The Stagecoach was less than a five-minute drive, but walking was out of the question on a dark monday evening in winter. There was no sidewalk on the busy road and no lights on the dirt road that led to my house! Country living has its drawbacks!
When I arrived I was greeted by familiar welcoming faces. I didn’t know everyone’s name, but they were regulars, I felt safe there. A glass of Chardonnay was waiting for me when I sat at the bar. They knew me well. No English pub had ever been so welcoming.
“We don’t usually see you on a Monday night”
“I know, Les is Ohio and I wasn’t in the mood for being alone.”
“No thanks, not tonight”
Bonnie was a star act in the Stagecoach. She was quick and witty, but also drop dead gorgeous with her blue eyes and black hair. She rode a crotch rocket, and not in a girly way.
She bantered with one or two other customers and then came back to me.
“Its quiet even for a monday, everyone’s probably recovering after Christmas. That old guy was in earlier, the one you were asking me about on New Years eve. He looked worse than usual. Kept putting his hands over his ears like he was trying to block something out. He sure has some daemons to deal with.”
Well now I know why he wasn’t home! Someone was in his house though, I felt it. I hope they hadn’t followed me.
The door opened allowing a freezing gust of cold January air into the bar. Bonnie looked over, prepared to greet someone, but no one entered.
“Maybe I didn’t shut the door properly before I came in,” I said, noting the question mark on her face.
“It’s heavy and shuts on its own. You don’t need to shut it. That’s the third time its done that tonight. The folks sitting at the table near the door moved because of it. Weird!”
Yup, it’s a freaky Monday for sure. I drank my first glass of Chardonnay in no time at all. Bonnie placed another on the bar without being asked.
The wine did its trick, finally I relaxed. I glanced around the saloon to make sure I wasn’t ignoring any one I usually talked to, and noticed a young girl sitting alone at one of the tall tables by the dart board. She had no drink in front of her and sat with her head in her hands, long matted hair covering her face.
“Hey Bonnie, who’s that? She wasn’t there a minute ago.”
Bonnie followed my eyes. “I never saw her come in either. She looks like she’s been dragged through a hedge backwards.”
“Ha, you’re starting to use British phrases, you’ll be using my accent soon.”
Bonnie laughed as she walked over to the table to serve the young lady, looking back over her shoulder she shouted, “No, you’ll be talking like me soon.”
By the time she got to the table, it was empty. The young girl had disappeared into thin air. Bonnie shrugged and then picked something up.
“Did you see her leave?” Bonnie asked.
“No, maybe she was a ghost!” I wasn’t joking.
“She must be in the bathroom!”
Bonnie dropped a heart-shaped pendant on the bar in front of me.
“She left something behind.”
“The pendant was easily opened and revealed a worn photo of a child, cute as a button and laughing for the camera. The image changed before my eyes. It became a solemn young girl, then a serious looking teenager. Finally I couldn’t see the face that looked back at me, it was covered with long matted hair. I dropped the pendant on the bar and ran outside, looking for the young girl who’d dropped it. A bitter wind chilled me to the bone, but there was no one out there.
“Who are you and where did you go?”
The cold darkness revealed no secrets.