They come out of the forest one day with face paint and spears, with woven baskets and berries and it’s heart-breaking to watch. There are maybe a dozen in all, three women and four children between them, along with two men and the last three older folks.
They have kids.
It’s not enough, though I do get all stupid for a few moments.
Not enough. Maybe there’ll never be enough.
The looks on their faces… pure preciousness could hardly be found anywhere, especially on the faces of those four goggle-eyed little kids. You’d be hard-pressed to find that level of purity in Scandinavian hot springs.
They look at me. I stare back. Eventually I float down out of the upper reaches and touch down.
This is the all-important moment. This is when everything’s decided. This moment will define us from here on out.
I don’t know how long I’ve been here, but it’s enough to feel the cold bite of loneliness all through me. It got to me in that cabin up in northern Canada, so I left. It eventually tracked me down in the New Mexico desert, and I left. Hawaii had too many tourists, so I headed across the pond. They told me in one of those Polynesian Islands that there weren’t any snakes, but mosquitoes they had aplenty. Japan. . . I talked about.
What I miss, I can’t think of. If I admit it it’ll have power over me, maybe the power to destroy me. I can’t have that.
The men can cock back their spears and snarl at the devil woman from the skies, or they can gaze up at me with wonder and terror on their faces and fall to their knees. Every time it’s happened, these have been the two responses: dominate or supplicate. No running. No friendly negotiations that lead to a dagger behind your back. The flying seems to suck all the other options out of their minds.
Goddess or demon, which is it gonna be?