There was a whisper. If she hadn’t been listening for so long, she wouldn’t have heard it. The whisper was fading. It was like the voice was moving away. She couldn’t just stand there. She knew it would be foolish but she still felt her feet drag on the forest floor, crunching the dried up leaves as she stepped on them. The crunching sound seemed to be so loud in the darkness that she stopped. She strained to hear more but no sound was heard. The wind was dead. Not even a single leaf was ruffling on the trees. The moribund autumn was giving way to cold chilly evenings.

She decided to return to her warm hut as the chill finally reached her through her layer of clothes. She turned around and went back the way she had come. But her mind was with the whisper of her name in the darkness. She did not know why she had come out of the hut at this hour. It was like someone was calling her. It seemed a good idea then to go out for a walk. Strange!

She kept walking silently till she saw the tiny lights of her hut where she lived these days. It wasn’t much but it was home. There was still one place where she didnt feel afraid. The huge fireplace, built for cooking in the old times was so comforting. She used to sleep in front of it in winter. She shuddered as she felt the chills again running down her back.

Finally, she reached her hut. She opened the wooden door and felt the heat coming from the fire she had lit at the time of dusk. She smiled and closed the door behind her.

It wasn’t much of a life that she had wanted for herself but she was happy.