A Winter’s Night Fright

Carol A. Hand

It wasn’t on a Halloween
It was a moon-lit winter night
Walking down a forest path
When I first encountered real fright

With my purse and laptop shouldered,
Holding my flashlight glowing bright
I walked across the clear cut ridge
It was light as day even at midnight

As I descended the hill into the forest
The flashlight battery died
“Oh no, there’s a half-mile to go” I thought
“You’re almost home” my mind replied

I’d walked this path so many times
I told myself there was nothing to fear
I knew every hill and stone out of place
From my years of living here

The snow-covered trees blocked the light
A shadowed forest path below
But I clamed my beating heart that night
Moving steadily on through the snow

In the darkest stretch I heard faint rustling
In the woods behind me and to my right
Moving with stealthy footsteps through the brush
I felt a sudden and growing fright

The rustling sound grew closer
With each step through the darkened wood
I felt a watching presence
And the feeling wasn’t good

“Be calm” I said to my racing heart
Show no fear just keep looking ahead
You can’t run or hide so just walk
You can’t display your dread

Just walk steady one step at a time
Keep your thoughts on your home
Step by step you’ll make it there
Even though you’re not alone

Step by step that winter night
I walked the darkened way
With a predator stalking me
I still remember it today

It wasn’t a mortal presence
That left faint prints in the snow
Perhaps it was the little people
Or a fearsome windigo


Image: Microsoft Clip Art

The lesson I learned on that winter night?
Wait till the dawn so you can walk in the light!


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