Long thin legs in slick black pants appeared and vanished as the girl watched him through the bars of the imposing gate. Poking her head from the snow fort she’d made in the now white buried garden she saw that he was ugly. A small head with squinting eyes upon a spindly neck had passed in front of the gate for the third time this morning.
The girl hated the cold and snow but the man’s suspicious behavior had lured her out into the garden. Despite her black velvet coat donned over numerous layers of dress she shivered sitting in the damp frozen liquid. Wondering what business this stranger had crossing the sidewalk outside of her home; a vague icy tingling tickled her chest beneath her clothes.
Duck, her dark hair scratched across the fort’s icy walls. “Hello?” came an unfamiliar voice. She had lingered out of her covering too long. He had seen her. “Hello?” again he called and still she did not answer. “You can’t expect to hide that pretty dark hair amidst all this fresh clean snow.”
The girl held her breath waiting. Despite her loneliness she wasn’t sure she wanted this man to surmount the obstacle of the manor gate. The muffled sound of shuffling footsteps crushing against the snow was followed by the slow creaking of the iron gate. Scrambling to her knees she climbed out of the fort, sneaking behind the white mound that was once the rosebushes.
“Why there you are, Hello!” Eyes like pitch saucers she only stared back. “I hope you don’t mind, I let myself in the yard.” She shook her head sending the few preserved snowflakes from her hair back down to the garden floor.
Minutes passed with no words uttered. The girl continued observing the man. He was ugly, yes and ill-dressed too. Yet something pierced through her opposition. Behind those dark and beady eyes there was a hurt.
She felt the chain grow heavy around her neck. A slow throbbing mimicked her heart beat. Across the path stood the strange man, his smile wavering. She wasn’t sure how he found her or why he was here but hidden beneath his stained and too large shirt was a familiar lump.