The Right Path

As he drove to the end of the track Charles Platt couldn’t believe that he’d arrived at the right place. The sat-nav had given up the ghost hours ago, as had his mobile with the signal being non-existent in this area. He had wanted somewhere off the beat and track to finish his novel but this wasn’t quite what he had in mind when he’d booked it with airbnb

Charles was up against it with this deadline having spent all of his advance so he needed this one out and earning money. He was down to the last of his savings and living off of favours at the moment. It was all getting just a little bit desperate on the money front for him

He read the instructions that he had printed off but couldn’t be sure that he was where he was meant to be. After nine hours of driving he was ready to just call it a night and settle down on the back seat until morning. A light started to become apparent from further up the path as the figure of an old man appeared waving at him

‘I would hazard a guess that you are looking for the Chipstead Cottage that you booked over the internet young man’

He was dressed in tweeds like a traditional country gentleman and shook Charlie’s hand with a firm shake

‘I take it from that that I’m in the wrong place’

The old gentleman laughed  and nodded his head

‘We normally have some poor lost soul who has taken the wrong road every couple of months at the moment’

The storm that had been threatening for hours finally broke with a clap of thunder and a downpour

‘Grab your bag young man and come up to the cottage for a warm drink. You’ll not find your way in this’

They both made their way up the path towards the old man’s home

‘Thank you so much I’ve been driving for hours and could really do with a break’

Charles had sat down at by the roaring fire in the kitchen and a wave of tiredness hit him almost instantly

‘Why don’t you use the telephone in the study to phone ahead and get your head down here young man? As I said you are not the first person who has been in your position and my sister and I do try and help people find the right path’

Charles was more than happy to take up the offer as he knew driving when he was this tired was asking for trouble. The old man showed him into the study and left him to make his phone call. Charles explained his situation to the person who was going to give the keys to the cottage and confirmed that he would be there in the morning

It wasn’t until he finished his call that he noticed that in the open drawer of the desk there was a large amount of money. At a glance it looked like there were bundles of fifty pound notes with the bands still on them; there must have been over a thousand pound. Charles thought that the man must be either very trusting or very naive to leave it on show with strangers in the house as he made his way back to the kitchen

‘Everything in order young man?’

He passed Charles a large mug of steaming coffee and a plate of sandwiches

‘Everything’s fine now and thank you so much for your kindness’

The old man poured a large glug of brandy into the mug with a wink

‘There is a comfy sofa with pillows and a blanket next door when you are ready to retire. Please do not feel you have to say goodbye in the morning as my sister and I are quite late risers’  

He shook Charlie’s hand and headed out of the kitchen

Charles had the best sleep that he’d had in years. He had a quick wash,  a coffee and was on his way after leaving a note of thanks and ten pounds to cover the food and drink he’d had.

As he made his way down the path the old man and his sister watched him from an upsatirs window

‘It is always nice Brother when they are not tempted to take from us and choose the right path’

The old man rubbed his hands together and smiled

‘Indeed it is Sister as it is so bothersome when we have to keep the ones that do not’

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