Author: Janet Shell Anderson
The reason I haven’t heard from my brother Jonathan is he’s dead.
I made a mistake.
It’s foggy, one of those autumn fogs that grow out of the Potomac and everything seems strange; our empty streets feel like someone’s there, but you can’t see them. I went downtown, wondering if maybe, over by Lafayette Square, I could get food from a crazy woman who says things she shouldn’t. She has apples, and I began to crave them, so I walked in the fog, smelling the river again after so long, feeling half safe, down from Rock Creek Park, thinking about how Jonathan and David, my brothers, have been gone too long. A lot of people are gone, except for military and some assassins on K Street. People disappear. But I felt half safe down near the river again and the Mall, like the old days. Kidding myself.
Now I’m back in the forest, north of the Zoo, and the fog’s deeper, no shadows anywhere, freezing. It’s like a wall. I’m in a place among fallen trees, invisible among big tulip tree trunks, holly bushes twenty feet high, kind of a nest, maybe a deer nest, if they make nests. A sanctuary. I have a nine millimeter, I’d starve if I didn’t, but even in this dense forest, the thousand beech trees, the sweetbriar, the holly, the blur of fog, I’m afraid.
I can’t stop shaking.
I went to Sixteen Hundred, and the crazy lady was there all right. Her head was on a spike on the black wrought iron fence around the WH. One of the old crazies who’s always out there shouting stuff about the Constitution was just screaming, looking at her. Her head looked shrunken, dark. And three spikes down, there was Jonathan. Even with his face black and his tongue out, I knew it was him.
I hear a fox yip down by the creek, but I can’t see it in this fog. Hunting maybe, something hidden.