I was not alone and wondered if I should turn and leave or try knocking on the dark green door. Indecision is like staring at the barrel of a laser pointed to your head with the red kill light blinking. Slowly I took several steps and stopped at the two stairs leading up to the tiny porch. The white chair looked decrepit from where I stopped to examine the cabin but now I saw a newly purchased piece of furniture. I glanced down and saw the porch floor was clean level and raised a foot to climb up. I stopped before contacting the first step when the ornate glass doorknob turned.
Before realizing it I had hastily backed up fifty feet ready to turn and flee. I had no weapons and didn’t want a physical confrontation.
The door opened slowly without making a sound. I felt my jaw drop as the opening door revealed a woman dressed in white gowns. Her feet were bare. Her raven black hair with threads of gold that sparkled enticingly hung in a way that made me think it was braided loosely so it cupped her face.
When our eyes met, I stopped breathing. Hers were silver so intense I knew looking away would require more effort than I had left inside me. She stood about five-five tilted her head questioningly but said nothing.
Then she lifted her hands, which let me see she was holding a white owl that stood two feet tall. How I missed I didn’t know.
The owl’s eyes were gold, then turned scarlet as it swiveled its head to examine me. After a few long seconds it turned its head to look up at her. As it did its eyes glided then became silver like hers.
Shaking my head broke the spell I felt I was under and gave me a chance to draw a long breath and finally speak. “I was walking through the forest hoping to reach the ocean within a week or so. I didn’t expect to find anyone out here. The pandemic has…” I stopped when she moved as if her action was the sound of a voice interrupting me.
She bent enough so the owl could move from her arms to the white porch chair. Then she straightened and said with a voice like silk and satin. “You must come in for tea.” She sounded like she knew me. “I am aware of the pandemic and assure you it will not ever reach here.”
She turned and entered the cabin without looking back to see if I’d followed. So I did.
Passing the owl, I slowed and glanced down carefully to see if it watched me. Its eyes were closed as if I now bored the glorious creature and it slept soundlessly after accepting my presence. I suspected it would awaken and show its anger otherwise.
The door closed behind me, with a nearly inaudible click despite my not touching it. The pressure inside the cabin seemed different than outside. I had the urge to clear my ears like I would after reaching a higher altitude.
I located the woman after walking through a small sitting room furnished sparsely with a red and green upholstered loveseat and matching armchair. A plain oak wood coffee table stood in the middle.
The floor was bare wide wood, planks some as wide as sixteen inches.
She was pouring tea from an ancient, intricately engraved silver and gold teapot into matching cups. The steam smelled seductive with invitation.
I sat on a white chair that matched the one on the front porch and two others around a circular white table with a carved center leg with four extended legs that ended that in lions’ claws. A small white porcelain sink, half-refrigerator and two-burner stove completed the area we were in.
I watched her take a small sip of streaming tea, winced internally, but she didn’t seem to react to the heat. As she drank her eyes closed her lips tilting into a small smile of pleasure.
She placed her cup on a matching saucer and waved her hand at my cup. “Please drink.”