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Fane in Snow

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Snow moved around the car in lazy swirls. The only light was what the car gave. Fane’s vehicle inched along slowly to avoid an accident caused by ice. The air outside was frigid and deadly. Dark, foreboding trees loomed high above on both sides of the road. It was unsettling being in the middle of nowhere at night. Deeply unsettling, Fane thought. He should have asked his friends to accompany him back home, let them stay for awhile. No, he was a grown man now and didn’t need help.

Fane reached over and flipped the radio on. A subtle voice sang melancholy tunes about losing her love. The woman’s voice seemed to hesitate, and then went out like a flame. There was no sound now except for the gentle rolling of tires against the snow covered asphalt. How much longer until he was home? Had it ever taken this much time before?

Something ran out onto the road in front of him, a few hundred feet. His pulse thundered as he swerved reflexively. The thing stopped and then hurriedly ran back into the trees. Fane froze. The hunchback shape and shadowed face were all too familiar. He’d seen that person before; only it was many years ago. It seemed so far away now. It had been nearly a century since he first spotted this person perched on a windowsill.

He had been walking along the side of a creek in a residential area. One home happened to be having a party. He had climbed a tree a few hundred yards back so he could watch people mingle and remember what it was like to have somewhere to be. The bottom half of the house was lit with flickering candles. For awhile his eyes went from window to window, watching laughing guests and sleepy children. A movement out of the corner of his eye directed his attention to a dark shape scaling the wall. It seemed to be headed for a room, and inside that room lay a girl undoing the locks and opening the latches on her window. The girl’s scream was all he heard as he turned away.

What was he to do now? Go after him and be vengeful? Or he could stick to the route home and hope that he wouldn’t have to see that ghastly pair of eyes for another hundred years. Not enough time to make a thoughtful choice. “I know I shouldn’t,” Fane thought “but…”

A sharp turn right and he was off the road, on a trail among the trees. The car went at a blazing speed, over and under fallen branches. Fane’s heart beat excruciatingly fast, and his breath turned into fog on the glass. Over and under, over and under. He missed a thick branch hanging low on a tree. It dragged along the glass and created a deep gash.

Something broke the window and landed in his lap. A heavy stone, and it came from above. He looked around quickly, searching the dark tree tops. Whomever threw this was trying to hit him. He smiled grimly. This was a fight now.





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