Constance, by Lisa Ankrah

It was eerily still in the forest, but—Rose Britteridge supposed—that was a good thing. This meant that either one: the Indians had retired for the night or two: they were still around, but fast asleep. She spared a quick glance at the direction from which she had come. But still…wouldn’t it have been better if Constance had come with her? If there were two of them, one would stand guard while the other looked at the traps. And Rose would have, but her sister’s fitful slumber due to hunger pains and coughing spurred her to act alone. If she had brought Constance, Rose would have had to share the spoils from the traps—and the spoils were usually very small. Offering her sister a paltry half of a rat or of a rabbit just wasn’t going to cut it this time. Not if she wanted Love to get better.

Tightening her coat around herself and facing the bitter winds, Rose continued on, using the small markings she and Constance had made on trees to guide her. Before long, she had found the first trap, a small hole covered with leaves, but it was untouched. The next three were the same. Rose sighed, defeated and yet a little relieved.

Well, at least now I don’t have to lie to Con—

The soft crunching of shoes on snow made Rose start. Who was there? Was it the Indians? Heart pounding, the blonde could do little but listen as the footsteps continued, followed by grunts and whispers, as well as the sound of something being dragged—in her direction. Should she run? Rose wondered, but quickly dismissed that idea. If she ran, whoever was approaching was bound to hear her and give chase. Thus, she hid behind a tree and some bushes, peering to see what was coming.

She was completely unaware of the horror she would soon witness—or of the person that would approach from behind.

-Lisa Ankrah