by Ronald Micci
Cover design by Dafeenah Jameel - Indie Designz
The winds were up again, the high winds, that much she knew for sure. And her bed was empty.
She could hear the winds howling in the desert through the open window as she lay there in the darkness. And there were coyote sounds.
She turned over, and yes, the bed was empty, as empty as the bottle of Dewar’s that kicked along the bedroom floor, clunking against the foot of the bureau. But where was her Spud?
“Spud” was the affectionate term she had invented for her husband. Spud, her warm and cuddly, with his bushy mustache and sweet and benevolent smile. Spud, from the farmlands of Pennsylvania. But he was no high desert potato, that one. He was flesh and blood, all she had ever truly wanted. Yes, at long last she had found the true love of her life, met quite by accident in this strange high desert environment, and she had married him and moved him into her quaint adobe quarters.
Now the coyotes were yelping, the winds were howling, and Spud had disappeared. She feared the worst. It was always late at night that he seemed to go on these benders, drinking himself into a terrifying stupor.
I love theez man, she thought, adopting the Hispanic vernacular. Maybe loved heem too much. Maybe the passion she felt for “theez man” frightened him and drove him to the bottle. But she was a passionate woman, and hungry for love, and she would have her way.
It seemed a far cry, this arid desert wasteland, from the distant place where she had grown up. The refined and rarefied world of verandahs and warm summer evenings, of cotillions and fluffy Southern finery. But now she had to address the matter at hand.
It was too late to call the police, and that would only bring trouble. But not too late to shape-shift -- to turn herself from light to shadow. To move in the form of a shadow coyote through the mysterious night in pursuit of her man.
Yes, she had learned the ways taught to her by the high desert medicine men, and now she would go after theez Spud of hers, willfully, hungrily, and in this eerie windy night, seek to bring down her rightful prey.