I’m a day late, but hope you’ll enjoy the final part of Scrapefoot! It’s been really exciting to write this story in serial form and thank you for your lovely comments. If you’ve liked what you’ve read, do check out my books- dark and twisty with a glimpse of the mythical past!
I told him he could stay. He wasn’t doing any harm, and he seemed to know more about the house, about my mother and about me than I did. He was clever. I left quietly by the front door. It had been snowing again, and the path wore a new, glistening blanket of white. I was at the gate before I came to my senses. What had I done? Given the green light to a complete stranger, a squatter, a vagrant. How had he tricked me into that? Scrapefoot, indeed!
As I turned to march back to the front door and give him a piece of my mind, I noticed that my footsteps were absent. Even heavy snow could not have obliterated them so soon. What was going on? Slipping and sliding, I made my way back to the house and flung open the door. The fire was still blazing merrily, but there was no sign of the man. I checked the sitting room and the bedrooms. even the bathroom and the back garden, in case he was chopping more wood, but Scrapefoot had vanished. I twirled slowly in the middle of the sitting room. Something was not right. I could smell that sharp musky scent I’d noticed before. There on the new cushion, in my mother’s favourite chair, lay curled a white fox.
“How did you get in?”
It surveyed me steadily. It’s eyes were a sharp, icy blue. Something stirred in my head- words- although from whence they came I really couldn’t say.
“I’ll stay until your mother comes home, and then I’ll be gone.”
Was it a promise, or a threat?
This time when I turned and left. I didn’t go back.
“Mum, I’ve been doing some thinking.” I held my mum’s tired hand. It was 3 pm and the tea trolley was on it’s way. I could smell a fresh brew and custard creams. A nurse was rearranging the medicine trolley, checking items against her clipboard. “How would you like to go home?”
“Go home?” The words were tremulous, sweetly hopeful. “Home to my own house?”
“Yes. I think we could manage. If I relocate and work from home- your home- we could manage well enough. What do you think?”
“Oh Rebecca!” My mother’s grip tightened. “It’s what I’ve been dreaming of, but I couldn’t tell you. You have your own life to live.”
“Let’s just say I had a sudden inspiration. Experienced a guiding light, so to speak.”
“It would be like old times!” Her eyes were bright and a little bit teary.
“Steady on. I am a grown-up now, you know. I’m too old for stories!”
“Even the one I used to tell you about Scrapefoot?”
A peculiar feeling twisted inside me; part fear, part joy. “That is a story best left for another day. Wait until we get you home and I’ll tell you everything…”
Scrapefoot is a traditional folktale, said to be the inspiration behind Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In this story, Goldilocks is a wily fox!