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Rebecca stood watching from her second-floor window. They were there again; the wagon, buildings, and the family. She knew she had seen them yesterday. Though Mama tried to make little of it, Rebecca knew.

Yesterday, Rebecca walked out to the lake, taking with her a drawing pad and pencils, and a small book of poems. She did that often, for it was a quiet, peaceful place to be.  A  shy young woman, Rebecca learned as a child to keep company with herself. Her family had no close neighbors, the nearest being at least five miles away.Sitting beside the crystal clear lake, she sketched the scene. The lake was surrounded with wonderful greenery, blooming berry bushes and nut trees. The soft, mysterious, weeping willow trees grew so close to the water that they reflected back on themselves. It was a beautiful place.

When Rebecca sketched, she lost herself in time. It was usual for her to spend all day there but feel as though she had just begun. Using the last sheet in her sketching pad made her realize how much time had passed.

Daydreaming, she gazed across the water and suddenly became aware of an old-fashioned wagon sitting near the offset pond. Startled, she sat still and tried to see who had driven it. She saw no one, but was surprised again by a small, rustic cabin appearing behind it. More objects came into view, such as an empty corral with the gate standing open.

Another small building, either for animals or storage, she couldn't tell which, set beside the cabin. She rose to her feet and made her way to the nearest willow, which stood between her and the vision. Silently, she pushed the branches out of her way with the sketch book and hidden from view, she watched.

Hearing the laughter of children, she turned and saw a little girl and boy around the age of six. They were running around the edge of the pond playing, and just being joyful the way children will.

The little girl seemed familiar somehow, though Rebecca knew she'd never seen her before. But something about her laugh, and the shape of her face, made her feel she had seen her somewhere.

The children continued to come forward until they reached the spot where Rebecca had been sketching. One child stopped and pointed to the ground. Delighted, the other reached down to pick up Rebecca's book of poems.

"Mama, I found it! I found my book I lost yesterday!" The girl shouted as they ran back to the cabin. The vision disappeared as Rebecca watched in awe.

Rebecca slowly separated the flowing branches and emerged from her hiding place. She stood beside the lake and thought of the strange things she had seen. She knew they had been real, but of a long ago time. Somehow, it seemed right that she had seen.

When she told her mother, the only comment made was about an overactive imagination.

"I want you to find the book of poetry Rebecca, you know it has been in the family for generations. I expected you to be more responsible at fourteen. It's there somewhere, just repeat your steps and you're sure to find it."

The next morning, Rebecca again watched the activity going on near the pond. Smoke rose from the chimney of the cabin, and she heard a cow mooing to be milked. The little girl walked to the lake with a bucket, and filled it with water. As she picked up the heavy bucket she looked straight toward the house and into Rebecca's window.

Feeling chills along her spine, Rebecca held her breath as they stared at one another. The child dropped the bucket and ran toward the house, crying.

Then it begin to disappear once more.

"No, don't leave! Wait for me, I'm coming! I must talk to you!" Rebecca cried, as she hurried downstairs and across the yard. She ran to the lake, needing to see the child once more.

When she reached the lake, she ran along the edge until she came to the pond where the cabin had been. There were no signs of it, the land was empty. Sadly, she turned to return home when she saw the rusted iron of a wagon wheel buried at the edge of the pond.

Rebecca fell to her knees, quickly pushing the mud away and tugging until the wheel broke free. Pulling the wheel into her lap, she cried. Rebecca suspected who the little girl was, and wanted so badly to speak to her.

She rose and walked along the edge of the pond, searching for she knew not what. Glancing once more across the water, she knew they were gone and wouldn't be back.

She turned toward home when she saw the book lying atop a large rock. She picked it up and opened the front cover; the writing inside had not been there yesterday. She read it, sobbing freely.

In childish printing, the name Rebecca Sue - 1866, had been added. Rebecca had been named for her grandmother, and she knew they'd just looked into each others eyes.

Written with love especially for my sweet niece, the daughter of Mac and Donna:  Rebecca Sue 

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 "Short Story Contest Winner" 07-20-03