Lo, Here’s a Place of Rest?
This post is part of a series. To read the first installment, click here: http://andrawatkins.com/2013/10/28/reflect-how-soon-youll-quit-this-stage/ To read the second, click here:http://andrawatkins.com/2013/10/29/youll-find-but-few-obtain-such-an-age/ To read the third, click here: http://andrawatkins.com/2013/10/30/lifes-full-of-pain/ Thank you, as always, for tolerating my attempts to get to know a character.
Wind whooshes through my lungs as my weak legs carry me. Through a snarl that was once a field. Down an embankment. My boots sink into mud along the rim of the Mississippi. The sucking sound doesn’t diminish her shrieks.
Twelve times you’ve failed me! Don’t fail me again, or your soul will rot in the realm of the Forgotten!
I feel her breathe on the back of my neck, and I quicken my pace. Around the next bend, I used to keep a launch. Hidden, for when I wanted to carouse with my men. I tear through vines by the light of morning-pink sky, her specter a hex. A curse.
She is a harridan, my wife.
Would that I could undo the voodoo she worked on my spirit in life.
Instead, I crash into dead logs and water. I swim toward my secret inlet, my salvation.
“Hey, Cuz. You look like you seen a ghost or something.”
Two men, if one could call them that. Scraggly. Unkempt. The essence of The Unwashed. They eye me from a rattletrap boat. I spit a bit of the Mississippi and tread water.
“I’m looking for a small craft. I left it around here……………somewhere.”
The other man hacks in my direction. “We been coming here to fish for a couple decades. Ain’t seen no high-faluting craft, or no plain old boat, neither.”
“What’s your name, Son?” The first man leans his hand over the side and makes to pull me in.
My breath stops up between nose and chest. “I…………” I grasp his hand. “Can you tell me today’s date?”
He squints into the rising sun. “Why, I think it’s April 21, year’s 1981.”
The river sucks me under, and in the shimmering light of the rising sun, I see her. One last time. A vision of the woman she was on our wedding day.
It’s your last chance, Jimmy.
Water penetrates my lungs. Either I sink, or I fly. Ghosts only remember what they are put here to do. Find me she said. You’d better hope you don’t have her, when I find you.