I dropped into the shallow pool with a huff, pointlessly slapping the water as I rose to my feet, giving the rope wall a kick in frustration for good measure. I couldn’t see him, but I knew Winston would be lurking in a window somewhere in the Manor, trying to stifle a smirk at another unsuccessful attempt this morning had brought me.
My now sodden boots scuffed on the loose pieces of gravel I’d felt underfoot. With a sharp intake of breath and remembering who I was, I picked up my drenched feet and went back to the beginning of the assault course.
Some would question one’s sanity for building this in their grounds; I for one found it rather smart. It kept me on top of my game in between expeditions and, let’s face it, the undead sure could take a beating before they finally crossed over into the afterlife; I needed the stamina.
But, for some reason on this Sunday morning, the jump to the rope wall was well and truly kicking my arse. My best time was always firmly in my sights; it was usually Winston with the trusty megaphone at the end of the course, giving me my count down before his verbal starting gun.
But as with all Sunday mornings in recent years, he was sipping from the Manor’s finest china, turning the pages on a classic piece of literature in the library and treating himself to a biscuit or two. It had taken many months of convincing Winston to hang up his tuxedo on the weekends, but after a conversation as I polished one of a battalion of revolvers next to him, he quickly changed his mind. Even now, I cannot fathom as to why.
With a tug of my black gloves, I took a sharp in intake of breath through the nose and quickly exhaled through the mouth.
Come on, girl. It’s Winston’s day of rest, not yours… I frowned at my internal teacher, yet agreed.
I ran with a leap over to the first line of crates, lining up to perfect the next, darting over the higher platforms and now pulled myself up with ease come the next set. Smiling as the wind whipped through my plait, I jumped from the slope with precision, climbing up those villainous ropes with ease this time around.
The adrenaline took over me as I soared forwards, right and left over the tall plinths, sliding and grabbing another rope wall, only to sprint and dive into another pool. I didn’t mind this one so much; something about being bone dry and having sodden socks and boots rattled my cage far more than being completely drenched altogether.
With a smile and the belief I was doing well, I hauled myself out of the water with a vicious grunt, clambering with gritted teeth to get to the zip wire. Always a challenge with a drenched grip, but one that excited me once executed successfully.
I dropped to the sand, its grains stuck to my wet boots and legs immediately as I’d hit it with force.
‘Slower than your average, I must say.’ Winston smirked as he leaned out of an open window, teacup in hand.
‘Yes, thank you for that, Winston,’ I said panting, resting my hands on my knees and I was reluctant to stand up straight after that jaunt. ‘What happened to resting?’ I quipped.
‘Oh you know me, Ms. Croft. Never off the clock.’
‘Yes,’ I paused. ‘In more ways than one.’
Crafty old devil.