Sandy stole down the steep set of steps in the old oak tree, double-checked for a disturbance and gently closed the door behind, then crept out into the woodlands. The dappled light danced as the treetops swayed gently, an illusion, the birthplace of peace. She soon came to the glimmering lake, that sparkled and twinkled in the sunlight that was slipping through the trees.
Ten minutes later, Sandy was looking about for the place where she had first seen the family of squirrels. They were situated very near a very old, venerable elm tree surrounded by bottle-green grassy moss. She scrabbled about and very quickly found the place. The moss seemed to act like a feather bed, lulling her gently to sleep…
An hour later she awoke with a jump. The once-peaceful clearing had become something like a lair. Dark shadows spread across the lake’s now grey surface. The elm’s branches looked more like claws. Suddenly, a slithering sound made itself known, followed by a splash. Sandy had, before the splash, caught sight of an oil-black tail sliding into the water. Whatever it was, she wasn’t sticking around.
Sandy launched herself into the air, setting off like a pistol. She ran, heedless of the brambles underneath her bare feet. The branches whipped at her like a coiled spring, and as she ran, the strange slithering sound started again, this time closer, as she fled. It was only when the door of the oak had slammed behind her that she dared to stop running.
The same question was bouncing around inside her head. What was that?