Friday, 22 February 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013 -

The Suitcase Man

by Lucy Appleby
Published: Feb 22, 2013
Words: 22,926
Category: general
Orientation: M/F
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Chapter 1 - Lusting For Leather

The crisp dried detritus of leaves and twigs crackled invitingly beneath Stephanie's feet as she trod the thickness of the forest floor. It was pleasantly cool here - a welcome dappled shade from the earlier blistering heat of the day. Emerging into a small glade, she walked over a thick carpet of soft grass decorated here and there with moss-strewn rocks. The air was sweet, enlivened by birdsong.

The light was beautiful at this time of day, with the late afternoon sun spinning a magical web of amber through the surrounding trees. She paused and tilted her face upwards, eyes closed, feeling the fading golden warmth of the sun and listening to the sounds of small woodland creatures scurrying in the undergrowth.

These walks usually brought her a sense of quiet contentment; but today was different. Why? She mused, burrowing into the secret places of her mind, and realised that there was something missing from her life. But what? She was happy in her work, had plenty of money, a nice house, good friends and a string of ardent admirers. So what was it, this elusive thing, and how could she possibly find it if she didn't know what it was?

So deep was she in her thoughts that the first drops of rain passed by without notice. When she suddenly realised her clothes were damp and small rivulets of water were trickling down her face, she paused and looked around her. The light had changed and dimmed, and the earlier clear blue skies had vanished as the grey rain clouds descended. A wind sprang up from the west, making the tree branches sway.

Sighing, she turned and rejoined the woodland path, shivering a little now as the sky had darkened considerably. The splats of rain fell hard and fast and the wind chilled her to the bone. Now the heavens truly opened, releasing a torrent of water. Stephanie quickened her pace, cursing at her lack of foresight to check the weather forecast before setting out, or at least to have worn suitable clothing. Her waterlogged open-toed sandals squelched with every step, and her toes were icy cold.

The whole atmosphere of the wood had changed. What had been light and welcoming was now ominously dark and threatening. Water pooled beneath her feet as she waded through mud and teeming water. The rain bounced down from a leaden sky, obscuring her vision. In the distance could be heard the first low rumble of thunder. In her haste to get home, she half-walked and half-ran the last half mile. Once out of the wood, her progress was a little quicker. Puffing and panting and completely drenched, her feet sploshed through the giant puddles rapidly accumulating on the pavement. Her house was in sight. Almost home.

A sleek black car purred softly to a halt close to her front gate. The driver switched off the headlamps and windscreen wipers, opened the door, and stepped out into the teeming rain.