Emma and the Minotaur HTML version

3 Wizard Falls
On Thursday nights, Emma’s father taught a night class from seven to ten. Normally, he would
come home at four in the afternoon and wait until after dinner before returning to the school but today
he had called the house shortly after Emma and Will had arrived. He'd said that he had a lot of work to
do and that he would be staying at the university until the late class was over.
Will had filled a plate with yesterday’s ham and asparagus and he’d taken it to his room.
Emma hadn’t felt much like eating or doing anything at all.
It had started to rain just after they'd arrived at their house. It was now six o’clock and the rain
hadn’t relented. The clouds only looked angrier as darkness and night approached.
Emma was sitting on her window sill watching the falling raindrops as they splashed into potholes.
Now and then, there was lightning, and it illuminated the street and cast flitting shadows across the
faces of the houses across the road.
Emma was holding the note from Miss Robins in her hand as she watched the rain. During the best
times, the rain made her sad. All that had happened that day only made things worse. She wanted to
talk to her father because he was always comforting when one of Emma’s moods snuck up on her but
she didn’t want to give him the note from Miss Robins or tell him about her two strikes.
Emma checked the clock on the wall and made a decision. She went to the closet beside the front
door and put on a yellow raincoat and a pair of red boots. The re was a flashlight hanging on the wall
and she grabbed it and put it into one of the coat’s oversized pockets.
She opened the front door and went out on the street in the rain. For a moment, she stood there and
looked up to the sky and felt the cool raind rops as they fell on her face. She decided that being in the
rain was nowhere near as bad as sitting inside watching it.
There were many puddles and potholes on Belle Street and Emma jumped into most of them as she
made her way down the street and onto Lockhart Road.
To get to the University of Saint Martin, Emma could walk down Lockhart to Glendale Avenue and
then turn right, straight up The Hill, but the journey would be shorter if she cut through the forest. She
wasn’t allowed in the woods after dark but she figured that having the flashlight with her meant that it
wouldn’t be all that dark in there. Not really.
When she reached the edge of the forest, she took the flashlight out of her pocket, pushed the
switch, and peered into the darkness of the trees. She stood for a moment and listened to the whisper of
the wind among the leaves and the dripping of the rain.
When she was satisfied that it was perfectly safe, Emma went in under the trees. The wet leaves
underneath her feet made squishing noises as she walked.
Emma found that she wasn’t getting nearly as wet in there as she had been on the road. A clear
indication that taking the shortcut through the forest had been a good idea.
Some moments later, her flashlight started to fail.
The flashlight blinked off and on twice before its light became dim. Without knowing why they did
it, Emma tapped the back end of it with her palm like she had seen grown-ups do. It didn’t work. She
didn’t want to be stuck in the forest if the light went out, so she tried to judge if it would be faster to go
on or to turn around and go back.
Before Emma could make up her mind, there was movement ahead that gave her pause. It had only
been a shadowy blur among the trees but it had startled her.
“Deer?” she said and shone her light toward where the motion had been, but she saw nothing. She
took another step forward and the shadow moved again. It didn’t look like a deer.
“Mr Milligan?” she said and backed away. There was no response. She kept her eye on the shadow