By Janet Fergsuon
Almost every day Jessie walked along the same road along near the lake from the bridge back to the house. She walked along the smooth tarmac surface of the winding road, sheltered by the huge oak trees, following the bends in the road, taking the quickest and safest way from the bridge to the old house. Nothing new was likely to disturb her going this way though it did vary slightly depending on the season, the visitors and the weather. She could see the edge of the lake below her, sometimes it seemed to creep closer, at other times it was more distant, either disturbed by the wind and white horses across the surface of the water or smooth as glass, perfectly reflecting the mountains on the far shore.
One day after crossing the bridge she noticed the gate to a narrow path leading down uneven steps to the side of the lake. She had seen the gate before but never chose to go through it, preferring the well known road she was used to travelling. Today though the sun was shining enticingly on the water below and the gate was half open, inviting her to go through.
Hesitantly she decided to go through the gate and down the steps towards the edge of the glinting blue water. The steps were rough and uneven and she had to tread carefully. At the bottom of the steps the path was covered in pebbles of different shapes and sizes making her feel anxious. She could hear strange rustling noises in the plants and bushes around her and her heart started to beat faster as she thought about the wildlife around her. She wondered if she should go back to the safety of the road, but instead she decided to carry on a little further.
As she walked along she became aware of the profusion of wild garlic amongst the undergrowth perfuming the air around her. She ventured further along the uneven, stoney path, climbing over the huge roots of trees, then finding stepping stones to cross a stream which suddenly emerged from somewhere underneath the road and and then merged into the lake. Then through the bushes she caught sight of a duck followed by a line of bright yellow ducklings gliding along the water, which she would not have been able to see from the road.