hit her or she had slammed into objects when she was trying to escape him. With a sense of confusion, she realised that although her wounds were fresh, they were clean. In fact, she was clean. There wasn’t a speck of dirt on her, and she smelt of lavender. ‘Did…did you bathe me!’ Lexi knew the answer even before Brett blushed and nodded.

Footsteps approached the door to the bedroom, echoing through the wooden flooring of the cabin. Without realising, Lexi had retreated into the far corner of the bed when she heard the first creak of the floorboard. The door opened to a man in his mid fifties. There could be no doubting that this was the father that Brett had mentioned, the resemblance was obvious. He stood there for a few seconds, exchanging an intense look with his son, before stepping into the room.

‘You need not be afraid miss, we mean you no harm. Brett tells me that now you are awake you have questions, well, I will do my best to answer them. My name is Jacob. You are in my home. This cabin was built by my grandfather. You have met my youngest son. My eldest Nathaniel is travelling to the nearest town to alert the authorities of your situation, but, due to our secluded location, it may be some hours before he returns with help. Until then you are our guest, for want of a better word. I apologise for the need to have washed and dressed you, but your wounds could very easily have become infected, and to preserve your modesty, I felt it best to clothe you. I apologise again for your attire. They belonged to my wife. As for the man that had put you in this situation, he will not trouble you, nor any other woman, any further…’

As he spoke, Lexi could smell cooking coming down the corridor behind Jacob. When was the last time she had eaten? It had been yesterday, just after she left work, before she went to the bar. The smell was of bacon, eggs, fresh bread, and fresh coffee. Despite herself, she couldn’t help but realise just how hungry she was. A sudden yearning for a bacon sandwich and strong-sweet coffee pushed itself to the front of her thoughts. As she continued to listen to Jacob, she saw him look at Brett, who walked out of the room.

‘…as I was saying, Nathaniel should be back some time later this afternoon, and hopefully, you should be able to return to your loved ones by this evening. Ah, perfect timing. Thank you Brett.’ Without looking behind him, Jacob stepped aside to show Brett holding a large tray. The sight of what was on it, made Lexi’s mouth salivate to the point she needed to swallow before she drooled. A plate full of thick bacon. Fresh warm bread, steam still rising from it. A slab of golden butter. A jug of black coffee, and a smaller jug of cream. Everything she had been thinking of. Brett placed the tray on the bed, and stepped back. Trying to resist the urge to pick up handfuls of bacon and drink the jug of coffee in one, she leant forward and shakily tried to make a herself a cup of coffee. ‘Here, let me do that for you, you start on that bacon.’ As she spread the rich butter on the bread, it instantly melted into the soft white slice. The bacon was so thick that one rasher was enough, and folding the bread in half, she savoured the taste as she took her first bite. Trying not to eat the sandwich too quickly was proving difficult, her dry throat doing its best to prevent her from swallowing. The coffee she was given was just what she needed. Very strong, very sweet, and just the perfect amount of cream. She couldn’t have made it better herself she thought. Brett smiled at her, his blue eyes twinkling in the sunlight that was coming through the window now.

‘When my sons found you in the woods, you had no means of identification miss, no purse or bag. What name should Nathaniel give to the authorities when he speaks to them?’ Lexi did her best to swallow the last of the sandwich, and washed it down with the last of the coffee. Brett took the empty cup, and refilled it for her without her needing to ask. ‘My name is Alexis Connors. But, I am always called Lexi, have been ever since I can remember. That man, the one who tried to…to rape me, is he dead? I remember seeing things, I think I may have been hallucinating. The last thing I can clearly remember is a huge dog of some sort as it attacked him. Was it your dog, is that how you found me, your dog led you to me or something?’ Brett and Jacob exchanged another look. ‘No, we don’t have a dog. Me and Nate found you before dawn. We were hunting in the woods, and Nate came across you. We looked around to see if you were with anyone, but couldn’t see anyone else. We thought it best to bring you here for the time being. Here, you eat as much as you want, if you want anything else give me a shout, we will be just down the end of the hall. If you need to use the bathroom, its the first door on your right as you walk out of the door.’

She watched as they walked down the corridor and disappeared into what must have been the kitchen she presumed. She didn’t know what it had been, but for some reason she felt like she hadn’t been told the whole truth. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but she knew that there had been something out of place in what she had just been told. The last thing she could recall with any certainty was that huge dog. Was it a dog? She had never seen one that big before, but it could have been some wild one she supposed. Could it have been a wolf? But why would there be wolves living in the woods? It must’ve been a really big dog. When she closed her eyes, she was back in that clearing. Carl, rushing toward her, telling her he was going to fuck her then cut her like he had the others. The grey dog, slamming into him just before he reached her, undoubtedly saving her life. Then there were the screams that got cut off when it had torn Carls throat out. It became vague then. Had there been another dog? She thought so. And had the grey one winked at her? Like a nightmare that you don’t want to remember, but felt that you should, Lexi hoped that the memories would unravel on their own.

The plate was empty, save for the small pools of fat from the bacon. The bread had been the nicest she had ever had, and the butter was unlike any she had tasted before. She finished off the last of the coffee, which too, had been delicious. She wondered if food and drink always tasted better when you have seen what is almost your death looking you in the face. Pulling herself from the bed onto unsteady legs, she almost cried with the pain from her feet. She took off the socks that she supposed Brett had put on her, to reveal fresh cloth bandages, that were already starting to spot with blood. The linen trousers she wore, were obviously meant for a larger framed woman, and so was the shirt. Lifting the sleeves, she could see a never ending pattern of scratches starting at her palms and snaking their way up her arms to her elbows which felt raw to the touch. Just how she had managed to escape from Carl was an answer she was both afraid and curious to discover. Sitting up though, had been a bad idea. Perhaps it was all the coffee or the richness of the bacon and butter, but a sudden pressing need for the toilet made itself known. How the hell am I going to get to the loo? Too embarrassed to call for help, Lexi lowered herself off the edge of the bed, her torn and spent muscles screaming in objection. It had been the first door on the right that was the one for the toilet. Resolving to make it there before she soiled herself, she started to shuffle backwards across the wooden floor on her backside, trying to prevent her feet from touching down. She had only managed to move a few feet when she was aware of someone stood behind her. For a second she thought it was Carl, come back to finish what he had started. But then she hear the soft reassuring voice of Brett, and for some reason felt safe. ‘Would you like a hand getting to the loo?’

As he picked her up, she was surprised at how easy he made the effort seem. Admittedly, she was not a large woman, but she was by no means a waif either. As he carried her the short distance to the bathroom, she couldn’t help but notice that although his arms felt like solid oak, and that his hands were the hands of someone who had probably used them in manual labour all his life, he was as gentle in picking her up and carrying her, as if she was a newborn child. When she raised her eyes just enough to see his, his blue eyes suddenly moved from her face, and he blushed. When he placed her on the stool next to the toilet, he had lowered her down as carefully as he could, as if she was made of glass. For some reason, the knowledge that had had bathed her and treated her wounds wasn’t as troubling as she thought it would be. The troubling thought she had, was the slightly embarrassed sensation that started in her stomach when she thought of him seeing her naked.

Outside, Jacob looked at the sky. It was still early morning, not yet 8am. The nights in the summer were short, thankfully. Looking to the East, the sun was well above the horizon already, dawn having been about three hours earlier. Nathaniel had left at first light. It would take him until just before midday to make it to the nearest town. Maybe an hour to explain the situation the once or twice to the local authorities. If they drove back, they would be at the nearest road by about 2 or 3pm. Maybe another three hours to get to the cabin. That would leave maybe four hours until dusk. It would be cutting it close. Looking South, across the canopy of the forest to the mountain range in the distance, he was irritated to see grey clouds starting to congeal around the peaks. The wind was coming from the South too. He knew what it would mean. Living in the cabin all his life, he could predict the weather perfectly just from experience. He had seen the same conditions too many times before not to know what it meant. Rain. He would look later, to see where the clouds lay, but, it was definitely going to rain. How long and hard, and when, he wasn’t sure, but it would come, as sure as the night. And that was when the proverbial shit would hit the fan.

The End

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