NaNoWriMo 2020: Episode 24

It’s a quickie today and without a poll because it’s my mother’s birthday so I had other things to do than write. I know, it’s insane but that happens! Will catch up tomorrow.

Helena peers around the corner of the café. The car still looks abandoned in the parking lot. A dull light is coming from the windows of the house and the lanterns around its front lawn. There are no other lights… except for a tiny glint further down the lane. It is too far to see that source of it. She crawls back.
“Rick, can you tell where that light down the lane comes from?”
He shuffles around her to look. “Isn’t that where your people’s shed is? Like, with the shovels and everything?”
“Yes, but the light, is it from a car or perhaps the van? Or is it on outside the shed itself?” She knows, from her early morning shifts, that there is a light over the door there.
He looks again. “It doesn’t appear to be moving or anything. And I think it is only one light, although I am not sure. We are too far away. Want to go and check it out?”
Helena hesitates. Again, giving the monkey the key to the banana plantation is never a good idea, but sometimes needs must etc. Even if the devil is not driving just yet. “Yes,” she says, “let’s go check it out!”
The lane that runs between the visitors centre and the maintenance shed is popular with daytime visitors. It offers a magnificent view of the house and is lined with majestic chestnuts – which also makes it somewhat dangerous to walk or drive down it in early autumn. There have been a number of minor casualties of people being hit on the head by what is essentially a small deep sea mine but coming from the sky. Helena has once told an injured visitor that she was lucky it didn’t explode, but that didn’t go down too well. Warning signs had gone up the next day, and came back every year after the summer. Any visitor finding itself pelted with prickly burs has been duly warned. Helena avoids the lane for this reason in the autumn, though, particularly in high winds, but there is little to no wind tonight. There is a slight rustling in the remaining leaves over their heads as birds move a little in their sleep and the little critters of the night take over. Ever so often a chestnut comes down and lands with a soft thud in the sand of the lane. Rick jumps every time.
“Stay closer to the trees!” Helena hisses, “They will see you!”
“And get hit on the head? I don’t think so!”
“Come over here, you idiot!” She grabs him by the arm and pulls him into the shadows. A conker slams into the dirt right where he was a few moments ago. Rick swallows.

Together they creep further down the lane until a few yards to the shed. The light over the door is on, which was what they saw from the other end of the lane. Otherwise the area seems completely deserted. The door to the maintenance shed is closed. Helena walks stealthily to the door and tries the handle. Locked, of course. Fred is still Fred. Beckoning Rick to follow her, Helena walks along the wall of the shed to the other side where she knows there is a large window overlooking the fields. One of the window panes it a little loose. She covers her hand with her sleeve and wiggles it. It comes further loose but still nowhere near enough to let her hand through so she can open the window. Rick nudges her. “Can I have a try?” Helena nods and steps aside.

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