Friday, February 8, 2008

The Damned

The moon that night was full and brilliant, and Cyprus would never forget it. There were only a couple of wisps of cloud, which may have been contrails at some point.

The scent of grass and maybe of evening flowers was mild and pleasant on the warm, dry summer night time breeze. It was perfectly comfortable to wear short sleeves, but not too warm.

It was a perfect night to be out of doors, and it was the perfect night to have Anjea there with him.

The two walked silently up the gentle hills of the farm, toward a spot with a wide view of the surrounding badlands. There was also a nice tree up there, they had both played on it when they were children. Thanks to it, both had nursed a sprained or broken limb or two over the course of growing up.

And she certainly has grown up, he thought, lagging intentionally behind for a better view of her. Nineteen years old, gorgeous, sweet, and all his.

Cyprus was so fixated on the way her hips moved when she walked, he barely noticed the log in his path. He caught himself before his face hit the ground, finding himself face to face with an unmoving cricket. The cricket froze for a moment, shifted itself, then invisibly hopped elsewhere.

He stood and quickly caught up to his wife of one year as she sat leaned against the oak tree.

The view they had up here was perfect for romantic evenings, even though the only thing to see was more rolling hills, for endless miles. The nearest of them that could be seen were covered in wheat, but beyond several miles or so there was nothing to see except very dark, scorched-looking earth. In other directions it was the same, only the crops differed.

"We never talk on the way up from the house," she drawled neutrally, as if noticing for the first time.

"Nope." said Cyprus, sitting. "Sher don't."

"It makes it more special," said Anjea, leaning against her young husband.

They enjoyed the moment for a few moments.

"I wonder when we're gonna have a baby," she said. They'd been trying ever since they were married, without any sign of success.

"We just gotta keep tryin."

"Let's try right now," she said, suddenly eager.

They tried, with gusto, on the patch of soft green grass.

"I love you," he said.

She smiled and kissed him instead of answering. Then she paused and said, "I wonder what we're missin out there. In the world, I mean."

"There ain't nothin out there so intrestin."

"How do you know?"

"I just know."

"But how? You've never been out there.

"Honey, listen, there ain't no 'out there', there's just here. It's been that way years now. evrythin's gone."

"I know. That's what everyone else tells us."

"You know my pa tried findin out, almost died tryin'."

"I know."

"You bothered about bein here?"

"Ask me two minutes ago," she told him, grinning.

They made love again, this time slower, with more savor.

"Nope, guess yer happy," Cyprus beamed and exhaled heavily.

"You?" asked a contented Anjea, still catching her breath.

"You know there ain't nothin else I need. World's gone, I say let it be. Long as I got you..."

They regarded each other, then she leaned her head on him again and they sat against the tree, enjoying the view of the moonlit landscape.

"It's like a different place, nights," said Anjea softly.

"It's like a moonshine garden of Eden," said Cyprus.

"Sometimes you say pretty things," she said, appreciative. "Ever think the fires were the rapture and we got left behind?"

"I figger God wouldn't have saved us from dyin if we wasn't worth somethin."

"Yes but what if that's our punishment--"

"Babe, it ain't like we ever done nothin wrong. All been in wedlock an evrythin. And we're still here, I think that's a good thing."

"Well," she hesitated. "I suppose so." Cyprus couldn't read her expression, but he'd never felt like he was that good at feelings.

He smiled reassuringly and held Anjea tight. She let out a gentle sigh.

"You been thinkin again."

"Yeah."

Cyprus rarely showed it, but he'd been having his share of thoughts.

"You know, wasn't till Adam an Eve got tossed out the garden they had kids."

She looked up at him, curious.

"I think there's a plan for us. Maybe no tree of good an evil, but whatever it is we gotta keep faith. God always watches over us. He spared us from the war, now he'll get us through this, I know it."

"Oh honey," began Anjea sympathetically, "I know it, too. Soon as we met I knew I would have all I need, and I know the Lord had a hand in it, bringin me here to a place safe from the fighting." His faith was reassuring to her.

"Aw, babe, you know that you were always the only girl for me."

They kissed and mutually sighed, content.

After a few minutes, Cyprus spoke again. "I always felt like I'd spend my life here and that ain't changed none, I'll do just what my daddy did, and my grandpa. Far back as I know we been farmin this land."

"And now there ain't nowhere else to go." said Anjea.

"Nope."

Cyprus smiled at his wife. "But that means more time for lovin," he said.

"Again already!?" she was surprised, but not unhappy. In fact she was smiling and already pulling her husband nearer, eager to make love and hopeful that she would soon bear children for her man, children to replenish God's earth.

But even she dwelt on such things very little. They were young, together, in love under the moon, and evenings like these felt like all they needed.

They both felt that they could live the same way forever, spending night after night sitting on that hill together, raising children and growing old. Indeed, it seemed that they would, and there was no other path in life for them.

Anything else was unimaginable.

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