People are drawn to a person who is optimistic; they are infected by their enthusiasm and apparent fearlessness.
It’s contagious, because people want to hope. They want to believe that everything will turn out okay, despite evidence to the contrary.
Sometimes, despite the odds, their hopes are validated.
Sometimes they are not.
Like now for example, Sandra thought, staring wide-eyed into nothing as she lay curled up on her side holding tightly to her knees which were drawn up against her chest.
Despite Charles’ optimism, his enthusiasm, his curiosity, his boyish charm, his hope…it had been this very naivety that had caused him to step into the edge of the portal before it had fully formed.
He had been torn apart by the vortex within moments; skin flayed, muscle and flesh torn away, then eviscerated before finally disintegrating into the maelstrom.
Her eyes glistened, a tear formed at the corner of her eye. She blinked slowly, and the tear rolled over the bridge of her nose as she pursed her lips.
His screams were still ringing in her ears as her mind replayed the brutal image of his demise over and over.
Taking a deep, shuddering breath she noticed for the first time that the air was cold, clammy. She uncurled herself and, pushing herself up onto her hands and knees she sat back on the soles of her feet and looked around.
Fog, everywhere; she could see nothing in any direction.
She was sat on cold, grey stone paving slabs. They were clean; there was no litter, no gum, no cigarette butts…
…and no noise. No pedestrians, no traffic.
Where was she?