in a white farm house like Jaimie’s. i am watching through the windows. there is a kid at the end of the driveway, hitting the ground with a stick and pacing. there is a teenager walking in circles in the yard strewn with leaves. i go out the side door onto the deck and there is a young blonde woman hovering in the sky, her face contorting as if swallowing huge gulps. just as her eyes stop moving i realize that her hair is floating and she’s drowning. the teenager in the yard runs and slams her against the side of the house. she gasps for breath and he tells her she almost died. she has no recollection of it. in a flash he is back in the yard walking in circles, the woman is floating, the kid is hitting the ground with a stick next to the road.
they’re dead. they’re all dead. i run into the house which is some sort of mystery school dorm. i find anna just as she’s leaving with a student, both of them dressed in all black habits. “i can see them and they’re all dead. that makes me a Shadow Sister, right? anna please! let me be your student, i want to learn how to be a Shadow Sister.” She looks at me sternly and rejects my plea. she picks up her pace, guiding her student by the elbow. I pick up my pace too and she says, “she is the Shadow Sister. YOU are the Death Knell.”
What? I trip hurrying after her, my breath suddenly thick and whistling, “What? What did you just call me?” She stops then, looks me straight in the face and says, “Death. Knell.”
I stop following them.
back at the house i am looking through the window in the next room while someone watches tv. I can see the waves from here. I can see miles away, the blue of the water rising higher and higher, reaching 3/4 the height of skyscrapers further inland. I hear the television warning of possible sever weather. A classmate is driving her friend back to the city for Christmas.
I tell them they can’t go. I tell them they’ll die. they laugh at this, her in a fur coat with her hair pulled tightly into a bun, her hands in black gloves, she flicks ash from her cigarette. he is a proud queer man also impeccably dressed and unwilling to miss holiday parties in the city. to ease my mind they call a friend. she tells them everything is fine. there’s a little water in the streets but that’s it. See?
Since they are going the same way, I ask for a ride home. It’s late fall even though it’s definitely Christmas. There are still scarecrows standing guard at driveways. they take me as far as the Lehman’s but stop there. I can’t go over the big hill. I’ll be safe here.
in my family home my cousin Steven is there. It’s actually Audra’s home but in my space. They are watching tv and on the screen we can see neighbors messaging each other about possibly ordering a pizza and skipping the holiday festivities altogether. just having their own little party. i ask why people use that messaging service when they know everyone watching tv can see it. my cousin says he guesses they just don’t care. The news anchor behind the text is saying that Trump, IA is expecting booming business this holiday and several guests are expected to arrive.
I hurry to to send a message with my dad’s laptop. I can’t figure out how to access things without his password. Then I get it but the programs are all different. Finally i get to a compose screen. I stare at the blankness.
What do I say?