He found her in the woods, meandering through the ferns along a deer path, and he felt that cold sweat of searching lift from him. She moved in short steps, and he noticed the way the bones in her arms folded out and under her paper skin. Forgetting the weight in his heart, he walked towards her.
“May I walk with you?” he asked, offering his arm, tanned and sinewy in his own age. She bobbed her wispy perm, fit her hand into the crook of his arm, and they toddled further in the direction of the lake shore. Every now and then, his gaze settled on her small figure, the way her dark eyes darted ahead. He thought of telling her not to go walking without him, but he wondered how long he could ask that of her.
“What brings you out here?” She asked, hobbling slowly over a root. He stopped patiently.
“I was visiting someone, but they weren’t home. Their front door was left open.” He looked to her, but she only grunted in response. The trees grew more and more sparse, and then they were there, the black lake licking over smooth stones. They stood like that, and he watched her watch the light slip languidly over their neighbors’ houses.
“I think my son lives in one of these here,” she said, gesturing across the way.
“Does he?” he asked, and they stood in the quiet, watching the last piece of sun melt into the trees. He placed his hand over hers. “May I take you home?”
Morgan MacVaugh consistently walks that thin rope between drowning and killing it. She spends her time reading everything and writing what she can, but there’s never enough time for her liking. She has been published in F(r)iction‘s Dually Noted series, RiverCraft, and Flagship. Her art has also appeared in Sanctuary Magazine.
Artwork: Bela Ivanyi Grunwald, Shepherd and Peasant Woman, 1892, public domain.