A Blustery Winters Eve
Amanda sat on her tire swing idly kicking the ground causing the swing to move around in haphazard circles. She missed her friends. The snow was pretty cool, nothing like the desert where they used to live, but there really wasn’t anything to do without her friends.
Her father had given her a puppy when they moved. Probably hoping she wouldn’t be so lonely if she had a new cute and cuddly playmate. It helped but it just wasn’t the same. Currently the little bundle of energy was sound asleep in the sandbox. It wasn’t much of a sandbox either, just a really big tire filled with sand. She didn’t mind that though, it was kind of nice seeing grass and trees instead of the scrub that grows in the desert.
She named her puppy Jake, not sure why, he just looked like a Jake. He had short stubby legs and really thick brown and white fur with a brown patch of fur surrounding his left eye. When she asked her dad what kind of dog Jake was he said he was a mutt. Not entirely sure what a mutt was she decided that it didn’t matter, he was hers and she thought he was perfect.
Abruptly the wind picked up blowing snow everywhere. Amanda looked up, thoughts of her friends vanishing as she watched the snow swirl about her in the waning light. Giggling she climbed out of the tire swing, almost falling when her boot caught on the edge of the tire, then she started dancing around in the ghostly snowy mist.
Another thing she enjoyed about living here were the clothes. All kinds of soft, warm and really cool clothes. She was currently wearing one of her favorite outfits: a pale pink and lavender plaid skirt with matching coat, lavender tights, pink boots and mittens. As the snow swirled around her the cold nipped at her nose and cheeks but the rest of her was toasty warm.
Suddenly her mother called to her from the house, it was time to go in for the night. Amanda quickly turned and ran to the sandbox to retrieve Jake.
He wasn’t there. Panicking she looked all around her and spotted a bundle of white bounding behind a tree heading for the woods. “Jake come back!” Amanda called as she ran after him. Fleeting bursts of white led the way as she tried desperately to catch her puppy.
A dark shadow flitting between the trees brought her chase to an abrupt halt. Terrified, she turned to run back home only to discover that she was surrounded by trees. Everything looked dark and foreboding in the dim light, she didn’t know which direction home was.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a dark object move towards her, letting out a small yelp, she ran. Amanda quickly discovered that pretty pink winter boots were not made for running for your life through a dark and snowy forest. Every twig hidden under the snow seemed to have it out for her, catching at her boots as she ran, attempting to foul up her escape and send her plunging head long into the frozen ground.
Looking around she saw more trees, more dark shadows, her house nowhere to be seen, yet she ran. Intense pain shot through her left side, hot tears blurring her vision, her breathing labored, but she could not stop. A twig, much more determined than the others, caught her boot, her desperate grab at the nearest tree the only thing that kept her from falling. Hanging onto the tree with one hand, she reached down to disentangle her foot, and that is when she heard it. Footsteps.
The sound was unmistakable, footsteps crunching through the snow and fallen leaves. Finally managing to free her foot from the insidious branch she dared to look behind her. Not ten feet away she could see a shadowed figure, standing there, its dark cape fluttering about its legs as it stood looking in her direction.
As it lifted its leg to take another step towards her Amanda’s flight reflex kicked in again. Whipping around to continue her crazed run to nowhere she ran smack into the tree that had so recently saved her from a fall. Screaming, she quickly maneuvered around the tree and ran full tilt through the woods.
She was running so fast, fear controlling her every move, that when the ground disappeared beneath her, for the briefest of seconds, she was running on air. When she hit the ground her balance was lost and she tumbled to the bottom of the small ditch. There she lay, on her belly in the cold snow, crying uncontrollably and trying to catch her breath, terrified of what was coming for her yet unable to get up and continue to run.
“Are you okay?”
Startled, Amanda rolled onto her back to see who was talking to her. Crouched next to her was a boy, older than her, a teenager by the looks of him. Longish shaggy hair framed his face, his eyes bright as he looked down upon her with a small smile on his face. Taking her hand he helped her to her feet as he remained in a crouch before her.
“What’s your name?” he asked quietly.
“A-Amanda”, she managed to sputter.
“What are you doing out here all by yourself Amanda?”
“My p-puppy…he ran into the woods…I tried to catch him…and then…and then a monster…following me…l-lost…couldn’t find…my house…” was all she managed to get out before going into another crying fit.
Minutes later she started to calm down a little and, after using the back of her mitten to wipe her eyes, she again looked at the boy. He gave her a sheepish smile.
“I’m sorry Amanda. I was the one following you, I didn’t mean to scare you. I was on my way home from my friends house when I saw you and I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I am really sorry.”
Amanda looked at the boy and noticed his coat for the first time. It was a long trench coat that hung down to the back of his calves when he was standing. Not a cape. She started to cry and laugh at the same time, relief mingled with exhaustion.
“Where do you live?”
After she finished describing her house he said he knew exactly where that was, a friend of his used to live there. Assuring her that her puppy had found his way home by himself, he stood, took her hand and started leading her through the woods, practically retracing her every move.
Word count = 1,111