Chapter 3

"Martin, can I look now?"

"Not yet. We're almost there."

She stumbled forward blindly. The ground under her feet became less solid, so she suspected they were walking on grass. A few minutes later, Martin stopped.

"3... 2... 1... Surprise!" he said in her ear, taking his hands off her eyes. She blinked a couple of times, letting her eyes adjust to the light.

"The park? That's it? That's the secret place you reserved for our anniversary?" They had been dating for one year now, and when he had told her he would take her to a special place to celebrate it, she had expected something more special than the park.

"Yes, this is it. The very special place where I wanted to take you," he said with a smile.

She raised her eyebrows sceptically.

"What? Isn't this place good enough?" he asked, still smiling.

"Martin, I used to let out the dog here every day."

"Yes, you used to. But you don't live with your parents anymore now, so you don't do that anymore. Hence, this place holds lots of good memories for you. And this is not just a park. Look," he pointed behind her to a small grass hill. "Over there is the Great Green Mountain. Next to it you see the giant lake in which many tourists have drowned already, you don't want to go too close. And you see that woman sitting over there? With the red skirt? Have a look at the animal that brings a twig to her right now. Look at those dark, piercing eyes, how they can look right through you. I wouldn't come too close to that monster if I were you. And over there-"

Maria slapped him playfully. "Idiot," she said before kissing him. "You'll never grow up, will you?"

He stopped kissing her for a moment to look at her. "Why would I grow up? It's boring! Your imagination fades and you're dream less."

She smiled. "True. Let's never grow up!"

He grinned at her. "And now," he took his backpack off his back, "we're gonna have our five star dinner." He took out a large, pale green blanket and spread it on the grass.

"It should be red and white," Maria teased him.

He gave her an annoyed look, but he couldn't fight back a smile. Then he took a bottle of coke and a pizza box. Now she understood where they had stopped on their way here.

He sat down on the blanked and opened the pizza box. It smelled so delicious, and Maria sat down opposite to her boyfriend.

"Enjoy the first bite," he said, taking a pizza slice and bringing it to her mouth. She took a bite, and all the cheese came off at once, causing Martin to laugh very hard.

Ring! Ring ring!

Maria woke up with a start.

"Phone phone phone phone," she muttered, searching for the damn thing everywhere. She finally found it under the coach on which she had been sleeping.

"Hullo," she mumbled, picking up.

"Maria?" her sister Diana's voice sounded.

"Yeah?" she answered.

"Are you awake?"

"Kind of."

Her sister laughed. "You were sleeping already? That's early."

Maria checked her watch. It was 7:45 pm. She hadn't had dinner yet. When she had come home from work, she had just crashed on the sofa and slept until the phone had woken her a few minutes ago. "Yeah, I was tired. Why are you calling?"

"We can't come tomorrow," her sister said.

"Tomorrow? What's tomorrow?" Maria asked confused.

"Tomorrow is Saturday, sleepy head."

"Oh, right." She had completely lost count of the days. Every Saturday she, Martin, Diana and Diana's boyfriend Jamie would have dinner together. Sometimes they would go to a restaurant, other times one of the two sisters cooked dinner at their house.

"See, we can't come as Jamie has got a applying for a job and he's got an interview tomorrow."

"Oh, it's okay. Martin and I can't either actually. Wish Jamie good luck!"

"I will. And, anything happened over the last week?" her sister asked. Maria knew she just wanted to chat a bit, as they wouldn't have a chance tomorrow, but she wasn't in the mood for long phone calls now.

"No, not really. Uhm, Diana, I haven't had dinner yet actually and I'm kind of starving..."

"Oh, I see. Okay, enjoy dinner. Next Saturday come to our place, you really must taste my new spaghetti recipe."

Maria smiled. It would be her 46th recipe, and Maria doubted that this attempt would be better than the previous ones. "Spaghetti, that's something new. I'm looking forward to try it!" she said sarcastically.

Her sister laughed. "Bye little sissy! I'll see you next week!"

"Bye," Maria muttered and she hung up the phone.

She sat on the couch for a while, staring, wondering what to do. Then she remembered her stomach. She went to the kitchen, searched all the cabinets and the fridge for something that would taste good now. She decided to eat a bowl of cereals, as it didn't require much effort.

While eating her dinner, she wondered why she was so tired these days. Not much could bring her to laughing, and the last two days she had often fallen asleep on the coach. This morning, she had been late at work because she hadn't heard her alarm clock.

Four more days and Martin would come back. And she felt like she hadn't had time to think yet. She put her bowl in the dishwasher and wandered around the house. When she ended up in the bathroom, she took a brush and tried to untangle her dark brown hair. Two minutes later, she gave up already.

She decided to go to sleep, because she wasn't doing anything useful anyway. Maybe she would be less sleepy tomorrow, she though. She put on her pyjamas and went back to the bathroom to brush her teeth. But when she opened her mouth, she looked at her reflection horror-struck.

Her teeth were pointy and sharp.

(December 2012)