They were the most captivating, predatory luminescent green I’d ever seen-almost like a panthers iris.  She was so beautiful I felt inadequate standing next to her-afraid that sharing the same space would somehow spoil her perfection.

“Hello Mrs. Hamlin, how are you?”  I greeted awkwardly.  I found it difficult to take my eyes away from hers.

“Please, call me Constance,” she insisted.

“Yes Ma’am… and it’s Kat, if you don’t mind.” I replied cautiously, not exactly sure where the boundaries lay.  She breathed a laugh.

“Only if you promise never to call me Ma’am again.”

I smiled with relief.  “Agreed.”
I placed my bag in the trunk of her black Audi sedan.

“Everyone is so excited to see you.  We have been waiting for your visit for a very long time.”  She said.

“Oh,” I said nervously.  I had a feeling they heard more about me than I did of them.  I felt unprepared to meet the Hamlin’s, like I was walking into test day and hadn’t studied.

“I know how nervous you must be to stay with us,”  She nailed that one.  “but,” she continued, “we have always thought of you as family and will take care of you as we do our family.”  Her voice was soft and reassuring.  Her warm and brilliant white smile accented by the pale, raisin hue of her lipstick.  I can’t explain why but, I believed her and felt unnaturally at ease in her presence.

We exchanged conversation for a while.  Mostly about my dad, David and the maddening cello piece I had been working on for months.  It’s why I didn’t bring my cello with me on the trip.  My dad said the piece would come together better if I stepped away from it for a while-said I lacked proper inspiration.

I opened my window to look out at the stars.  It was so dark that I couldn’t really make out the landscape but, the air smelled sweet Evergreens and a recent rain.    The night was clear except for a few clouds crowding the moon.  Thousands of stars flickered in the inky black sky as we drove quietly down the highway.  I closed my eyes and breathed in the night air letting the cool wind rush across my face.

I was apparently more tired than I thought.  I woke to Constance’s car creeping to a near stop before turning onto an unmarked, unpaved road.  It was darker now, even more than the unlit road; only the car’s head lights could discern a path.  Like fallen ribbon, the road curved and twisted through the thick maze of forest trees.  After a couple of miles, the road straightened and from the darkness came the light.

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