June 25th

June 25th

I… I don’t really know what to write. I feel as if I have emerged from a dream. My days since that night at the lodge have been spent in a haze. I haven’t felt alive. I feel like a gray ghost, wondering from place to place.

I am hoping that writing down my recollection of events will help me come out of this stupor, and reconnect with reality, maybe ground myself a little.

I wrote before the party last week. That much I am sure of. It looks like it posted even though the electronics and internet have been touchy of late. I grabbed the robe I had been sent and made my way at sunset to the lodge. I specifically remember how clear the evening sky was. The moon shone brightly, even out shining the streetlights.

The car lot was full (thank goodness I walked) and the music and talking could be heard from the curb. It has been forever since I have been to the lodge. Aside from some paint on the exterior and some woodwork it looked exactly as it had 15 years ago in my memories.

I reached for the door handle when it was opened and a young couple exited, still in their dress cloths, robes wrapped around their arms. At least I was dressed for the occasion still. When I stepped in the smells of the lodge brought back age-old memories. The cigar smoke, drinks, and old books assaulted my senses again.

I walked across the crowded room of socialites and influencers and snatched a bottle of water off the refreshment stand. Hoping I could blend into the wallpaper I stood back and observed. There must have been 50 people in the entryway alone never mind the sound of music and dancing from the study. I watched the house staff, dressed to the nines, flutter in and out of the kitchen. Making sure everything was attended to with the utmost efficiency.

I had managed to avoid eye contact for almost a half hour when a gong rang out through the lodge. The chatter died done and someone killed the music in the study. As if given a silent command everyone at the party started to don their robes. I managed to slip mine on with minimal snags. I watched in fascination as they started to funnel up to the second floor in silence.

Every fiber of my being made me want to run and never look back. But I found myself integrating into the procession. Whether it was curiosity or just stupidity that kept me there I can’t tell. But whatever it was, it can be thrice damned for what happened in that back room on the second floor…