The Mill

The Bar.

“What’s up stoopid.”

Tara sat down across from me, her brown hair blocking the clock on the church across the street. Fortunately , part of the sun as well.

“What is that brain working on now? Who brings a book to a bar anyway?”

I stared. what do you want Tara?

I had to admit, it felt weird coming back home…the mills closed. Empty buildings, like coffins, waiting for their dead or a hotel with empty floors…just shadows of memory.

Tara smiled, lit a cigarette,

You know, you have to be 21 now.

Hey, we‘re all older.

She laughed.

I closed my book.

Asking myself why I came back home…but I really, already knew.

Maybe that was what bothered me.

Tara hadn’t changed that much. She had a way of moving through the weights and the hard moments. Seemingly unscathed.

I was not so lucky.

I took a breath. Feeling flashes of my childhood walking past me in the street.

Yellow Room (haunted October)

It was raining sideways

The night I died

I remember

The basement

Built above ground

The concrete floors

The open walls

The cold

The 45 acres of woods

Black bears

And deer

Eating

The curly horned monster

Wandered the woods

Only when the fog came out

They said he gathered up children

And brought them back to his house in the woods …

His raven flew ahead and spotted his catch …

The night I died

The waters rose in the creek

A tornado climbed the mountain

The curly horned monster

Stood in the pasture

A wide eyed owl

Sat outside my window

All night

Staring at me

Beside the yellow room…

I heard the witch

Walking in the hall

Her laughter

As she smiled

In the corner of the room…

Aces

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origin

What are you
afraid of And
why do you shake?
Is it demons
from the past Or the shadows
in our wake?
He folded the paper
Put it in his pocket

He watched
The bodies turning in the moonlight
Hanging at the cross roads
Hung for everyone to see

There in front of the church.

blood running down the roots of the tree

He’s older now, but he remembers

As everyone gathers at the alter…

The dust still sticking to his shoes…

I met him when he was older. His hands shaking, as he told me…

What he did at the docks…

Shooting a man for seven hundred dollar bills because he only had five.

He said you never forget the light leaving their eyes…

The things you do just to fit in.

Keeps you up at night….

We like to think we changed

But it wasn’t that long ago.

It was only yesterday.

Photographs

Just as time will fade the paint on the corners of the front steps, chip the glass on the coffee cup, Slowly dry the ink in the pen, slowly age the man.

It will slowly chip away at love.

Tough words or tired bodies when we were young, we used to say everyone else just settles….

Now we barely talk anymore

Somehow we don’t even look at each other and it’s just okay.

For days on end we pass each other without anything other than a silent resentment.

When do you know you’re reading from a script that’s killed you off?

Occupying a movie set that’s packed and left…

Does her mind know, or is it her heart?

Does he know? Or is he so far removed that he believes everything is fine

At status quo

What’s the point of signaling a flare

You’re like two ghosts haunting the same house in different centuries

There’s nothing here anymore

It’s all cold

It’s all empty

And no one knows why..

Any cold drafts are blamed on the weather…

Cold County #1

Somewhere over Lick Skillet

Nine pm

It’s hotter than the drive thru at McDonald’s on Sunday. The Screen door slammed as he was leaving, Everyone saying their second goodbye for the evening.

The older man walking him to his car. Extending the conversation to the front yard.

He smiled again, and said goodbye, backing out of the driveway. Checked his speed as he made his way down the mountain. The road twisting ahead of his vision.

He was thinking of how peaceful it really is, up in the mountains. Just to drive, the trees, the way they change color in the fall. He rolled down his windows, letting his hand ride the night air like he did when he was younger. Reaching for the stars.

His radio went to static, strange, must be the satellites. He glanced again at the sky, this far up you were away from the city and could see just about any constellation if, you know what to look for. Or thought you knew what to look for. Most people just made things up to keep a girl looking at the sky while they were focused on other things.

Odd thing out…

The stars were gone…

A perfect patch cut out

He pulled off the road onto the bluff.

Lights flashed passed his car from off the side of the mountain.

He checked his phone…the signal was gone

It seemed as though this repeated itself three times.

Driving endlessly, yet still under the dark spot. He stopped his car again. Getting out, he held his phone out, hoping for a signal.

That was when he felt it…

First he saw the clock on his phone flash

Nine pm

He had been driving for hours it felt like,

He had even used half a tank of gas….

It happened so fast

It was like a nightmare in his head…

The strings of a piano being plucked

He could feel them closing in all around him…

Coming from out there

From everywhere

He couldn’t see them

But they were there

Moving

Like shadows

Between the trees

And he could feel their long hands

Reaching for him

Grabbing him

Pulling him down…..

Into the blackness….

The patch in the sky.

Cold #4

“Most people never die suddenly. Your body spends years sending you warnings. A man of 55 dies and it’s a tragedy, yes. But not a sudden one. Habits, They can be read like a timeline. We ignore Doctors and keep on with our lifestyles. One day the body just … runs out of road. You want to live healthy? Start talking to your  Doctor when you’re 28, before you start falling apart.” 

Janice was examining a body on the table. All of the lights were off in the room. None of the computers were running in the background.  It was quiet. It had been swept clean from budget cuts. Making it easier to hear her through the phone call. 

” So when I tell you, this body. These bodies. They shouldn’t be here. I mean it. These cells. Agent, They’re billions of years old.” 

She stood up straight. 

“Infected with Virus. They’re reproducing through bacteria from the site. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

– what do you mean from the site? He could feel the pressure in his gut. He was suddenly aware of the limited space of his Bronco. Driving back to the site where they found the hunters and the Coyote. 

“I mean,” Janice was saying…

“- I don’t know how, maybe it was dormant deep in the earth. Somehow, through rising tempatures. These cells, they’re awake. Infecting the water. All of the wildlife in areas red and yellow? Infected. Our hunter had a good hunting day. And was infected as well. Passing it to others. And then you have the water and the town.”

– so this is a virus? 

“Unlike we’ve ever known. This is older than anything we’ve ever seen.” 

He pulled to a stop. Hanging up the phone. The area was on fire. As men were putting up road blocks. 

“What’s going on here? We need to close this area and quarantine these people…”

“Baldwin, I can’t just quarantine an entire area like this. The paper work alone- listen, It’s State Property. Slotted for fracking next year. It’s already in the budget. And you know just like anybody else… that money is already spent. No refunds.  We’ll torch it. And restrict the area. That’s the most we can do.” 

“People have died. And will cont-”

“Hey, we’ve already sent in the report to the Feds. It was imported food and big pharma.” Nothing else. You did a good job. Let it go. 

He couldn’t believe it…

And thought again of Janice’s words…

No one just dies suddenly. It builds up slowly overtime. We just ignore the warnings. 

ColdĀ 

The River was still. Bugs swarmed the area. Agent Baldwin slowed his Bronco to a stop. Looking the area over. The dead coyote laying still beside the bank. 

– What’ve we got? 

– Another animal gone rogue. Jumps a local while he’s fishing, in broad daylight. Crashed into his driver’s side window. Lucky it was up. First thing he noticed was all the bugs. 

He shrugged his shoulders and swatted the flies away. Looking over the dead coyote. 

– Strange behaviour. Especially for this time of year. 

He sighed. Checked his phone. Another call. Another local. 

– Bag it up and bring him in. I’ll have Janice look him over. Thanks for calling me, Darryl. 

– Don’t mention it. 

Darryl shook hands and climbed back into his car. 

Baldwin looked over the area one more time before starting his old Bronco and heading to town.