Short Story by Margareta Hayes
The spruces stood sparsely on the moss-covered ground and appeared to have a white beard that hung like a veil between the branches. Tomas explained that the beard’s was because the air here was clean so then I took a deep breath to get more off the clean air into my lungs.
I now wanted to solve the mystery behind the stranded cars, maybe there was a road here before the forest took back the land. Tomas had a theory that there may have been farms here in the past and we started looking for old house foundations but found nothing. Behind us, the dog was heard barking, which he had done ever since we arrived. Tomas said that the dog was rescued by Gustav from a nasty uncle.
– I think it is foolish of Gustav to leave him trapped within a dog cage.
– He needs exercise and someone who cares, said Tomas. Maybe we could ask Gustav if we could take him out for walks?
– Never! I am frightened of Faithful, he could kill us if he got out from his kennel. I think Gustav could have raised him a little better.
– Have you had your tetanous jab? Tomas asked.
– Then you are protected anyway if he bites you.
This did not make me feel any calmer.
We walked further into the forest. After about 10 minutes, the sound of moving water could be heard, we came across the small stream covered in stepping stones. This made it easier for us to get to the other side. Tomas began happily playing on a tree trunk which had fallen across the stream.
– This wasn’t here the last time I was here. Must have been struck down by the storms.
I sat down on a rock and watched excitedly as he attempted to walk across the log using his arms to balance, It was so peaceful by the water, I was thinking to myself, this could be a beautiful place to swim when Tomas broke my thoughts.
– Cajsa, come and join me.
I looked to the clogs on my feet, thought that to do so meant I would have to climb in bare feet. The stream was fast flowing after the storm, the sun was beginning to set behind the clouds, if I fell, I surely would become very cold and wet.
Tomas was now almost across the log on the otherside of the stream, I slowly walked towards the log and began to ponder. As a girl I did not want to be seen as a coward, but only as an equal in courage. Suddenly there was a loud noise from behind that made me jump, a large bird had flew out from the tree’s skimming my head as it landed on the log a couple of metres away.
Tomas, turned around and stared at the owl, who in turn, turned its head back from me to him, then to me again. It was big, brown and white with an intensive stare that drew you in. The owl now suddenly looked back towards Tomas, I recognised fear in his face, as he stepped back away from the owl then stumbled and fell. Fear and confusion built up within me, I wanted to run, instead now I found myself being drawn into the owls gaze, was it my eyes playing tricks, had I not just seen other peoples faces in the owls expression. I reached out for a branch to steady myself as my world turned black.