Chapter 4

Monteverde Cottage — Braganza, Portugal — June, Present Day

Adriana Paulos stepped outside and closed the wooden door behind her as she was preparing to leave her white Portuguese cottage behind to head to the market in the town of Braganza. The smooth wooden door clicked shut as the shiny metallic skeleton-key in Adriana's hand was turned in a way of one accustomed to daily habits. With that task, Adriana sighed and straightened her summer bonnet. She had to wrestle with the rebelling clay-colored wisps of hair that hung loosely around her ears and forehead. With a frown, Adriana was able to accomplish the task without so much as a thought. Her actions were mechanical at their simplest—once again, she had become accustomed to these daily chores that they were just habits now. Feeling satisfied that her hair had once more been tamed, Adriana Paulos continued down the front-steps and proceeded in the direction of the picket-fence gate.
The sky was a sapphire blue with one or two fluffy clouds floating overhead. The sun was shining brightly and its rays illuminated everything that the flowers in Adriana's garden were brightened with a golden splash. There was a gentle breeze that caused the flowers to sway a tad from side to side. The day was promising to be a beautiful one. As she reached the picket-fence gate, Adriana placed her right hand on a fence-post that, along with the rest of the fence, had recently been painted. Adriana readjusted the basket that she was carrying with the handle hanging off her left arm. The wind increased and once again those rebellious clay-colored hair-curls strayed loose. An expression of exasperation appeared on Adriana's fair face. Her aquiline face twitched from frustration as a new glow appeared in the tan-colored eyes of hers. Her wry mouth was agape as she suddenly turned around to catch her runaway bonnet. The bonnet had been lifted by the wind and was heading back above the house. The bonnet landed underneath the old-world window with blue shutters gleaming marine blue in the sunlight. There was a window-trough with blooming yellow narcissi in it. They swayed in the now-gentle wind as the bonnet landed underneath them. Adriana fumbled with her fingers for her bonnet. She grabbed it---and immediately felt the keen sense that someone was watching her from afar.
Adriana Paulos stopped with her pale-pink slender fingers hovering over the bonnet as the creepy sensation of being watched washed over him like ocean-waves on a sandy beach. There was an intoxicating feeling about it—it sent a shiver down her spine despite the flagrant disregard to the fact that the sky was blue as blue could be and the sun was shining. Suddenly the yellow narcissi in the flower-trough seemed duller, grayer, cowering in fear from an unknown predator nearby, ready to pounce on its unsuspecting victim—in this case, Adriana Paulos. When Adriana got the shivers, the hairs on the back of her neck rose to startling heights. With a sudden gasp from a tort intake of breath, Adriana immediately stood up and tensed up as she took a detailed reconnaissance with an intuitive scrutiny only contributed to the feminine intellect that have defied such a men in this world. Her feminine intuition was raging forth, spewing forth theory after theory as well attempting to come up with a scientifically justifiable reason for concern. Her ears had perked up with a certain superstitious fear that was common to those parts surrounding the modern medieval town of Braganza.
A noise sent a infuse of adrenaline up her spine and throughout the rest of her body. Suddenly her skin felt clammy and cold as granite. What was that? She asked to herself, fearing that she knew the answer all too well. Why—oh why! Why did this have to happen on the day she needed to desperately to leave the cottage and to go into the town for her shopping? The market was already open and she was most likely missing the good deals. Her tan-colored eyes did not rivet for one moment from the grey-green forest that topped the golden amber moorland hills of the Braganza province. There was something about that forest that sent another chill down Adriana's spine as she pondered what Fate would deal from its deck this time. The forest was still as the morning air...and yet....and yet Adriana felt that that wasn't true...that it was a fallacy of sorts. She couldn't place her finger on what didn't seem right. All that she COULD determine was the mere fact that SOMETHING WAS WRONG. The dark green trees of the trees seemed to hypnotize with their wanderlust of the moorland.
It was there. She could feel it.
She could feel the fear creeping up alongside her as she mechanically straighten the bonnet upon her head for the last time.

The End

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