He looked in the few other downstairs rooms but there were no lights and no nice, clean modern smells.
“What about upstairs?” asked Alison
“I'm not sure about going up a flight of stairs in the dark when I don't know the condition of them..”
His voice trailed off as she bounded up the very stairs that he was expressing mis-givings about.
“I'll look” she called happily.
Not so happily, she came back down.
“All dark and musty” she reported.
They headed back to the kitchen and fidgeted about on the stools. Neither wanted to be the first to say that they were hungry.
Or that they wanted the bathroom. Each wanted the other to be the first to break. Each wanted to appear big and strong and impress the other.
Denny slyly looked over at the sink “Is that tap dripping” he enquired absently.
“Why do you ask” said Alison, extremely suspiciously.
Denny recovered himself “Well, if that noise wasn't a dripping tap then it must have been something... someone else”
“What sounds like a tap dripping?”
“I dunno. When my dog salivated over my dinner you could hear the drool dripping on the floor. Maybe something's salivating over us”
“Or maybe it's some creature relieving itself in the hall. Or perhaps there's another tap somewhere we haven't found yet. Perhaps there's a
Alison perked up “You really think there might be um... facilities?”
“Maybe. Hey, I could look to see if there's a torch in here”
They both searched the cupboards and they both tried not to exclaim when they found food. But there was lots of it, neatly stacked away. Almost as
if waiting for them.
“Could it hurt to have a glass of water?” Alison asked “I'd wash up the glass afterwards”
Denny smiled at her honesty “Perhaps you might want to find the loo first?” he suggested kindly and continued to root about until he found not a
torch, but a big old candle and matches.
Triumphant they set off to explore the house which turned out to be filled to bursting with old books and ancient furniture. There were maps and
charts on the walls and a large telescope nestled against a back win-dow.
“You know, a lot of these old places had outside facilities” murmured Denny.
Alison felt her knees buckle at the thought of the horrible old outhouse they were likely to find but desperation was starting to make the thought of
even a hole in the ground sound attractive.
Out they went, and sure enough, a few yards from the house found a small and shabby building.
“You go first” Denny said chivalrously and handed the candle to Alison, who used it to illuminate the inside of the outhouse and the rather larger
brother of the spider she'd discovered earlier.
It looked at her, sizing her up. It probably knew that it's little brother had been enough to scare the bejasus out of her and, ever so delicately,
it pursed its lips “Boo” then scuttled off to lurk in a corner, paying close attention to Alison as she went about her business, utterly
terrified but not wanting to admit weakness to Denny by asking him to bash it for her.
Out she eventually came.
“There's a spider in there” she said nonchalantly. “It thinks its big and clever, but I reckon its scared. It's hiding in a corner”
“Thanks for the heads up” smiled Denny and strode into the outhouse, being sure to give a conspiratorial wink to the spider.
After they'd gone the spider settled itself and forgot all about them.
Back in the kitchen two people found themselves able to concentrate on food now that the more urgent functions had been taken care of.
Alison went from considering a glass of water to wondering if she dared to have a cup of tea.
Denny said nothing but eyed a jar of biscuits conveniently placed beside the kettle.
He heard his stomach grumble and looked embarrassed. Nothing he could have done about that.
“What if we leave some money behind, with a note?” asked Alison. “There's so much food and we'd only take a little”
Denny looked dubious and she realised that he'd need some persuading. 'Same as always' she thought.
Gently she started to put forward all the arguments that made taking the food a good idea.
They'd had nothing to eat since before lunch.
They couldn't think straight when they were so light-headed and they'd need their wits about them in the morning when they needed to find their way
Sleeping on the kitchen floor would be difficult enough but if they were hungry too, they never drop off.
Denny sighed “Well, it's your decision. I don't want you to do anything you might feel guilty about later. I mean, what if those are the owner's
He rolled up his jacket on the floor and used it as a pillow, settling himself down.
“Oh for goodness sake. Don't leave me to do this by myself, I'm starving and I need to eat” Alison was having a hard time keeping her frustrations
He sat up “Well... as long as you're absolutely sure”
“Really, you want to do this? Take the food when you don't know who it belongs to?”
“We're already in their house, you were settling down for the night. And, look, I'll leave some money” she dredged up some coins from her pocket
“That'll cover a couple of tea-bags and some biscuits”
Denny sighed. She'd obviously made her mind up.
She knew that sigh. It was his giving in sigh and she could scarcely conceal the grin on her face as she turned to put the kettle on.
Happily she made tea and then settled as comfortably as she could on a stool, about to sink her teeth into a chocolate biscuit.
Denny was still on the floor “What about you?” she asked
He picked himself up and she had munched her way through more than half of the biscuit before he'd even sat down.
Before she'd finished the biscuit, the lights went out.
Before, she would have screamed. But now, with tea and part of a biscuit inside her she felt a little braver.
“Power cut, do you reckon?” she asked.
“Probably” said an unconcerned voice from the depths of the floor “I'm going to sleep. G'night”
A few hours later Alison awoke to find herself on a dirty stone floor, not at all like the pristine tiled floor she imagined she'd started her night's
Across a small, dank room she could see Denny busying himself in a scullery.
He'd found an old coat to put on, sensible she supposed considering that it was a bit chilly, although she wouldn't have fancied utilising any of the
clothing that might have been found in this awful old house.
“Where, where am I? Why did you move me? Did the owners come back? Did you pay them for the tea and biscuits?”
“You're in the kitchen” came the answer “I didn't move you, no-one came back and it isn't necessary to pay for anything”
“Whaddya mean? Seriously, where are we? This isn't the same kitchen we were in last night”
“The actual question is 'When' are we? And the kitchen last night was an illusion”
Denny looked over at her and smiled, a secret, tight little smile “Have a look around at your new home”
“It looks way better in the light, although with your modern standards you might want to run a duster or a broom over it. Your choice”
Alison got up and went out into the hall. Nothing had changed except it was now in daylight. And, indeed, very dusty. She caught sight of her
dishevelled self in the horrible old mirror.
She went into the room with the antiquated telescope. She looked at the antiquated leather-bound books.
edit on 18-4-2015 by berenike because: wretched windows