I used to spend a lot of time with an elderly friend, Betty, when I was younger because of my fascination with history and love of art. I liked to talk to Betty because she could explain to me things easier than others could. For example, Betty helped me with my homework occasionally. I knew Betty because she was a friend of my grandma's and I had always taken a shine to her friendly manner.
Shortly before my 10th birthday, and if you've ever been 10 (I'm sure you have!) you will understand that every child at this age wishes for a great big party with all the food and balloons and friends. I wanted Betty to help organize the party because she was good at these things.
So I walked straight out of my house, forgetting to inform my mother that I was going, and walked by way of a shortcut my older brother had shown me. This shortcut shortened the walk by about five minutes. It was through a sort of forest and there was a little river, and it always gave me a warm feeling, as if I'd stepped into one of my fairy books.
This time I remember it felt and appeared darker than it had been. As soon as I stepped past the river, a cold shiver ran down my back and, as the saying goes, like "somebody stepped over your grave."
I heard a voice in my head and I'm still to this day unsure if it was my imagination or in fact a voice other than mine. The voice said, "Run, honey!" So I did more than run. I sprinted as fast as I could toward a gate that took me up to Betty's house.
Betty's house was an old one and because of my love of history, I took an interest that it dated back to Tudor times. I ran up the path to the front door to tell Betty my story, but as soon as I knocked on the door, I knew Betty was not there. I tried the door handle nevertheless, and within seconds I was stood before Betty on a stretchboard. I looked outside, and to my horror was an ambulance waiting to take Betty away. There were people rushing everywhere and Betty's son collapsed on the floor next to her with tears rushing down his face.
That was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life, and to this day I have always thought that from the moment I set foot out of my house to make the journey to Betty's, I could feel coldness and the presence of death. And I do believe the words "run, honey" were from the voice of Betty herself.