No. 571

The tracks in the snow went around the cabin, but never approached it. Dani could see them through the frosted window.

“Amy,” she called to the next room. “Come and take a look at something.”

“What?” asked Amy over the steam from her mug of hot chocolate. “Why did I have to come all the way over here?”

“Look,” said Dani.

Amy wiped the window clear and peered out. “Snow,” she concluded. “I know that already. Remember this morning when it snowed?”

“By the trees,” Dani urged.

Amy checked again. She looked for a long time. Then she left her hot chocolate on the sill and went to the window on the other side of the cabin. “They go all the way around,” she said.

“Yup,” Dani agreed.

“When did you notice them?”

“Just now. Then I called you.”

Amy swallowed hard. “Maybe we pretend they’re from a deer?”

Dani nodded quickly. “Just a deer. A big deer.”

“They don’t get too close.”

“Right. Deer are afraid of people.”

“Exactly.”

Dani picked up the mug of chocolate. “Here’s your drink,” she offered, trying to lighten the mood.

Amy pulled a blanket from the couch over her shoulders. “Not super thirsty anymore.”

“Just a deer,” Dani confirmed once more, for the record.

“Lock the door,” said Amy.