This had not been my first time sneaking out past curfew; my older sister and I did it constantly and had even run into each other as we slipped back into our rooms. Of course, those incidences were never talked about and only a nod or some sort of gesture was ever shared.
The cold crisp air surrounded me and mingled with the smell of the freshly watered mountain trees. Darkness clouded my eyes as I moved quickly up the hill leading away from my house to the adjoining road. Just a few more feet.
As I walked, I turned to look back at my family’s home and stared at the large brick “W” that clung to our chimney. I thought back to one fall afternoon, when I first saw that W as I drove through Evergreen with my father. I loved our alone time together, when I got to hear about his outrageous adventures and all of the unbelievable things he had lived through. My father was like no one I had ever met. He was an impulsive man and lived solely off his drive for passion and excitement. When we passed our house those years ago, he tracked down the previous owner and made an offer he could not refuse. He believed the house had been made specifically for us because our family’s name is Winter.
I admired the house, buried in the forest and drowned out by the thicket of outgrown grasses and trees. It’s red brick stuck out behind the green and the large two-story window reflected the specs of light that escaped through the canopy of leaves. When it was dark, the window was the only source of light released into the night for miles
I made my way to the road and had found my friends car, exactly where we had discussed. Thank God. I reached down to her beat up Ford, a car that was probably a few years older than we were, and pulled on the handle. It was locked. Why is it locked? Where is she? We had made very specific plans and she knew to wait for me. I felt my back begin to heat up and my heart started to pound in my ears. I was sure that if someone walked past me they would be able to hear my heart palpitations echo through the silent mountain air
Panicked, I began to scream my friends name in a whisper, “Betsy!” Suddenly, my shadow was cast in front of me and a dim light streamed onto the road. I shut my eyes in disbelief and slowly turned my rigid body towards my house. Through the window I saw her. Betsy was crawling on her hands and knees up my stairs towards the second floor. Oh crap…
What is she doing? Her body moved swiftly up the staircase. She placed her arms, elbows, knees, and legs on top of the carpet. With every uninterrupted step she took I felt relief wash over me. She made it. She stood and brushed off her knees, I could see the look of accomplishment painted over her face from the road. It will be fine, she’ll realize I’m not home and will come to the car. It was just a mix up.
Suddenly, I was blinded. The once dim light had now become overbearing and my accustomed eyes fought the brightness. Every light in the house simultaneously turned on. I felt my life flash before my eyes as I saw my mother stand in the middle of the stairs peering out towards the road. I was exposed and soon I’d be dead.