Ryan's stuck in a deserted cottage, but he can't really remember why... one-shot?
Ryan shivered and brought his knees up to his chest. He raised his head to look out of the hole in the wall that was once a window, and cast his eyes over the barren landscape before him. He sighed and reached out to touch the stream of bitterly cold water that was cascading down the open stone wall next to him. Rain. He let a tiny smirk grace his usually emotionless face at the irony, the perfect finish to the dismal scene around him.
This morning all he’d had to worry about was what his dad would do when he came back from school after not having been home for three days. Alcohol had a malicious effect on his dad, made him do things he wouldn’t dream of doing when he was sober. Or would he? Ryan couldn’t picture the last time he’d witnessed his dad sober, so he wouldn’t know. Strangely, he couldn’t really remember why he hadn’t been home. He seemed to be forgetting a lot recently. At this rate he’d probably never get back home again anyway.
A resounding crack filled the air around him and Ryan shot up with a start. His unfathomably deep coffee-coloured eyes scanned the walls of the old abandoned cottage involuntarily for any source of danger; he paused and slowly turned, glancing up to the wide, open night sky. He had guessed the thatched roof must have blown off years ago, leaving him with little shelter against the arctic gales that the moors were sending his way.
Ryan let out the lungful of air he’d been holding in and sank back down to the floor. Usually his life was a dull blur of monotony with weeks turning into seconds in the blink of an eye; but here he was, and the situation he was in was definitely not dull. He had ended up on his own in a decaying cottage on the moors, so far away from home it would take days to walk back. At least he thought so. He couldn’t really remember how he’d got there, or who’d taken him there, or even if he’d taken himself. This made him even more unsettled than he already was and the fact that he only had a t-shirt and jeans on and it was past midnight in the heart of January made him feel utterly hopeless.
A series of faint sounds in the distance made Ryan raise his head inquisitively, but they had faded away too rapidly for him to hear them entirely. He could have sworn that he’d heard footsteps. Maybe it was the fatigue. He hadn’t slept in days. At least he thought so, he couldn’t really remember.
Ryan pushed himself up and stood for a moment, breathing in the damp, yet fresh air of the countryside. He traced the sole of his shoe along the lines of the ancient bricks and watched the dust tumble down to the floor. He carefully began to tread across the room, only placing his feet down in areas that he had deemed safe, when a twig snapped under his foot. He took a sharp intake of breath and froze, waiting for something to jump out at him. Nothing did.
About half a mile away, a boy sat on a lone village bench, counting the paving slabs around him for the third time. Icy drops of rain bounced off the ground heavily and Brendon watched them intently. He only had to wait a few more minutes, to give Ryan some time to wake up and gather his bearings, before he could set off to the derelict cottage on the moors.
A man, probably in his late twenties, hurried down the lane where Brendon was seated. He eyed Brendon cautiously and then promptly crossed to the other side of the path. He wasn’t that threatening was he? The man must have been at least ten years older than Brendon was, but his expression had been that which a younger child would give to an intimidating teacher, and Brendon hadn’t even moved yet. His wide, toffee-coloured eyes stared into the gloomy backdrop of the night as he listened for a hint that anyone was close. He let a smile slither over his lips. The others were probably too clever to come here tonight. They knew what this meant to him.
He stood up and stretched, feeling his powerful muscles ripple under his skin, and checked his watch. 1:47 Am. That would do. He did a quick sweep of the verdant, but sinister area he was about to vacate and took a deep breath in, shut his eyes and began to sprint, his feet soon getting into a steady rhythm across the yielding grass underneath them.
Ryan’s foot landed in a puddle and he felt the freezing, boggy water leach into his shoes. He swore under his breath and came to rest under a withered, ancient and secluded willow tree, sinking down between two large over ground roots. The branches of the tree cast ominous looking shadows around him. It felt as if he’d seen them before. He couldn’t really remember. Soon a feeling of uneasiness seemed to envelop him.
A faint thudding appeared to be coming his way. Ryan warily stood up, listening to the repeated sounds. It was definitely a person, someone running? Someone running fast. There seemed to be something proverbial about the way this person’s feet hit the ground, a familiar echoing thud that Ryan couldn’t really remember.
He felt a surprisingly warm hand snake around his face to clamp down on his mouth. He had to bite his lip to stop himself from screaming. The nameless person released him and harshly spun him around so they were facing. Brendon grinned evilly and watched Ryan recoil in shock. Ryan could remember now. He could remember everything.