By Enelis C
Harry was awakened by a loud thud outside the house. He sat down immediately and cursed inwardly. So much for the idea to stay awake. He got out the bed and went out the room. The sun’s rays went in through the window and illuminated the corridor. Yawning widely, he knocked on Anna’s door. No answer. He waited for several minutes before knocking again. Being impatient, because it was so not-Anna-at-all, he turned the knob and opened the door. Panic pierced his heart when he realized that the bed was empty. No Anna in sight.
He hurriedly went down the stairs and looked around. The fire still danced happily in the hearth. The dinner table was empty, showing no sign of the feast last night, as if it was only an illusion. As his mind tried hard to find the logic of the situation, he noticed strange sounds outside, like something continuously scraping against something. He realized that the front door was ajar.
Gripped by fear, Harry slowly went to the door. He opened it soundlessly. Kathy was standing at the clearing with her back was to him, bending over something, wasn’t aware of his presence. He realized that she was the source of the sound he heard. She was sharpening a saw on a big round stone, almost enthusiastically while humming softly. What was she going to do with that thing? Harry inhaled sharply.
To his horror, he saw dark red blotches were smeared on her clothes, particularly the lower part. He darted a shocked look at the ground. There was a pool of red almost like fresh blood. A wave of sickness hit him hard he almost collapsed. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Was that Anna lying motionless beside the red pool? There was no mistake. It was her! He knew that redhead too well.
You might think that being unnoticed as he was, he has an ultimate chance to finish her off and she might not realize she was attacked until it was too late. Or he might yell a war cry, announcing his presence then attacked her like a hero on many fairy tales. He would come as the winner and would be famous for avenging the monster that killed his friend. No. He just stood there numbly for several seconds before shrieking un-hero-like.
The saw on Kathy’s hand fell with a sickening thud to the ground. She turned and looked at Harry with a crazy gleam in her eyes.
“My bacon sandwich! You’re awake! Care to join your girlfriend?”
Harry shrieked again. He stumbled backward. The front door was slamming in front of him.
“Why were you running away? Come here. I want to show you something!”
Harry held the urge to throw up. She was crazy. Then, he realized his mistake. Instead of running away from the cabin, he was running inside. He cursed. Now what? He was totally trapped. He forced himself to calm down and think it over. The idea of running away with that wicked woman free to chase him was not a good idea. Who knew what that woman would do? For goodness sake he might have a saw embedded on his body the moment he fled from her. Maybe that woman could catch up with him despite her fat body. Moreover, he couldn’t leave Anna behind. He shuddered. The thought of her lit his anger.
He needed to outwit the crazy woman. His best weapon was his brain. He couldn’t use destructive power like his other friends. Though he might do some fighting, he couldn’t battle an armed maniac almost twice his size barehanded. Not to mention that she had a sharp saw! He needed to make her incapacitated so that he could escape to the town and asked for help. He looked around, trying to find a way to subdue her. He could trap her somewhere in the cabin. But where?
“Roast chicken, don’t be shy. Why are you running away?” Kathy called. She was on the other side of the door already.
Harry could lure her inside one of the bedroom and trap her there. No. That was not a good idea, either. He could hide behind the door, but her big body would block the exit. He would be the one trapped. There was no time.
Speaking about a trap… He set his eyes on the trapdoor. He got an idea. A foolish and desperate one, but he didn’t have a choice.
Kathy opened the door forcefully.
“Where are you, smoked sausage?” She called in a sing-song voice. “Are we playing hide and seek now?”
From his hiding place, Harry could tell that Kathy moved around, searching for him in any possible hideouts in the small cabin.
“Huh? The trapdoor was open! Bad kebab! I told him not to open the door!” she grumbled. “I will teach him a lesson! Maybe he can be the main dish for breakfast today?” she laughed evilly.
Harry held his breath and willed his heart to stop beating fast, afraid she could hear them clearly. He heard her walking down the stair to the basement. He moved fast, opened the door of the larder where he hid, ran towards the surprised Kathy, kicked her in the chest and sent her tumbling down the stairs, closed the trapdoor and bolted it.
“What are you doing, chicken nugget?!” her muffled cry sounded beneath the trapdoor.
Harry ran outside and went to Anna’s still body. Blood covered the back of her head and her neck. Her lifeless blue eyes stared at the sky. It was too late. Harry cursed. Tears stung his eyes. He turned and ran as fast as possible to the city. Now that the sun was up and the fog was gone, he could find his way back to the city. Rage boiled inside him as he noticed that the cabin was located so damn near to the city. If they hadn’t stopped at the cabin and kept walking, they might reach the city in less than twenty minutes. And then, Anna would not…
Harry closed his eyes, trying to dismiss the thought. He hoped that it was just a nightmarish nightmare, that he was still asleep, so was Anna on the next door. That Kathy was only a harmless fat lady. He kept running and running, letting his legs led him. And what a wonderful guide they were, since he suddenly crashed into a solid muscular body and landed hard on his bottom on the cobblestone road.
He opened his eyes and looked up at the handsome face of the head of the Red Dormitory.
“You looked like hell,” he said. Okay. Just forget about the handsome and muscular part.
“Wh-what are you doing here?” Harry stuttered.
“I have a business to make with Annaliese. So, where is she?”
In a flash, Harry stood up. Words poured from his mouth incoherently.
“Never mind about that! She was… It was too late… The witch… Trapdoor… My fault…”
Larc raised his hand, signaling him to stop talking. “You don’t make any sense. Try to explain slowly.”
“We don’t have time for that!” Harry shouted at his face. In normal situation, he would never dare to even think about shouting at Larc. In fact, he never saw anybody doing so, except those who had death wishes to die in a painful way. Since it was not a normal situation, he thought he could make it an exception. “Just follow me, please. I will tell you the whole story while we are running.”
Harry wondered if he truly looked like hell like Larc had said before, since the man didn’t argue with Harry ordering him around. He expected a thunderbolt to strike him from behind, but there was nothing. Larc followed him, though Harry couldn’t read his expression at all. Running back to Kathy’s cabin, he explained everything in detail, starting from his decision to walk back to the city when their car was out of fuel to his trapping Cathy inside her own cabin. When he finished his story, they had arrived at the cabin. Harry knelt beside Anna’s lifeless body and sobbed.
“If only I didn’t fall asleep, she might be still alive. Poor Anna. I will make sure that the witch will get a severe punishment for this.”
Larc knelt beside him and looked at the body. Though he claimed that he was looking for her, his face was still unreadable as ever. Then he stood and looked around the cabin.
“Well, if it is her, is that you over there?” he pointed.
Harry raised his head, following the direction Larc’s index finger pointed at. True, there was a figure that looked like him, well, looked exactly like him, standing under the sunlight at the end of the clearing. He was instantly dumbfounded. He looked at Anna’s body closely, his mind kept racing. Larc knelt once again and touched the body.
“Despite of what you’ve said, I think we are truly looking at a very fine statue. An absolutely marvellous art it looks like the real deal.”
“B-bu-but…” Harry stammered.
“We can ask the old lady to find the truth. Where do you lock her in, you said?”
“But Anna is missing!” he protested.
“Well, do you think a crazy old lady can do her in that easily?”
“Well, she’s not that old, but yeah, I see your point,” Harry said in a small voice. He totally forgot that. Anna might look like a fragile and weak girl, but she was strong, super strong, in fact. Now, how could he forget that? He felt so stupid suddenly.
“Where, Harry? We better release her before she becomes the victim.”
Harry groaned inwardly. He went inside the cabin, Larc on his tail. He stopped midway. There were no pounding and no muffled cries. His fear increased. Larc walked pass him and opened the trapdoor. Kathy blinked her eyes as she climbed up the stairs, looking at yet another stranger in her house confusingly.
“I’m verry sorry, Madam. It seems that one of my students had mistaken you for a bloody murderer who killed his friend,” explained Larc.
“Murderer? Kill?” asked Kathy with a questioning look.
“You have a saw with you and blood smeared on your clothes and Anna’s gone and you were so interested with her last night!” accused Harry.
“Ohhh, my chicken nugget, I think you’ve misunderstood.”
Larc looked puzzled by the endearment.
“See!? She keep calling us by any kind of meat dishes even though we’ve told her our names!”
“Well, you like it better if I call you by vegetable dishes?” asked Kathy, looked more confused than before.
Harry slapped his forehead. Larc looked bored.
“Maybe you can explain what actually happened,” Larc prompted.
“I accidentally slipped on the ground while painting the statue of your girlfriend. I knocked the can over and the red paint splashed on me as well. I fell into the pedestal and it broke under my weight. That’s why I sharpen my saw, to make a new pedestal from the logs.”
“So, that’s why Anna’s statue is lying on the ground rather than standing like my statue,” Harry concluded. Everything began to make sense inside his head.
“So, you’ve looked at the statue, then. I put it under the sunlight to let the paint dry faster.”
“But, you are so mysterious about your basement!”
“I’ve placed all my statues there. I want to show them to you guys after I finished your statues.”
“But, it doesn’t explain why Anna is missing!”
“She’s not. She went to take a bath on the river nearby. You can reach the river through the path behind my cabin.”
Larc closed his eyes and shook his head. Harry had never felt so humiliated before. His cheeks were red and he hoped the ground opened to swallow him. He could feel his face reddening more when light footsteps were heard getting closer outside. Less than a minute, Anna appeared at the door, looked so fresh and alive. The three of them stared at her.
“Huh? Did I miss something?” she asked with pure confusion. “Harry, you look like a red tomato. Kathy, is there something wrong with the statue? And Larc? What are you doing here?”
Larc sighed and walked towards her. “I’ve just arrived. I want to ask for your help.” He took Anna’s arm and led her outside.
“Um,” Harry began difficultly. “I’m so terribly sorry. You’ve been so kind to us and I repay you so badly.”
“Don’t worry, pickled cucumber. It’s not every day that I have such an interesting day,” she laughed heartily and slapped him on the shoulder.
Harry couldn’t help but flinched hearing the new endearment. Oh well, it turned out that she was only an eccentric fat woman with an awesome talent. Later that day, she finished Anna’s statue and placed it beside his statue. Harry felt as if he was looking at his own reflection. Kathy showed them the basement, where she stored her statues, all of which were so astounding that no words could truly describe them. If Harry looked at the content of the basement and saw the statues before he hid inside the larder, he might think that they were victims of black magic and got more freaked out than he was at that time. All in all, he was grateful that he had awakened from his ‘nightmare’.
Speaking about black magic, Anna looked a bit guarded after Larc told her the reason he came searching for her. She didn’t tell Harry anything about that but he could see that she was becoming restless. Something bad must be happened in the city. But it was definitely another story…