by Shannon Peavey
Alma carried the worm-fork and Lewis carried the knife. They didn’t speak and had not spoken since the morning, fifteen miles back through dry grass and bare dirt and the click-chatter of insects. Dust rose around their ankles and the sun beat hot on the napes of their necks.
When they dropped over a rise and hit bottom, Lewis stopped and nodded and Alma took the worm-fork in both hands. It was a heavy thing, its grip worn smooth by her palm. She raised it shoulder-high, breathed once, and slammed it down into the ground.
She didn’t know how Lewis decided on a place — what made that stretch of plain any better than the miles they had passed before it. Long miles, leading a horse too laden with jars and bags to ride. They were somewhere south of Nampa, days out of Boise, and she’d been gone from her home for more than a year. The land was different, here. The ground packed so hard she had to lean all her weight on the worm-fork to get it to stick.
They’d been only children at the start of Lewis’s great journey, but no one would call them such anymore.