All at once, my senses came crashing in. Leaving behind the bubble where my mind had floated, separate from sensation. I took a breath, surprised at this return to wakefulness.
I was seated on the floor, leaning against the wall in the low-ceilinged outbuilding where I had gone to ground. Long enough for my legs to have fallen asleep. Cold seeped in through through seams in the walls, a reminder of the chill afternoon outside. I ran my palms over the rough, thin carpet at my sides.
Clutter kept me company in the small space. Tires stacked in tiers, their rubbery scent mixing with dry dust on my tongue. Old rags, paint cans, a single folding chair. This might have been a home once, the way the narrow hall teed off to my right. Valence curtains hung over a short window, undisturbed by any breeze.
I let my head thump gently against the wall. My thoughts had wandered off into a place my senses could not follow. I was lucky to have found this safe place while that happened.
Outside, voices rose, accompanying the crunch of footsteps on frosty grass. I froze at their approach, scrambling to recall whether, in my dissociative state, I had managed to lock the door while stumbling in here.
The doorknob rattled. But the squeak of hinges did not follow. Unable to stop myself, I peaked around the corner. The silhouettes of two legs crept across the floor beneath the door. Someone outside said, “Huh.”
Then the voices and the footsteps retreated. Heading back to get a key, no doubt. I gathered myself and my bag, slipping out the door once my visitors had gone.
I made sure to twist the lock before letting the door close. Time to wander on again.
A humble offering for posting stunningly late this week.
Thanks for reading!
To read more free original short fiction every Thursday, subscribe to my monthly newsletter!