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Through the Woods

By juniorballer12 All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Fantasy

Standing on the Edge

“Come on Annabel! There you go!” I laughed as Annabel jumped from behind a tree and struck a pose that even an All-Star model would be jealous of. “You were meant for this, baby!” She laughed, and I caught a beautiful picture of her as she threw her head back and laughed. I heard the shutter click and I looked at the screen. Annabel’s hair hung around her face and gently fell down her back. Her eyes were half-shut, crinkled in her cute way. And her smile was pure joy. “Baby sister, you outshine me again!” I laughed and as my feet sank father down into the snow.

“I am hot stuff!” She shouted at the top of her lungs, causing some white snow to fall from the branches above her. She laughed as it fell and smacked her in the face. Decked out in her snow gear, she fell to the ground dramatically, as if she was the star of the show. She began making a snow angel in the newly fallen snow as her legs made a swoosh against the ground. I stood there, snapping picture after picture. I loved photography and luckily, Annabel loved being my model. If it was up to her, we would be out here every day, rain or shine, taking photos.

I smiled as she got up and shook herself off. “Alright, that’s it for today. Annabel is in serious need of some hot cocoa.” She smiled and turned towards our house. It sat about half a mile away. We’d gone deep into the fields today, for an isolated portrait look to our photos. Setting was of the utmost importance to us. Annabel began to trudge back, leaving her prints in the snow.

“Go ahead,” I shouted to her, hoping she could hear me, “I’m going to stay and take some landscapes.” She raised one hand over her head and waved, without ever turning around, to acknowledge that she had heard me. I turned back to the trees and studied their position. I switched my camera setting to landscape and low-light for a dramatic effect. After each picture I snapped, I looked at the screen on my camera, reviewing my own work. If it didn’t turn out well, it was deleted on the spot. Through my pictures, it seemed as if the shadows were moving, constantly shifting with the wind. I looked through the lens once more, just in time to see the shadow move again. I had no doubt now that it was either an animal, or another human being. I stood perfectly still, hoping that it wasn’t one of the mountain lions that we sometimes ran across in this area. We’d never seen one up close, but they had left plenty of evidence of their existence on our property. I tensed as I saw the shadow move yet again, getting closer and closer to me. Just as I was getting ready to bolt, a young teenage boy stepped out from between two towering pine trees. I stared at him, wondering what he was doing here.

“Hello,” he said in a deep voice.

“What are you doing here?” I realized how impolite I sounded, but I was scared out of my mind. This was no time for manners.

“Just out for a stroll. You?”

I studied him before answering. He had light blond hair that the light seemed to bounce off of. It fell in all directions, looking like the perfect mess that I adored. His eyes were a piercing blue, seeming to bore right into me, to see into me. His physique was evident, even under his black leather winter coat. His shoulders were broad, and his stomach impossibly flat, even for a teenage boy. His jeans hung low on his hips, ending at the beginnings of his black converse, which were soaked through with snow. I looked up in time to hear him speak again. He must have taken the fact that I didn’t answer to mean that I didn’t want to tell him what I was doing here.

“I was just getting to know the area. I’m new in town.”

“Oh, well, you should know that most of this is private property. What you’re standing on belongs to my family. Now, we don’t really care, but some other people in this area, do. So I wouldn’t just wander around, you could end up with a bullet in your leg for trespassing.” I hadn’t meant to say all of that, it kind of just tumbled out. For some reason, this dark stranger completely unnerved me.

He half smiled, as if sensing my uneasiness. “My apologies. I hadn’t meant overstep.”

“Oh, it’s no problem. But really, you must be freezing. You are more than welcome to come back to our farmhouse and have some tea or cocoa.” I knew that this probably wasn’t the brightest idea I’d ever had, but for some reason, I was desperate not to let this guy out of my sight.

“No, thank you. I really must be going.” The more he talked, the more I realized how oddly he spoke. He sounded as if he was from another time.

“Oh, alright.” I tried not to sound as dejected as I felt.

“I’m sure I’ll see you at school though. Seems like there is only one high school in this town.” I felt like I should be insulted, but to most people who moved here, this town looked like it was nothing. And they were probably right. Beauty, Kentucky wasn’t exactly a metropolis. It wasn’t really a city either. It was more like a bunch of really spaced out farmers who decided that they wanted to band together and make something of themselves. Thus, Beauty was born. The name is incredibly ironic because I’m pretty sure that just about anywhere in the world would somehow be more beautiful than here.

“Yeah. Welcome to Beauty.”

He laughed. “It’s nice to be welcomed to a town named Beauty by such a beauty herself.”

I blushed scarlet as his eyes roamed my body. They took in my dark brown, impossibly wavy hair. Today it was in ringlets, which I was thrilled about, taking in my pale skin at the same time. They roamed further down to look at my green pea-coat buttoned precariously around my “God-given” curves. Lastly, he took in my dark denim skinny jeans tucked into my bright purple snow boots. His eyes returned to mine as a smile spread across his face. “Thank you,” I whispered. He gave a small nod and turned to go. “Wait!” I called out, watching with glee as he turned to face me once more. “I don’t even know your name.”

He walked back to me until he was standing right in front of me. “Dylan,” He put his hand out for mine. “Dylan Evers.”

I took his hand and shook it. “I’m Laura. Laura Reeves.”

“Well, Laura, it was very nice to meet you. I can’t wait until we meet again.” He took his hand from mine and walked across the field. I stood and watched him disappear into the darkness that was quickly falling until I couldn’t see him anymore. Then I turned around and made my way back to my house.
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