By Hillary Dodge
During the full pound and punch of her morning run, in the steadily lifting gloom, Mary sees a figure, indistinct and blurry, at the end of the broken street where no one ought to be. She skids to a stop and blinks. The figure is gone.
Most of her neighborhood is undeveloped and has been for some time. There are wide open tracts of weeds, cracked flats of dirt, and animal holes in abundance. There are also three foundations, gaping holes, really, and another with a rotting timber frame above. It is as if the contractors went out for lunch and never returned. Even the For-Sale signs have disappeared, perhaps toppled by wind or kids and eventually buried.
There is nowhere for a person to have gone. She approaches one crumbling basement hole after another. In one she sees the shape of a snake slither into the deep shadows. In another she is impressed by scattered anthills, which make the basement floor resemble the cratered surface of the moon in the early morning half-light. She sees a spider dangling beneath its intricate silvery web. But there is no person. Nor any sign of one.
Something about the foundation with the rotting timbers doesn’t feel right. Its framework is tilted and warped and she is overcome by an inexplicable feeling of grief. She avoids looking at it.
As she retraces her steps through the un-neighborhood, she only counts three rabbits scattering as the sun slips above the horizon. Perhaps they are being scared off or eaten by the dogs she hears howling and fighting at night. (Continue Reading…)