Here is the latest installment of my Describli-prompt inspired story. If you missed the earlier instalments and want to read them check out the link in the menu above. 🙂
One note for this week. I’m not too happy with my name for Lena-era “hotels”. If anyone has any suggestions for what a place where travellers could stay a night or two on a space station, I would be grateful. Leave any suggestions in he comments. I would very grateful. 🙂
Part 9 will be here next week.
The sun had set when they came to a small village, nestled between the mountains and the lake. Lights glowed from the windows, an image of warmth and safety.
Zinna was shivering hard now. the temperature had dropped even further. Lena’s nose was numb, and Leo’s cheeks shone red where the slight wind had buffeted his face.
They stopped in the centre of the village. “Do you think any of them look like a Lodging House?” Leo asked.
“I don’t know…” Lena analysed each building. Earth usually had plenty of places for travellers to stay, if the history’s were correct, but this was such an isolated place.
Zinna raised her head, and looked to Lena’s right. The door of a house opened. Zinna must have heard the movement from inside.
A man stood looking at them, holding up a lantern. “You folks need help?”
“Yes,” Lena said. She was beyond worrying about danger. If they didn’t get inside soon, Zinna would be hypothermic, and she and Leo would soon follow.
The man waved them inside. “Come in, before you freeze.”
The warmth was a blessing. Lena drank it in as the man closed the door. The house was comfortable, with sofas and a table, and an actual fireplace! Curtains were drawn across the window. This was the type of environment her father had always tried to create at home. But there wasn’t the materials. Things like curtains weren’t needed on space stations.
A woman got up from the table, a mug of drink in her hands. She was dressed simply, and warmly. A pair of blue jeans and a pale pink jumper. She had blonde hair tied up on the top of her head. “Would you like a drink?” she said.
“Yes, please,” Lena said, and hoped she sounded grateful through her suppressed shivers.
The woman smiled and left the room, presumably going to the kitchen to get the drinks.
The man spoke up. “My name is Jerry. that’s my wife, Tina. What you doing out here so late at night?”
At his urging, they all sat down on the sofas as Lena answered, “We’re travellers. We got lost. I’m sorry if this is an intrusion.” She paused, then asked, “May I ask, we’re in Iceland, right? So how do you speak such perfect English?” They didn’t even have an accent.
“We moved out here from Britain. Where are you all from?”
Tina reappeared with steaming mugs. She handed them out, then sat down next to her husband.
Lena took a sip of the drink, rapidly trying to think of a believable answer. “Right now, it seems like worlds away.” She didn’t want to lie, but she couldn’t tell the truth either.
Tina smiled. “We know that feeling. When we first moved out here, it was like we were aliens. We barely spoke the language, we didn’t know anyone. But we’re settled now, aren’t we?” She put her hand on his arm.
They exchanged a look, and Lena swore that she saw a hint of humour and mischief in their eyes.
He put his hand over hers. “That we are.”
“So why did you move here?” Leo asked.
“Work,” the answered in unison, then shared a small laugh.
Lena caught Zinna’s eye. She was exhausted, but still shared Lena’s hint of a look of distaste for the cute couple act.
They sat through another few minutes of general conversation as they drank their drinks, and then Jerry suggested they went to bed. Blankets were found and draped over the sofas, a spare mattress was placed on the floor. Lena took the floor, as she was in the best physical condition of the three of them.
Jerry and Tina wished them a good nights sleep, put the lights out and went to their own bed.
Zinna’s breathing changed quickly to the shallow sounds of sleep, as did Leo’s. Lena was tired enough to sleep, but something was bothering her. It was a feeling that she couldn’t explain, but something about this scenario didn’t feel right.
She got up and wandered around the living room, peering at the various photos and ornaments that adorned walls and shelves. They all seemed perfectly normal from an historical perspective, and fascinating. Life was so different in the past, and yet so similar. Strange.
A slim door in the corner of the room drew her to it. She pressed the handle down, biting the bottom of her lip. She shouldn’t be snooping around like this. In all the cultures she knew of, it was rude.
The door opened easily, and a set of steps led her downward. It was cold, and a damp smell assaulted her. There had to be a light somewhere… She groped around and flicked one on. A glance behind her reassured her that she had closed the door. No one would see the light.
She looked into the room.
And her jaw dropped.
This week’s prompt: Reinventing himself.