She stared at the piece of paper in her hand, letting the shining sun glint off the glaze and reflect into her eyes. She slapped the picture against her palm a few times as she paced at the foot of the driveway, debating. Within the neighbourhood stood the old and new, the supermarket she worked in rested beside an apartment building from the sixties. Then there was the sprawling Victorian, with green grass growing in mockery to the new era.

She'd been in that house once.

Finally with an exasperated sigh she pushed herself forward, wincing every time her sneakers padded against the asphalt of the driveway. She came in the daytime, knowing instinctively she would never be able to do this at night. At night, the old house would lose its regal charm and become menacing. She'd begin to wonder what scary things lurked behind its closed doors, peered through closed curtains. She'd also begin to wonder what other, not-so-scary things were watching, and dwell on the fact that he wouldn't be.

The driveway stretched and yawned before her. She scurried over the lawn, trying to dull her footsteps, but only managing to change them to shuffling grass. Kerry grabbed hold of the railing and ran up the stairs to the veranda. The ancient wood creaked beneath her feet.

Frightened, she stared around her for anyone who could have heard the racket she was making. She hadn't really taken into consideration she was trespassing on someone's private property, and when it hit her she also became paranoid of the police spotting her. Her heart rate accelerated. Another good reason to do this during the day.

The rusting mailbox screeched as she opened it. She winced and shoved the picture into the box. With eyes glued to the door, she backed up and hurried away from the house. Once back on the safety of the sidewalk, she turned to stare for a moment, naturally drawn back to the mysterious house as if it was a beacon to darkness. A breeze caught in her hair, and she breathed the frigid fall air, relishing in the slight release it gave from the sun, and the reminder that she was still alive. It had been exactly one year.

Turning her back, she walked away from Michel's supposed house, making her way to work. She left behind a small memento from her vacation with her family last summer. A picture of her, waving cheerfully to Ian as he took his first picture, the sun glinting off her hair, now rested in Michel's possession.

Just in case.

©RelenaFanel/10/2004