The air was sharp, making it hard to breath. I sat down and knelt to take off my shoe, but another hand reached in to help instead. Startled, I slowly looked up to see Luke kneeling in front of me. He carefully slid his hand over my ankle, grazing the tips of my fingers and sending electricity through my entire body as he took the tattered shoe off for me. I let out a short breath and closed my eyes, committing the image of his face to memory.
I slowly reopened my eyes and he was gone. The dim ring of light not revealing where he’d disappeared to. I heard movement all around me, but couldn’t find my voice to speak. From the corner of my eye, I saw my mother standing beside me.
I stood up quickly.
As if I’d scared her, she disappeared. I didn’t know whether I’d actually seen her or only hoped I’d seen her standing there. In the blink of an eye, Luke reappeared. He put his hand out toward me, inviting me into the grass. The blades were damp and cool against my toes, sending undeniable chills across my body until they met the warmth of Luke’s touch.
Shoes in one hand and my hand in the other, Luke lead us toward a gate on the other side of the grassy yard. Stepping out of the light and into the darkness, I suddenly felt we were being watched. Looking up at Luke, his eyes were locked on something in front of us, like he could see through the night. Before I could follow his line of vision, he squeezed my hand so hard I came to an abrupt halt.
Howls filled the air. They got louder, closer than the last time I’d heard the calls echo around me from my bedroom porch. Frantically, I searched out in front of me, listening to the sounds getting more piercing as they drew nearer.
Suddenly, three pairs of glowing eyes appeared in the night.
I took a deep breath.