The Cottage in the Clearing

Just as suddenly as we had found ourselves in the dense forest, the path turned a little bend and exposed us to a large clearing. It was half the size of a football pitch and undulated in a steady, lazy rise up the hill from where we stood. The ground was covered in a thick, unkempt grass and, bizarrely, the entire area was littered with unpainted concrete figures. Upon closer inspection, we found that the figures were in fact fountains. There were gnomes, fairies, elves, mermaids, trolls and frogs. It almost looked like a scene from the bible, where everyone had witnessed some horror and been turned to stone. Only, not all of the figures faced the same direction. No, if there was any kind of possession happening here, if these poor folk had been cursed, it was probably as a result of something they had seen inside of themselves. I looked at Claire. She shrugged with a wry smile and then pointed to something far away on the other side of the clearing. I squinted and followed her with my eyes. There, in the distance, was a house. It was had a double-storey and was built from large stones. That much was visible even from where we stood. I looked back at Claire. We smiled at each other.
“Race ya!” I blurted and started sprinting towards the house, weaving between the concrete statues.

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