a worksong for the apocalypse: William Garland. Honeysuckles.

18 Nov

Honeysuckles

“It wasn’t that long ago I heard about a girl right around your age. She was out sucking on honeysuckles when a man came right out from the woods and snatched her. You see, he was hiding in there. Hiding right there in front of her.”
Lana sank her head and tried to focus her frustration on the crabgrass just in front of the fragrant flower she’d dropped. She was too ashamed to look up, but she took in every word.
“That’s just how quick fortunes can change. Ain’t like it used to be. That world’s gone now. Folks can’t just go around acting like it ain’t.”
She was still looking hard at the clump of grass, trying not to notice the dirt penetrating into her pale white skin. She was lost in the trying as she worked to remember a story that her mother told her about honeysuckles, when her father grabbed Lana’s chin and lugged it up till they met eyes. “You understand what I said?”
“Bad things are out there. I can’t stop to eat the honeysuckles. A bad man might be off hiding in the woods,” Lana responded.
“That’s right. It’s the way it is.”
“There could also be a snake,” Lana added.
“Yeah. There could be one of those in there too.”
They turned away from the bushes and kept walking. The earlier hills had given way to long expanses of flat, country dirt roads, but the overgrown tree canopies kept them from seeing much of anything beyond shadows and dirt.
Further on down the way, there was break in the tree cover and sunlight caking its way into the loose dirt. Lana noticed it first and asked whether that meant there would be houses and people to help them, but her father was hesitant of this kind of talk and warned her not to get too excited. It could be another empty field.
When they got closer, Lana ran ahead yelling and pointing, “Look Daddy, there’s a fence. You see it? It’s right up there. That means there’s got to be somebody nearby, don’t it?”
“Slow up now, Lana. We don’t know nothing about these folks.”
Lana stopped cold. There was a large house peering at them from the backside of the pasture. It was painted white and stood in a brilliant contrast to green grass shimmering all around it. There was an old truck that sat off to the side of the house, and later on Lana would swear she saw a young girl peeking out from an upstairs window.
“Daddy, I ain’t ever seen a house that white. Don’t you think the people in there are nice?” She looked up at him, waiting for approval. “They’ll be able to help, won’t they?”
“We best not mess around with a place like that. If anybody’s in there, they’re liable to be worse than the men that hide up in the honeysuckles.”
Once again, Lana dropped her head as she trudged on down the road.
“Don’t you worry, sweetie. We’ll find us some of our own folks soon enough. They’ll know how to take care of you.”

 

 

 

William Garland

 

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