I recently went for a week long stay at an isolated Yorkshire country park with my family. Though it was meant for our relaxation, not everything that happened that week left me feeling relaxed…
Day 1, May 3oth
At the moment of writing this, I’m currently lay in pitch darkness with nothing but slivers of light creeping through the bedroom window of Cottage 1 in a quaint country park in rural Yorkshire. Nathan, my lanky brother of 13 years is snoring lightly beside me, and my only company is the music that whispers from my speaker. I’d like to say that these are the only things that I can hear, but that would be a lie. A denial.
Because for as long as I have been settled, a distant hiss from beyond our bedroom door can be heard. Since Nath was up and awake when we heard it earlier (a matter I wish to be true currently), I decided to take a look past the door and inspect the source of the noise, which I thought to be a running tap. No such thing came to be, and we concluded that it was just the boiler or the groaning of pipes within the colossal walls of our temporary dwelling.
Honestly, I can’t say that everything that has happened in the square courtyard of Westfield Lakeland Park adds up entirely. You have your typical bumps in the middle of the night, most likely attributed to the house – the small groans of a giant structure that never rests. But they only come at night, whilst my guard is up. When I’m listening out for them…
The first odd occurrence happened on our first day, within the first few hours of obtaining the keys and settling into our new places. As I stated previously, Nathan & I reside in Cottage No. 1, the first of the lodges located on the edge of the courtyard which I picked for several reasons; although it was identical to our neighbouring lodge, Cottage No.2, we would have windows where they would have walls, and why else does one go to a desolate countryside if not for a view? The second reason is because I’m a quiet person with noisy habits. I like to have my speaker on whenever possible, and considering I am right next door to my parent’s room back home, I thought I’d give them a break from my incessant music blasting and stay furthest away from everyone for the week. Nathan didn’t complain (though he made it clear that he would’ve appreciated more of an input in such decisions), and we immediately got to unpacking our bags.
Having what is basically a small flat to yourself is liberating, and it got me excited for the university life that creeps round the corner. And in these moments of excitement, while I lingered in my kitchen, playing with cupboards and taps, I heard three sharp knocks. Almost instinctively, I replied with a ‘Hello? ‘ and turned to the large oak door to my left that I had left ajar.
No one was there, and with force dissimilar to the strong tidal sways of Yorkshire wind, the door slammed open on its hinges, against the brick wall outside. Though it’s probably just my horror movie imagination playing up, I recall this moment being eerily quiet. Perhaps I was waiting out for the wind that pushed that massive wooden door so violently, perhaps I was expecting any one of my siblings to pop up from behind the door in a meagre attempt to frighten me. Neither came true. Whilst fighting over rooms, the mentioning that No.1 was at the edge became the instant deal-breaker for my paranoid little sister. I had won.
Cottage No.1, resting on the edge of paradise, was ours. And as I stood in the kitchen, in that moment of loneliness and confusion , I came to understand her logic.