The fire back at the shack finally went completely out and was now filling the place with smoke. “I just can’t sit and wait for Jacob to come back. I need to go out and find some wood or something to burn.” Anna said to herself. She folded up her blanket, put on her heavy coat over all of her sweaters, put on her hat, pulled it down hard so it would cover her ears and headed out the door of the little shack, careful to close it hard to keep the wind from blowing it open again.
Anna struggled to make any headway against the wind but, finally she made it to the street and grabbed onto a lamp post and stood for a minute trying to figure out exactly which way Jacob might have gone. Not knowing he had gone left, she decided to go to the right toward the docks and the waterfront. She and Jacob had gone down there often with their Pop when he worked building and repairing boats. Maybe Jacob had found a stash of scrap wood left over from someone’s boat repairs down there.
Jacob’s eyes opened to light so bright it hurt his eyes and to the worst headache he ever had. He rubbed his head and moaned while he tried to get his eyes accustomed to the light and to focus.
“Well, boy. So you thought you were gonna get away with my wood? Ha! Ha! Ha!” said a raspy voice so loud it hurt Jacob’s ears. “No one gets my wood, boy!”
Jacob’s head was throbbing as he turned in the direction he thought the voice came from. He tried to see who was talking, but his eyes still couldn’t focus.
“No sir, I didn’t know it was anybody’s wood. My sister and I ran out of wood, and we are so cold.”
“I don’t care if you freeze to death, boy” the voice thundered, “it’s my wood, and now you’re gonna pay for tryin’ to steal from me!”
Anna stayed close to the side of each building she walked past on her way down to the docks in order to stay out of the full force of the bone-chilling wind. Each time she felt the full force of the wind, she pulled her coat tighter around her small, thin frame.
When she got to the place where her Pop used to work, she saw a light on in his old workshop. She looked carefully through the window and couldn’t believe her eyes! There was her father, Aloysius, working on what looked like a large cage.
Anna ran around to the door and tried to go in, but it was locked with a big chain and a padlock. She banged on the door and yelled, “Pop! Pop! How do I get in?”
Frustrated, she began to cry. Then a thought popped into her head. She ran back around to the window and knocked as hard as she dare.
Aloysius, startled at the loud sound, turned and looked in the direction of the window. At first he looked shocked, then surprised, and then very frightened. He started waving at her to go away when a loud voice came from behind her. “Hey, girlie! What do you think you’re doing here?”
Anna turned around to the sound of the voice to see a very tall, brutish looking figure. Thinking quickly, she noticed a piece of wood stacked against the building, grabbed it, held it horizontally, and ran under him and through his legs. The piece of wood knocked his legs out from under him, and when he fell he hit his head. After that, he lay still and silent.
“Oh, he’s out cold!” she said to herself. “I’ll just grab the keys hooked onto his belt. Maybe one of them will fit the lock on the door.”