The Woman

Damien | 21/06/2011

The ship rolled on the wild white crests, and the woman stood on deck, staring back at the barely visible port as it receded into the distance. She knew she didn't have much time if she was going to do this, was aware that even now there would be discussions ongoing between the police and the shipping company.

She had to hope that the boat could make it to the 3 mile international water line, as then they wouldn't be able to call them back or board the boat to come after her. That would give her the rest of the journey, another 18 hours, to do what she needed to do, before the boat entered the territorial waters of Greece and she was in danger of being arrested again.

She stood on deck in the cold night, watching Italy fade away, and finally started to relax. They must have reached international waters by now, so she was safe. At least for now.

A sudden commotion behind her caused her to turn around, where she saw a small man, barely more than a midget. He was dressed as a cowboy and was hopping to and fro, clearly agitated about something.

Another man was besides him, and his sunny disposition betrayed his amusement at the odd little mans predicament. He pointed to the sky, where the woman could just make out a seagull carrying a fedora.

"The bird stole his hat," came the explanation from the gleeful onlooker. She shook her head, such a silly little man, and turned her attention back to the coast, even though there was no longer anything to see.

Back there lay her problems, the events that had led her to be here on a boat. She checked her watch and saw that she had about 17 hours before the boat entered Greek waters. That was how long she had left to decide what she was going to do. She knew they would be waiting to arrest her once the boat docked, and then she was going to have to face the music.


For now though, she was safe. Just like she had been her whole life. That this should have changed over something so ridiculous was something she was really struggling to come to terms with. She turned and walked down below decks, looking for the bar area. Once there, she settled down into a comfy chair and ordered a drink, determined to just relax for a few minutes before making a decision about what she was going to do now.

A few moments later the extreme comfort provided by the chair started to have an effect on her, and she felt herself getting slowly pulled down into the blackness of sleep, to a place that she had been avoiding for sometime now.

She awoke a short time later in a field of yellow flowers. She was lay on her side, and a few feet away she could see a snake in the grass, staring at her intently. She suspected that it was wondering where she had suddenly appeared from, and knew that she should probably be at least slightly afraid of it. Who knew if it was poisonous, or prone to attacking people? Certainly not her.

She studied the snake, as it seemed to do the same, and if there had been a bird in the sky above them at that moment, it would have seen both creatures, woman and reptile, appear to make a joint decision to back away from one another slowly.

As the woman stood up and looked around, she recognised her surroundings immediately. This was where she had grown up, had learned the secrets of her kind, before running away to live her life amongst normal people.

But she had never really been normal, and it had only been a matter of time before that fact became evident to those that she lived amongst. And now she was back here, brought here unwittingly while she slept. No doubt her mother had been keeping an eye on her all this time and had decided to rescue her from the trouble she was in.

Interfering old hag.

For now though, there was little she could do to change her situation. She knew that she would be stuck her for a while, so she may as well make the best of things. In the distance she could see a shack, and with a sigh she began to make her way towards it.

As she got closer, she could tell that the dwelling was still occupied as there was smoke coming from the windows, which indicated that either there was a fire inside the place or her mother was cooking again. The most likely explanation was that a fire had been started by her mother cooking, which was a regular occurence, and explained the blackened walls of the building.

It started to snow as she came close to what had been her childhood home. Approaching the doorway, she was unsure of the best way to proceed, should she just walk in unannounced, or knock, or just sit outside for a while?

The decision was taken from her by the door opening suddenly, with a dense cloud of black smoke being sucked out immediately into the fresh air. The woman sighed once more as her mother appeared in front of her, and in typical fashion acted as though she hadn't been missing for the last eight years.

"Ah, there you are my dear," she said in greeting. "Get yourself inside and out of this terrible cold. Ignore the smoke, it's just a minor accident with the oven while I was making bread for supper. The Imp got in the dough again, pesky little bleeder that he is."

Her mother did as she always had done, and just talked away non-stop, and the woman walked into the house after one more resigned sigh.

At about the same time as she stepped over the threshold, a confused ship's purser was looking at a fur cape draped over the back of a chair, and wondering where the woman who had been sat there had suddenly disappeared to.

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