As dawn blushed the feathery tips of pines looming over the remote Sierra Nevada village of Clark’s Hallow, tattered wisps of night continued to scatter shadows upon the narrow lanes below.
Bunny Elder, her heart pounding, gasped for breath as she scurried along, arms and legs pumping rapidly in her urgency to reach the warmth and safety of her cottage.
Slowing to skirt a patch of thorny blackberry vines, she failed to see a vaguely human shape swaying in the lower branches of a towering sugar pine beside the path.
Head bowed against the morning chill, Bunny was startled to feel bony fingers clutching at her shoulder.
Her agile leap of fright seemed at odds with the tangle of gray curls escaping from her knitted cap.
Gasping for breath, she willed her middle-aged legs to keep up the good work and run, but they merely trembled and gave way, tumbling Bunny into the weedy grass.
Spotting the cause of her terror, she began to blush and looked around to see if there were any witnesses to her attack of foolishness.
“Why in the world do people want to decorate their yards with such nonsense?” she fumed, with more than a touch of chagrin.
“That stupid plastic Halloween skeleton nearly frightened the life out of me.”
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