Pine Boughs and Moss

“I’ve been here, but when?”

There’s no one to answer my question but the gurgling brook and the birds singing in the trees. Only my empty memories keep me company. It could have been days or even years since I passed this way last. It looks so peaceful, yet that tree leaning over the water fills me with dread.

Visions swirl through my mind and I feel the world begin to sway.  I have to look under the tree, under the pine boughs and moss. I wade into the water, feeling the slippery stones beneath my bare feet. My hands shake and I rub them on my ragged pants as I go, ignoring the icy chill that isn’t from the water.

Webs part as I push my hand into the dry hole, trying not to think about what might be lurking in the dark hollow. Shivers run down my back as my hand touches something cold and hard. Smooth sides and sharp edges greet my dirty fingers.

Holding my breath, I pull the object out of its hiding place and am nearly blinded by the red light that gleams off its surface from a stray sunbeam. I stagger back and fall into the water, barely keeping my grip on the fist-sized stone. My head throbs with remembered pain. I touch the scar on my head. It runs deep into my heart. Tears stream down my face.

They hid this here.

Before they shot…

Everyone.

Even each other.

For a rock.

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About A. L. Kaplan

I am a writer, artist, and parent.
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