(To access the beginning of this 6-part series, please visit here: Solitude’s End)
Time Will Tell
Flora never met the little forest man in person, after all, although the storm had passed through over night, and the day that followed was sunny and unusually warm for the time of year. But she had seen his tiny footprints in the morning dew on the cement slab of the sheltered porch.
He appeared to have slid off the couch by the wall, out of the nest of beach towel that still held the imprint of his body and the scent of something – some one – musky and piney and indefinable. The prints faced the couch toe-first, and then changed direction underneath the low table that matched the couch, and lengthened in stride as they crossed the slab and headed for the yard. They looked as if he’d leapt that final length off the porch; he must have been in a hurry to leave. It creeped her out a little bit.
She waved goodbye to her friend, Megan, as the small motor boat sped back to the island, after dropping her off at the mainland harbor. She trudged up to her SUV and dug in her pocket for its keys. She had a long drive home ahead of her, but that would give her time to think about Megan’s plan for her new life, and how she could best support her. She had to admit, Megan seemed to have figured out how to pull the best of both worlds together for her new life.
The cabin was winterized, with good and reliable signals for internet and cable for tech consultant work (if she so chose). She had her boat for access to the mainland and supplies when the water was open, and a snowmobile for when it froze over. There were a few more things to prepare, of course, and she was still an outsider to the small community that lived on the island and immediate mainland. But Megan had always been comfortably self-reliant and a loner. And she had her art, with its strange and beautiful images in her sketchbook and watercolors.
And maybe, just maybe, the company of her muse, the little forest man. As long as he wasn’t one to hibernate. But as Megan had said, time would tell.
© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2022)
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