Debt (Squirrely)

b1339-prod_940We trekked back through the darkness in silence. I kept looking around the huge trees and shrub thinking that one of those dead white men’s kinfolks would jump out at us and put us on a rope. Lord knows I love the way my head sat on my neck.

I had seen a man hanging off a rope when I was five years-old. I’ll never forget his eyes and way his head, like someone tried to rip off a doll’s head but stop short, just hung there. I had bad dreams about that man with the broken neck and dead eyes for weeks after. I don’t remember the dreams now, only that he was always chasing me. Jesus, I don’t want some white men stringing me up on a tree.  I had fallen behind you. Scared, I ran to catch up.

We made it back to the clearing near the lake. I stopped long enough to grab my bag and drink from the cold waters, before running to catch up with you again. You stopped, making me stopped too. “What, what is it?”  I asked you frightened.
“Quiet girl!”  You pointed your rifle at the dark woods, cocking your head to one side, listening with a look in your eyes . It was murderous; you were going to shoot whatever came through those woods, man or beast. I was looking and listening too, but I didn’t hear or see anything but the birds in the tree and two squirrels at play.

After a moment, you turned away to continue to walk, but kept the rifle at the ready. This time I followed closely, keeping my eyes on the woods to. It didn’t take us long before we were back on the main road.  I saw that you had parked your truck on the side of the road near to where we came out. You opened the driver’s door, placing the rifle inside before getting in yourself. I got in on the passenger side. I put my little bag on my lap as you turned the key.  We were heading back up the road, passing the trees with the moss-grown bark when it came to me. How had you known where I was?

Copyright © 2013 Glynis Rankin

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