It's been too long since I've written anything here, so here we go.
I have no idea what I'm about to write, but I'm giving myself twenty minutes (okay, twenty-five... I can't help my perfectionism) to do it. Let's see what happens.
The wind came from the south, bringing with it hints of apricot blossoms and freshly turned earth. Though the sun had won its battle with the clouds earlier that morning the air still had a chill that encouraged hands to be stuffed into pockets, chins to be tucked into jacket collars.
The man walked into the wind, his brown eyes never resting on any object for more than a breath or two. His pace was not hurried, but it was not slow either. He seemed to have a purpose, a destination.
He had neither, but appearances can be funny that way.
The road he travelled on was devoid of other pedestrians, and no cars had passed that way since he had come to it. How long ago had that been? An hour? Three? He couldn't have told you, had you been foolish enough to ask.
Well, perhaps foolish is the wrong word. His appearance was not intimidating, his clothes were nice enough. Blue jeans, grey jacket, work boots that were respectably dirty. No hat protected his close-cropped black hair, his face was clean shaven.
But there was still something in his manner that suggested he wished to be left alone, that small talk would be greeted with a stare. At best.
At worst? Well, let us be thankful that no soul was nearby to discover that result.
Birdsong serenaded him as he continued on, his footsteps providing a steady beat. The road rose steadily before him and he approached the crest without seeming to notice. His thoughts were clearly elsewhere. Not even the grumbling hunger in his belly earned his attention.
The sight that greeted him as he reached the peak of the hill, however, managed to snap him back to the present moment.
The road came to a dead end a few hundred meters away, though a narrow dirt driveway continued on a little further until it bumped into a small farmhouse. A raised wooden porch adorned the front of the building, with only a step and a half missing from its stairway. Red paint peeled away from the sidings and at least a dozen tiles were missing from the black roof.
Pulling to a halt, the man studied the unexpected obstacle in his path. The apricot trees he had smelled earlier could be found on either side of the house but the recently worked earth remained out of sight. So, not abandoned then, he thought. He considered turning back for a moment, remembered that there was nothing behind him he wished to see again any time soon.
"Well," he muttered, cracking his neck first to the right, then to the left, "I can't just stand here all bloody day."
So he continued on.