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Answers in the Shadows

You walk through the shadowed streets, knowing and yet not knowing where your feet are taking you. You feel the breeze sweeping the papier-mâché leaves into the frostbitten air. You know you should’ve worn your jacket and mittens. Your mother told you to do it, but maybe that’s why you didn’t. You don’t know if it’s your rebellious nature or if you just don’t care anymore. You can’t be sure that, if she hadn’t spoken up about the weather, you would’ve brought a jacket and some mittens. You figure it doesn’t matter now; you’re already two or so miles away from home. Why do I keep walking? You ask yourself. Why don’t I forget about the note with the address and mysterious promises? Why can’t I just let him go? Unfortunately, you don’t have the answers. And that’s why you keep trekking.


Because you know he does, even if you don’t want to listen. But you do want to listen, if only because he’s the one telling you. Chills run down your spine, but it’s not the result of being cold. You’re remembering the words he’d whisper in your ear after a night on the water. He’d tell you how you reminded him of an angel every time a gust of summer wind blew through your fiery locks, or how you were a master of the sea as you steered the sailboat skillfully. You’re remembering all the times he teased you, saying, “You don’t belong on land, or even on this sorry hunk of fiberglass and metal. You belong beneath the waves, where the dolphins and mermaids frolic.” How he’d pull you into his warm embrace every time you were upset, or make you a hot fudge sundae the minute he suspected a storm brewing in that short-tempered head of yours.


You’ve lost feeling in your fingers and toes, and you suspect your ears have fallen off. But it’s okay, because now the building is in view. The description in the note matches, as does the address. You’d feel your face flush if it wasn’t half frozen. You realize you’re beginning to pick up your pace, feet crunching on the gravel covering the walkway. In the back of your mind you know if you go too fast, you’ll slip on the icy rocks. But right now you don’t care. You’ve reached the stairs, and you bound up them two at a time. You reach the door. Excitement courses through your veins. You’re still a bit suspicious of the situation and the abruptness of it all, but you don’t, you can’t, care about that right now. You ring the doorbell, waiting patiently. You swear you can hear his footsteps running towards the foyer, his hands straightening his shirt and jeans, his hand turning the knob…




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