Genre: gen, low-key horror, northern Plains gothic
Characters: Anne-Marie; the suggestion of Dean, Fishing Angel, and Castiel
Warnings: [Spoiler (click to open)]statutory rape
Word Count: ~900
Summary: Until today, four trucks and thirteen cock socks is as far as Anne-Marie had ever been from home. Now she's in the woods with a body made of ash.
Notes: Tag to 10x01 "Black." I was interested in imagining what sorts of scars/death echoes an angel's death might leave on a place, and whether you could hear his mourners.
This isn't really her. Sure, the grew up a farm girl; but in the Valley who didn't? She knows short nails and dirt swirling up the pads of her fingers, that ache in her hips and in the flat arches of her feet, and durum and durum and flaxseed forever. But Anne-Marie's been hiking a long time.
There are trees here, in place of the Spur, and Matt, and Dean. (She'd almost forgotten his name.) A river instead of a highway, mosquito-ridden. It took her six trucks and a Forester to get here, fifty-four cracking conversations and 137 years' age difference between all her men and her, Anne-Marie.
She counted them up to pass the time.
She has one hickey on her neck and fourteen bruises you can't see.
Anne-Marie's never been shy about sex; she's told more stories to her girlfriends than you could've found in the library back home. (400 books and half as many people, was the joke.) But Jenn's in jail and Maura married a Mormon. They're both in Bismarck now. Until today, four trucks and thirteen cock socks is as far as Anne-Marie had ever been from home.
Now she's in the trees.
In about an hour, it will be dark, and she'll have missed nine shifts plus the OT she'd signed up for. (It had been after Dean, when she'd felt angry like Jenn and afraid like Maura. She didn't know what she'd do, if she weren't working. And once a farm girl, always a farm girl; Anne-Marie keeps busy.)
"Outdoorsy" isn't really her. For the first time, she'll be out in the woods alone.
There are rocks between her toes. She'd wash them off in the stream, but even though it's summer, it's cold.
When Anne-Marie was thirteen, she took off her shirt in the river. It had been black--pink and black--and she'd thought if it were just her white skin against the bright sun, maybe the fish wouldn't see her. Imagine her white white skin in the sun like that.
Imagine her white white skin walking in the dark, eight hours after Cory Nelson threw her clothes to the rip and let the fish chase her shirt down river. Past the rocks.
Naked, she'd sat in the brush, waiting for dark. A girl can't walk home bare--not in that town. She'd sat eight hours in the brush with Cory Nelson, waiting for dark. Blonde hair against the dirt; Cory panting, kicking rocks up under her arched back. Whenever he let up, she'd collapse onto them. There's still a little scar near her spine from the sharpest.
More bruises than were worth counting. $537 at a clinic in Fargo, far enough from home no one would know what they'd done. Her mother cried the whole way there and back. And Anne-Marie lied, didn't she--that's the furthest she'd ever been from home; they got a motel for after and everything. Anne-Marie, thirteen, drove their Jetta.
When she's sixteen, Anne-Marie's breaking down pallets behind the bar with a sledgehammer, hoping for a hostess gig instead. She hears Jede-- Private Johnston tell her boss that somewhere far from here, Cory Nelson's died. (Friendly fire.)
She'd always thought she'd end up married to him.
The thing is, she's known both girls and men like Dean. Of the Valley; forever of the Valley. People are alive and violent, and it's always been a blood-under-your-nails kind of place, where Anne-Marie calls home. But it's Dean, finally, who sends her to the trees.
She wants to be free.
(But that's stupid.)
She wants to be free, and she wants it to matter.
The wind slips between rocks and it keens. Sammy let me go
Anne-Marie keeps her feet dry. She hops from slab to slab.
She looks up at the sky. There are people who can keep their place by the stars, she knows; but she can't even find the Big Dipper. With her eyes on the stars, she takes a leap of faith, from rock to shore. (Don't step on the fish, sings the wind. It titters. Remember, Castiel?)
She's never been this deep in the woods alone before. It's talkative.
When she wipes sweat from her cheek, her wrist smears black, and her nose tingles. Feathery ashes hang in the air. Her brain supplies "fire" and her heart instantly wonders how many conversations, how many bruises, how many rocks (scuffed breathlessly up her back) it's going to take to win her a seat beside it.
There's no fire, though, and no smoke. She's a farm girl; she knows what a field afire smells like. This just smells like ash and church.
In the trees, the wind screams and screams: Let them go let them go let them go. And don't step on that fish. Like an echo out of someone else's memory:
Sammy let me go
There's so much ash in the air--enough to build a body from it. And when Anne-Marie shuts her eyes, she imagines wings: A hot white inversion, like the neon downtown.
Anne-Marie sucks in the smell of ash in the woods. She hears the plimp of one small fish. She wriggles the rocks between her toes.
Finally, Anne-Marie looks down.