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The air was still that cold January night. Frost had already begun to form on the blades of the withered brown grass, and the surface of the small pond that lay near the old ranch house had already long since frozen over.
Beside the trunk of a tall bare-limbed oak tree, the air shimmered slightly. It was no more than a brief glitter of shining light really; unless one had been looking intently at that exact spot, it would have been easily missed, and on this occasion there was no one there to see it occur.
It would also have taken someone with very acute vision to notice, in the faint glow of the moonlight, the two small places where the grass was being pressed down; as if someone were standing there beside the tree. And unless the person watching was either very lucky or very young, they certainly wouldn’t have seen the slender figure standing there, staring down at the house with a distant, wistful expression.
But on this particular night there was no one to see the figure as it moved across the field towards the old, sturdy building crafted from weathered brown boards, and no one to see the flash of blue light that surrounded it before it disappeared from view and entered the house.