The guests stayed the next day too. Except for Mr. Newman. He had to get back to work.
I woke up rather early. I hadn’t slept well. I stumbled into the kitchen wrapped up tight in my jacket, the hood still over my head, and a throw around my shoulders. It was the only way I could coax myself to wake up.
I had heard Rosalind banging around, but hadn’t expected the girl to be there too.
She was licking the residue off her fingers of a buttery slice of toast.
“Morning,” she said, looking up. She wasn’t fazed at all to see me come walking in all bundled up.
Rosalind poured a cup of coffee once she heard the door slam.
“Morning,” I answered. Or croaked. I brushed back my hood. More out of courtesy than anything else. The morning light had just broken in the sky. Of course it was still cloudy outside.
I walked over to the other side of the table and Rosalind handed me the cup without a second glance. Her apron was already fairly dirty and my coffee was just another job to get done.
I leaned against the counter.
“Well, you’re up early Miss…um..” I tried to conversation but failed in one of the chief characteristics of one.
“Donna,” she answered. “But people just call my Donny.”
She stood up, taking an empty cup over to the coffee cup. The chair had screeched loudly on the floor when she moved it back.
“Anyway,” she continued. “Myra came in my room at who knows what hour, babbling on about how she saw you exploring the woods and the bottom of the moor. In the middle of the night too.”
“I wasn’t out there,” I said, breaking in. She placed the pot down. She looked at me.
“Weird,” was all she said after a moment of silence. Then she went back to her coffee.
I sat down at the table. The coffee steamed in my face. It felt good, but didn’t wake me up.
Donny snatched another piece of toast and was suddenly gone. The door slammed.
Both Rosalind and me remained silent while I sipped my coffee and ate my breakfast. When I was done, I went for the door but instead it burst open in front of me.
“Donny? Where’s Donny?” She demanded.
I stumbled back. She had swung open the door so hard it nearly hit me in the face. She was dressed, but her hair wasn’t done, and her eyes were wide awake.
“Did she come down here?” she asked.
“Ah, yeah.” I answered. I didn’t quite understand her wild concern.
“Now where is she?” She gripped on tightly to the door.
“How should I know? I’m not in charge if keeping track of people.” I walked around and out the door.
I heard her mutter something to Rosalind as I went towards the parlor. I thought of going back to bed. I was supposed to be on vacation anyways.
But when I went back into the parlor a crow was sitting on the outside windowsill. It wasn’t cawing. Instead it was staring right into the room, pecking at the glass.
I walked straight towards it and flung up the window.
Immediately it flew up, cawing angrily and flying towards the woods. I watched it fly out. That’s when I saw Donny walking over the edge of the hill into the moor.
Then she disappeared over the edge. I panicked suddenly, as if everyone was getting swallowed into the woods.
I opened the screen and jumped out through the window into the garden. It wasn’t the most convenient way out, but I did it anyway.
I ran across the cracked path and out onto the hill. Everything was just as wet as the day before. And I continued to run till I was down the side of the hill. Then I paused for a second, my feet landed in the moor. Donny was at the tree line.
I ran straight across, sprinting through the tall grass. But she was far gone into the trees by the time I arrived.
I stopped. Peering into the woods. I didn’t see her.
“Donny!” I called. Stupid. If a person wants to risk their neck in a mysterious woods it’s their business. Of course that neck risking person was me. “Donny!”
There was an answer. I couldn’t hear what she said. But I suddenly heard her running. And it wasn’t in my direction.
So I ran in her direction instead, ducking beneath the branches that snapped at my face.
Like before the light came quicker than I had expected. And there was Donny standing just inside the woods. She had run up to someone. And for a moment I couldn’t tell who it was until I stepped forward a little more, breathing hard.
It was me.