Tommy was delighted to see the first frost glistening in the pale moonlight. It meant the town would be blanketed with snow by morning and, sure enough, a good eight inches greeted him when he woke.
Excitedly, he rushed through breakfast, yanking on his big winter coat and mittens and hat as his mama cautioned him: “Mind the ice! Stay covered up! Don’t be out too late.”
Each time he replied with an enthusiastic, “Yes, Mama!”
Tommy pelted from the house, sleigh in hand, and nearly went head over heels as he rounded the corner. He couldn’t wait to race down the hill, giggling with his friends without a care in the world.
He wasn’t thinking of anything else as he sauntered over the small stone bridge over the frozen stillness of the Brook.
“Who’s that up there?” a faint voice whispered, stopping Tommy in his tracks.
Curious, he peered over the frosted stone wall, seeing leaves, twigs, perhaps even a dead animal stuck in the ice. He called: “Hullo?”
A hand, gnarled and riddled with frostbite, shot up and clamped around his wrist. Tommy screamed, unable to break free, tears leaking from his eyes and freezing on his cheeks as he was pulled over, down into the wretched, freezing darkness under the bridge.
Jagged talons sliced at him from the shadows; breath, hot and rancid, choked his nostrils. And as fanged jaws ripped into the chubby flesh of his forearm, that whisper gurgled and mocked in his ear:
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