It Was Dark and Emma Wimsey Was Alone
When I started teaching in a one-room schoolhouse near Black Creek, I lived with a farm family and had to walk three miles to school in all kinds of weather. I always went early because I had to make a fire in the wood stove and trim the lamps and wash the glass chimneys and sweep the floor.
One day in late November before snow had started to turn the brown landscape white, I set out for school in pitch-darkness. There was a covered bridge over the creek, and oh! how I dreaded crossing that bridge in the dark! On this particular day, as I entered the dark tunnel, I saw something that made my knees shake. There was a white object at the far end — small and round and white and floating in the air. I stood stock still with my mouth open as it came closer, bobbing gently. I wanted to turn around and run, but my feet were rooted to the ground. And then I realized it was a face — no body, just a white face! It started to make noises: “U-u-ugh! U-u-ugh!”
I tried to scream, but no sound came from my mouth. Then two white hands reached for me. “U-u-ugh! U-u-ugh!”
As the white face came close to mine, I was about to faint, but then I recognized it. I recognized a pale young girl from our church. She was wearing black garments and a black shawl over her head, and she was trying to tell me not to be afraid. She was a deaf-mute.