The full moon shone through the night, lighting up the sky as the heavy skirts of her dress touched silently the ground and she ran full speed to be anywhere rather than there. The wind rustled the tree’s leaves. And they whispered her an aid, ‘Run, Evelyn, run! They’re coming. Hide, run! Get away!’ They hissed their plea. She did not know what she was running from, she could still feel the fear in her heart, plain and cold as if it would never leave. The fear took over, to a point where you thought your heart would not beat anymore, but it only went faster. There was a part of her that was plain to see, and that was her curiosity. Part of her wanted to order her legs to stop running, stay rooted on the spot so she could see what it was that brought this much commotion. But her fear was stronger. She abandoned her shoes, pausing only for a brief second to un-hatch the buckles, and kept running. She heard the hoof beats behind her, and dared not look back. It was an odd sound, not the sound you would have normally heard with horsemen. There was many of them,that was for sure, but the sound they made was not loud, not even (adj). It was eerie, as if it was nothing more than shadows on horses, their capes rattling in the wind. As she pictured these silent riders in her head, she shuddered and fell into a bank. Twigs and dried up leaves lay everywhere, making it nearly impossible to keep quite. Not daring to even breathe, she put her hand over her mouth and listened.
They were not like the sounds she heard before, clumsier than the graceful hoof beats that were almost all on time. But none the less, it still frightened her.
It was coming closer, when suddenly it came to a halt. To her great surprise, a face came leveled to hers, and she shrieked.
A wrinkled warm hand covered her mouth, and her eyes saw a man, well beyond the age of 60, looking at her with a look of surprise and pity. As he lifted his hand, she saw that he had a gentle face, lined with wrinkles, but his next words were severe.
‘They’re coming! Quick, my dear, quickly! Follow me!’
Once again wondering who was coming, she followed his warning and took his outstretched hand. His grip was surprisingly firm for a man of his age, and he pulled her out with ease. She followed him as he was quickly shuffling along the forest floor, and she could only see him by the moon that reflected off his balding head. She was easily taller than him, but her feet were trembling with weakness, and the fact that she was barefoot did not help. Finally they made their way to a cottage, well hidden between the trees. As he was rushing her along, she thought once more of whom those horsemen could be. The doorsteps were hard to see in the moonlight, and she stumbled over a few of them. He looked around either side of the house before opening the door,and shut it just as quickly with a muted ‘click.’ He exhaled.
It was an enchanting little cottage, filled with blankets, puffy chairs, candles and the smell of cinnamon. She wondered who this kindstranger was as his house welcomed her with warmth from the fireplace.
He noticed how intently she had been looking at everything, and she smiled. He was a nice old man, indeed.
‘Sit down, dear, sit down.’
She obeyed, and chose the nearest chair, sinking into its cushions. Suddenly she felt the pain in her feet, letting out a cry. She pulled up her feet in a rush, wondering what exactly had happened. Then she remembered, she had left her shoes somewhere in the forest.
‘My feet!’ Evelyn said, gasping.
The blood was dripping from the soles of her foot onto the carpet.
The old man hurried over, clumsily stumbling over some ofthe many objects scuttled over his floor, and then she wondered if she had hurt her feet inside the cottage or out in the forest.
Bending down, he took her foot between his hands, gently examining it.
‘What did you do, dance on pinecones?! You poor girl, stayput, I’ll be right back.’
He assured her, and she gave a faint smile as he hurried away to the kitchen.
She glanced around, trying to take her mind off of her feet, as well as whatever was waiting for her outside. She saw that, like herself, this man loved books. He had almost all his walls lined with them. New and old, thick and thin.
Oh, how inviting this little cottage was on this freezing, fearful night.
He came back carrying a small bucket of water, a cloth and a fancy looking bottle with a crystallized liquid inside.
‘My dear, what were you doing out when all this is happening…? Never mind that for the moment. You poor little bird, I’m glad I found you. My name is Wilhelm, by the way.
He looked up from cleaning her wounds to smile at her.
She smiled back. ‘My name’s... .’
At that very moment the front door flew open, and a chill suddenly burst into the cottage. The fire went out, and all you could see was the moon shining through the front doorway. It was not just the cold that the wind had brought in with it, it was also fear, pain, hatred, and strangely enough, the slightest bit of hope.
Wilhelm walked to the door quickly, and to her surprise did not close it, but looked through, uncertainly. ‘It’s worse than before.’ He muttered. ‘Much worse.’