Laura James’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: The Retreat (part 2)
They made it to the first marker with no trouble but then walking across a flat surface was never going to be challenging. Mary snatched the next instructions from their red coloured post. "We have to walk north west through the woods until we find railway line." She turned and surveyed the group, noting with disgust that Frank had taken the opportunity to have a cigarette and Joan was trying to hide the fact she had managed to fit a large bar of chocolate in her mouth. Todd was hovering near her like an annoying wasp that needed to be swatted, how she hated his smug young face.
When Mary had been informed that he was to be joining her department her heart had sank. There was no need for fresh blood, the department was running smoothly, everyone knew their place and that she was at the top. Her fear that he would come in and change things was proved correct. The staff were mumbling behind her back and some had even dared question her authority. This trip was her chance to show all of them that she was still the one making the decisions.
"Todd I need the compass, unless of course you're so smart you know how to tell direction from the trees." She watched with some satisfaction as Todd struggled with the catches on the backpack, snapping her fingers at him she held out her hand for the compass. Once it was in her hand she turned back to the woods holding it out in front of her watching at the small arrow flickering back and forth. She had been so impatient to stamp her authority that she had forgotten she had no clue how to read a compass.
Tapping the side of the compass with a manicured nail she made a decision. "This exercise is supposed to bring us together as a team and that will never happen if I do all the work." Sighing dramatically she held the compass out to Frank, "You were Boy Scout once upon a time weren't you?"
"Yes well, I was. Em let's see if I can remember how this all works." Frank held the compass and turned till he was facing north, "What direction should we head?"
"No.." Mary started to say.
"North west." Todd replied cutting her off, looking at her with a slight smile. In that moment Mary realised that he knew she couldn't read the compass, in fact he knew everything about her. That behind all the blustering and shouting she was a failure at her work and her life. The day ahead was going to be a living hell but she wouldn't give him the satisfaction of breaking. She would stay in control and by the end of the weekend he would be the one broken and running away with his tail between his legs.
Frank interrupted her thoughts, "I've got it. We head this way."
"Right, let's go." Mary started walking in the direction Frank had pointed, setting a strong pace she knew the others would struggle with. This weekend was her chance to cement her standing as boss and no one would prevent her achieving her goals. As they moved through the trees the beginnings of an idea formed in Mary's mind, a way to ensure that she would be the hero of the weekend. One of her group would have to have an accident and she would save the day.
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Based in Dunfermline, Scotland, Laura is obsessed with all things horror and spends her time writing flash fiction which she hopes, on occasion, really scares her readers. Feel free to stalk her on twitter, @lejamez