I felt the blood coursing as I ran.
Pounding through my body, my temples throbbing and heart beating like a tympani gone wild.
There was no going back. This track was a one way course. Running. Running for my life in the dark.
Earlier, the sky was light, although it threatened to cloud, bringing a chill Fall rain.
I was a runner for health and by hobby. I participated in a number of charity run/walks. I didn't really compete. I simply ran against myself.
I'd just slowed down my morning run and was walking at a clip to begin 'running down'. It was unwise to just stop, kind of like pacing oneself scuba diving, so the bends didn't set in.
As I trotted up the steps to my brownstone condo, one of my neighbors came gliding into the hallway.
'Morning Tracy. How goes it?'
'Not bad' She paused and looked at me head tilted. 'Wanna come to a party?'
I thought, Hmmm. I don't dig parties. 'Where is it?' I thought again if she says 'It's in my pants....'. Nah, just kidding. She was a good kid. Just my warped sense of humor talking.
'At the old Brentwood house. You know, over across town past the north side of the square. Some guy bought it and was inviting townies for a house warming.'
'And the guy's name is.....?' Tracy got excited and left out details sometimes. Nice kid though.
'Guy de Maupassant. Honest. He's some kind of artist, writer. Says he wanted a quiet place to retreat. Can't get any quieter than here huh?'
'Probably a pseudonym. And you're right Tracy, this is pretty much the end of the line.' I meant that in a good way since I as well, had sought out the town for much the same reason.
'Huh', said I. 'I don't cotton to gatherings. But if you are going, kid, I'll tag along.'
'Bodyguard, eh?" She just smiled and lit up the day. I went in and didn't give it any thought.
That evening I heard a rap on the door.
There was Tracy in a pair of jeans that might have been painted on, with a flowered dark top, sleeves at the elbows flaired in lace, with a black sweater over.
'Ready to check out the newbie?', she asked in her bubbly way.
Ok, Tracy, I'm with you', as I grabbed a tan jacket and out the door.
We decided to walk, as the evening promised a cool presence if not balmy.
There was a hazy cast to the sky and a bit of moon shone, halolike, to light the way.
'Ok, Tracy, here we go off to see what this dude's up to.' I was not as said much on parties. Tracy was a party animal. Any chance to gather was good for her.
The town was small enough that we didn't take long to get to the Brentwood house. It was old, well for these parts, over a hundred years. It had some of the gothic features that appealed to bigwigs at that time and to goths now.
The yellow lights glowed like an ancient mariner's beacon, lighting the path to our evening. There seemed to be life in the old place again.
As Tracy and I approached the door, there was the din of music and talk. Not too loud, it wasn't sedate either. As we came to the door, the only curious thing was, well, a kind of neutrality. It just seemed dry like there was something ...elusive.
Anyway, we knocked with the old brass knocker shaped like a bearded face. The sound, not hollow, a little muffled, just neutral again, announced our presence.
Not long after, the door opened, spilling light. It created a backdrop with a figure centered framed with light and then the doorframe.
'Hi! Welcome to Guy's place!' The girl was young, probably early twenties, rather like Tracy. She stepped aside and waved us in.
Part 2 will come this December. It's creeping along......