GENRE: Adult Literary
He had been gone this time for two months when she found him by accident. She had been out ranging the woods and lowlands, checking her traps, when she spotted the Turkey Buzzards. Curious, she followed their spirals earthward till her eyes rested on a white shape where no white should be. Pa. For some reason he had cut through the bog—or maybe for no reason. Why would a water witch bother with marshland? Drunk, maybe.
From a distance, Mattie detached the feeling part of herself to study the scene. The winter drought had shrunk the beaver pond to half, leaving a shore of canes and tussocks and solid-looking muck. She shook her head to concentrate. This was her cue to act. But she couldn’t move. A chill ran down her spine to her feet, freezing them in place. While in life, Pa had looked eerie enough, almost a spectre—blond-white hair hanging limply down his back; skin almost albino, except below the hat brim where the sun had burned his jaw pink; eyes so pale a blue, you’d think they were white as well. Now, he had become a horror.
A breeze carried across his stench. Mattie felt the bile surging from her gut. She gagged and covered her mouth just in time. The idea of touching him…it wrenched her stomach again. This time the liquid rose with such force, she couldn’t stop it. Afterwards, her muscles contracted like bellows until her belly ached.