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Featuring Martha Amore's work from the upcoming book,"Weathered Edge"

Excerpt from Martha Amore’s novella, Weathered In

The day we were to move to Eagle River, I woke up to the sound of a woman screaming. I lurched out of bed to the open window and listened, heart pounding. There’s another scream, but it was coming from the sky overhead. I realized it was some sort of bird, and I crawled back under the warm down blanket and held Stella’s warm body close to my racing heart.

After breakfast, I began to clean house and pack up, making a pile out on the porch of our Craigslist items. Tom walked over from his driveway, hands plunged deep into his jeans’ pockets.

“Gonna be getting cold soon. Freeze up’s maybe a month away,” he said, hefting a box from my arms and setting it on the bed of the truck. “I feel bad,” he said, shifting his weight in the restless way horses do. “You having to clear out like this.”

“But I’m sure your new place is nice.”

“No,” I said. “I’m renting a trailer, Tom. A trailer with brown carpet. It’s not even big enough for Kiska to stretch out in.” I shook my head. “But it’s close to where I work, and cheap, with a good view of the mountains. It’s got a big yard for Stella, and plenty of mountains for Kiska. So who cares if we’re trailer trash now?” I said with a weak laugh.

“No,” he said. “No way. You’ll make it good. Soon enough.”

I shrugged, looked up at the sky. Overhead trees swayed in the wind, green leaves fluttering and rustling. I grew dizzy watching them, and I recalled a strange event from waking up that morning. It hit me suddenly like dreams sometimes do. “This morning when I woke up,” I said, “I thought I heard a woman screaming.”

Tom was coiling a tangled climbing rope for me, but he stopped now, gave me a careful look. “Was it a woman screaming?”

“No,” I said.

His expression relaxed. Eyebrows raised and furrowing his broad forehead, he waited for an explanation.

“It was some kind of bird,” I continued. “Flying over the house.”

“Loons,” he said, brightening.

“I didn’t know there were loons in the city.”

“We have a pair that stops over every year at the end of summer. They fly right over our neighborhood going from the lagoon downtown to the bog by the airport.”

Stella tottered across the drive, held onto my leg. I picked her up, onto my hip. “How do you know it’s the same two birds?” I asked.

“Loons are territorial, and they mate for life.” He glanced at me, a flicker of apology in his eye, before pressing ahead. “They stick to the same migration routes. God, I love hearing their calls. Sometimes it sounds like laughing, like they’re just laughing away at some joke. And sometimes they howl, just like wolves. Sounds like their hearts are breaking.”

“Well this morning that bird was screaming. Just like a woman.”

I sat down on the blacktop and leaned against the big rear tire of the truck. I tilted my head back, the midday sun blinding me so that Tom was no more than a shadow.

He eased himself down beside me, and his large shoulder against mine felt solid as packed earth.

“You know what I’m worried about, moving to the mountains?”

“What?”

“From my trailer, I’ll have a perfect view of Denali. Every single clear day.”

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