by Laura Lawless
Eight year old Becky loved walking in the woods with her father, even though he often forgot she was there, allowing the branches of trees to swing back and slap her in the face. The child, growing tired of that, hung back and stopped beneath a tall oak.
It was a cold day. Her fingertips felt frozen beneath the fabric of her mittens, as she watched her breath come out in puffs of smoke. She playfully blew out through her lips to make more smoke, amused by the display. She gazed up through the naked branches of the trees, to the blue of the sky and wondered to herself, will I remember this time when I am 30? What will I be then?
Becky was standing at the top of the hill above the creek behind her Aunt and Uncle’s home. She looked down toward the creek, allowing herself to feel the cold and that moment of existence.
Then, she heard her father call her name, “Becky, Where are you?”
“Over here, Daddy,” she shouted as she started to run toward the sound of his voice.
She found him, and he motioned her forward in urgency. “Hurry, get over here. There’s a pack of dogs down the creek a ways.”
She looked up and began to hear the sounds of their barking and growling. She felt fear course down her spine, because she sensed her father’s upset and worry. She turned to run, but her Father grabbed her arm. “It’s too late for that,” he said. “They’re right on top of us.”
So, he heaved her up and set her in the branches of a nearby tree. “Climb up a bit,” he told her. “And be quiet.”
She did as she was told, barely breathing as she sat up high looking out across the woods. Her father remained at the base of the tree, watchful.
Then she saw the dogs come around a bend in the creek, more like coyotes than anything. They yipped and growled as they moved along, sounding very threatening in her ears. Her father slid around to the other side of the tree, so they would not see him.
It seemed to take forever, before the dogs passed on by out of sight. Her father remained still for a time, and then quietly motioned Becky down from the tree. He reached for her and lifted her to the ground from the lowest branch. Then taking her hand, he walked with her quickly towards home.
A member of the Rock Hill Chapter of the South Carolina
Writer’s Workshop and a graduate of the University of South
Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Laura Lawless is
a reader, a writer and a dreamer. She drags around a spiral
bound, dog-eared notebook everywhere she goes, jotting down
thoughts, ideas and scraps of poems. These ideas often come
while driving dusty back roads in the humid, misty south. She
currently resides in Lancaster, South Carolina with her
husband, daughter, a cat and a dog. Her poetry has appeared
in THREE LINE POETRY and AUTUMN LEAVES. She can be contacted