From WTP Vol. V #6
By Heidi Turner
We waited for the night-marchers.
The mountains held legends between their arms; stories flew between the peaks and through the passes like thread, sewing the past to us, and we slept outside in the firelight. Gods flitted past our ears along with the mosquitoes. The world was full of echoed chants that we could not hear and blood sunk deep into the red soil, filtered through until it was water again, and we drank it.
There were always stars.
On unlucky nights, drumbeats followed me and him, the two of us, before we were the two of us, long before we were the one of us. They beat on and on, crossing streams faster than we could in the darkness, which is why we stayed by the firelight. They would find us if they wanted to; running was no good, sleeping little better. That’s where the legends came from—sleeping in the firelight and showing our belly buttons.
That was the night she was stabbed. Do you remember?
Of course, of course… it sounded like scissors. And the t-shirt was perfect, do you remember? Besides the blood, but perfect, do you remember? Maybe there were drums, but I wouldn’t know. I heard nothing, not for a whole year. And she was so close to finding them, too, and she was ready, I know it. There’s no one else who knew what had happened for so long. It was our history and it faded into legend before we were old enough to drink.
It was like that then.
It was, wasn’t it? The mountains held us a little tighter than we expected, the rain fell a little harder, the world collapsed a little more every day. And then we went back inside and it was nothing but hospital flowers, and not a single one of them grew in the mountains; farm-raised and almost plastic; maybe merely roses, maybe too much Clorox, maybe silence, I heard nothing for a year. I’m not afraid of anything anymore. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
I heard the drums.
I am tired of waiting.
Heidi Turner recently earned her Master’s Degree in English from Azusa Pacific University. Her fiction has been published in Linden Avenue Literary Journal and Gravel Magazine.