An Unfortunate Adventure! #freewritemadness: Day Two

It’s Day Two of #freewritemadness and #nanowrimo!

Today was a bit less hectic than yesterday! 🙂 And I got over 2000 words! Woohoo!

The prompt for today was — cross-eyed. Once again, today’s chapter was a bit thought-out in advance during October when I spent an week trying to work out what I could possibly do and what characters would be involved. Tomorrow’s will not be. The nervousness begins as randomness now sets in! (There is still no plot either, whee! Random as she goes!)

Wordcount for today is: 2316
Total wordcount so far is: 4212

 

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CHAPTER TWO

A deep rumble shook the ground and Katéa leapt to one of the trees, clinging to it for dear life. Ugh, gross. It was unpleasantly warm, and was stickier than that time her mum overcooked some caramel and left it sitting in the pan all day. The quake subsided with a creaking groan reminiscent of her father’s snores after a hearty meal, and she pulled herself away from the tree with a ‘pop’. Double gross.

The tacky feeling stayed glued to her skin no matter how much she wiped at her dress, and her heart fell into her stomach as she at last saw the state of the fabric. It was no longer white, that was for sure. Not only was it covered in dirt, it was now home to tiny twigs and green hand-shaped smears from where she had been wiping whatever gunk had been coating the tree, and of course, the unsightly tear stared out at her from her billowy sleeve, gaping open as wide as —she blushed— a whore’s legs. “Damn it, Kat,” she muttered. “Just because mum and dad are uncouth bogans, doesn’t mean you have to be!”

Why was she thinking of her family at a time like this? Mum’s caramel mishap and dad’s vulgarity… she was lost by the edge of a forest that looked nothing like the ugly scrub she had first entered —a forest that looked plucked clear from an exquisite painting, no less— and the only thing that truly mattered was getting back to Sarah and the rest of the hippies. Or stumbling across some buried booze. Either way would be cool. The booze would probably be best; she couldn’t deal with Sarah’s ethics just yet.

The autumnal trees bordered a large circular meadow of vibrant green grass that reached her knees, and in the distance stood a towering cliff-side with a waterfall cascading down the perfect centre. It was beautiful. She reached for her phone and prepared to frame her shot, but paused as the screen didn’t brighten. Oh, right; the battery had died. Useless piece of garbage. It was such a pity! This view was absolutely stunning and would probably earn her a few thousand likes if only she could capture it.

There was smoke ahead, spiralling into the flawless blue skies beside the cliff. It didn’t look like a burn-off or bush-fire; it appeared as delicate and wispy as though it were rising from a picture-perfect fairytale chimney. A chimney meant a house and smoke suggested there were people inside… maybe they had a phone she could use! And a liquor cabinet. Was that too much to ask for after her night in the scrub, ruining herself for lights borne of myth? To get to where the smoke rose, she would need to walk through the long grass. That didn’t seem the wisest of options, but it was also the only option —other than wandering aimlessly through a forest.

The luscious grass was as divinity wrapped about her body as she passed through the long blades. It almost didn’t feel real; it was as though she were prancing through a field of dreams. ‘Delightful dreams made manifest in the deceitful drudge of reality’, her ex-boyfriend would have said. He had always been a poet with an abundance of beautiful words that melted her hear and allowed her soul to swoon. Too bad he sang those same poetic words to the swooning souls of a hundred other enamoured idiots —the prick. He was cross-eyed anyway; she could do better.

Inwardly glaring, Katéa swept faster through the grass. No arseholes would remain in mind whilst she paraded through this splendour. Time passed quickly and not a single creature harassed her from the depths of the deep grasses. There was not a snake or spider in sight, and if there were any animals at all they were well hidden.

The cause of the spiralling smoke was soon evident as a small red cabin came into view. It was situated by a flowing river as blue as the cloudless sky and looked like one of those one-room constructs Sarah would ogle over. She needed to get to a phone, quick. The stairs creaked beneath each step, threatening to collapse at any moment, and she hurriedly knocked at the door, desperate to remove herself from these decaying planks; hopefully the inside was more stable.

Her knock went unanswered. She put her head up against the door but couldn’t discern any noises or voices; it was as silent as an empty library. She knocked again, louder, just in case there was someone in there and they were having a midday nap, but there was still no answer. Fuck it —if no-one was home, they wouldn’t even know if she came inside to use their phone, and if someone was home, she could apologise and explain herself. Unless they were a crazed psychopathic murderer. She swallowed uneasily. Her thoughts were right bastards sometimes.

She grasped the handle, took a deep breath, and creaked open the door, jumping as a plethora of voies and laughter escaped into the outside world. Wow! For an old and decrepit cabin, it sure had fantastic soundproofing. A woman’s voice drifted towards her, as sweet as morning birdsong… how many people were inside? It almost sounded like that time Sarah dragged her to the pub. That had not been a good night; so many creepy old men, and one of them had tried to follow her home! The nightclubs weren’t much better, but at least they held a younger, better-looking clientele.

“Hello?” Her voice was loud but evidently not loud enough to be heard over the chatter. “Come on, Kit Kat… they’re laughing! They sound friendly! Just go in, you ning-nong.” She stepped inside and her eyes widened. This was no mere cabin.

A soft burgundy carpet lined the massive parlour, well-lit by scattered candles. An inviting fireplace sat in the corner with two large cushioned rocking-chairs placed before it, and adorning the chocolate walls were embroidered tapestries and stuffed animal heads, staring at her with their dull, dead eyes. There were three other doorways, apart from the one she stood in, and all of the voices came from the one to the right, just to the side of the fire. Her heart was racing; she hadn’t felt this nervous since her teenage years when even the ringing phone would set off a strange anxiety fluttering through her veins. It was unnerving, feeling that same anxiety after ten long years. “Get over it,” she muttered, knowing that if no-one had heard her before, they certainly wouldn’t hear her quiet mumbles.

The words didn’t calm her heart any, but she forced herself to step into the doorway and face the inhabitants within. It was like a pub! Scattered tables and chairs sat haphazardly across the room, with at least ten patrons sitting or standing here and there, and along the far wall was a bar with a hundred gleaming bottles behind it. Hell, yes. Her nerves vanished and she strode across the floor, wincing as her feet met sticky droplets of liquor splattered across the floor and ignoring the dirty people who glanced at her as she passed by. All she wanted was some wine! It was a relief to know that her dreams were about to come true.

Katéa sat at the bar, wrinkling her nose at the grime and muck that coated the splintered wood. She wasn’t a health inspector or anything, but even she could see something was wrong here. Come to think of it, there was a lingering stench also… like a thousand people had shat in a toilet and forgot to flush. She shuddered and inspected the bottles. There were no labels on them and apart from the differing glass colours, they all seemed to hold the same brown liquid. Home-brewed whisky, perhaps? Had she stumbled on some sort of illegal alcohol venture? Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

“Whaddya want?”

A man appeared behind the bar, his wrinkles carved deep into his pudgy face as though by a knife, and he leered at her with a mouth full of cracked, yellowing teeth, his breaths wheezing in a tangible cloud of halitosis. She shrank back and tried to remain stone-faced, lest her disgust caused offence.

“Um, do you have any wine?”

He raised an eyebrow and snorted, and she grimaced as a green globule flew from his bulbous nose. “Wine? What’re’ya, some sorta fancy folk?” He slammed two pitchers onto the bar, and she jumped back as the little brown droplets flew toward her. “Mead or cider. Gold first or ye get nothin’.”

What the fuck was this —had she gone back in time? She moved her head to the side to avoid the man’s disgusting breath, and fumbled for her wallet. “I’ve got money… hey!” the man grabbed it out of her hand and shook it before dropping it onto the bar.

“No gold, no drink. Begone.”

“Wait!” She rummaged through the wallet and pulled out a dollar coin. “I’ve got this…” What the fuck was she doing? She didn’t even like mead or cider!

The man grabbed the coin and furrowed his brow, heaving his putrid breaths as he inspected it for an elongated minute. He threw it at her, bouncing it off her chest. “Fuck off wit yer fake coinage.” He grabbed a dirty cloth and started wiping down the bar, pointedly ignoring her.

Katéa stared, dumbfounded, and clenched her fists. No-one treated her like that! Especially not some creep in a dingy backwoods cabin-that-was-not-a-cabin. She slammed her fist down on the bar and yelled, “Hey, dicknose! If this ain’t a gold coin, I’m a goddamned drag queen,” and threw it back at him, hitting him square in the forehead.

What had she done? Why couldn’t she just sneak away and look for a phone? Idiot, idiot, idiot! Silence descended over the room and a dozen eyes crept over her neck as the putrid man glowered, his facing becoming the same colour as a beetroot before he smiled a grotesque grin that showcased his decaying teeth. “They don’t breed ‘em smart wherever yer from, eh?” His eyes slowly travelled up and down her body. Oh, God. She hurriedly stood up from the stool, knocking it over in her haste, and folded her arms against her chest as he stared at her breasts. “Ye might be worth a couple for a tumble.”

“A… a tumble?”

He grabbed her wrist as quick as a bullet, his coarse fingers pinching her skin, and his grin widened as he hooted, “Aye, lass! A tumble.”

Before she could think, move, panic, or even instinctively wrench away, another hand fell upon her shoulder and a smooth voice said, “Charming as ever, Grissom.” Her tears welled as she looked up into the kind brown eyes of another man. His face was as dirty as the bar itself and there was a scar etched deep into his cheek, but at this moment he was the most attractive man she had ever seen. He flicked a misshapen gold coin at the disgusting man. “Give the girl a drink.”

Grissom glared, his face turning an impossibly darker shade of red as he spat, “That’ll be two more fer cockblockin’.”

The stranger placed five more on the counter and a small dimple formed beside his scar as he smirked.

“And a bite to eat, if you care to move your arse back to the kitchen.”

“Nay, I don’t.”

Despite his words, Grissom released her arm, grabbed the coins, and waddled away, muttering unintelligible words beneath his wheezes as he entered a door behind the bar. The man who had saved her from a fate worse than death smiled at her and guided her towards a table near to where she had first walked in. Oh, God… what would have happened if this man hadn’t been here? It didn’t bear thinking about! She swallowed uncertainly and gingerly sat upon the wooden chair, flinching as Grissom appeared beside her and slammed a mug down on the table. “Yer drink,” and retreated back to the other room.

She peered into its contents. There was no way she was drinking that. It looked like literal shit, liquefied, and had scattered debris drifting atop. A tiny hum drifted down from above and Katéa stared as what appeared to be a god, damned, fairy, flew towards the mug, wiped her arse on the rim, and left a trail of golden glitter sparkling atop the shitquid before flying away, her translucent wings shimmering beneath the candlelight.

“I’m dreaming, I have to be dreaming,” she muttered.

The stranger raised an eyebrow and pointed at the mug.

“The pixies favour you, miss. They don’t give their dust to just anyone.”

“Pixies?” she shook her head. “I was in the woods, I must’ve passed out, and now I’m dreaming.”

“Are you okay?” A small woman, barely four feet in height, pulled a chair up beside her and looked up at her with wide, twinkling eyes, and wiggled her large leaf-shaped ears as she placed a hand on Katéa’s arm, her touch as silk against her skin.

First a pixie and now what appeared to be an elf. This was not right, this was not okay; this had to be a dream. Maybe if she drank this disgusting shitquid, she would wake up. It was the key! Why else would a damned fairytale creature wipe its arse on the rim? The Min Min Lights had screwed with her brain; that was the only possibility.

She grasped the mug with both hands, her knuckles turning white beneath her grip, and raised the foul liquid to her lips. Goodbye, cruel dream.

 

(An Unfortunate Adventure header made by me! Courtesy of an image from Pixabay, and images from Vidar Nordli-Mathisen, Johny Goerend, Alan Labisch, Erol Ahmed on Unsplash!)
 


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