She sensed his eyes fixing upon her crumpled form, as he silently approached, he was the hunter and she was his prey.
“Greta? Come on now Greta I know it’s you!” Speaking softly, the stranger reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a faded crumpled photograph.
Surprised at his gentle tone, the girl turned her head and dared to look at him, momentarily she was taken aback by his face, although sharp featured, his face held a softness, a radiance which appeared to light up the darkened shop doorway.
His voice took on a new sense of urgency as he shook her gently “Come with me quickly now, we don’t have much time.”
Dazed and confused, she tried to make sense of what was happening… but yet she felt compelling urge to trust this stranger.
“Has Otto sent you to collect me?” She asked hopefully.
The stranger smiled sadly, “In a manner of speaking,” he said. “Now hush Greta, no more questions we need to go!”
Taking the proffered hand, she scrambled clumsily to her feet. Her legs feeling like dead weights, soon she found herself being pulled towards the waiting car.
Climbing into the passenger seat of the car, Greta felt, for the first time, that maybe, just maybe her luck was about to change. Gradually as her chilled bones responded to the warmth of the car, she stretched out, and revelled in her new-found comfort.
Soon however, any feelings of warmth and well-being vanished, as the car sped along towards the entrance to a darkened harbour, Greta could see the that the storm had reached the coastline. Waves crashed against the harbour wall, swept by a crushing unrelenting wind, whilst the sea was a foaming swirling cauldron, spurred on by the hand of yet unseen malevolent force.
Braking suddenly, the car came to sudden stop, the stranger turned to face Greta, “Do you love him…really love him?” he demanded. Shocked at the abruptness of his manner and the intensity of his tone, Greta hesitated nervously before answering. However, as she spoke about Otto, her face became animated, glowing, as if lit up from within. It was irrefutably evident that Greta loved Otto completely, and far beyond anything else… to be with him forever was her life’s ambition.
As she spoke, the stranger’s face became resolute, devoid of any pity or emotion, ignoring Greta’s protestations and pleadings, he pressed down on the gas pedal hard, as they headed at breakneck speed to the end of the pier. Greta’s final scream went unnoticed, as they hurtled onward, smashing through the harbour wall, and down into the deadly all-encompassing maelstrom that lay beneath.
Strong arms held her, holding her close to him…Greta felt at peace.
Looking up the last thing she saw Otto’s smiling face.
Greta was awoken by the sound of the waves, gently lapping against the shore. The light of the early morning sun danced on her face, teasing her senses. Slowly she stretched and opened her eyes. The silent promise of a glorious day hung in the air…an ill kept secret, as the birds rung out a heavenly chorus, heralding its arrival.
Walking towards the shore line, Greta cast her eyes out to the horizon… sapphire blues meeting and melting into one-another. Her eyes squinting against the sun, she could see Otto’s boat bobbing up and down in the distance. Placing her hands gently on her swelling stomach, she smiled…they would soon be a family. Turning she walked leisurely back to her home. Rising above the shoreline, lay a simplistic, but elegant structure…the house that her husband had built.
The stranger smiled as he climbed back into his sports car. The perks of 21st Century life. Gone was the monstrous black horse…the cloak… scythe. Death was certainly much easier in the fast lane.
And heaven…Well… that was open to interpretation.