Enid was a good girl. Everyone in town said so. Mrs. Jenkins at the post office would be the first to tell you how kind Enid was to all the old folk. And what Mrs.Jenkins knew, everybody knew.

At least until last Sunday. The church picnic went as planned and Enid’s Sunday chicken was as usual praised by all the good folk of Bonneville. All the folk of Bonneville were good folk, that is unless you thought about Mike Sellars down at the Hollow, but the Hollow wasn’t inside the limits so nobody really thought about Mike Sellars too much – nobody that is except Enid.

Once or twice a long time ago she’d been inside Hollow House with its pretty colored windows and big winding staircase of rich mahogony. Enid didn’t know it was mahogony. She only remembered that it seemed quite silent inside, and peaceful.

Enid liked when it was quiet. She liked to walk out past the meadow, past Wilkin’s barn down to the stream which marked the limits. There she’d sit for hours watching the water lap against the stones. She’s gather some daisies for the Home, leave some crumbs for the birds and often she’d wade into the creek splashing water on her sun warmed face.

It was then that Enid usually thought about Mike Sellars. Being in the middle of the creek she could see past the bend down into the Hollow and sure as not she’d seem him hoeing in the green patch or sitting in the shade of an old oak just chewing on a blade, nodding his head gently in the breeze. She wondered why he lived in the Hollow and why no one in Bonneville much cared for him.

Everyone in Bonneville said Mrs. Sellars had been, well you know, kinda queer upstairs like. Sorta mental. Happened all of a sudden they said but Mr. Sellars bein’ the man he was well he wouldn’t hear of an institution and so with a bit of patience he set about keeping her at the Hollow, hoping every day that Mrs. Sellars would soon come round.

And then Mr. Sellars took that heart attack. Some fancy city folk paid for the funeral according to Mrs. Jenkin’s who said she got it straight from Mr. Will. of Willburtanski’s Parlor. That happened about five years ago they figured and Mike was just about sixteen.

Same as her now she thought and wondered what it was like to be really grown up. Not that she didn’t think she was grown up but she was just finished her-eleventh grade and Aunt Isabel still made you be in bed by nine, exceptin’ special occasions of course.

Enid wondered if Mike Sellars had to do anything. After all, who would make him. Mrs. Sellars had died just last Spring and as everybody said only Mike and the ghosts lived down at the Hollow now.

This particular Sunday, Enid went for her usual walk after the picnic and after splashing about in the stream she thought she might make a daisy chair for old Mr. Jake at the Home. He liked daisies she knew and she thought she might put it on him when she served supper it bein’ his eightieth birthday and all. Imagine getting all the way to eighty.

She smiled, remembering how old sixteen seemed. She tried to imagine herself at eighty but decided she’s settle for eighteen. Then she’d really be old, old enough to vote, to go to work at the 5 and 10 even old enough to go to nursing school far away if she really wanted to. It was a delicious thought which tempted a series of well played day-dreams, but before she could even begin on her favorite she heard someone splashing, quite closeby.

It wasn’t exactly someone. It turned out to be a beautiful red setter and Enid knew it was Mike Sellars dog. Hadn’t Mrs. Jenkins been sayin’ just the other day that decent folk in Bonneville didn’t have no truck with folk using big hunting dogs? What’s a person need a big dog for ‘ceptin to pertect hisself, she’d say. And what’s a certain party perfecting hisself for, I’d like to know, she’d add, to anybody listening.

Mrs. Jenkins did indeed want to know. It bothered her not to know things. She didn’t like people who kept secrets and she thought that Mike Sellars was being awfully secretive livin at the Hollow by himself with a big dog to protect him. And since Mrs. Tonkins thought so it got to be general knowledge that the Sellars boy was trouble and trouble was an unfriendly word in the Bonneville vocabulary.

But Enid liked dogs and she specially liked the rich colour and silky look of this one. He reminded her of the staircase for some reason. She was rather surprised when the dog came upstream, shook himself off and moving slowly, sniffed his way toward her. She heard a voice yell ” here Joshua,” without thinking she called ” over here.”

Close up he was a little taller and a little thinner than she’d expected. The glasses were also a surprise – she couldn’t recollect seeing him wearing those before. He had an old fishing hat angled on a mop of sunny hair and Enid couldn’t imagine being– less afraid of anyone. A thought which suddenly made her start. She looked at him rather anxiously for a moment then said, ” I like your dog.”

“He is nice, isn’t he. Keeps me company – and/sees that I eat on time,” he added smiling.

Thinking of something to say, she said “I guess you’d be Mike Sellars,” and then she looked up into the friendliest eyes she’d seen in awhile and added “hi, I’m Enid Blakesley.”

” Joshua and I were just going to have some chocolate milk, weren’t we Josh. Shall we ask the lady to join us.” Josh’s ears flopped at the mention of chocolate and Enid chuckled when she thought of things she’d heard.

They both stood waiting for her. and as she took the offered hand up the bank, she smoothed her skirt and said she thought a chocolate milk would be just the thing right about now. It was after seven when she left the Hollow and she never thought to lie when people asked her where she’d been so late. Eyes looked questioningly at her, especially Mrs. Jenkins eyes. But Enid remembered her afternoon and kept a smiling silence. Enid definitely knew some things that Mrs. Jenkins didn’t know, and, on thinking it over she kind of liked it that way.