Thursday, July 14, 2005


Turtle Rock crouched in the shape of its namesake at the edge of what passed for the backyard of 61 Euclid Street, an unkempt and overgrown dash of grass surrounded by tangled thickets of shrubbery; reached from the house by three weathered concrete steps which tumbled from the back door.

Gordon found himself stumbling from the bottom most of these steps and cursing briefly in the dark. The light out here was, apparently, out. A dead bulb? Or had Darby flipped the wrong switch in the back room again? Either way he was definitely in the dark.

Standing a moment with his eyes closed, Gordon listened. Stony Creek babbled in the night just beyond the short reach of the yard. He opened his eyes and found the darkness suffused now with the pale light of moon and stars. There was Turtle Rock, a black lump thickening the dark before him. In his hand, the bag which had carried Darby’s beer home now enclosed Ginny’s journals – doubly protected by their envelope, now clasped shut.

“Throw it in a bag and leave it by Turtle Rock…” she had instructed in her clear, straight hand. “I’ll send Rebecca by to pick up.”

Rebecca was just about the last person he wanted to see, or be seen by, tonight. Blonde curls a golden nimbus around a face shaped like a valentine, complexion clear and pure as the trite and driven snow, brown eyes full of soul and deep as the fertile Earth. And that smile.

Just recalling the perfect golden mean of her features, Gordon could plainly see how and why Rebecca was now enjoying Ginny’s company. He had to admit himself that they were a beautiful couple, natural and complementary in a way that he and Ginny never could be, despite the obvious question of gender. And that, he supposed, was what really hurt.
Possibly. . .

Perhaps it was too soon to say what really hurt the most. Two days ago the thought that he would never again hear her singing in the shower seemed the high and the low of all his sorrow. Before that it had been the distant look in her eyes the night she left, as if she was already long gone and good riddance to him before she even walked out the door.

Moving toward the sound of the creek and the black shape he knew to be Turtle Rock, Gordon felt suddenly chilled. And not for the first time this evening. He puzzled once again over the details of his strange experience in the closet. If it had stopped at the sound of quiet breathing, he might have been inclined to write it off as a trick of his suggestible imagination, inspired by the reading of Ginny’s journal. But the volume and number of knocks, or thumps, was more than he was willing to allow his imagination capable. Darby claimed that he had knocked the door no more than 5 or 6 times but Gordon, though he had certainly not been counting, knew he had heard at least 12 distinct raps. And damn if some portion of that noise didn’t sound just like a dog’s tail knocking the floor.

He stopped before the rock and placed the bag gingerly atop what might be said to resemble the flat and relatively broad expanse of a large turtle’s shell. Suggestible, he thought, I must be.

The sound of the creek trickling through his ears, Gordon turned from Turtle Rock -his last remnants of Ginny laid upon it like a sacrifice - and made his way back through the softly glowing dark to bed.

2005, R. Cody

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