Our storyteller gathered her small charges around the fire. The wind howled outside, always prying and trying to squirm inside to steal what little warmth emanated from the forlorn cast-iron stove. The children huddled under blankets to keep out the cold, and to still the shivers that come from a scary tale. Tonight promised both.
She waited for the children to settle in and stop their fussing. The older ones held their younger siblings close – on laps, in the crooks of small arms, inside their shirts to let the babies sleep. The storyteller looked down on a pool of wide eyes while the stove murmured to itself and cast its meager glow on the upturned, hopeful faces.