Editorâ€™s Note: â€œCracks in the Cloudsâ€ is a piece of creative non-fiction. All of the events in the story are true. This is the sixth part of an eight-part series that will run weekly in the Collegianâ€™s Verve section.
I spoke erratically with my hands. I wanted to tell my father what they had just told me. I wanted to ask the neighbors, but they all considered the minds of my lesbian friends to be â€œcrookedâ€ anyway. No one would believe them. No one would believe us. I checked the clock; it read 5:30 p.m. It was getting dark.
â€œWe havenâ€™t said anything. The last time we tried to tell the neighbors what happened on our property at night they laughed. They donâ€™t listen to us. They think we create these encounters in our minds. Everyone here hears the Indians at night, but no one sees the lights we see, Lucas.â€
â€œThis was the second time weâ€™ve seen lights here,â€ Joan said. Turning away from the conversation, the house was unsettled. JohnLuke scratched at the back door. Mary left her bar stool at the counter and let him in.
â€œI better go, before it gets too dark.â€ I said.
â€œIâ€™ll be back on Tuesday when you pick me up at the bus stop. Plus I bet it was just someone messing with you. There is this one kid I know that I ride the bus with that is a real jerk. He is a real troublemaker. He eats his boogers and lies all the time. I bet he could have started trouble. He starts trouble for everyone. I sit across from him on the bus. I want to punch his brains out every time I see him.â€
The collar on my turtleneck felt tight.
They each kissed me and apologized for scaring me with their story. I pretended I wasnâ€™t scared. I pulled my shoulders up and put my back straight.
When I opened the front door, the darkness poured through. There was barely enough light to see the ground I walked on.
When the wooden door slammed behind me, I was alone.
My shoulders dropped. My hands grabbed each other. I glanced back at the log cabin and saw the white curtains fall shut.
I stared at the cavalry station, with all its broken windows and history. The cottonwood trees hummed from the cool breeze. I walked on my toes; I didnâ€™t want to stir anything up.
I could smell the darkness. Cold, heavy, sharp. It smelled like rust.
It had to be Clay. Troublemaking Clay, giving Mary and Joan a light show, giving those who will burn in hell a preview, doing his alcoholic mamma a favor.
Picking his nose and giggling. Smirking, I hate him.
I hate him. I hate him. I checked the soil around the Calvary station for boot prints, size 8, red, genuine leather boot prints. I saw none. I had 10 minutes until dark. I ran.
Holding my breath, something was there. Something was watching me. Something was not ok.
I ran. I gripped my fists. I jumped downed logs through the fields at dusk.