A young boy, living with his father and stepmother, is being bullied by older students. He meets an enigmatic lady, who becomes his only friend. Everything is not what it seems though.


3. The toy puzzle box


 I was used to the awkward silence when my father was around. He wasn’t interested so neither was I, but in my mind I could see her eyes; Anna seemed to haunt me in a nice way. She seemed to take away the feeling of home sickness.

  I never did get my toy puzzle box back, I thought as I sat by the fence the next day. The clouds were dark and low, threatening to snow again so I wrapped my arms around myself to keep warm.  “We saw nothing,” someone spat, but somewhat quietly. I looked up to see him: the older boy from the senior class. He was the one who threw the puzzle box over the fence. “We didn't tell you to go on the ice, so you better not think about telling. If you do, I can always tell them the fact you were on forbidden lands.”

  Backed to the fence I stammered to reply, “W-who? The teachers?”

  “No. The police!”

  I gulped at those final words as he went away. Trembling wasn’t the best way to deal with it. However, I couldn’t help it.  I slipped further down the fence, my heart weighing me down, heavy as though it was frozen in ice and for that moment I wished I hadn’t been saved.

  “Don’t listen to him. He was lying to scare you.”  Wiping the water from my swollen eyes I gazed up to see her again: Anna. I swung around and took in her figure from the other side of the fence. Her features were bizarre and she wore the same clothes as yesterday. Then I noticed that her feet were only wrapped in cloth that looked as though it had been a bandage.

  “Are you not cold?” I asked in my quiet voice. Even though her skin had an odd pasty look to it and her lips were dark with a slight shade of blue, her eyebrows raised and she shrugged.

  “I’m not as cold as you are at the moment.” She then passed through the tight mesh an object, placing it in my gloved hands. Her un-gloved hands frostily unclenched and dropped it into my hands.   My toy puzzle box.

 “How did you get onto the lake?”

  “I walked of course. How else?”

  After gaping at it in awe, I weakly smiled. I didn’t understand how she got it, but I had it back and that was all that mattered and I appreciated it too. “I never said my name. I’m Samuel,” I said.

  “I already knew. Like I told you before, I’ve already met you.” 

  I didn’t mind if she knew me before or not. I felt as though we were friends now, and she was the friend I had always wanted in this dull village. No matter how dark her hair or snow-like her skin was, she was the brightest and kindest thing I had seen in what felt like years.

  So we continued talking that day and the day after and the day after that. When she was with me, the bullies stayed away, ignored me as if I had been forgotten and I didn’t exist. And each time when I waited long for my father to take me home, she would stay with me and disappear as soon as he arrived. 



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