They had set out on their walk that morning, smiling at each other in the sunshine. They were caught in the rain the moment they were out of sight of their cars. It had fallen hard enough that they sought shelter, hiding beneath a large tree. Pulling their hoods down, he had insisted that they keep going despite her joking protests. So, hunched and laughing they had headed out into the rain.
They had been walking for hours. On their right side was thick, impenetrable bush and on their left was a clear and still lake.
Every time she asked how far they were from the car, he told her they would be there soon. But they never arrived.
Soon she began to recognise landmarks, passing every few hours like clockwork. When they sped up or slowed down, the path followed a clear routine.
She recognised the fallen tree that they had passed when they originally joined the path, but the bush blocked where the car park should be. She tried to stop and climb through, but it was too thick to even get her hand through. They sat on the log, a hand on her shoulder nudging her to get up after some time had passed. She stared at the path as they walked, trying to ignore the sight and focusing on the sounds of rainfall and her companion’s steps beside her.
She stopped asking if they would be there soon. She knew the answer that would follow.
They walked in silence.
Eventually, she knew that she was about to collapse. Her companion had not spoken in hours, both walking with their heads down to keep the rain from their eyes. For the hundredth time, she looked across the lake, then hurriedly at her companion.
Across the lake she saw a familiar figure, walking alongside something that did not move like a human. Something that bent in the wrong places and lurched keenly to match his pace, much like the figure that now followed at her side.
She began to run down the now familiar path hoping to reach her companion before the laughing creature behind her caught up.