She could have been anyone.
She could have been any girl who arrived in Winterfold that summer.
That sounds strange, doesn’t it?
It sounds strange to my ears, anyway. Summer in Winterfold. How can there ever be any other season here but winter, with a name like that? But whatever the time of year, Winterfold has a cold embrace and, like the snows of winter, it does not let you go easily.
Once upon a time there was a whole town here, not just a handful of houses. A town with twelve churches and thousands of people, dozens of streets, and a busy harbor.
And then the sea ate it.
Storm by storm, year by year, the cliffs collapsed into the advancing sea, taking the town with it, house by house and street by street, until all that was left was a triangle of three streets, a dozen houses, an inn, a church. Well, most of it …
And then, that summer, she arrived. And actually I’m lying.
She couldn’t have been anyone, because the moment I saw her beautiful face I knew I loved her, and I knew she would love me, too.
Text copyright © 2011 by Marcus Sedgwick