Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 184) Following

Stepping outside the small dwelling, Viktor carries the bucket that has been collecting water, drip by drip, from the ceiling of the kitchen. The air is much colder tonight and the melting snow has turned hard and crunchy. His steps are loud to him against the silence of the woods. The wind is still and there is a cautious feeling growing inside him.

As he steps to the right of the woodpile, and tosses the bucket up causing the water inside to splash out onto the ground, he notices an odd pattern in the snow. With the sky darkening, he has to squint to determine exactly what it is he is looking at. Upon closer inspection, he realizes there is a trail of footprints in the snow. They appear to step to the corner of the cottage and then lead back to the edge of the woods.

Carefully, he tries to be as quiet as possible as he places his feet in each print as to not disturb the snow around them. He is also trying to avoid the crunching sound the once soft snow has now turned in to. His mind is racing. He does not remember walking around the cottage, he knows he only shoveled a path to the woodpile, which he turns and looks at and it is now several feet away.

“I did not walk out here.” He mumbles to himself. “Did Nadja?” He wonders.

Once he makes it to the corner of the cottage, it is hard for him to tell where the prints originated and with the biting cold air nipping fiercely at his nose and fingertips, he quickly returns to the stack of wood. Grabbing several pieces, he sets them into the bucket gently and loads his left arm with six more logs. Carrying the bucket and the logs, he quickly heads to the backdoor of the cottage. Just as he steps up onto the wooden deck, Nadja opens the door.

“I thought you got lost. You didn’t bundle up in your jacket and I was worried.” She says as she opens the door all the way so he can easily step inside the warm room.

“Did you go out back for any reason today?” He questions as he makes his way to the living room, Nadja is following closely behind him.

“No, the only time I walk out was when you threw a snowball at me.” She laughs but Viktor remains serious and this catches her attention. “Why do you ask?”


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