2 - wicked
3 - holiday
4 - castle
5 - infinite
6 - goodbye
Susan is still thinking back on the chain of events leading to her first encounter with Persephone, the ghost girl in the attic.
About half a year has passed in the past, Susan is thinking of. The hot summer, where Susan, Linda and her mother discovered the small room behind a secret door lies behind her. It is late winter, February or maybe March. This Winter is the Winter before the Summer where Susan arrives at the Unicorn Farm for the first time (I've not written about that in WfW, but I have several chapters written in Danish in my files).
Susan was disappointed. The visit had sounded nice from the start. She and Linda had gone with their parents to a friend's place. But the afternoon had turned into a wicked surprise. The landscape looked like something out of a commercial for winter holidays. Flowing, snowbound fields and a decrepit castle in the background. The house was old, with thatched roofs and blue doors and window frames; sure it was idyllic. But the wonderful landscape and the gently falling snow was not making up for Susan's disappointment. They were supposedly going out there to see some horses, or because the man had some horses. Linda thought of learning to ride in the coming summer and this man was somehow connected to a riding school. Susan had been thinking of her latest homework. She had not been very attentive. This was so not what she had expected. Thy were sat at makeshift tables in one end of a repurposed barn, there were lot of other people and they were most assuredly not going to look at any horses. Linda and many of the other children were playing some sort of hide and seek in the dark in the other end of the building. Only Susan of the older ones sat with a couple of toddlers and a few young ones feeling too mature to play.
The men were frying sausages, using a contraption her father, the friend, and one of the other men had built. It consisted of a wooden frame with two rows of spikes, connected to live wires. Sausages were then put on the spikes, and when the switch was flipped, the current ran from spike to spike through the sausages, making them steam and sizzle, emitting tantalizing smells. But Susan did not like it. The current did not like to be used in this way.
The grown ups drank a lot of beer. For once there was no lack of coke and other soft drinks for the children, but Susan did not like the way the grown ups -- her parents included -- changed when they drank beer.
As they ate the sausages, Linda tried to find out more about the horses, but Dad kept away, making more sausages, and Mom were no wiser.
"Bugger," her Mom said, a bit too loud. "I forgot to buy sugar as I went shopping. There's no sugar for your porridge and our tea tomorrow, Linda."
"Oh, Mom, how could you!" Linda screamed.
That was Susan's chance. "Mom! I can go and buy some sugar. I'm sure I can make it to the supermarkets over at the new blocks before they close, and from there I can take a bus home. I've done that many times going home from Hanna's place."
"Are you sure, and won't you be cold. It's snowing quite a lot, you know."
"I know, Susan answered, "but I thought we were going out visiting a farm, and looking at horses in the snow, so I brought my sweater, anorak, warm sheepskin mittens, muffler, extra snow leggings and my long boots. I am dressed for a mile long walk through a minor blizzard. Just hand me some money for the sugar, and I'll be all right."
"OK." Susan's mother smiled foolishly. "I hate Linda's tempers. Here you are. Buy yourself some sweets while you're at it."
Susan dressed in her winter outfit and walked out in the falling snow. The weather had actually turned into a minor blizzard. The winds blew from all directions, the snow hurt her cheeks and nose, and she could hardly see the road. She stomped down the middle of the road, aiming for the lights of the main road up ahead.
The snow and the cold crept in between Susan's clothing, the wind pulled strands of hair from underneath her muffler and whipped them brutally into her eyes and over the bridge of her nose. Even though she went at a good pace, her hands and feet were slowly turning numb with the cold. She felt as if she had been walking forever in an infinite snowstorm, the lights seemed just as fa away as when she set out, the storm as relentless. She was never going to reach the new blocks alive, far less go shopping for sugar.
"Goodbye, cruel world," Susan thought. She had read that sentence somewhere, and it fit her mood.
Then she hit her shin against something hard. "Ouch!" she exclaimed. It was the guardrail on the main road, She had not even been able to see the lights through the falling snow, and had been heading for the old castle, where bright lights shone in the spires. Now she could follow the main road and with renewed energy she hurried along.
Just a few minutes before closing time Susan opened the door to the mini-market and blew in in a gust of snow and wind. The shopkeeper sold her a bag of sugar and a peppermint chocolate bar, Susan's favourite. There were still money left, so Susan bought a bag of rock candies and some milk. The shopkeeper told her that the buses were still in service, although delays were inevitable. Susan thanked him, re-wound the muffler around her head and headed for the bus-stop.
to be continued - tomorrow I promise.