Gridlocked Guesthouse Excerpt:


A fat tear rolled down her cheek as she started to dial nine. Before she could press the number one, the goats yanked forward in unison. She was suddenly dragged down into the woods, both goats bleating and pulling hard. And she fell. The goats fell too, sliding down suddenly into the darkness. To the beneath. Under the ground.
It reminded me of this time when I was a kid. I was out in the woods, like Rachel was now, but it had snowed really hard. I was pretty little, maybe, five or six. Maybe even seven. So I’m walking on top of the snow, and it has crusted over just enough to hold my weight, barely. If I stepped too hard I’d sink suddenly beneath the snow.
The snow was about thigh deep on my little legs, so it was much easier to walk on top the crust of the snow. The thin ice layer. I loved it. And even though my mother told me not to go out too far into the woods—because of the bears—I didn’t listen. I was walking along carefully, enjoying the crunchy, dangerous snow walking. At any moment, I might get stuck! Very exciting for a child like me, I must say. So I wandered out farther into the woods, and suddenly, the snow, did just the thing I was hoping and frightened will happen. It broke, and I sank in! But here’s the thing. I didn’t sink up to my thighs like I was expecting. Instead, I kept going down, down deep into the hole.
And as soon as I saw the big, sharpened sticks I knew, I just knew, I was in trouble. They didn’t catch me. I was so little, I somehow just got speared in the snowsuit. But my skin, my actual skin and bones and body were just fine. I was dangling on that little wooden spear.
I knew what this was. This was a bear trap. Sharp pointy sticks in a hole in the ground. I had helped to sharpen the sticks for my father. I had helped!
And somehow, with the heavy snow, I had missed where I was walking entirely. The world looks so different with snow! So I was stuck, I was really stuck. But that wasn’t even the problem. The problem, the way I saw it, in that moment, was that there was a bear in the trap with me. He was grimacing in pain, and looked up at me with big, frightened eyes. He didn’t have much fight left in him; his brown fur was positively dripping with blood. He let out a soft growl as he looked at me, then his tongue seemed to loll from his mouth as if it was too hard to hold it in. Blood dripped off his fangs. It had obviously snowed after he had fallen in, for he was almost invisible. Took my mom two days to find me. And I’m glad that bear was there, and hadn’t quite died yet. I bet I would have gotten too cold in there without him. Dad shot him, and he’s in the living room right now.
So you might say I know a few things about falling into a hole, and how scary it can be. Rachel, unfortunately, was in a lot more trouble than I was. She wasn’t falling into a hole with a half dead bear. She was falling into the basement with two tasty goats.

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