It is snowing. Willow wears the crocheted hat her sister made for her. She walks alone on the street of Vancouver with the sounds of footsteps behind her. She turns a weary glance over her left shoulder – and there is no one.
“It doesn’t snow in Alaska,” a masculine voice says followed by a disgruntled laughter.
“Only if you’re dead,” another male voice says, “weather is the same all year round.”
“We’re as far North as we can be – no snow here.”
Willow pauses, looking into a starry sky; the streets are littered with snow.
“You’re in Canada,” she says, searching for a face to place with the voice. But, no one can be heard. She stops again at the corner looking in all directions for the two men with the European accent; still, no one.
She slams the door as if it’s the middle of the day.
“Genevieve! Genevieve!” She says to her sister who rolls over in bed looking for the clock.
“Do you know what time it is?” Genevieve yawns.
“Genevieve,” Willow hollers again.
“What?” She says lazily.
“The strangest thing has happened.”
“Oh, yeah? Well, tell me,” Genevieve musters a smile.
“Two men were talking…”
“That’s strange to you?” Her sister turns over.
“But I couldn’t see them anywhere… there were voices, and feet walking, but I couldn’t see anyone.”
Genevieve sits up, almost perky, “So, you’re telling me you saw a ghost?”
Then, the women were startled by a knock on the door.
“Who could be knocking this time of night?” Willow wonders.
“It must be Oscar returning early,” Genevieve says, putting on her bath robe.
“Why would your husband be knocking at his own door?”
“Lost his keys,” Genevieve glares and opens the door to find no one; the street, lit by yellow iridescent colors, is deserted without a trace of footsteps in the fresh snow, and she shuts the door, with a chill down her spine.
“The hairs on my arm are standing from goose bumps,” she says with maddening eyes.
“Certainly there must be someone,” Willow says and opens the door; she steps onto the front stoop peering at the cobblestone street when an astute man appears behind her and she jolts.
“I’m sorry,” he says with a toothy grin, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“Where have you possibly come from?” She says, shaken, scanning her eyes over an English gentleman in the three piece suit complete with a pocket watch – yielding a charm of decades past.
“Might I have your name?” He says, pulling a cigar from his trouser pockets.
“Tell me you’re not going to smoke that…”
“Then I won’t,” he thumbs the wrapper, “If you oblige me with a name.”
“It’s Willow. Willow Lakes.”
“Well then, Miss Lakes… or should I call you Mrs.?”
“Miss is just fine,” she covers her mouth with a gloved hand. “Wasn’t there two of you?”
“That, there was,” a voice says from behind her again.
“How can you appear from nowhere?” She clamors, when a coach drawn by black and white stallions stops before her and the gentleman opens the coach door, “We can take you places, my lady, where you have never been.”
“But, who are you?” She asks politely.
“The name is Frederick Thomas Wellington,” says the first gentleman.
“And I am Nicholas Ferdinand Walsh,” the second, younger gentleman says, looking equally stellar in a dated suit and top hat.
“Where can you take me exactly?” She inquires, as her sister opens the door.
“What are you doing standing out in the cold?” She gasps.
“I’m talking with these gentlemen,” Willow says casually.
“You’ve lost your mind, sister,” Genevieve says unamused, and shuts the door.
Willow takes one last casual look at the closed door before turning her head to the coach, and makes her way inside with the help of a blond haired, blue eyed Nicholas Walsh. The horse hooves clamor through the snow to stammer upon the cobblestone street; when they enter the tunnel before them and she opens her black trench coat to let the air in – she is taken through the time warp at one o’ clock AM and doesn’t return until midnight of the day before.
She finds herself walking once again with the sounds of soles stepping along, and two men talking; she walks the street alone toward her sister’s house – a visitor in Vancouver with memories of a bachelor and her being embraced in his arms.
“It doesn’t snow in Alaska.” The masculine voice says.
“Only if you’re dead.” The other voice says.
“Weather here is the same all year round.”
“And you’re not dead,” Willow says, staring up at the starry night sky.
“You’re not dead.”
© Candace Meredith
Excerpt from the book “Lost Souls”
Available at Amazon.com
About the Author
Candace Meredith earned her Bachelor of Science degree in English Creative Writing from Frostburg State University in the spring of 2008. Her works of poetry, photography and fiction have appeared in literary journals Bittersweet, Backbone Mountain Review, Anthology 17, Greensilk Journal and The Broadkill Review. She currently works as a Freelance Editor for an online publishing company and has earned her Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) from West Virginia University.