For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #146, where we write about the image below from Morguefile.com.
The golden-haired young girl was becoming worried. It was winter and she had done exactly what her mother had forbidden, and strayed too far into the forest, but enchanted by the fresh snowfall and the invigorating weather, she had simply wandered farther than she had intended. And, with the snow creating a uniform world of white, she could not even be sure that she was walking in the right direction.
The temperature was dropping, and a cool dusk was falling rapidly as she entered a clearing. Lighting her lantern, she was sure she could smell the unmistakeable odour of burning wood. She became relieved, for it meant that humans were nearby. Immediately, she resolved to find them and to seek assistance.
Instinctively, the girl allowed her nose to lead the way and, with the sky becoming darker all the while, within ten minutes she reached a welcoming log cabin.
Stealing silently onto the porch, the girl rapped on the heavy door, but received no response. Surprised, she had smelled the smoke, seen the lights, so had expected somebody to be home, but nobody came. She then peeked through the main window. Again, she saw a fire crackling away, but nothing else stirred.
She tried the front door, which to her surprise once more, opened easily. Immediately, the heat struck her.
“Hello?”, she cried meekly, aware that she was intruding. “Is there anybody there?”
Again, no response. It was as if the owners had just disappeared.
The girl tiptoed into the house. Strange. It was well-furnished and was clearly somebody’s home. But prowling around the room, she saw no sign of life whatever, except for on a rustic oak dining table, where she saw three steaming bowls of porridge.