Visitation: a knock

Ina had walked all day and into the night, and though by now she was dusty and worn, not a single door had opened to her. The darkened plains were endless, and the homesteads scattered through them sparse; standing at one, she could not see the next.

Their inhabitants had, at best, regarded her with bald suspicion when she knocked, and politely, firmly told her she ought to look elsewhere for a place to stay. Some slammed their doors shut, thinking they had recognised her.

She became glad that it was no trouble for her to move on. The cold could not harm her, and she certainly could not enter a house against the owner’s will.

As she followed the faint track between low hills which stood starkly black against the horizon, another house came into view. A small farm, like the rest, with bare trees planted behind it and a chicken coop in front. Ina made her way from the hills to its front door, as if she were wandering through a shaded garden in summer, and knocked.

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