Emma turned sharply, and stormed down the path to the cottage. By the time she reached the cottage, she was worried and angry.
“Grandmother! Please fix me a bottle of warm milk. Slade’s been shooting on our property again. He killed the doe and I couldn’t see her fawn anywhere around. I’m afraid the shot scared her and she ran off without knowing where she was headed,” Emma said, frantically putting supplies into a basket.
“I don’t much like the outlook for tonight. It’s getting mighty windy and cold out there. I’m not sure I like the idea of you going out there tonight… looks like it could snow,” speculated Emma’s grandmother.
“I have to go,” Emma said with determination. “The fawn could be caught, and the wolves will be out anytime now, with it getting dark.”
“Well then, get your cloak on and here is a thermos of hot tea, and be careful,” her grandmother warned.
“I will. I’ll be back before you know it.” Emma tried sounding cheerful, but she had reservations about going out on such a stormy night.
The wind started pounding Emma as soon as she was out the door. Grandmother was right - it was snowing and hard. The howl of the wind was deafening, as Emma pulled the hood of her cloak over her head as far as it would go. The snow seemed to be a million little daggers all directed at her.
Finally she saw a clump of brown through the snow, Emma forced herself to move faster. There was the fawn, a mass of fur barely moving. She heard a whistle of a train coming around the side of the hill. Emma froze. The fawn was on the track. Everything inside Emma started screaming Go back now! Memories started flashing through her mind. She could hear the screams, and feel the pain.
“Mommy, I’m scared,” the little girl clung to Elizabeth Carter’s hand. With the other she clutched a small rag doll.
“It’s all right, Emma. I’ve ridden on a train before, and it’s the fastest way to Grandfather and Grandmother’s for Christmas. Oh, Here comes Papa with the tickets.”
“What’s wrong with my little girl?” Jonathan Carter picked up Emma and twirled her around in front of the train depot. Usually when he did, she would giggle and beg for to him to do it again, but not this time. Instead, a troubled expression started to form on the four year old’s face.
“I don’t want to go, and I don’t want you and mommy to go either.”
“Why not?” Jonathan’s eyebrows raised in concern. Emma usually wasn’t so adamant about things. Oh, she would sometimes have a stubborn streak or two, but she was normally an easygoing child.
“Because I’m afraid something bad will happen if we go.” As she was saying the words, they could hear the train’s brakes squeal as the engine roared up and halted in front of the depot. The next few minutes were a flurry of action. Everything seemed to fly past Emma, as she was hurried into the mouth of the black beast. She walked down the aisle of the train, and climbed up into the seat, without saying a word. Both parents exchanged worried glances. Emma would normally drive them crazy with all sorts of questions about such an adventure, but she didn’t this time. The train started out and finally got up to speed. Both parents tried to ease the little girl’s fear, as well as their own uneasiness. Suddenly the train started tipping. Screams erupted throughout the train as metal clashed against metal. Emma looked up and saw the panicked faces of her parents. She felt something slice her leg. Everything started spinning round and round. Then blackness.
Emma shook herself to the present. She could now see the train coming around the corner, barreling toward her and the helpless animal. She raced as fast as she could, in the driving snow, to reach the fawn. Pooling her strength, she grabbed the trembling fawn and dashed to the edge of the woods, just as the train sped by. Collapsing by a tree stump, Emma tried to comfort the forlorn creature. She realized they both didn’t have parents to take care of them, but the fawn had her and she had her grandmother.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got you now.” Emma cooed to the fawn. “I know what it’s like to be afraid, but it’s all right, I’ll take care of you.”
Emma smiled to herself…she had faced her worst fear, and conquered.