- Text Font:
- Text Size:
- Line Height:
- Line Break Height:
“It’s probably the bulb!” I called after him, but he was already gone.
I was alone now in the dark . . . but I had the eerie sense that I wasn’t alone at all. There was some light coming down between the slits from the porch—not enough really to see by, but enough to catch faint glimpses of things. For a second, I thought I heard breathing, and then something moved just a few feet away from me. Something big!
I panicked. I knew there were all kinds of wild animals in this area. Wolves and wild dogs. An angry raccoon could rip your eye out. A frightened bear cub could tear you to shreds.
I scurried away, painfully slamming my head against a crossbeam on the way. In my panic, I had lost my sense of direction and came up against the house instead of the yard. I turned again but banged up against a post—and now I could feel a presence very, very close to me.
Terrified of the dark and of the nature of this thing I couldn’t see, I desperately tapped my flashlight once, twice; and then on the third time, I must have hit it just right, because it came on—
—shining right into the face of the creature.
I yelped and leaped back against the wall of the house but held tight onto that flashlight, afraid to drop it again. Afraid of being left alone in the darkness with the thing.
Then I realized this wasn’t a thing at all. It was a person. A woman. Her clothes were tattered, her hair was matted, and her skin was so pale, it was almost white. But that wasn’t the worst of it. The worst was her eyes. They were a deep, deep blue. A shade of blue that somehow seemed even darker than black.
And she was wearing my charm bracelet.
I was so shocked, so freaked out, all I could say was, “That’s mine. . . .”
She slowly turned her head to look at her wrist, then took off the bracelet, dropping it in front of me.
“Wakeful,” she said.
“Awake. Can’t sleep. Wakeful.” She tilted her head oddly, and her neck let out a sound like crackers crunching in your hand. “Don’t I know you?” she asked.
I shook my head, even though I knew I had seen her somewhere before. I was sure of it.
“Yes,” she said. “Yes, I do know you!”
Then one of those god-awful, enormous, should-be-dead-by-now spiders came webbing down from the crossbeam up above, landing right on her cheek . . .
. . . and the moment it touched her face, the spider frosted up and froze solid. It fell to the ground with a clink, like an eight-legged piece of glass.
I screamed and bolted as fast as I could, dropping the flashlight along the way. I stumbled in the darkness until finally I came out from underneath the porch. I raced up the porch steps, just as my dad, Mr. Carnegie, and Rav burst out of the house, having heard my scream.
“What is it, honey? What’s wrong?”
“You see an animal or something?” asked Rav.
I couldn’t catch my breath. “No, not an animal.” I let them help me inside. My head was spinning.
“I saw . . . I saw . . .”
I sat down—no—I collapsed in a kitchen chair.
“Anika, you’re bleeding!” My father grabbed a towel and touched it to my bloody forehead.
“What did you see, Anika?” Rav asked.
I grabbed the newspaper from the table and pointed to the picture on the front page. The newlydead couple. The smiling woman in the picture. “Her!” I told them. “I saw her.”
Stunned silence. No one knew what to say. Then a neighbor came bounding in.
“Did you hear? Did you hear?” he shouted, completely oblivious to what was going on around him. “The glacier’s changed direction!”
“Glaciers don’t change direction,” said Rav’s father.
“This one did. It’s not heading toward the center of town anymore. It’s just gonna catch the edge. Now they’re saying it’s just gonna take out Dunbar Street and everything west of it.”
“That’s . . . great,” said Rav’s dad, still a little bit rattled by what I had just told them. “There’s nothing west of Dunbar Street but old warehouses.”
I shook my head.
“You’re wrong,” I told Mr. Carnegie. “There’s something else west of Dunbar Street.”
“What?” asked Rav.
I swallowed, feeling that chill of the glacier slide down my throat, making my stomach seize into a knot. “The cemetery.”
On Thursday, at about two thirty in the morning, Exit Glacier, having plowed through the forest before it, gouged its way through the fence of Seward Memorial Cemetery. It took down headstone after headstone. It tore apart what few marble mausoleums stood there. They fell like houses of cards. The wall of ice churned up the hallowed ground, and then when the entire cemetery was under the massive sheet of ice . . . the glacier stopped.
Just as quickly and mysteriously as it had begun, the forward surge ended. Most people agreed that it was some kind of miracle. I wasn’t so sure.
In the morning, Rav and I ditched school. I think half our school ditched so they could join the crowds standing in front of what used to be the town graveyard, getting only as close as police would allow. Mostly, our friends and neighbors were hoping for a moment of TV fame; with all the reporters there, chances were good that some of them would be interviewed.
Rav and I didn’t crowd the barricade like the others because we were there for a different reason. Instead, we climbed to the top of an abandoned work shed, where we could have a better view of the whole face of the glacier, and we waited.