Chapter 2 – That eerie feeling
Posted on August 8, 2011
Chapter 2: That eerie feeling
Peter and Annie did not think too much of it when all of a sudden a little twig blew under the canvas of their tent. After all, they found themselves in the middle of the woods. It would be strange not to find any twigs in your tent or would not it? As a matter of fact, a second twig or little branch and some straw would be nice now, since the temperature was dropping in spite of the fact that they were keeping themselves very warm indeed.
Twigs or not, a fire sure would be useful and add to the romance because the atmosphere was becoming very chilly indeed and seemingly the wind was knocking on the umbrella as if it was asking permission to enter their tent. Peter and Annie felt somewhat shaky hearing the thumping and the knocking of this unexpected visitor.
Peter thought it strange that meteorological conditions were able to change this drastically. Still he felt adamant the tent was safe enough to protect them both and he took a peek outside: the sky had turned grey alright, but there was nothing to be alarmed about. The weather could be quite windy this time of year and he counted himself lucky that he had not had to drive through the infamous spring storms this year. In fact, this morning’s weather had been a pleasant surprise from the usual weather which was normally very good news to roofing workers and thatchers.
Annie felt a bit insecure. At this point, she came to the conclusion she had rather stayed at home. Her latent agoraphobia seemed to get the better of her … Peter on the other hand was instantly able to reassure her by holding her hand and stroking her hair and pointing out that the weather they were experiencing was nothing out the ordinary. In fact, when it came to weather conditions, the situation could have been far worse.
No according to Peter, all they needed was a good old fashioned Boy Scout camp fire outside the tent to keep them warm and to warn off any foxes that might be wandering about. Annie took to her sleeping bag as he set out to light the campfire. Producing one flame was not that hard because, though he did not smoke, Peter always carried matches with him during his habitual strolls in the woods. Maintaining the flame burning in order to produce a reliable fire that would be able to keep the both of them warm, proved to be a completely other matter. Due to the rising winds, every little flame he managed to produce kept going out as soon it had been lit.
In order not to disturb Annie, Peter decided to return into the tent to check up on Annie. She was very relieved to see him entering and was convinced this meant that the fire was finally burning. During the time she had been waiting for her eternal fiancé, she had become very cold indeed. Alas, no fire, not yet. Annie was not alarmed by the fact there was no fire to keep them warm, not yet anyway … She had Peter to keep her warm and he had Annie. Furthermore, she managed to produce a flask of hot soup she had been keeping at the bottom of the picnic basket. While Peter had been packing the sandwiches, she had discovered a big can of soup in the basement of their house. She had just seized the opportunity to pour the contents in a flask when Peter had not been looking and heating it all in the microwave before they left had been about the most exciting moment of the day before they left for their surprise trip. Tomato soup with meatballs had always been Peter’s favourite, specially when spiked up with some selected spices.
Well, since Peter had failed to build a decent fire, the flask of soup had to do for the moment. Peter drank it very eagerly. When he entered the by then chilly tent, it struck him that the cold combined with the wind outside had been unbearable and the outside conditions had changed drastically in comparison with the idyllic conditions of the very same morning.
At that point a very eerie feeling had filled Annie’s stomach. Even her favourite sandwiches, a good warm bowl of soup or a good stiff drink of rum were not able to calm her down. Annie was having one of her premonitions, no ‘seemingly’ nor ‘maybe’ about it this time. Judging her reactions, Peter was very convinced that these were no ordinary winds rising, nor the kind of storms they were used to tackle in this part of the world. At least, they were safe for now. The tent was holding up well, the wind speed was still between the normal range. Providing the situation would remain stable, they should be able to make home on time.
Home? That was something Annie had not been thinking about … What if the winds were stronger at the other end of the woods? She now realized they had failed to take their cell phones when they had head out for the picnic. Sometimes Peter took a walkie-talkie set with him on his solo trips through the woods, but since they were basically only miles away from their home, he had not thought it necessary to bring the set along.
Inside, Annie began shivering with fear. Was not this the right time to head home? Now the silently speeding winds would still allow them to dismantle the tent and pack their things and load everything back into the booth of her car. She dare not show her fear to Peter, who thought everything to be exciting and nothing to worry about so far. He judged the situation to be very handy to snuggle up to Annie in order to comfort her or maybe more. As he was about to make his move towards her, Annie instinctively backed away and rolled into a kind of rock like foetus position, balancing forwards and backwards. Looking at her, Peter by now realized Annie was really petrified.
In his experience, this was the sign it really was time to head home. Rationally, he knew there should be plenty of time to secure their possessions and have Annie safe at home in time. Now that his dear literally seemed petrified, he realized packing would be a very stressful experience for the both of them. Because of the state she was in, Annie had become a solid rock package herself, still steadily swinging backwards and forwards… Peter understood that his love would be the toughest package to handle, yet her physical condition was the best barometer to use in a trustworthy weather forecast. He finally was convinced of the seriousness of the situation and he too felt that an eerie feeling was slowly creeping into his stomach, but not taking over, not yet.
While observing Annie and the state she was in, he had been focussed in such a way that he had completely blocked out what was going on outside. Annie did not seem to hear or feel anything around her. Though it were her extra ordinary senses that had triggered the state she was in now, she no longer was able to feel, see nor hear anything that could be of any use. In order to protect herself from her biggest fears, she had blocked all of her senses to the extent that she no longer was able to observe her surroundings. By now, she had reached the utter stage of introversion.
Meanwhile, Peter was able to hear the branches of the trees swaying, as the winds were now surely and steadily speeding up and precious time was ticking away. As he attempted to pack their belongings as quickly as possible in order to secure them in the booth of the car, he now felt the wind pushing him distinctively in all sorts of directions, except for the one he needed to go. He barely managed to push himself towards the car … How on earth would he make it, packed with a picnic basket, a soup flask, a stack of sweaters, an umbrella, three airbeds and last but not least … Annie.
By now, Annie’s appearance had somewhat of a statue. Peter instantly felt a huge amount of empathy for Atlas the Greek giant who had to carry all the burdens of the world onto his shoulders. How on earth was he going to be able to get everything and everyone out of the middle of nowhere? The gut feeling he previously had experienced in his stomach had now turned into a very eerie sensation indeed. Nevertheless, he still had the power to pull himself together. He decided to secure the picnic basket and the airbeds first since those were the items most likely to be susceptible to being carried away by the wind. Picking them up was the least of his worries. Getting them out of the tent without harming the construction or losing the umbrella at this point seemed to be a near to impossible task.
Meanwhile, Annie remained sitting all curled up and moaning in the left hand corner of the tent, her body still swinging steadily backwards and forwards … How was she to react at the moment Peter was to leave the tent? Peter shuddered at the thought that Annie would have to stay behind. At times in the past where she had found herself in a position were she no longer was in control of herself it had been impossible to move her without creating some sort of a scene … Peter reckoned that being on their own could eventually prove to be a benefit in their situation. After all, the winds were strong, but not that heavy that their impact would be impossible to overcome.
However, Annie’s condition still had remained status quo. At this point, her appearance resembled more that of an heavy object than that of a human being. Peter decided to combine all of his forces and would consider pulling Annie out of the tent first. After all, chances were that she would feel more at ease and protected seated in her own car than in a tent were the wind was howling through like a wolf …
He cautiously approached Annie, in order not to startle her. Yet she lashed out like a wild cat. She felt so ultimately petrified that she was not able to budge. Furthermore she doubted Peter would be strong enough to get her into the car. In extreme situations (or rather, situations that seemed to be extreme to Annie) her body just refused to move or to be moved. At that point, Annie would rather be a tortoise in her shell. Peter was well aware of this and was convinced that Annie’s car would serve as a tortoise shell just fine. Dragging his girlfriend out of the tent was really something else. By now, she really and truly was way past the sensation of the eerie feeling in her stomach. In fact, she felt completely numb and at this moment could not care less whether she was going to live or die. Deep down inside she was still conscious of the fact that Peter loved her deeply and more than he ever would be able to express. However, because she loved him back just as much as he did her, she was convinced he would be better off without her. Subconsciously, she was convinced that Peter deserved better than starting this pathetic attempt to rescue her from a two person tent that barely was able to withstand the rising wind.
Using superhuman strength, eventually Peter was able to pull Annie out of the tent and carry her near to her car. What otherwise would have been a piece of cake, got the proportions of a nearly unfulfillable burden. If the conditions had not been so dramatic, the events surely could have been labelled as utterly hilarious. Maybe they should change their names into Mr. and Mss. Bean?
Annie at the other hand, frantically hung on to the door handle of her car while Peter was trying to open the door for her. Due to the force of the wind the door kept slamming back. Indeed, this was to become one of those days on which everything seemed to go wrong.
Peter by then, had lost all hope of getting Annie safe into the car, when quite unexpectedly, the wind turned in a favourable direction. Suddenly the wind made sure the car door stayed open long enough for Annie to get seated into her car. From the moment she entered the car, she felt more relaxed and certainly more safe than in the tent.
For Peter on the other hand, the real challenge was but to begin: for the wind was still rising, his gut feeling had surpassed that of an eerie feeling. Now he, at his turn felt as if a ton of lead lay upon his stomach. At the one hand, he now sensed what Annie must have been sensing all along when she at previous occasions uttered that she was so petrified she could not move any more and felt like a statue nailed to the ground. Peter had always maintained his view on Annie’s condition by linking it to her being a highly sensitive person. Now he was about to experience the same obstacles as Annie had previously left impaired.
He was well aware of the fact that he had to think and to act fast in order to prevent that they would glued to the wretched soil for ever. As he was standing there, he suddenly sensed the trees were trying to communicate with him.