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The air was biting cold as the snow nipped at my toes. My old, worn winter boots did nothing to help. The socks I had donned this morning were wool, but they also did little to keep my feet warm. I trudged through the thick snow bank that was the barrier between my backyard and the woods that lay beyond. I was leaving the warmth of my home to get wood for the fire. My wife was out at the marketplace; she had left our daughter with a neighbor.
My name is Aiden Monroe. My wife is the lovely Rosemary. Our daughter is the beautiful young Veronica. I think Veronica looks more like my wife. She has the same round face and the same big baby blue eyes. Our baby girl does have my curly, deep brown hair. My wife has white-blond hair and porcelain skin. Veronica has that skin too. The pale, fragile looking skin. My skin has a natural tanned look to it all year long. My emerald eyes are set in an angular face.
I sink up to the middle of my shins in this deep snow. The stinging at my ankles assured me of impending frostbite. My axe was slung over my broad shoulder, and some rope was looped onto my jeans as I continue on. I will not let my family freeze. I was heading for the center of the woods, where the trees are more dense. I will come back in the spring and plant some new trees to replace these ones that I am taking now.
I found a tree with a long, thick trunk. Perfect for firewood. I just have to make sure it’s dry when I need to use it. We are low on firewood, but still have enough for a day or two. I swung my axe once, slicing roughly into the trunk. I have to use much force to yank it out. I swing again, and again, as beads of sweat form and course down my face. I am glad I remembered to wear my gloves; they help me avoid blistering my hands.
After chopping down a considerable amount of wood I pulled some rope from my belt loops. I tied the logs together, leaving some rope off the end so I can drag the wood behind me. I began to make my way back, hoping my wife has returned.
Halfway to the snow bank barrier I saw a wild dog standing in the snow, small clumps of the icy substance stuck to its back legs. It was just standing there, head down from what I could see. I carefully inched closer and the dizzying scent of blood hit my nose. Perhaps the dog had caught some rodent? My human curiosity made me draw closer. There was too much blood for whatever this animal was dining on to be a rodent.
As my right foot sunk into the snow beside the dog a low growl poured from its throat. It turned its head towards me, teeth bared in a snarl and blood dripping from its mouth. I stared in disgust and disbelief, but not at the dog. I was staring at its prey.
Hot, crimson blood stained the pure white snow around the body of the victim. I hit my knees, sinking deeper into the icy snow. The dog growled once more, louder this time, to which I pulled my axe off my shoulder and nudged the animal with it. It took off, kicking up powdery clouds of snow as it ran from the metal that could easily mean death.
I ran my hand along the fabric the victim had been wearing; it was clear the dog had been consuming a human. A human woman, who had been wearing a long, yellow dress. It was just like the one my dear Rosemary had been wearing when she departed earlier. This couldn’t be my wife though. I refuse to believe it.
There is so much evidence however, forcing me to fear the worst. My fingers touched the wound in her side, warm blood soaking my hand. This is not how she died, the blood wasn’t coursing, it was just dripping from the gash, never gaining any speed or volume. I touched her face softly. There lies blood, slightly crusted, and just above this dried, rusty red was a hole. The hole was a bit smaller than the size of a bullet for my hunting rifle.
My eyes welled up with tears as the cold bit at my cheeks. I still did not want to believe this was my Rosemary. One thing made it impossible to deny however. I ran my hand along her arm, just staring at that porcelain skin. No one had skin more fair than my dear wife. No one except my young daughter, who would never see her mother again.