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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nests Were Depredated


The rain dropped like pebbles tossed into a swimming hole. It offered up a quaint sound that Janie tucked around herself like a comforter. The porch where she stood watching the horizon was laid with dark, sodden planks. Buffeting gusts drove in the scent of scrubbed hay, and this enticed her into a grudging sense of appeasement. She glanced back through the window. It was unlit. No blurred outline of her father showed behind the thin summer curtains, no wisps of smoke. There were no pots banging about in the ancient kitchen, no faucet running. Understanding that the place was shuttered and locked, that Bill had not come out here after all, Janie debated whether to break open a window, try to jimmy the lock or just turn right around and drive home again. She thought she might wait for the rain to let up.
Why had she imagined Bill would come out here? Did she think he would have walked through two states? They had never been back, not since the day they left in his old Chevy, her shoulder dislocated from Daddy pulling on it, demanding she stay. The lace edging of her sleeve ripped and fraying over the long drive north. She now wore jeans and a cotton shirt, Keds. Expected to meet him here again, settle old scores, forgive and forget. She had not stopped to consider the heavy, unyieldingness of absence.
A noise like the wind and the rain but not of them made her whip around and what she had seen move stopped. Bright gray, its fur not the least matted by the wet, a coyote stood with his tail stiff, one paw shaking the rain off, his nose poking the air between them. Janie gasped, found she was unable to breathe in. Nor could she scream. The force of a too-long habit had removed her voice. There was no one to appeal to, no cover to run for. Anyway, Janie was the one holding the gun.


31 comments:

  1. I hope that she doesn't shoot the coyote, since it's so symbolic and all. I liked that phrase--the "heavy, unyieldingness of absence". So descriptive and emotional in so few words. Powerful.

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    1. No worries: no animals were harmed in the writing of this story. lol
      Glad you liked that phrase : )
      Thank you, Tina!

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  2. What a sense of foreboding.. and a tormented history.. I love the line: buffeting gusts drove in the scent of hay..and that grudging sense of appeasement. And: the force of a too-long habit.. another great line, and the coyote as metaphor.. in other words you give us a lot of history in these 333 words. And of course the kicker, the gun. I love the story, the dark revenge of it. It gets me thinking about what and how long and why we tolerate people. (I read your reference about the coyotes. I live among coyotes. I hear them often and see them from time to time, but I'm never afraid. They are beautiful creatures. I don't worry about my pets, only because we have an abundance of gophers and mice for them to gorge on.)

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    1. Ah, yes, the tolerance of people is an ever intriguing conundrum, and the places that tolerance can take you.
      I feel all coddled and cuddled when my sentences get love like that, Steph! The gun popped up a little while after the coyote did. (There were none when I was growing up, but I guess there are a lot now. What I get at my country place are wild boars. Not nearly as attractive!)
      Thanks so much, Steph! I love how you get me : )

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  3. Nice, a good read, you tell a good story,

    Ally

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    1. Thank you, Ally! That's so nice to hear : )

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  4. oh Kymm-this really had me biting my nails-I kept expecting something awful and then that coyote-ooh!Loved the phrase ,"a quaint sound that Janie tucked around herself like a comforter. "So relieved that Janie is a tough girl who know how to jimmy locks or guard herself-if need be:-)

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    1. Hahaha - you always expect the worst. I'm so glad you were able to stop your nail biting.
      Thanks for the love, Atreyee!

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  5. Some great phrasing throughout. Really liked that it was a girl named Janie with a gun. Now that song's in my head. Yes, I related everything to music somehow!

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    1. Haha Relate it any way you like. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks, Mel!

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  6. This line: tucked around herself like a comforter - Love! Your ending line is terrific!

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    1. Thanks so much for the love, Kelly! And the support : )

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  7. Janie is a great, and strong, character! So many favorite subtle phrases and word choices throughout this whole piece. I read twice so I didn't miss any backstory because you were able to tell a long tale in so few words. LOVED the ending (and the coyote metaphor!)!

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    1. Having you read it twice is a total win for me. Thanks so much for the love, Gina!
      Yeah, I like the coyote metaphor, too : )

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  8. Your writing is juts like that "quaint sound". It wraps your reader up so we're standing there with Janie, breathing in your words. Great job! Thanks for linking up!

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  9. well done, loved the ending (which seems to resonate with many, as I am reading the comment section)

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  10. Like Mel, I have the song in my head now, too :) Between the darkness and settling old scores, I had a sense that something bad would happen as I read this. I'm glad no coyotes were harmed in the writing of this story. We have them around our place and they are beautiful creatures.

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    1. Honestly? I found the place and then things just went dark. The coyote just showed up, too.
      Thanks for taking on the darkness, Janna!

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  11. Loved this whole piece, but this line took my breath away. "She had not stopped to consider the heavy, unyieldingness of absence." Whoa. Such well paced tension and your details and phrases are beautiful throughout.

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    1. Thanks for the love, Momo, and for the 'whoa' : )
      Unfortunately, I know a bit about absence.

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  12. Hopefully the coyote is as afraid of her.

    Going back can be more of a burden than leaving. This was a powerful piece.

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    1. I don't think the coyote needs to be afraid. I agree with you, going back is always a burden.
      Thank you, Tara!

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  13. Love that ending! And the description in the beginning put me right out there in the rain with her.

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  14. Hope you didn't mind being out in the rain : )
    Thanks for the love, Renada!

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