Leave the cottage

Photo by Ann Cook

You walk out and circle around the building. You smell her before you see her: a youngish woman with black hair smoking a cigarette that smells like cinnamon—no—cloves. She starts a little when she sees you.

“Uhm, can I help you?”

“Do you work at information?”

She smiles and starts speaking slowly. All her sentences tip upwards, questions. “I work for the city? I’m—uh—on a smoke break?” She uses the hand not holding her cigarette to mime smoking a cigarette, “But I can help you in a second?” She points back around to the front door.

You take a step closer, and her smile drops. You feel a pressure behind your eyes and can faintly smell roses.

“I can’t remember anything,” you say. “I don’t know why I’m here.”

She mutters a curse. “I’m going to have to insist that you wait in the information booth.” She’s dropped her cigarette and has one hand hovering over her pocket. Your instincts tell you, loud and clear.

Weapon.

What do you do?

1. Attack.

2. Explain yourself.

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