Autumn weekend at the cottage
Our aunt and uncle own a cottage located at the point of land that extends onto a small natural lake.
Compared to some of the other houses built by some quite wealthy families, theirs is one of the smallest. It has 6 full bedrooms on the top floor and a small 7th in the basement with its’ own loo and shower. The middle section holding the kitchen, small study and a rather large living room with floor to ceiling windows that look over the lake.
It was at this same cottage where we held my Cousin’s wedding earlier that summer, with the reception in a small community park a short distance through the woods behind the cottage.
It was at that park where, as children, my Cousin, my twin brother, and I had snuck off to play our games. One role play game, in particular, was one having us two girls playing dressed up damsels to my brother’s highwayman!
This role game of his does deserve mentioning since it will play a part with what happens later in my story.
As it so happened, I was required to attend a formal dinner/dance/ fundraiser held in the Autumn of that same year as my Cousin’s Wedding.
Since the function was about a 40-minute drive(by my standard of fast driving) from the location of the lake and its cottages.
So, to save on having to rent a room during my extended visit to the area, I coaxed my uncle into letting me stay alone at the cottage over my 4-day weekend.
I was attending the function with a friend, who had declined my offer of staying at the cottage, to stay in town.
She was planning to have her fiancé down the night after the event, and wanted the privacy staying with me would not have given her!
My friend, with whom I had roomed at university, had dared us each other to wear the glittery sequined bridesmaids’ gowns that had been collecting dust in our closets since a mutual friend’s wedding the previous fortnight!
I didn’t want to look like her twin, so I told her I was wearing the sleek blue sating number I had worn as a maid of honour at my cousin’s summer wedding!
We both brought these gowns with us.
My Friend brought her good pearls to wear with her ensemble, and I brought to wear my matching set of sapphire rhinestones I had come across at an antique shoppe, along with my favourite rings.
The same jewels I ended up wearing at my Cousin’s wedding after she had elected to wear pearls, making the pearls I had been planning to wear a social faux pas!
The evening of my work sponsored formal event I dressed at the cottage in the basement bedroom I was sleeping in before headed into town to help set up at the event.
I had showered and was drying my hair when I self-scared myself a bit silly by catching a view of my moving shadow on the wall behind me, reflected in the mirror!
The shadow of my hand holding my mini- hairdryer looked like someone was standing behind me waving a gun.
Giggling at my silliness I put on my gown, jewellery, and after a quick look-see in the mirror behind the door, I left.
By my watch, I was running about 15 minutes late, so I grabbed my wrap and flew up the stairs, out the door, and down the steps to my coupe.
I managed to get there 5 minutes early and began to pitch right in…
My Friend soon joined me and we were imminently so caught up in the festivities that we found no time to really chat amongst ourselves.
The affair was a success and we had over a score of guests in attendance.
The two of us must have made a pretty pair, for we were continuously being approached for conversation and then asked to dance by several blokes.
As things were wrapping up and we were finally given the boot, we stopped in a pub for a drink intending to finally get caught up between ourselves!
It was at the much later at the same pub, that my, now fairly intoxicated, friend admitted to me she had been crept upon after leaving her hotel earlier!
I was none too sober myself, and admit I burst into laughter, before seeing that she was trying to be serious!
Here is what happened…
A young man in a houndstooth sports jacket had been standing in her hotel lobby talking to a pretty young gypsy lady wearing a black satin blouse, her buxomly figure loaded up with shiny gold chains.
As my friend walked through the lobby, dressed as she was for the dance, the girl had eyed her over
She, of course, smiled at her expecting a nod, or compliment…
But surprisingly the girl had just rudely looked back to the guy wearing the houndstooth sport coat. without acknowledging my friend atoll!
Then as my friend walked outside down the block to hail a taxi, she chillingly realized the guy in the houndstooth sports jacket was following along some distance behind her!
He caught her looking at him and turning, darted down an alley!
Uncomfortable about it, she had spied an approaching hansom and had hailed it to be driven to her destination.
“Do you think he may have wanted to ask me something?”
She wondered as she played with her string of white pearls, the rings in her fingers all glittery.
I soothed her by telling her she was…
“Being a silly sod, and not to fret over it!”
Which at the time was my honest opinion of the affair!
Certainly, did not think the bloke was “creeping” after her for any reason, and I told her so with conviction!
I did, however, see her home safely to her hotel room, before my drive back down to the lake.
There was no moon out that night, and it was a very misty, lonely drive back alone.
My mind wandered over my friend’s experience in her hotel lobby and the creeping man wearing a houndstooth jacket.
Suddenly, sleeping alone in the isolated cottage did not seem like the grand idea it had when planning it!
I played music, loud, to take my mind of that feeling as I drove back, taking almost a full hour to do so!
Arriving at the cottage, I was aware I had not left any lights on inside.
Cursing myself, for creeping strangers were now a vivid thought implanted in my mind, I got out and headed up the steps long uphill cottage path!
Quite aware I was alone, I walked up the hill in that early morning hour, moving in and out of creeping shadows.
As I did, I heard the rich swishing of my long gown as the hem brushed along the stone steps.
Slightly drunk, I stopped and picked up the bottom of my gown to make it stop!
I must have presented an interesting picture, alone, dressed such as I was wobbling up the stairs as I tried negotiating them still wearing my heels!
I also clearly remembered my friend’s story!
If someone was following her and had been listening in to our conversation, they would know I was here, alone!
It also was no help that I remembered how startling it had been when as children, my twin had snuck up and scared the bejeebers out of us while masked in his highwayman disguise
This made my hairs prickle, as of course, my runaway imagination formed some rather chilling, foreboding conjectures
I shook my head to get rid of the thoughts, feeling my earrings swinging up against my cheeks.
I again cursed, whispering to myself…
“Buggers, bloody jewels would give me away if nothing else!”
I scurried the rest of the distance up to the cottage without managing to trip, feeling foolish with myself as I reached and unlatched the door!
But entering the dark, sinisterly empty house, did me no good either, and I held my breath as, still holding up my blue satin gown, I cautiously tiptoed inside to turn on the lights!
My mind was reeling at that point keeping me wide awake and fearful of being alone, as I checked all the windows and doors to make sure they were fastened!
Without bothering to change, I went to the front room (overlooking the lake) and plopping onto the couch, tried watching some telly before going to bed in my basement room.
But I ended up watching the only channel that was coming in.. and all it had was an old BW crime thriller that night, which also added fuel to the building fire of my now overly fearful imagination!
Though I will admit that I harbour alike for those types of situations depicted in such movies, experiencing a titillating thrill when a shadow emerged from a dark alleyway, similar to those that compels one to watch horror flicks!
Flicks like the ‘Cat and the Canary’ which to this day still will make me shudder when I watch it alone in my darkened flat(the dark adds to the mood).
And so as I watched this particularly sinister movie playing, my mind also was filled with thoughts of the ‘Cat and the Canary’ flick…
Filmed in 1927 Called “Cat and the Canary” and is a dark moody film taking place in a secret passage laced mansion, with sinisterly dark figures, and a sleeping lady whose diamonds are robbed off from around her throat.
There is an even creepier 1930 sound remake called “The Cat Creeps” with Helen Twelvetrees that I really had wanted to write about at the time, but found out it is, unfortunately, an Americans’ “lost” film!
Finally, my spine had its’ feel of tingles, and I turned the telly off with a sigh, and nestling into the thicke couch, I yawned, stretched…
As I did so, my eyes were caught by my sparkling rhinestone bracelet…
I curiously asked myself…
“Would some bugger want to steal them?”
Of course, my imaginative mind said, yes!
The answer put me off from going down into that isolated basement bedroom to sleep alone….
So, I reached over, and pulled off from the top of the couch my gowns wrap, and using it as a soft blanket, stretching out on the couch,
I laid down, tried to think happy thoughts, like how much fun we had had at the fundraiser earlier…
My mind drifted from there, to us children playing games in the community park….
Which led my thoughts traveled being here for the Saturday wedding of my cousin...
The reception had taken place in the same small community park where we had played.
It laid in a small valley, surrounded by woods that cover the hills. On the opposite side was a path leading up and down a hill, to the point of land jutting out onto the lake, the top of which had been built my cousin’s family cottage.
It had been a busy week, hustle and bustle in getting ready for the weekend wedding. We had all been exhausted by Friday and spent the rest of the day in idle repose, laying in hammocks…
The wedding and reception had both been brilliant affairs.
Soiled only by the pair of wedding crasher strangers we had discovered amongst our midst’s later that evening at the reception……
A lot of strangers creeping into my life lately, I thought, yawning sleepily….
A Summer Day’s Wedding at the Cottage