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Just A Short Walk

From the time Sally was a little girl, she loved taking long walks. Sometimes, she’d walk with her mommy or daddy, but mostly she walked alone. It was easier that way, because then she didn’t have to wait for someone to be ready to walk with her.

Sally’s favorite place to walk was in the woods at the edge of town, but she didn’t go too deep into them — Mommy said it wasn’t safe to walk alone in the forest.

One day, when Sally was about seventeen, she was hiking through the big meadow near the woods when a young man appeared before her. He was tall and handsome, and he looked stronger than even Daddy.

The stranger grinned. “Hello, my name is Peter.”

Sally knew she should head home, but instead found herself walking next to Peter. He snatched up her dainty hand in his sturdy grip, and they turned deeper into the forest.

Together they found waterfalls and cliffs and gorges Sally never dreamed could have existed in her woods. And happy, chattering animals coaxed them toward untold adventures — Sally and Peter followed.

Before long, after what seemed like only a few hours, Sally noticed the forest was darker and colder. Peter kissed her on the cheek and told her to close her eyes and count to ten. She did, but when she looked again, he was gone.

She searched behind her and found two sets of footprints, hers small and light, his large and deep.

When she turned back, she was standing in the meadow where they had met. Their children moved in close to brace her, but she was steady.

For in the golden sunset beyond the preacher, beyond the open grave, Peter waved from a thicket of trees.

They would walk together again.

Published inFlash Fiction

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