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Were her eyes playing tricks on her?

Lindsey stepped outside and let Clara down next to her. She moved the chairs back into place. The toddler kept pace back and forth to the house for the first couple of chairs. “Can you smell that, Clara? Doesn’t fresh cut grass smell good?”

Lindsey looked beside her. The child was gone. “Clara!” She glanced over to the swing set. Empty.

Her eyes quickly scanned the chairs. The yard. The trees.


Her breath froze in her lungs . . . until a sound reached her ears.

Small fists pounded on the back door.

She swung around and saw Clara. Instant relief flooded her. “What are you doing? Do you want to go back inside?”

Round eyes full of fear moved up and down with her head. Lindsey opened the door and was quick to shut it behind them. Her niece’s fear was contagious as the hair on her arms now stood on end.

Lindsey followed her toward Elizabeth, but as she turned past a window she caught a glimpse of the far end of the yard. Her breath stalled. Were her eyes playing tricks on her?

She hurried to the door to lock it then peered out the window again.


Just an empty hammock, swinging in the still summer heat.

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