As Willow’s aluminum skiff crept through the algae-covered water, she sensed something was off.
Turning around a small cypress outcropping, her swamp shanty came into view. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, but that didn’t stop the prickling fear nudging at the base of Willow’s neck. She cut the motor and coasted towards the short dock attached to the modest house on stilts. There was no noise other than the splooshing of water against the boat’s hull.
She looked around; all appeared as she had left it the day before. The bell and horse shoe hung by the wood-slat door. Lavender sat undisturbed in the handcrafted terracotta pot next to it. It was the lack of noise which continued to put her on edge. The boat stopped against the dock’s inflated rubber bumper and Willow tied it to the cleat. Leaving her things in the boat, she climbed out quietly and took off her shoes. With slow determination she slunk towards the door and noted her senses had been right.
Screws holding the door’s hinges in place had been removed and replaced, the door hanging slightly off kilter. With a deep breath and closed eyes, Willow placed her hand against the wood and listened to the pain perpetrated by a trespasser. Anger filled her and, knowing she’d been violated, got back in the boat and called the sheriff.