Who’s out there?

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He looked into my eyes, waiting for an answer. What do I tell him? 

“Come on we need to clean these scratches. Are you going to tell me how you got them?”

I daren’t

I followed him to the sink and stood silently while he dabbed my wounds with warm water. “So what happened, I saw you out there in the snow. Not exactly the kind of day to go for a walk. Did you fall?”

“Yes, at the end of the driveway. I heard a noise behind me and it made me jump. Lost my balance!” I said, relieved he’d put the idea of falling in my head. It wasn’t a lie. I did fall.

“What startled you?”

“It was snow falling off a tree branch, silly really, but I was lost in my thoughts.”

“You need to start paying attention or you’re going to hurt yourself.”

“I know, I have another book on my brain though. I was working out the plot in my head, walking helps me think.”

Les laughed. “Your mind is always somewhere else. Did you check the mail?”

“No, I didn’t”

“OK, I’ll do it now.”

I watched him walk along the driveway, wishing I dare tell him what really happened, but I couldn’t. He’d think I was imagining it, getting lost in one of my own plots. Sometimes I wondered if I was! 

Standing on the porch I breathed deeply, inhaling the cold crisp air. Snow fell from the roof, hitting the ground in front of me, I didn’t jump this time. 

Les walked back along the driveway, engrossed in the letters he was carrying, not noticing the snow whipping up behind him even though there was no wind. I held my breath as I watched the glistening mass take shape. It looked like a child, but disappeared before he reached the porch.

“Whats up? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Les said as he kicked the snow off his boots. 

If only he knew!

Footprints in the Snow

Christmas is undoubtedly my favorite time of year, but it brings with it hours of preparation. After baking all morning, I needed a break. Grabbing my jacket and scarf, I stepped outside. A winter wonderland glistened before me. Standing still for a few minutes, I took in the beauty while me eyes adjusted to the brightness! There was a chill in the air and my breath made little clouds in front of me. A brisk walk would clear away the cobwebs. With one hand firmly planted against the house I walked carefully down the icy steps from the porch. When I reached the bottom something caught my eye.

FootstepsFootprints!

They started on the path and continued along the driveway to the dirt road that ran past our house. How could that be? We had no neighbors. Anyone who came to visit us, came by car. I looked along the dirt road for tire tracks, but saw none, only small footprints in the snow.

Surely these were made by a child! 

I set off to follow them anxiously. What if a child was lost and cold?

Why would they start at my house? 

Bewildered, I walked along the dirt road that led to the old barn and opened the door cautiously, not wanting to scare whoever may be taking shelter there.

Why would a child be out here alone. Where did she come from?

It was dark inside, but splinters of sunlight shone through the holes in the roof, and eventually I was able to see my surroundings.

“Hello! Is anyone in here?” I asked. “I followed your footsteps. Are you lost?”

Silence.

“Are you hungry? I’ve made fresh shortbread, I’d love to share it with you.”

Movement! A rustling in the far corner. My view was blocked by old farm equipment.

“I’m coming over, don’t be scared.” I said as I walked towards the noise.

Silence.

My cellphone rang, I screamed. “Dammit!” I said as I switched it off.

“No need to hide, I’m not going to hurt you.”

Something dropped on me from above, claws digging deeply into my shoulder, teeth sinking into my ear.

“Holy Shit!”

I swatted at the crazy wild thing that attacked me, knocking it to the floor, and then I turned and ran.