Her stomach growled reminding her it had been far too long since she last ate, and Phoebe made the decision to head downstairs. After all, there was no point in making an escape on an empty stomach. After breakfast, she decided, she would leave and let her instincts guide her.
As she headed towards the tantalizing smells from the kitchen, she tried to visualize just how she arrived at the small isolated house so she could make the journey in reverse, finding safety and sanity at the other end. Only she couldn’t remember how she ended up here, with nothing but wide-open plains, a few chickens and a goat to keep both her and Mrs Appletree company. Shaking off the puzzlement, she entered the kitchen.
“Well, good morning, miss,” Mrs Appletree smiled, the frying pan in her hand housing a freshly tossed pancake. She tipped the snack onto a plate and placed it on the table. “Would you like an orange juice with that my dear?"
Sitting at the table, she watched Mrs Appletree add more batter mix to the frying pan.
The bright morning sun cast Mrs Appletree in silhouette. For a split second the woman shifted into the image of a masked doctor before returning to her normal state. Phoebe shook her head, blaming the lack of sleep for the momentary lapse of perfect sight.
Things were just too weird in this house. She had to get out, and get out fast. But after food. The syrup-covered pancake was quickly devoured, a second on her plate before her final mouthful was finished. If nothing else, this old lady knew how to cook. The pancakes were irresistible, Phoebe polishing off her fifth when she called it quits.
“And what are your plans for today, my dear?"
Phoebe thought. Somewhere at the back of her mind, she sensed there had once been a plan, but with every bite of her glorious breakfast that scheme had grown more and more distant, forgettable. Now, she no longer remembered what was planned. Try as she might, her mind was blank. Even the events of the night were temporarily blocked from her conscious thought.
“So, my dear?"