Only our breathing could be heard as we both strained to hear for footsteps above us. The cold seeping through my shoulders drawing close to the bone. The strange woman sat on the stone steps tangled blonde hair draping her buried face. A rough dark wool coat framed her wilted body in the darkness.
“Do you have any children?” I asked. Her head tilted up towards me, eyes wet and sniffling she wiped her nose on her sleeve, “Yes. Two boys.” She hardly looked older than 20. Darkness and stress can distort age. I wonder how old I look ? Maybe a lot younger.
“How are you living in my grandmother’s house?”
“She disappeared ’bout eight years ago. I was going to hide in her house until I saw the smoke and light. I hoped she was back.”
“What was her name?”
“Carol Mees, odd name in this region. Muma said she was from a far away land Medrodetra.”
Carol Mees sounded familiar. Where did I hear that name before? “Was she a bit taller than me with long deep gray hair.”
“Like a wolf mane. You’ve seen her?” Her whole body raised up in anticipation of my answer.
“Maybe . . . about eight years ago.” I think Carol Mees was the old woman we bought the house from. I remember her saying she was tired of shoveling snow. We heard from a neighbor that she moved into a condo and just last year she had died of a heart attack. She had two sons–here.
“Did your mother have any siblings?”
“No. My grandfather was murdered just before . . .”
A knock sound on the ceiling. We held our breath and I turned out the flashlight. Were my family in danger? I wanted to fly up and shut the door to our basement and keep them all safe, if that were possible.
Sounds above us ceased and the door handle appeared.
“What shall we do?” I wanted to get Kal. Should I hide this woman out of my fantasy (or whatever it was)? Or do I go back and wish her well? I said a silent prayer.