The Wind of Lonely Places


Kelly wandered through the ruined house, the dog shadowing his 
footsteps.  He fixed his gaze on a beam that had been charred by fire, 
and after a while saw the faint image of the noose that had hung there, 
and the lifeless body that had twisted below it.  The image faded as 
Kelly relaxed his concentration.
	"He wasn't even aware he was dead, so completely did his 
enemy control him," he remarked aloud, then glanced down at the dog.  
"Mean little thing that it was.  Couldn't have been much of a meal for 
you."  The dog belched.
	Kelly's shoes crunched broken glass and plaster as he passed 
through the doorless entry.  In the weed-choked driveway, blocked up 
on its axles, sat the rusted-out hulk of an old Volkswagen.
	Away to the east, the sun was at last breaking free of the 
mountains, the snowclouds scattering to the south.  He watched the 
sunrise, draining the remainder of his wine from the bota.
	"Now I'll have to vint some more," he muttered, his eyes filling 
with tears.  "At least I know where to go for it."  He raised the empty 
wineskin toward the mountains in a gesture of farewell.  "Perhaps we'll 
meet again after all," he said, "should someone someday do for me, 
what I have done for you."
	A menacing growl rumbled through the animal beside him.  
Kelly smiled crookedly into the angrily glowing embers of its eyes.  "I 
know, old enemy," he told it, "but such hopes are all that make our 
association tolerable for me.  Do not begrudge them; you have lived 
now longer than any other of your kind."
	The dog growled again, but turned away its head.
	He watched the sunlight flare across the whitened peaks, the 
high winds blowing rippling plumes of snow from the summit.  The low 
winds at his back whispered disjointed phrases.  Kelly listened.

The End