I live in a small cottage, on the outskirts of a small town in the highest mountains in the region. I love living here but sometimes it gets lonely. Although, to be honest, I don't really mind. Since George, my husband, died all those years ago, I have grown accustomed to being alone, only with Nancy as my companion. Nancy is a golden retriever and a present from George.
The day of the downpour, I had just come back from hunting with her and we were exhausted. I twas then when it started and it didn't seem to end. Actually, the rain went on all night and continued the next morning, with the same intensity.
After having lunch, I decided to check my computer for news about the storm, as I thought it was for sure related to a storm somewhere. Not a surprise, my internet feed was down and by sunset I had no electricity in the house. Nancy was restless as she hated complete darkness which is quite uncommon for a dog.
We sat by the fireplace to heat ourselves, she slept while I read. And then I heard someone knocking at the door. We were both startled and, for a moment, I thought I was imagining it. I relaxed my muscles but then I heard it again and I couldn't ignore it. Someone was outside and it seemed impossible but it was real. As I came close to the door, I realized that the town was not very near but the road was and maybe someone had an accident. So I opened.
On the other side there was a young boy, maybe ten years old. He was trembling from the cold, his clothes damped and about to collapse. I let him in and look for a towel, as Nancy helped him get close to the fire. After drying him a bit, I told him to take of his clothes in order to dry them by the fire.
As I waited outside the bathroom, I noticed a fragrance in the air, like flowers. Somehow, that reminded me of something but I had no clue what. The boy came out, covered in the towel, leaving his clothes in the sink.
He didn't spoke a word. He sat next to Nancy, by the fire and the dog seemed calm as the boy stroke her back. I twisted his clothes, leaving them a little less wet and then put them in a chair next to the fire. I didn't thought they would dry a lot but it was better than nothing.
I then asked the boy where were his parents and what had happened to him. But he just looked at me and said nothing. He was probably shocked or something. Maybe he was in a car accident and his family was on the road. I had to check. I put on my jacket, a hat, gloves, other pants and my boots. I told the boy to stay there but I never knew if he heard me.
Outside was awful. I had never witnessed a hurricane but I thought that storm must have been very similar. I couldn't see much so I decided not to head down to the road but rather to a an area that overlooked it from above. The rain was a pain in the ass but when I got there, I saw nothing. No people, no cars, nothing.
When I came back to my house, and it took time, I smelled again flowers and something else. When I got to the kitchen I realized it was the boy, cooking. Nancy stood by him as he dropped some vegetables into a big pot filled with water. He realized I was there and then he finally spoke.
- I was hungry. Do you want some?
I nodded. He was cooking on my portable stove and I was frankly surprised he had poured my gasoline on it. After a few minutes the night fell and the boy served the soup.
We sat by the fire and enjoyed our meal. Even Nancy had some and she loved it. To be honest, his cooking reminded me of my husband, as he always loved to use vegetables in his preparations. Not that he cooked much, but when he did it was all about mother nature and its gifts.
When we were finished, I asked the boy again about his parents and why he was alone in the rain. A thunder fell and I was startled, even more when he started speaking just after it.
- You have always been scared of them.
- How do you know that?
He raised his shoulders and grabbed the plates. After washing them, he came back and stroke Nancy again as she fell asleep.
I felt a bit nervous by then. The kid didn't seem too normal, he knew things and hadn't said a word about his family. Other kids would be terrified and would scream or cry or fight. But he just looked to the fire and stroke my dog. He seemed at peace.
Later, I told him it was bed time. He would sleep on the sofa, by the fire, and I would heat some water for me to sleep in my room. Nancy could stay with him. I gave him a think quilt my mother had made many years ago and he said another puzzling thing:
- I've always loved this quilt.
I ignored this and put the quilt over him. When I did he grabbed my hand and looked at me to the eyes. This made me nervous but he pressed harder and then spoke:
- You should do something with your life. Don't close yourself to the world. You have a lot to offer.
The only thing I could do was smile and not sleep. Not for the whole night. It was after 5 AM when I finally fell asleep. My last thought was: "Why am I not hearing the rain?".
I later realized the storm had stopped and that my guest, the little boy, had left in the morning. He had folded the quilt as George did and then I realized what had happened. I opened to the door and called for him, knowing it was useless.
My one true love had come to me and I didn't realize it. Although, he was right. I had come here to be away of everything, as life reminded me of him every second but that had been a wrong move from my part. That day, I decided to sell the cottage and move to the city, closer to my son and to his children.