Chapter 1: In which the main character is introduced

The sun was beginning to fall below the horizon as Brit propped her foot on a wooden chair to tie her shoe. Flecks of light came through the curtains and rested on the wall behind her. She covered her short, brown hair with a green hat that matched the color of her jacket and headed out the door. Walking across her backyard and into the woods that her family owned, she felt  a little proud at this accidental combination. It was never on purpose that her clothes matched but it happened fairly often as all of her clothing seemed to be the same three or four colors, despite any efforts to diversify her wardrobe. She stepped carefully, trying to avoid the poison ivy and nettles that sometimes crept into the old path that she followed.  The sky was growing increasingly dark which made her feel even more jumpy than normal. From the grass and leaves near her came rustling noises which made her let out a little screech while backing away and tripping over a root. It took a little time to recover from her fall and she noticed that the noises were coming from a large black snake, trapped in what used to be a wire fence.  She approached carefully, took out a multi-purpose tool that was always in her back pocket and used the wire cutters to free the snake. Quickly she went on her way, trying to gather as many sticks and fallen branches as she could for firewood before it was too dark outside.  She heard more rustling in the undergrowth as she headed home.  This time it scared her a little less and she tried to remain calm since her arms were full of wood. The sounds continued as she neared home. It was as if something unseen was following her. She moved faster, practically sprinting into her backyard to escape the sounds. Feeling safe again, she knelt down to add her firewood to a small pile by the door.  Dusting of her hands she turned to see the black snake from the woods, staring at her expectantly. At first she was frightened, it was nearly five feet long and it blocked her path to the house.  After a moment of complete stillness from the snake she sighed and spoke to it.

“What?” She said in an irritable tone. “If you’re not moving, I’m stepping over you.”

The snake just looked at her and slightly tilted his head. Of course he didn’t understand.

“I have to get inside sometime,” she said. She headed toward the door and his gaze followed her. Apparently the snake wanted inside too. With another sigh she set a large barrel by its side near the door.

“Fine,” she said, “you can’t come with me but you can stay in here if you really want to.” With what looked like a shrug the snake slinked away and curled up in the barrel as Brit shut the door behind her.


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