That Winter by Shannon Yarbrough

October 20, 2011 Comments Off on That Winter by Shannon Yarbrough

It was snowing that night, and the moonlight glistened on the white blanket that fell across the farm. Johnny and his grandmother were in the living room watching Dick Van Dyke on the small black and white Sony while keeping warm under a homemade patch quilt by the crackling fire. Grandpapa sat at the kitchen table reading the Farmer’s Almanac.

During a commercial break, Johnny got up and crept over to the large living room window. His footed pajamas whispered across the hardwood floor. Though the curtains were drawn, he slipped behind their folds to take a peek out at the snow. Thoughts of no school in the morning, snowmen, and snowball fights filled his young head and made a smile grow across his innocent face.

Johnny leaned forward across the windowsill, cupping his hands on each side of his eyes to block the glare from the fire so he could get a clearer look at the falling snow. The window was cold against his hands and wet with condensation, but it felt nice against his warm face. His breath fogged the window.

Through his small binocular-like view, Johnny could see the barren trees standing still across the field. Their skeletal limbs grew white with dust. The old barn’s roof sparkled with winter diamonds. The air was full of paper confetti, filling the yard with a cold and wet fantastical play land which Johnny couldn’t wait to conquer in the morning.

Johnny pulled his face away from the window just for a second to get a wider view and to wipe the glass clear. When he leaned against the window again, the view from inside his hands went black. He waited a beat for the outdoors to come back into sight, considering things might have gone dark from a heavy cloud covering the moon. That’s when he noticed something was blocking his view.

He slowly lowered his hands and pulled back from the window to find a dark cloaked shadow standing on the other side of the window pane directly in front of him. Its shadowy hands were against the window, mimicking Johnny’s actions on the inside. It slowly lowered its hands just like Johnny.

Johnny stood silent in fear, still unsure if what he was seeing was real. Maybe it was just a shadow. It had to be more because he could not see through it. That’s when two yellow eyes popped opened, looked through the window at him. Johnny blinked, still not believing what he saw. The yellow eyes blinked too.

That’s when Johnny screamed.

© 2011, Shannon Yarbrough

Shannon L. Yarbrough is a writer, painter, photographer, and poet living in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is the author of three novels, and he believes in ghosts.  He’s an amateur gardener, novice wine drinker, book reader, movie lover, music listener, and a pretty good cook.  Find him online at

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