Chapter Two

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I awoke with a jolt. I had just dreamt about haunted houses and running in slow motion from things I couldn't see. Thanks, Anna.

The morning sun was creeping under my window blind and I rolled over to check the time on my phone. 9:36. Wow. I hardly ever slept in that late. But then again, I didn't always stay up until 1:00am writing, either.

Pushing back the sheets and blankets, I slowly climbed out of bed and groggily made my way into the kitchen where Anna was sitting at the dining room table, drinking her morning coffee. She was dressed in black tights and a dusty pink long-sleeved knitted jumper, her naturally straight hair tied in a low side ponytail.

She glanced up from her tablet and her eyebrows rose at the sight of me. "Well, well, well," she teased. "Look who decided to drag herself out of bed."

I plonked down on one of the dining chairs and tugged at my hairband, which had slowly slid its way to the bottom of my ponytail overnight. My brown hair wasn't as long as Anna's and was naturally wavy. Funnily enough, I wished I had her hair, and she wished she had mine. Always the way.

"Yes, I slept in. But I ended up writing four chapters of my book last night."

"Really? That's awesome."

"All thanks to that cottage. No wait, I should be thanking you. You're the one who told me about the cottage in the first place."

"Yes, I did, didn't I? That's why you're dedicating the book to me, right?"

"Oh no, I'm dedicating the book to Mr. Valentine, the guy who's selling the cottage," I joked, getting up to make a start on my morning smoothie.

"I dare you," she laughed, before taking a sip from her mug. Anna was addicted to coffee, whereas I was never a fan. "So while you were in the land of nod, a few things happened. Brad has booked us in at Hettie's Bed and Breakfast for tonight. He said she sounded just as crazy as when he met her last time." I laughed, and continued to listen as I gathered my smoothie ingredients in the kitchen. "I also drove to work earlier and picked up the cottage key. I've also put on a load of laundry and gone for a walk."

"Wow, I'm impressed. All before your morning coffee."

"No, this is my second cup." She was serious.

"So I was thinking of maybe going up to the cottage early? Take a look around, get some writing done. It'd be so peaceful there, no distractions. Would you mind?"

She shook her head. "Not at all. I have a few more things I need to do this morning, anyway."

"Perfect," I said, before hitting the button on the blender.

~

Anna was right; it did take around two hours to get there, arriving at the bed and breakfast just after 1:00pm.

The roads on the way up were surprisingly quiet, making the drive a lot less stressful than I had anticipated. The picturesque landscape of flat, open farmland was a welcome change to the daily hustle and bustle of Hobart.

I drove slowly through the quaint town that Hettie's and Clay's Cottage was situated. Population of only just over two hundred, the place provided only the essentials of small shops, a tiny school, police station, and a stunning Victorian Gothic Revival church.

Turning right at the intersection, into the road that led to Hettie's, I made a mental note to walk around the little historic town tomorrow before we left for home.

The rough, unsurfaced driveway leading to the bed and breakfast was in such bad condition I was sure it loosened every screw in my car. After finally making it to the end, I couldn't see any designated parking spots, so I just pulled up under a large, shady tree.

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