Introduction: The “Linguistics Professor”
The Coven

Introduction: Provisions

It was difficult to guess her age. She had a young face and a laugh like ringing bells, but when she raised her glass, her hands were older. She had the hands of someone who had washed dishes all her life, but the soft and weary bearing of someone who had never worked very hard. Maybe she gardened a lot when she was on land. Yes, it would be easy to mistake her for a young woman, but the way she drank her whiskey spoke to decades of practice. She drained the glass and tilted it this way and that to watch the ice cube dance around the bottom.

"My husband is inside reading. It's all he does these days. Reads, reads, reads. Nothing good, just fiction. All heroic cops with divorces and drinking problems. I don't know why he keeps reading them because he always hates the endings. Either he saw it coming a mile away or it made no sense. Half his books end up in the lake. Go to that cove over there and you'll see a shelf's worth of paperbacks washed up on the shore."

She stared into her empty glass as if she could will more whiskey into it. After a moment, she set the glass down on the table next to her and when she looked up, you could see the age in her eyes.

"He says that nothing satisfies as much as a proper ending. Which isn't much of a compliment to me, but I do think he's wrong. I think endings are really very uncomplicated. In Shakespeare, there were only two endings - either everybody got married or everybody died. Marriage and death. Those are the only real endings."

A man emerged from the cabin behind her with a whiskey bottle and refilled her glass without a word to anyone. She did not give any indication that she was aware of him aside from the fact that she stopped speaking. He disappeared inside again. She picked up her glass and smiled, her face suddenly bright and youthful again. "Now, beginnings. Beginnings are much more interesting."


Story coming in October...


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