"Foreign Footprints"

Wendy Lee Klenetsky December 17, 2018
Mystery
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    Jess was a guy who was considered a loner, basically because he lived alone in the woods. To anyone who’d ask, Jess would let them know that he was quite happy with his solitary living arrangement, and never felt lonely.
    He knew and liked his neighbors who lived far apart from each other and they all knew and liked Jess. None of them, if asked about Jess, ever had a cross word to say about him; they just thought it strange that a man his age lived by himself in the woods.
    But Jess truly liked his situation; he felt content not needing to deal with others daily.
    That’s why, when he saw a set of footprints in newly-fallen snow leading away from his house that day, and he hadn’t seen anyone, beads of sweat formed over Jess’ brows, he started pacing back and forth and in general, felt very uneasy. To anyone who knew Jess, they would tell you that it was extremely unusual for him to be worried about anything.
    He just wondered who’d made those tracks, when and why?
    Because he had no idea who had actually made those footprints seen in the snow on his property, and realizing that he had no other option, Jess felt he needed to contact his neighbors. Maybe one or two of them had heard or seen someone around his house, and could provide him with his desired information. When, after having made contact with his closest neighbors, he hadn’t heard from them for hours, Jess reluctantly resorted to searching by himself.
    All day, sitting in his home’s front parlor, as was his fashion, with binoculars surveying his property up and down, Jess would be watching.waiting..watching..waiting..watching.. and nervously readying himself for the unknown answer to his query.
    Funny, but each day with all of his deliberate waiting and watching, he found it nearly impossible to stay awake. Therefore, with his eyes feeling heavy and beginning to close, and no matter how hard he tried, Jess eventually curled up on his couch, gave in to the weariness and went to sleep.
    Minutes became hours, hours became days and days turned into weeks, without a sign of any person known or unknown. It was all so bizarre to him; nothing like this had ever happened to him, at least nothing that had him ‘spooked’. But unexplainably now it had, and now he was honestly terrified!
    Then on that third Thursday of the month, Jess finally got the response he was dying to discover: the who, when, how and why answers.
    Since Jess always fell asleep at the exact time it happened every single day, it’s no wonder he had such trouble finding his answers. But, on that Thursday, Jess stayed up and was wide awake. Because he was, the solution was not only obvious, but crystal clear:
    The heavy snowfall made it impossible for the mailman to drive up to Jess’ door in order to deliver the mail; he had to walk up to his house for that, twisting his ankle doing so. However, whenever the mailman came, sleeping-Jess didn’t hear the bell. The mailman then trudged back from Jess’ house, and left the mail at the post office. Not until that Thursday, did wide-awake-Jess not only hear the bell, but met the mailman. Jess told him about the foreign footprints, and how the mystery surrounding them had scared him to death!
    Both Jess and the mailman had a hearty laugh about it, and then mailman went about doing his work.
    Jess shook his head, silently laughing at himself, and returned to his house in the woods; no longer afraid, and able to once again enjoy his peaceful solitude.

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