Melanie rose from the water and took a moment to consider what she saw. The last thing she remembered before the blackness was the traffic light change from orange to red.
The morning had started like most mornings of the last year in alarm screaming darkness. Pulling herself from her cocoon she had stabbed the alarm clock through its evil heart, or at least that is what she had wanted to do. Instead she had behaved as expected and flicked the switch to “off”, and set off for the bathroom. All standard ablutions done, she considered work clothing for the day with growing dread. Normal florals and frills were out of the question. Big boss day. Yearly review day demanded armour. And she had just the suit. Fire engine red, sculpted and fitted, with killer heels. Maybe she would take one of those to his cold dead heart if things turned sour.
A coffee to calm the nerves, she set off out her door past what appeared, but no that was crazy talk, to be an honour guard of jetblack cats. All sitting to attention and watching her gravely with unblinking green eyes.
A mental shake and she walked past the cats, to find the corner beside her car park filled with pure white huskies, milling and panting but opening a path for her to open and get in her car.
She started the motor and watched three crow feathers fall to her windscreen.
Her grandmother, a welsh pixie-sized woman would have said on an indrawn breath “Omens. Mind you heed.” But her country fairystory filled childhood was a long way from her city life, so she said firmly “I choose not to heed” as she slowed to the the traffic lights.
Orange to red to black and she fell. She fell in the softness of nothing, as if cushioned by the feathers. In the void she heard whispers as others moved beside her. A cat’s fur passed under her hand and around her legs. A dog’s ears brushed past her face. “We’ll be with you” she heard and then SPLASH.
The darkness left and she spluttered, panicking in the water, looking for a way out. Above her she saw light and pushed her way up. The pool was shallow, giving her a chance to calm herself. She rose water dripping from her red suit and looked around. She was in a pool of purest blue, the earth-coloured walls around her glowed with a soft light, and a light-filled shaft above spot-lit her where she stood in the empty cave.
Sitting to one side she removed her heels and attempted to climb out of the pool. Pencil skirt fashion did not appear to be conducive to cave exploration. A quick hitch and her now mini-skirt with thick waistband allowed her to leave the pool and take a moment to reflect on where and why she was.
The icicle shaped roof gave her no clue. The cave was warm. The water had been warm. But nothing gave a clue.
Then she heard a hum. A long way off, but a sound that had not been there when she first came out of the pool.
Closer it came, and the hum split into distinct voices – definitely close. Unsure what was safe and not-safe, she backed to the wall and clutched a heel in each hand.
She waited. And watched as a procession of children came into the light, dressed in beige tunics and trousers, their hair was shaven. She watched them. They watched her. She was unsure who was more surprised by what they saw. Thinking “this could go on all day” she stood up straight and said “Hello, my name is Mel. Do you speak English?”
The big eyes looking at her seemed to get even larger and they all looked at the child to the side. The child stepped forward, their eyes framed by long black lashes and said as clearly as they could.
“Are you The One?”
This is a classroom exercise. It was meant to be a short story based on a random location generated by Secret Door. However, as the hour of writing closed, I realised there was no way this was a short story. So many unused elements remained, and Chekov’s heels remained unfired. The realistation was this was only chapter one. Mel, it appears, has so much more story to tell, including who those heels are going to stab in service of the story.
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