Monday, May 30, 2011


Steven caught up with Rachel when she fell to the ground sobbing. She had just stopped running, bent over at the waist and then fallen to her knees and pitched forward as if all the strength had left her body in a few brief seconds. He stood beside her blood pounding in his ears, the sound of her wracking cries hollow on the wide mountainside.

He cast his gaze around the landscape; the spectacular peaks they had just passed between loomed high above to the south. He could see the ribbon of road they'd come down snaking up the grassy hillside, then beyond the green into the slate grey above the growth line and then finally, the last visible trace of the road vanished into the white snow far above. He turned slowly, his eyes following the road descending the steep alpine slope. He could still hear the echoes of their argument in the car...her accusation, there: right as they passed that sign. His non-denial response, there: in the shadow of that giant boulder. The part where they yelled over each other, there, screeching around that turn, there. He'd come almost all the way back around by now, looking down, down the slope, down the hillside to the road where it hairpinned left, where their car sat in the middle of the road still. He could see the doors standing open, the headlights still on. The crumpled fender, the body on the grass thirty or forty feet ahead. The bicycle twenty feet beyond that, crumpled into an abstract tangle of tubes and spokes and slender rubber tires.

His gaze remained there for a minute, two, then he looked down at Rachel.

"Hey," he said, "Shut the hell up."

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