Monday, March 19, 2007

More Malignity

New England Farm by a Winter Road.
George Henry Durrie, 1854.

I have a somewhat similar scene hanging in my front hall and would view the otherwise charming painting with more equanimity if the landscape outside did not still resemble it.


"Wait a minute. A mass exorcism?Even for itinerent entities that's way too diffuse. Who's bright idea was that? Never mind. Not yours, I know. What happened?"

He crushed his empty cup and reached for the other."We were inching along, keeping pace, when my driver says,'Holy shit? Look behind!' I looked and there they were, strung out behind us, drifting along, about twenty of them, following our lights."

He gave a high strangled giggle and grimaced. "Sorry. It did look funny." He ground his palms into his eyes and shook his head.

"We stopped and switched off the spots and the rack lights, and leaned on the horn to alert the silly fuckers it wasn't working. I got out and you could hear the moaning. Then it happened. The whole freaking flock of spirits shot across the divider and swarmed the oncoming traffic in the westbound lanes. The headlights, you see. There was an eight car pile-up. Three transports. God-awful mess. One dead. Last car in, poor bugger. They were still cleaning up when we left."

The sirens in the night. I said, carefully, "Where? You said 'the worst section.'"

"Yeah, by the rock-cut. Other side of Deadman's Point, beyond that new development. Those high-priced estates.

I closed my eyes.

"Oh, shit," he said. "I'm sorry, Lillie. I forgot. That was were your husband went off, wasn't it?"


Ric said...

Hordes of ghosts following the headlights - this is good stuff. Especially when the 'authorities' treat it like an extremely busy Deer Crossing. Great visuals.

Bernita said...

I figure bureaucrats are the same everywhere, even in a fantasy, Ric.
Thank you.

Dave said...

Am I reading this right?
Her husband died at the point all the ghosts caused another accident?
Or died in the accident?
Did I miss something?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Whew...I'm glad Dave asked that first! I too have the same question.

raine said...

I was just thinking, it was a lovely painting--but all too familiar. :-/

I really like this, Bernita! The casual way they view the bizarre is great!

Bernita said...

Dave and Bonnie, her husband died two weeks ago. Same place.That information is in a non-blogged snippit.
You're reading it right.

Really pleased you like it, Raine!

Dave said...

That's quite a revelation after the humor of yodeling "follow the light".
So is "One dead. Last car in, poor bugger."

I have to go back and put the parts together. Read it all as one piece.

Bernita said...

Some earlier bits are under A Malignity of Ghosts, Dave. I've edited since then but you'll get the general idea.

Dave said...

I read the segment on EE's blog before the weekend and then read these three segments today. I wasn't home over the weekend (ooops, you don't care about that stuff).
At first, I thought this was meant to be funny and humorous. That was nice. The Yodeling was a cute idea and does work as a truly bizarre image. Then I Was confronted with the husband's death.

Now that I put the chunks together and read it as one continuous text, I can see where you were going.

I think Rick needs to express a bit more regret about the night's accident and his faux pas with her loss. He's dead tired and giddy. He's laughing at the line of ghosts and not the accident. Tricky bit of writing there. It tells us lots about his personality.

And a big implication is why she is interested in that part of the highway. Does she suspect her Husband's death was other than accidental? All that is indirectly discussed. I like that.

I own one of those black hats. A friend gave it to me. It's a great image. I can see the thin face under the black hat.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Dave.
The opening lines were posted on Feb 12, continued on 13,16 and 22.
They've been improved ( I hope) and don't include the whole story/text but should answer your question.And maybe raise more.
I like those hats.