Charlotte startled herself awake. She rubbed her eyes and looked around. Nothing looked familiar. The walls were made of wood logs. The crackling fire in front of her looked unreal, no wood, no flame, just warmth, a glowing light and a tinny sound.
She sat up and realized her clothes had been changed. Some sort of odd tartan patterned button down in what looked like a dressing gown.
“Oh good. You’re awake!” a sweet voice spoke to her from behind. She was startled to hear another person’s voice, full of a strange drawl. “Henry, she’s awake!” she called out. “Here dear, have some tea. I’m Sarah,” she stated as she sat in the neighboring chair, handing her a cuppa with cream and sugar.
Charlotte took a sip. The tea was way stronger than she was used to. “Wow, what type of tea is this? How did I get here? Where are my clothes?”
Sarah smiled and understood her confusion. Charlotte wasn’t the first visitor they had entertained. “First, dear, what is your name? Then I’ll answer all the questions I can.”
“My name is Charlotte. Now, answer my questions please!” Charlotte looked down, then felt her left thigh. Sarah saw her reach for her dagger.
“Hi Charlotte. My name is Sarah. Don’t worry first of all. Your dagger is safely stored, for all of our safety. I found it when I unraveled your tattered dress from your legs. The fabric was wrapped around your leg quite tight and we were concerned it would harm you. Unfortunately, your skirt will not be salvagable. Your blouse and bloomers are in the wash.” Sarah drew out the word wash, it sounded more like warsh. “Don’t worry, Henry turned around. He didn’t see anything. We girls need to stick together.”
Charlotte was apprehensive, but Sarah seemed genuine. Sarah was dressed simply, some sort of soft clothed shirt and dungarees, nothing Charlotte had ever seen a woman wear. Sarah seemed to be in her forties, grey streaks ran through her dark curly and short hair.
“As for the tea, it is a Chai Latte with vanilla. Do you like it?”
Charlotte smiled, “It is more flavorful than what I normally drink.”
Sarah flashed a knowing smile. “And, to how you got here…we are not sure. We found you out by Cygnet Lake. You were passed out on the bench and looked to be in rough shape. We brought you home to help.”
“Home? My family owns the land in this area, acres of it. Are you one of our neighbors?” Charlotte grew confused.
Sarah smiled faintly. She hated this part of discussions with their visitors. She needed backup to help Charlotte understand. “Henry, could you join me please?”
The clunk of boots came down the hall. Six-foot three Henry entered the room. Charlotte stood and turned to greet him. In front of her stood a handsome man in his forties with short graying hair with her father’s face.