It’s that time of year again. The leaves are turning from green to russet, the evenings call for sweaters and snuggles by the fire, hearty meals and warmed drinks are the norm. Sometimes a soothing cup of hot tea seems just the thing. Hot tea is neighborly, even sophisticated, when offered to your guest over idle chit chat. A cup of tea, a cookie or two, quite hospitable. The warmth of a brimming tea cup bringing life to your chilly fingers, the steamy aroma rising in a twist to excite your olfactory nerves and the mild hint of almond as you take in your first sip………..Wait, is this almond tea? Perhaps it’s just the cookies. Or maybe…..
I have to admit I love this time of year, the weather, the pumpkin spice everything, sweaters, the scents carried on the breeze, but it also speaks to my inner darkness. One thing that always comes to mind in October for me is The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane.
The gist of this movie is a young girl, Rynn (Jodie Foster), parented by divorced parents. Rynn’s father is terminally ill and her mother abusive. Her father gains custody, moves away with Rynn, sets her up to take care of herself and then drowns himself. Part of setting Rynn up for living independently is giving her a jar of powdered “sedative” (cyanide) that she is to give her mother should she ever come back into her life. Of course, the mother does come back into the picture, and Rynn makes her some tea and includes the “sedative” along with some cookies. Rynn is careful to explain away the almond taste of the tea, attributing it to the cookies. Rynn watches her mother die and stashes the body in the cellar.
There’s a fledgling romance between Rynn and Mario, a neighbor boy. A nosy neighbor is inadvertently killed when she marches down into the cellar and in her fright slams the door down on her own head. Body count of 2. Rynn shares her secrets with Mario and he helps her dispose of the bodies. Meanwhile, others are suspicious and snooping around. Frank, the son of the nosy neighbor, is coming around making threats and inquiring of his disappeared mother. Mario chases him away. There’s also a police officer whose suspicions have been aroused. Rynn and Mario are able to fool the officer and, big sigh of relief, all seems well.
Mario becomes ill and is hospitalized. Rynn ventures out to visit Mario. Upon returning home and readying for bed Rynn hears the cellar door. Frank has figured things out and in exchange for some not so appropriate “favors” will keep Rynn’s secrets. Rynn makes them both a cup of tea, one with the powder. Frank instantly switches cups with Rynn and remarks on the almond taste, which of course must be the cookies……… Body count 3.
As you go about enjoying your toasty beverages and tasty treats, be savvy out there, my friends. Cellars are cold dark places………