With lights dimmed and jukebox silenced, Richard was closing both dining and pub rooms when his eye caught upon something out of place.
At the far side of the dining room, and separate from the pub, was the lodge's front office. Richard himself had extinguished its lights and shut its door long before yet, strangely, that wee morning hour saw glow of light from under and around the slightly ajar door.
More confused than worried, Richard stepped to the portal and attempted to push it open. The old wooden door refused to yield. Richard tried again with greater force, and though the door inched slightly wider, a counter force met and prevented it from swinging free. Someone was blocking his entry.
In a stern clear voice Richard advised the stubbornly shut door that one way or another he was coming in. Whoever was inside could either allow him to pass or face the unfortunate consequences.
Sensing the counter pressure to ease at his words, Richard grasped the door's edge and rushed into the room.
There, on the floor, spread eagle in all her bare-bottomed glory, was a pale, skinny girl with flamming hair cut short. At an upright lean, she had positioned herself against the row of knee high cabinets.
Her eyes were slivered slits. Her head lolled, but the index and middle fingers of her right hand worked furiously within the fuzzy recess of her femininity.
She gazed up at him then. Green eyes barely discernable behind a hazy patchwork of thin red veins, she appeared genuinely surprised to encounter his stern, policing presence.
Puzzled, she frankly said, “I thought I was permitted.”