Permitting her imagination to run amuck, Emma lumbered through the heavy blanket of snow while cold flakes stung her cheeks. As she took a deep breath, her ears winced as the silence was broken. If they found her, she’d be forced to go back to the confines of her room. The thought of going back to that place made her wince more than the frozen patches that bit at her nose.

She trudged through the drifts, avoiding obscure stumps and dead, low-hanging branches. Knowing exactly where to go, Emma continued through dense forest-like plot until she reached her hiding place.

Intermittent shivers are now unmanageable as Emma hides and waits, hoping no one would notice the trail left from dragging her best friend. Looking at Toby, she knew leaving him alone wasn’t an option. Although, his weight did burden her, she wasn’t about to go on this adventure without him.  She could only hope the snow would quickly bury any evidence of their whereabouts.

The unruly lot she had run-away from would surely come looking for her. She knew this without a shadow of doubt. But they won’t find her, not here. This would be the last place any of them would care to look. She imagined the look of contempt on Jack’s face when he realizes she is gone. The thought pleased her.

In the meantime, Emma’s brother Jack and his friends, Peter, Drew, and Rob searched almost every inch of the house looking for the tot without success. All three of them were dumbfounded that this twit of a girl could outwit them.

“I swear when we find her she’ll be sorry,” Jack promised his three cohorts.

But they didn’t find her and after more than an hour of searching the boys burst into Emma’s room only find the unthinkable. Jack was all but hysterical when he burst into the kitchen to tell his father, Ron, about Emma being outside and alone in the storm.

He explained that they were playing a game of hide and seek in the massive basement and how he and the boys can’t find Emma. It was only when Jack noticed Emma’s oversized stuffed bunny, Toby, wasn’t on her bed that something wasn’t right. Curious, he went to her closet and discovered that her coat, gloves, boots, and hat were also gone.

Sobbing Jack choked, “I told her she had best find a good hiding place because if I found her before anyone else, she’d have to play by herself in her bedroom and stop pestering me and my friends for the rest of the day.”

Ron, jumped up and quickly dressed for the weather then went out to search for his five-year-old daughter. “Get everyone outside and start looking! We have to find her before dark.”

The farm sits on one hundred acres and it was with great hope that Emma went through the backyard into the thickened trees that she called a forest. In reality the trees lined the farm for agricultural purposes, but Emma always thought of the large cluster as her own private woodlands. By the grace of God, his youngest child would be there unharmed and not frozen to death.

It’s much colder than Emma thought possible, not even Toby is able to keep her warm. Slowly drifting off into a sweet dream, she heard faint voices calling out her name. A smile graced her lips as she whispered, “You’ll never find me, Jack.”

Emma has been waiting her whole life for the day that Jack would ask her to play hide and seek with him and his friends. She knew he really didn’t want her to play but bothered him about it until he said yes. The anticipation of the game more than thrilled her and she immediately knew where she was going to hide.

His heart nearly stopped when Ron came upon what was left of the tiny boot prints and the trail from Toby being dragged behind her. “This way! Over here,” he yelled to the boys.

Jack turned to run towards his father but tripped on some fallen branches hitting his head on a snow-covered tree stump. With blurred vision and a terrible ringing in his ears, Jack stumbled to his feet with help from both Drew and Rob, then ran to his father.

When they found Emma she was unconscious, cuddle up with Toby and blue from the onset of hypothermia. Ron was swift to get her back to the house. Peter had already called for an ambulance.

It didn’t take the doctors long to revive Emma even though her pulse was weak. Her body temperature became normal and within an hour she opened her eyes and immediately asked for Jack. Through purple lips, she gave him a big smile that lit up her eyes, “Will you ask me to play again, Jack?”

Sitting next to her with tears in his eyes, Jack hugged his little sister and answered, “I’ll play any game at any time you want from now on. Just get better ok?”

That was the last time Jack and Emma spoke.

The doctors told Ron that when Jack hit his head, a piece of bone from his skull caused his brain to bleed. When Jack laid next to Emma, he didn’t go sleep, he slipped into a coma and before anyone knew something was wrong, Jack was gone.

This is a short story that I wrote for a contest in January 2016. Though my entry didn’t win or get any special kudo’s, I feel this is one of my better narratives. I thought outside of the box on this one. The rules were:


  • Be written within 24 hours upon receiving the subject
  • No more than 960 words
  • Must touch on this subject:

A heavy blanket of snow illuminated the night while cold
flakes pecked at her chapped cheeks. As she took another
deep breath, her ears winced at the broken silence.
Shivering continuously now, she trudged while cold
flakes pecked at her chapped cheeks. As she took another
deep breath, her ears winced at the broken silence. drifts,
avoiding obscure stumps and black, low-hanging branches. The
item she dragged behind her left a noticeable trail but she
knew it would be deeply buried by the storm come morning…

  • Type the story in an email and send to the editor
  • Wait patiently for the announcements

This is a story I could’ve ran with yet; I was bound by the word count. I struggle with these because my imagination runs wild and it’s extremely difficult to keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

Please share your input. It’s impossible to improve without constructive criticism from both readers and fellow authors.

2 thoughts on “LAY OPEN TO

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