Sunlight creeps over Alice’s face. A beam wends its way up her jawline, over her cheekbones. She lies on her back. Watches it.
The others in the room sleep. Still and silent. Content.
Alice lies still, unmoving, unwilling to wake them.
She stares into the sunlight and thinks of what has happened, what she has seen. Where they are, and where they are going.
The room is strewn with invitations and reminders. Genuine, handcrafted, authentic. They claim. Masks and shields and paintings, daubed onto woven leaves, hang from the wooden walls, nestle into the thatched straw ceiling. They surround the enormous bed, so large that four people are cosily sleeping side by side.
Alice stares up at the ceiling. Wonders. Feels the soft, thick blankets enrobing her. The fine cotton cradling her.
She raises her head and sees the thick luxuriousness of the rug at the foot of the bed. The door, seamless wooden planking against the wooden walls, discreetly leading to the en suite bathroom.
She turns and sees the glass extending along one wall, door and window in one.
The view is uninterrupted high bush, trees and shrubs rolling over foothills. Rich green carpeting the beginning of a mountain range. A lawn stretches out in front of the window, then the ground falls away from where the cabin is perched, toppling down into a valley before clambering back up the next ridge.