Clover, the new postal worker, had woken up that morning without an ounce of foreboding. That was a major mistake on her part. It was her first day on her new route, freshly handed to her from yet another of her deeply shaken coworkers, but Clover had no reservations about this new route. She simply went down the roads, through the deep, dark, winding paths of the woods, her little hat in place. The air was thick and heavy with fog and she could just barely catch a glimpse of the little white eyes in the corner of her vision.
Flicking her tongue out into the air, Clover noticed nothing out of the ordinary. It was actually quite nice out today... Sometimes it felt like she was the only one who really appreciated the little things, like the deep grey of the sky, the darkness of the distance, how pleasant the eyes were when the weather was mild... Hollowford was just a lovely little village, Clover thought, the people were kinder and more cordial than anything she’d ever seen in any other stretch of the woods. It was here where she didn’t mind a little chit chat, and had no problems walking along and making conversation while carrying packages to doorways. The hospitality charmed her.
Well... Maybe the “NO TRESPASSING” signs a little further into the woods weren’t as welcoming as that Watchmen fellow offering her a whole tin of homemade cookies. Perhaps the way they hung crooked, hastily nailed up to the trees, was a little off-putting... or it could’ve been that the sheer number that made it so alarming, but Clover had a job to do... And everyone else was friendly.
Daisy, who was no one special, had woken up that morning with quite a strong feeling of dread and foreboding. So strong that they wanted to stay in bed, or actually, go to bed. At the moment they were curled up on the couch, recovering from an accidental day long power nap. The overwhelming dread was not an unusual feeling for Daisy, it was almost everyday that something horrible happened to Daisy. Maybe it was because most of those terrible things were their own fault, but horrible things are still horrible things, regardless of their actual cause.
Reluctantly, Daisy had decided it was time to get up and start the day. They sat up, stretched a bit, and promptly began to climb out the window, tumbling into the hedges. The window was directly above the couch while the front door was across the room, it was simply a matter of convenience. Sometimes convenience meant falling into a bush.
Today was going to be awful, Daisy just knew it.
They made their way out of the hedges, absently picking sticks from their shirt as they headed towards the mailbox. The lawn was still wet from dew and the air was not yet unpleasantly warm. Taking in the morning, Daisy was glad of the safety and privacy their absurdly high fences offered. As they approached the front gate, Daisy began to stall. Oh how they dreaded this part of the day... To leave the comfort of their home? For the sake of mail? Pathetic. Unthinkable.
Maybe they could just quit checking the mail, Daisy thought, but... No, no, they ordered things too often for that to be manageable. They paced in thought, anxiously hovering near the front gate. Were they expecting any packages today? They ordered some sort of... thing, they forgot what it was exactly, recently... Hadn’t they? Maybe they were up too early for anything to be delivered, maybe it would come tomorrow. It probably wasn’t that big of a deal. Probably.
Convincing themselves to go back inside, Daisy turned around, and then, froze completely. There was a faint and distant sound... A sound that was not that of croaking bird song, not howling winds, not the creaking of the trees or the whispers too quiet to comprehend, but a sound that made Daisy seethe with hatred.
The sound of approaching footsteps.
As the sound grew louder, closer, Daisy tensed up and held their ears up high. They quieted their own footsteps, crouching low to the ground and slowly creeping closer to the fence. As the sound suddenly stopped, Daisy sprung up and catapulted themselves over the fence.
“WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!?”
The potential trespasser, hand once reaching towards the mailbox, had toppled over and fell backwards onto the ground. A horrid little snake approaching their sanctuary! Daisy had also realized that this was the mail carrier, but they had decided it was far too late to back down now. They had leapt onto the mailbox and pointed one clawed finger towards that fiend, that, well. It was just a mail carrier, really.
The snake looked startled, but took a moment to pick herself up off the ground, and held out a stack of envelopes. Daisy snatched it out of her hand with no hesitation, stepping backwards and balancing on the fence. They stared at each other for just a moment, the snake with a look of mild confusion and Daisy with a look of intense annoyance. Having decided that enough was enough and the moment was over, Daisy hissed loudly.
Standing atop the fence and looking more smug than they had any right to be, Daisy watched the snake run back down towards the village. Victory felt great. With that out of the way, they inspected their stack of envelopes. Honestly, it was a lot more mail than Daisy had been expecting. They didn’t know who’d even send all that-
“Good morning, Daisy!” said Goodbye.
Daisy jumped up and screamed, ending up on the ground with their rightfully earned mail scattered across the front lawn.
“It’s so nice to see you up so early in the morning,” Goodbye started, leaning on the fence and watching as Daisy struggled to collect their mail, “usually you’re still asleep now, aren't you?”
Daisy’s face scrunched up. It was unfortunate that Daisy had even a single neighbor, and it was even more unfortunate that it was Goodbye. The fact that he lived just one slightly long walk away aggravated Daisy to no end.
“I... fell asleep earlier.”
“Ooh! At a reasonable time early, or, early-afternoon early?”
Daisy barely looked up at him, shuffling letters in their hands “... Do you actually WANT something?”
“I wanted to say hi,” said Goodbye.
“Well, you did! Congratulations! Anything else?”
“...and I wanted to bring up, uh-” he tilted his head back a bit, taking his eyes off Daisy, “-my fence. That you broke.”
Daisy had already gone inside and locked the door.
Daisy slumped against the closed door. This was much better. Despite the fact they had outside for just a moment, it was always a relief to come back in. It was much more... sticky and wet out there. They went over to their ratty old sofa and began to flip through the mail. With a perfume sample here and a magazine there, Daisy wasn’t expecting much. Most of it was tossed to the side, a few letters from the Village Council hitting the floor when Daisy had missed the trash can. They flipped through the next few letters and paused.
A bright red envelope. Factory red.
...So, they weren’t done with all that Factory business. They tossed a large envelope of soap samples onto the coffee table and threw everything else away. Daisy had really wanted to be done with Factory and they really thought they were... That there wasn’t going to be another letter, another unopened gift, another unread email, another unanswered call.
But, really, what was one more letter in the pile?
They flipped the envelope in their hand a few times before getting up and heading towards the study. It was like anything else that Passer had ever sent, brightly colored, covered in little rainbow stickers, Daisy’s address penned in intricate cursive, all the i’s dotted with hearts. The letter itself would be disgustingly heartfelt, or there’d be a slightly nauseating card filled with scrip and loose change. Daisy almost laughed. There didn’t seem to be a return address on this one.
Entering their study, they kicked a few pillows on the floor back into the corner and swiftly turned to their desk. The letter, still unopened, was quickly shoved in the bottom drawer where all the things Daisy didn’t like to think about got to live.
They turned on their computer, leaned back in their office chair, and didn’t think about a thing.