95. Trails

The first sign that something had gone wrong was found at the fence surrounding the property.

The second came at the barn where they found the remnants of collision.

The third thing that told them that things had gone wrong was found at the back door, yet another, which was third but third divided, at one of the windows they’d left open for the breeze, which meant there were more than one, perhaps two, three.

The fourth sign was the empty refrigerator. Then from upstairs, they they heard the kids scream.

It was big, the kids said. There were two of them. They looked like hairy men or big giant ferrets with long arms. When they heard you coming, they broke through the screens and were gone. They had red eyes but not the kind of red eyes in the movies or stories, real red eyes, like glow from a flashlight through your fingernails.

The chain links were repaired, the big breaks in the barn siding, the back door and the all the shredded window screens. In the barn, a young man swept up the bones and the skin that had been left behind.

But do you think they were going after the children? Mother asked. Do you think they’ll come back for them?

The trail was easy to follow in the morning. They went on foot. They ate lunch in an uneasy camp and, curiously, they had little hunger. They followed the prints to the outer edges of things. And at dusk they found them in a clearing with the second half of the cow they dragged here from the barn. They remembered the details of the sun going down. They remembered at the western horizon individual and distant trees on the far away hills, leaves, cactus needles, a pile of stones silhouetted against the orange and purple burn of the dropping sun.

They’d put the second half of the cow on a platform of cracking shale; they’d already begun to rip into it as if every moment until sun rise was about blood and skin.

They tossed their packs, their guns, and their maps. The lids of their eyes felt like thin wet paper. Then they joined in, surprised at how how high they could leap and how strong their fingers were.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *