Friday, 22 October 2010

Off the map 3

It was dusk as Everett coaxed his car down the narrow, winding lane. The rutted surface scraped ominously beneath his feet. He gripped the wheel, fearful of stony outcrops and the jagged Hawthorne branches jutting into the lane.

Suddenly the lane lurched into a small gravel patch fronting a dilapidated, rambling old house. Everett realised with a shudder that he’d arrived.

An amateur botanist, he’d answered a free-sheet classified ad promising ‘Seclusion and a rural idyll for the discerning Nature Lover’. At the Hawthorne Hotel, Coppice Lane, Wiltshire. The address had sounded somewhat more substantial than the reality.

Still, he pulled out his case and went in the front door. The musty foyer was dimly lit but a rubicund little man beamed at him from behind the reception desk.

“You’re a little off the map,” Everett said breezily, to mask his apprehension.

“”That we are,” agreed the landlord, “Pride ourselves on it.”

He handed Everett a key with what seemed to be an otter’s tail keyring. “Number 4, Mr Everett. Lovely view over the pond.” He paused apologetically, “You’ve missed dinner, sir.”

“That’s fine,” replied Everett, “I ate on the way down.”

“Can I have something sent up to your room, sir?” twinkled the little man.

“Well, that would be nice,” Everett conceded.

“There’s pork or lamb, sir,” he replied, with an incongruously roguish wink, “Or chicken. Birds are small, though. You might need two.”

“A little lamb would be nice,” Everett said hastily heading up the stairs.

“Indeed it would, sir,” The warm voice followed him. “Coming right up.”

Everett was already in bed when the door opened and a tiny lamb ran into the room, a pink ribbon around its neck. The landlord’s head appeared around the jamb.

“Enjoy,” he leered salaciously, and turned out the light.

1 comment:

Michael said...

good one. kinda reminds me off hunter s. thompson for a reason. maybe it's just the drawing which looks like ralph steadman at his best. keep it up!