Everyone was staring. Piper clutched her dingy old messenger bag to her chest nervously. One of the villagers stepped forward, Tom, the woodcutters boy, she thought.
"You're no longer welcome here, child of winter." Piper drew a hesitant and slow line toward the wood with her left foot. "Your place is not with us, Pykimsklymik. Go." A blur of red streaked into the brush, and Pipers brown dress blended in with the trees with little effort. Soon not even her bright hair could be seen through the autumn leaves.
"Let us hope she does not come back." The villagers voice echoed through the trees. Tom whipped his head around and shot a look of warning into the crowd.
"Speak softly of her, even in her absence. You know how they protect their young." Slowly, the crowd dissapaited. Everyone going back to their tasks and activities. Tom's head hung as he stared at the snow on the ground, which would not leave until the coming spring even though the weather and temperature should not permit its residence. He reached down, brushing a finger through it. Standing, he viewed the image as a whole for the first time. Blooming out from the two foot shaped imprints in the middle of the small hill was a flower shaped mound of snow. Glancing back at the place his fingers had touched, he stepped back in shock. The snow he had taken had mysteriously been replaced. A single crystal not out of place. He peered into the wood cautiously. Two green eyes stared back. Without a word, he turned and left. ns 220.127.116.11da2