The light was definitely different. It was warmer, brighter, and at odds with the spot where Eva sat.
Eva squinted and leaned forward, resting her chin in her hands and her elbows on her knees. The light on her side glanced off her spectacles, flaring against the lenses, and she adjusted her position. She stared at the opening made of weaved twigs and sculpted into a doorway, and let her mind stray.
A portal, a gateway into another world, maybe the threshold of adventure … so many ideas spun through her brain and she let a smile spread across her lips. The leaves on the other side whispered, then the trees around her fluttered and so did her heart. It was all she could do to stay put on her small portable stool, but she did. Eva softened her grin and leaned down to pick up her book. The day was yet young.
About thirty minutes later Eva had read and reread the same page multiple times and she finally dropped the book. It rested in the moss at her feet and her gaze returned to the doorway.
Her sigh reflected the breeze and she knew the sun was different on the other side of the track. She repositioned her body again to her previous studious arrangement and watched the opening.
Eva’s eyes began to blur and her eyelids closed, just briefly as her elbow slipped off her knee, and then a bark cut through her reverie. The bark echoed bouncing off the trees and she looked up to see a golden flurry of fur flying at her through the portal. The dog, an excited retriever, bounded up and wound itself about her legs, snuffling at her feet. Unable to resist, Eva’s hands buried themselves in the dog’s fur, fluffing and stroking the animal as it pushed against her like a cat demanding attention.
“And who are you?” she asked. “Where have you come from? Somewhere exciting?” Her voice lifted and the dog licked her hands. “Another world? No wonder you want attention! What’s it like in your world?”
The dog stared at her with big brown eyes mesmerising Eva. When the dog finally strayed from her touch, snuffling back towards the portal following its own trail back through the leaf mulch, Eva followed. She didn’t even pause when the dog hurried back through the doorway, and she stepped right through.
The light shone brighter, glaring through the canopy, and Eva shielded her eyes as she tried to follow the dog, but it loped away too fast vanishing into the trees surrounding the meadow. Eva looked back through her portal. Her stool now lay on its side beside her book, dull in the lesser light, and she turned back to the meadow searching for the dog.
The sun tingled against her skin and Eva shivered with anticipation. Leaves rustled and the dog bounded back out of the trees followed by a young man. He paused when he saw Eva and called his dog to heel. Eva stood with the doorway behind her as the dog waited impatiently at the man’s side. She stepped forward and the dog leaped across the grass to welcome her.
Eva grinned as the dog eagerly jumped and the man issued a quick reprimand. “Fenrir!”
“It’s okay!” she replied, laughing.
The man hurried over with apologies slipping from his mouth and a smile in his eyes, but Eva smiled widely.
“He likes you!” the man said. “I’m Jake.”
“Eva, nice to meet you, and you too, Fenrir.”
“Are you local?” asked Jake, looking behind her at the gap in the trees framed by sculpted twigs. “I’m from the next village …” He indicated behind him with a sweeping hand. “We don’t usually walk this far, and I’ve never walked beyond the tree gate, but Fenrir got spooked and ran away – finding you, as it happens.”
Eva turned to gaze back at the sculpted trees. “Yes, a few miles back that way,” she said, smiling, and she knew her long-awaited adventure had begun. “Maybe you’d like to walk even further along the path today? With me?”
I only wrote three Mid-Week Flash Challenge pieces last year, which you can find on Miranda’s blog, and I’d like to do better this year! So, the prompt photo of an art installation by German artist Cornelia Konrads caught me. When have I ever been able to resist trees?
Write up to 750 words inspired by the prompt photograph.