The Enchanting Cottage

The Enchanting Cottage

Richa looked out of the window of the weather-beaten minivan. “Doesn’t the forest look captivating?” Deepak asked her holding her hand. 

Richa smiled, “tell me something, why did you choose this remote and almost desolate forest for our vacation. I mean this is such a long drive from the station and except for this weather-beaten vehicle, none of the other cabs agreed to come.” She spoke to Deepak, sounding worried.

“What’s wrong? You don’t like the place? I thought you would love it and its calmness would be perfect for a relaxing vacation.” Deepak sounded upset.

“The place is beautiful. Don’t be upset, I guess it is all the travel which is making me restless.” Richa felt guilty for being so unappreciative.

“We are just there, once you look at the cottage you will be mesmerized?” Deepak said putting an arm around her. Richa smiled at him and turned to look out of the window. 

Why couldn’t she just stop overthinking? Hadn’t the doctor told her; half her troubles were the result of her overactive brain. Richa was mentally berating herself, when all of a sudden, she noticed a temple at a hillock further ahead. Why did it look so familiar? 

The minivan climbed the bridge over the stream. On her left, she could see a sprawling cottage, with a quaint little balcony, which seemed to open out into the stream. The first sight of the cottage reminded Richa of the pictures of the houses she did see in her fairy-tale book in childhood. As they drove into the gate and drove on the driveway flagged by gardens blooming with flowers on either side, the place looked nothing short of enchanting.  She turned to smile at Deepak. “Perfect, isn’t it? Deepak exclaimed.

She was relishing the beauty of the place when the swing on the Cottage portico caught her by surprise. She had spent hours on the swing, it was her favourite corner in the house. “Come let’s go in, you need rest.” Deepak’s words broke her reverie and she was left confused with the thoughts clouding her head, or were they memories?

Deepak led her to the balcony, “what a perfect place to relax with the perfect view” he said calling her to join him. As she stood there looking at gurgling water hurtling down the stream, she sensed someone lurking behind her and moved to her side, only to hear a loud splash. Deepak had fallen headlong into the stream. He was screaming for help, but she stood watching him. She knew the current was strong and he was not a good swimmer. He had fallen into the trap he had set for her.

She had loved him and trusted him blindly and what had he done? He had hidden her diagnosis of “retrograde amnesia” leading her to question her sanity over the visions clouding her head. Se could see it clearer than before, the campsite, the accident, and that wild laughter.  He had wanted to do away with the rich heiress and get wealthier, but the heiress had outsmarted him. She had seized his fortunes and her freedom.

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