The cold was stinging against their faces as they made their way down the mountain road.
“Why are we even out here?” Tom lamented.
“Because granny told us to check on old Mr. Stevenson, you know, his heart and all that and with all that snow, he can’t very well go to the store himself,” Lizzie answered.
“I know, Liz, I know, it’s just,” he broke up in frustration.
They’d continued for a while longer when they saw headlights ahead. A car was parked at the side of the road.
“Trouble ahead,” Tom joked.
Lizzie didn’t answer, instead she hurried on.
Outside, next to the car, she noticed, who was busy digging through the snow.
“Everything all right, mister?”
The man jerked up in shock. For a moment he was quiet, then he nodded.
“Ah yeah, I just saw something out here and,” he broke up and stamped back to his car.
Only now did Tom and Lizzie see that back was wide open, inside was a heavy blanket and for a moment Lizzie thought she saw something.
The man’s eyes followed her gaze.
“Ah, just the old boy, you know with the cold and all, I’d better wrap the dog in a blanket.”
Without another word the man closed the back of his car and a moment later he’d entered it and drove off.
When Lizzie turned to Tom, she saw his eyes wide open, staring at the heap of snow he’d been digging in.
“Liz,” he brought out shakingly.
When she joined him, she saw the blood right away, saw the single empty shoe half-buried beneath in the snow.
That’s when Lizzie realized there was no dog, never had been.