The chatter and noise of others was such an irritant to me, that my home was a deliberate three mile walk over stony path and flimsy stile.
Some would describe the walk to my cottage as bleak. To me, it was perfect. The route took me tramping over footpaths broken in the middle by an overgrown lane. One wooden gate with an avenue of trees shielded whatever lay beyond, and though I wondered what was hidden, I had never seen a soul I could ask.
On the May bank holiday, my usual peace was ended by a party. There was music and singing and laughter. It started at midday, and much as it irked me, I could find no valid reason to complain. However, at 11pm, after I had spent a fruitless hour in bed trying to sleep through the din, I set out in search of its source.
The fields I walked through were dark. If there was a party here, it was being held in the pitch black. I stumbled and cursed over the uneven ground. At the lane that marked the halfway point the noise seemed louder, but there was no tell-tale light, so I persisted on toward the village. The noise receded as I strode away, the party could only be behind the wooden gate.
As I leapt over the gate, the scene changed. There were fires on the other side of the trees. Nobody was standing directly in their light, but every time a flame bit and crackled, I caught a glimpse of thigh, or back, or hip. All in motion, all unmistakably naked.
‘Whose party is this?’ I shouted.
There was laughter.
Some called ‘Helena’, others ‘Flora’, yet more called ‘Chloris’.
None of the accents were English.
I retreated. Arms tried to encircle me, I flung them off.
I awoke in flowers.