No one had ever knocked on the door. In fact in all the months we had been enjoying our own private oasis neither Kal or I had seen another person here or in his study. We didn’t question this joint fantasy, determined to make the best of stress free moments. I picked up a split log and cautiously went to the window over the sink to peer out. A woman in strange clothes looking desperate and holding a lantern looked towards the river. I could see nothing in the dark.
I stepped back from the window and froze wanting to pretend I couldn’t hear her desperate voice now piercing the wood door between us. “Please, help me . . . they are coming?Pleeease . . .” She was almost whispering; her desperation making the words audible. Closing my eyes I breathed deeply, fear pricking my heart as the hairs raised from my skin. This was my fantasy wasn’t it? Go away. Childishly I closed my eyes hoping the woman would disappear. I worked hard. I deserve to sit by the fire and read quietly for an hour or two. The knocking again. Hoof beats not so far away. The woman’s fear surrounded me. My hands moved without thinking: door latch lifted, opened, woman dragged in. Now what? The light and chimney smoke . . . I grabbed the bucket of water by my feet and sloshed over to the fireplace dousing the low flames, blew out the candle, grabbed the flashlight and book, ran to the strange woman shoving her towards the open door in the floor. “Get down there.”
She moved quickly down the steps and I after here closing the door and hoping whoever was after her couldn’t see it. I had looked at the wooden door many times with its perfectly fitting wood floor boards, no door knob. It now dissolved into the ceiling like it always did as soon as I closed it. The shocked woman stood still behind me, her breathing forcibly shallow as we both strained to hear in the dark.