(C) by 2019 Pamela Schloesser Canepa
The wind was howling and we needed to take a break from our cliff hike. Mike spotted a cave ahead in the distance. “Let’s stop there,” he suggested.
The height was already making my breath come in short spurts; the wind made me feel like I’d be toppled over any minute, but with one foot in front of the other, we made it to the cave.
“Further in, so the wind won’t blow dust at us,” Mike said.
It sounded reasonable to me. Further into the cave, I saw a huge blanket on the ground. Mike and I look at each other warily.
In my peripheral vision, I spotted something moving.
“Stop right there!” Mike wielded a pistol.
“Really, Mike?” I was disgusted.
“You wouldn’t be so judgmental if it was a bear,” he argued.
The moving object was much too thin to be a bear. As it came closer, I could see it was human in shape, with its hands up.
“No harm here, it’s just me,” the small form said. A small form with the voice of a man. He seemed taller as he slowly came closer.
Unthreatened, Mike put his pistol away.
“Do you live here?” I asked.
“Oh, no. I was camping with my girl. She wondered off; I’ve been looking for her, well, until the wind picked up.”
“Shouldn’t there be a search party?”
“Not anymore. It’s just me now. I’ve been at this for a few weeks. Haven’t gone home since I last saw her.”
“When exactly was that?”
“The end of April,” the man replied.
“Did you know it’s September now?” I asked.
“September?” He chuckled. “That’s not funny.” His face grew worried and withdrawn.
“When the wind dies down, we’ll take you into town for a coffee and steak, my treat,” Mike offered, probably feeling badly for having been so defensive.
The man just nodded, eyes wide open as saucers. Exiting the cave, he sang softy:
“April came and went.
Its beauty fleeting, its energy spent.
But my love is all but gone.
And all I have left is this sad song.”
MIke and I exchanged nervous glances, wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into. I patted the man on the back. “That’s Mike, and I’m April,” I said.
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