Blood Tree

“The blood tree is dying, papa,” Henrietta said from the doorway. Her handmade teddy bear – Georgette – dangled from one hand.

“It does that every year, love,” Marcum replied. “It’ll be back.”

“No!” Henrietta whined. She swung Georgette a few times for emphasis. “Not like for winter. I mean really dying! I saw it in my dream!”

Marcum smile patiently. “Alright, let’s go take a look, then,” he replied with mock seriousness. He stood from his place by the fire. “There’s still enough light left to have a visit. Get your shoes on!”

His daughter ran off with surprising urgency. Well, surprising to an adult. Marcum was sure that to her five-year-old mind, this dream was of dire consequence. It wouldn’t hurt to get a little bit of exercise, anyway. It wouldn’t be long before they were trapped in by the snows for a month.

Henrietta came running back, her shoes properly tied, her jacket buttoned up. She’d probably set a personal record for speed on that. His little one was really growing up in all the little ways.

Marcum swung the lantern down from the wall, just in case. Best they be back before sundown but it didn’t hurt to carry it along. “Go get Wolford, love. His old bones could use a walk, too.” Eager to get on, Henrietta bolted out the door to the kennel. Marcum wrapped his coat around him and shut the door.

Even with the sun up, the wind was biting today. Likely to be a harsh winter for all.

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