“Where’s the village?”
“That’s a good question.” The man said. He looked like he was on the way back from the shop because of the stuffed jute bag he carried. In the neon bright glow of the yellow lights emitted from the residents’ houses either side, she could plainly see his advanced age in the deep plentiful wrinkles. He looked ghoulish in the light. Also because his skin had taken on an unnatural colour.
Where were the big skies and the stars glittering like diamonds? The ‘chocolate box’ country cottages with the hollyhocks out front and the sweet-smelling roses flavouring the air.
She thought, later I will tell this story about how I, the City Girl, went to the sticks in search of my dream home – and came upon a hobgoblin in a strange town who then showed me the way.
She couldn’t understand why she was lost, the car’s sat nav had always worked right before.
The hobgoblin was curiously observing her.
She turned off the car engine. Left the window wound down as it was a hot night. And stepped out of the vehicle to stretch her legs that were cramped from the long journey.
“Come far have you?” He asked, conversationally.
“From London.” She kicked off her heels and stood barefoot on the concrete. “It’s getting too cramped living there. There’s barely space enough to move. There’s barely space enough to think – the neighbours are loud and intrusive. There’s no clean air to breathe…”
“I understand.” He said.
“For the past ten years I wear a mask to filter the fumes. Good job the ban for traditional cars will be coming into effect next year.”
“All Electric. That’ll be a good thing.” He agreed.
It was a relief to voice these grievances which stemmed from her everyday stressful life. Now, she felt she couldn’t stop herself: “Oh, the droughts we’ve been having…three months and not a drop of rain. Then a monsoon comes and every single building on my road – and for a half mile radius – was flooded. I suppose I was lucky having a top floor apartment. It doesn’t help that the water companies don’t fix the leaks in their pipes. Nor the fact that everyone concretes over the grass.”
She looked up at the orange sky. “We used to have orange skies. We complained about them; thought that was bad enough until they turned yellow. To be able to actually see a star…there aren’t many places to do that now.”
“I know.” He nodded.
“It got so crowded they started building houses in our parks, in our ancient woods – you know, the green belt land they’re not supposed to build on. Once it’s gone it’s gone forever. Those trees were thousands of years old.”
“Tragic.” He agreed.
She sighed. “I’m sure all this is making people more aggressive.”
She looked about her, at the large buildings crowding in on themselves, stretching all the way down the road. Not a blade of grass. Although, someone brave had left a very old tree growing in front of their house. A weeping willow that screened part of the abode. The old house was rather sweet too, painted (what seemed to be) red, with what looked like original white wooden window-frames, and a door (perhaps), cobalt-blue with a brass-knocker. And, potted blooming plants either side of the front-door.
“Beautiful tree.” She murmured to him.
“Oh, it’s yours? That’s your house?”
“I want – no – need a bit of that. A bit of nature. That’s why I came out here, to buy a country house, but I’m lost, I can’t find the village.”
“I’ve heard that before, many a time.” He said.
“Do you know Summerton?”
There was a pause in which she grew a little irritated. She thought, if the hobgoblin knew of the village why wouldn’t he then, as matter of course, kindly inform her where it was?
“Well, do you think you can tell me where it is?”
The hobgoblin began to wander off, to cross the road.
“Where’s Summerton?” She called out.
Still not having reached the front of his house, he called back: “Why do you ask? You all ask that. This is Summerton.”
Word count: 715
Inspiration: A 100-word story written by Magarisa, ‘Blinded’.
Copyright Faith McCord 2018
Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.