She knew these roads like the back of her hand, but somehow she felt lost. The darkness and the heavy snow enveloped her, the whole world closing in to the immediate vicinity of her car. Every muscle was tensed as she eased the car along the narrow country lane, anticipating each corner, driving by memory as much as sight.
Suddenly, something raced across the road in front of her. Her hands jerked on the steering wheel, causing the car to lurch to the right. she steered violently to correct it, but it was no good. Even at such a low speed, the conditions caused the car to gently pirouette off the road in a slow motion ballet, before coming to rest in a deep snowdrift.
Sara opened her eyes. "That wasn't so bad..." she thought. She checked herself over and realised she'd been lucky. Sure, she'd have a couple of bruises, but nothing worse. The car was a different matter - she tried to reverse out of the drift, but it was stuck fast.
A blast of ice cold air hit her as she opened the door. She pulled her coat tight and stepped out into the snow. She reached back inside for her umbrella, putting it up to keep the snow off as she surveyed the car. It seemed to have survived pretty much intact. There was some damage to the passenger door, but nothing serious.
Something caught her eye, a shape moving in her peripheral vision. she turned towards it. The headlights of her car penetrated the gloom, illuminating a rabbit sat in the snow, staring at him, At least she knew what had caused her to crash. She turned back to the car. It was going to be tricky to get it out of the snowdrift without a shovel. Typically, she didn't have one. She cursed under her breath and decided to get back in the car. As she shuffled around to the driver's side, she noticed the rabbit was still there. It hadn't moved an inch.
He felt her eyes drawn to the rabbit. They looked at each other, the rabbit into Sara's deep blue eyes, Sara into the deep, dark pits of the rabbit's eyes. Involuntarily, she began to walk towards it. With each step sh took towards it, the rabbit hopped away. As it did so, it seemed to stay on the surface of the snow, not leaving a mark on the pristine whiteness of the ground. This registered as strange to Sara, but only for a moment. Her head felt fuzzy as she continued towards the creature and further away from the car.
The rabbit paused for a while, letting Sara close the distance between them. When the distance was down to just a few feet, the rabbit turned and raced into a patch of trees. "Come back!" Sara yelled, chasing into the trees after the creature.
She stumbled through the plants and fallen branches, winding through the trees, trying to catch a glimpse of the rabbit that had led her in here. The deeper she went into the woods, the worse her head felt. She couldn't think straight. "How did I get here... here....hare....rabbit....where's that rabbit....... where did it go.....?" she caught a glimpse of it as it ran behind a tree trunk and gave chase, tripping and falling headlong to the ground. As she struggled back to her feet, the rabbit appeared again, as if it was waiting for him. As soon as she was up, it ran off again, daring Sara to follow. Not knowing why, she ran after it.
The rabbit kept disappearing, and then popping up, taunting Sara again, and racing deeper into the woods. She thought she could hear a voice calling her name in the distance, but it was far away. So far away. Probably just the wind.
Sara crashed through a thick patch of bushes into a clearing. She fell to the ground again, but this time the earth was soft and dry. There was no snow here. As she got to her feet she looked up through a gap in the tree canopy. The sky was beautifully clear and the moon was full, casting an eerie glow on the ground. The rabbit reappeared on the opposite side of the clearing. It slowly hopped towards her. Sara heard her name being called again. It sounded closer this time, but she couldn't really tell. "Sara............. Sara............."
As the rabbit approached his, she realised she couldn't move. Suddenly fear rushed through her, clearing fog in her head. The rabbit got closer. "Sara...... Sara Williams.....Sara...." Her name again. "Sara......Are you out here?...... Sara Williams...." Much closer now. She tried to yell out, but couldn’t make a sound.
A police officer ran into the clearing. The rabbit shot Sara a look that was as close to anger as a rabbit could manage, and then disappeared before her eyes. Sara could move again, the power that the creature had over her was broken.
"Sara Williams?" asked the officer. Sara nodded in response, feeling exhausted.
"Thank God we found you. We've been out here looking for you for three days. We were beginning to fear the worst..." Sara blinked. "Three days? That's not possible." The officer nodded. "Yes ma’am, three days. The farmer saw your car in the snow Wednesday morning and called it in. We've been searching ever since," he said, holding out a blanket to Sara. "Some of us thought that the evil spirits had got you."
Sara took the blanket, wrapping it tight around her shoulders. her head started to feel kind of fuzzy again. "What do you mean? Evil spirits?" The officer chuckled "Well, people say this wood is haunted. There are tales of mischievous spirits taunting travellers, leading them in endless circles through the maze of trees. They say some people never find their way out. I wouldn't believe any of that though. Come with me, let’s get you home. My car is right this way......"