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| The Sanctuary
By Sarah Lipton
She raced through the woods. Sweat flooded her face. Her heart thudded.
Her throat was so dry it was sore. Wolves howled. She now galloped,
trudging on twigs and dry leaves. The trees were monsters; their spindly
arms creaked in the wind. She looked behind her. She glimpsed a figure
wearing a black cloak. She sped like a locomotive. Everything became
blurred. She spluttered. She gasped for breath. The wind roared then
thunder boomed. Lightning flashed in the sky then rain pelted the earth.
She slipped. Her blouse and trousers became stained with mud. Her white
trainers turned brown.
She managed to escape the incarceration of the forest. In the distance she
saw a dazzling light. She chased towards the irradiated place. She turned
her head. The figure in the black cloak had disappeared, however she
continued to run. The light beckoned her to a white cottage. She banged on
A few seconds later, the door opened. An old woman stood there.
“Can I come in?” panted the girl.
“Who are you?” wheezed the woman.
“Do you want money?”
“No, but I need protection. Someone’s been chasing me through the woods.”
“Alright, come in,” replied the woman.
The woman put one of her wrinkled, bony hands on Olivia’s arm and guided
her into the cottage. She smiled. She had a cadaverous face.
“I’ll run you a bath,” croaked the woman. “You’re filthy and I don’t want you
getting a cold.”
“Thanks,” replied Olivia.
The woman limped to a cupboard in the hall and held an old rug. She
returned to the lounge and flung the mat on the floor.
“Sit on that ‘til the bath’s run.”
“I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Miss Johnson. I live on my own. I have two
daughters, one lives in Scotland and the other in Canada. I get the
occasional phone call from them but I’m never invited to stay with them.”
Miss Johnson shuffled to the bathroom. Olivia sat on the rug and removed
her blouse. The flickering flames from the hearth warmed her body. The
room was scented with violets. The furniture was Queen Anne. The
grandfather clock ticked softly; Olivia found the sound soothing. After a short
while, she stood up and inspected the ornaments on the mantelpiece; she
especially liked the one of a gold dolphin with a ball balanced on the tip of his
nose. Soon, she noticed a twenty pound note. She grabbed it and put it in
Miss Johnson plodded into the kitchen. Soon, the aroma of fried steak and
onions infiltrated the lounge.
“Check your bath,” spluttered Miss Johnson. “If it’s ready, go in and be quick
as I want to serve the dinner soon.”
Olivia entered the bathroom. It had a fragrance of aromatic oils. She saw
bottles of rosemary and jasmine at the side of the bath. She stepped in the
warm water and then sat in the tub. After a short while, she outstretched her
body. She let the scented oils ease the aching sensation in her limbs.
Olivia reflected on how unhappy her parents had made her; they
disapproved of Martin, a boy she had started dating. They did not explain
why they felt he was unsuitable; they sensed he was bad. Eventually, they
banned her from seeing him; owing to this, she decided to leave home.
Olivia put a backpack on her back containing some belongings and cycled
for miles. She stopped to relax in woods that she spotted. She had some
refreshments and enjoyed the pastoral scene. The sunshine shimmered on
the land. It infused Olivia’s body with a warmth that induced somnolence. A
few hours later, Olivia awoke. She panicked. The sunshine had
disappeared and dusk was arriving. Also, wolves began howling. She
sprang to her feet and started running as she believed someone was
chasing her. Even while relaxing, she sensed that someone had been
Soon, the aroma of roast potatoes infused the steamy room; this precipitated
Olivia to wash and dry herself, put on a bathrobe and spring down the stairs
to the lounge. Her face glowed in the incandescence.
Miss Johnson had placed the meal on the table. She had filled two glasses
with white wine. On a plate, in the middle of the table, lay thick slices of garlic
bread saturated with melted butter. Olivia began eating a piece of bread
before beginning the sumptuous meal. Miss Johnson relished every morsel
she ate. Gravy was dripping from the sides of her mouth. Olivia devoured
“It was delicious. Can I have more?”
Miss Johnson still had much food on her plate.
“Wait ‘til I’ve finished mine then I’ll give you more.”
While waiting for a second portion, Olivia gorged all the garlic bread. Then
“What do you say?” asked Miss Johnson solemnly.
“Excuse me,” replied Olivia.
Wolves howled. Hyenas cackled. The wind bellowed. Olivia shivered. She
arose and sauntered towards the lattice window. The trees were swaying
hysterically. She pulled the velvet curtain across the window. She returned
to the table. Miss Johnson had finished her repas. She staggered to the
kitchen and returned with a second portion of food for Olivia and a ginger
cake. While Olivia guzzled the food, Miss Johnson sipped wine.
“I’m so glad I’m here,” said Olivia. “I feel safe. Wolves and hyenas give me
“This is wolf country. Over the centuries, they’ve brought terror to this
“How can you stand living here?” asked Olivia.
“I’m not scared of them.”
When Olivia had finished dinner, Miss Johnson and herself had slices of
ginger cake. The wolves wailed.
“Play some music,” said Olivia. “I hate hearing the wolves.”
“The p word,” said Miss Johnson.
“Please,” said Olivia.
Miss Johnson lurched towards the gramophone.
“I’ve never seen one of those. Don’t you have a hi-fi?”
“A gramophone is perfectly adequate,” said Miss Johnson.
She played some nineteen twenties Jazz. The tone was so muffled that the
wolves’ howling and the hyenas’ cachinnation was still audible. While the
music was playing, Miss Johnson began massaging Olivia’s shoulders and
“You’re all bone. The meal should help fatten you.”
Olivia did not reply. She found the massage so soothing, she felt it would
make her sleep. Her tranquillity was interrupted by a knock at the door.
Miss Johnson trudged towards the door and opened it. Arctic air blew into
the warm room. The fragrance of violets was replaced by a putrescent
smell. Olivia almost vomited. Her hands became sweaty. Her heart
thumped. Like a frightened rabbit, she tried to dart from her captor, however
she was ensnared; before her stood a figure wearing a black cloak. He was
a Titan. The wolf by his side snarled at Olivia. The Titan pulled back the
hood of the cloak, revealing his face.
“Martin!” gasped Olivia.
Martin grinned, revealing fangs.
“Miss Johnson, do something!” screamed Olivia.
Miss Johnson waded towards Olivia. She smiled at Olivia, revealing fangs
too. Both Martin and Miss Johnson used their fangs to pierce Olivia’s neck;
He raced through the woods. Sweat flooded his face. His heart thudded.
His throat was so dry it was sore. Wolves howled. He now galloped, trudging
on twigs and dry leaves. The trees were monsters; their spindly arms
creaked in the wind. He looked behind him. Olivia, wearing a red cloak, and
Martin clothed in the black cloak, were pursuing this man. In the distance,
the man saw a dazzling light. He chased towards the irradiated place. He
turned his head. The figures had disappeared, however he continued to
run. The light beckoned him to a white cottage He banged on the door…
Sarah Lipton is an upcoming author looking to get her work out to as
many people as possible. To read more about her, her author website
is: sarahliptonsidibeh.com and her author page is amazon.