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The Whispering Winds

Theresa rolls down the windows letting in a warm breeze. The car shutters, and groans, making her grunt in an effort to pull over. With a sigh, she turns the car off and pops the trunk and the hood. Theresa steps out of her car into the hot, summer afternoon.

Her blue shorts give way to long tan legs, and old, beaten loafers. She tightens the blue USPS cap around her head and straightens her pale blue shirt. She was slightly self-conscious of the sweat dripping down her back, and the possible sweat stains she had.

In the trunk, she rustles through the endless lands of manilla packages and boxes until she finds the oil for the car. She pulls the bottle out and closes the trunk. She opens the hood of the white van and checks her oil level. The drip in her company’s vehicle was getting worse every day. But she could not tell them that, could she?

They had already skimped on sending the van to an appropriate engineer, and now she has to buy oil out of pocket to keep up with the drainage. When she finishes filling the steering fluid back up, she checks the anti-freeze just to be sure.

She chuckles at a memory of her son’s first word, which had slipped into her head uninvited, but welcome. His first word was car, which was a very strange first word indeed. But it was unique to him, and she loved every second of it. She pulls the passenger door open and leans into the cool, comfort of the van.

Shuffling through a few packages she takes out the mail for this street. 101 Rainbow Lane.

She pulls out some packages from Amazon but mostly just letters, notices, bills, and bank statements. She had seen the white envelopes every day for the past five years. Whether she was at home, or at work, the letters were never-ending.

Theresa peers around the street, her eyes scan over the brightly colored homes. The trimmed lawns, and clean, sleek driveways. Some homes had small toys littering the grass, others had large trees which dipped and swayed in the wind.

Her feet carry her down the road past houses of every color. Yellow, red, green, cyan, turquoise, salmon. She chuckles to herself. What would her house look like when she had finally moved out of the decrepit, two-bedroom apartment, she and her three children lived in?

She arrives at the gate of the house she was delivering to. The wind halts, her footsteps become the only sound she can hear. She pushes open the black gate and steps onto the gravel. Gravel leads to dirt that litters the path up to the crooked broken steps.

Two cars sit parked in the driveway. Dusty and soulless. Unmoving, in an unmoving home. The grass grows up and sprouts like flowers. Twisted and sharp like weeds. Theresa turns to the mailbox just beyond the gate in a sparse patch of grass.

She stops when she notices the state of the mailbox. Full, and unattended to. The mail was piling up, boxes litter the base and some of the envelopes had fallen to the ground. She glances up at the house. Unlike every house on the street, it lacked color. Black to its bones, and as tall as the trees, the house sat ominously.

She takes in a deep breath and moves closer to the mailbox. She could place the mail on top of the boxes with the rest of the stuff, or she could walk up to the door and knock. Her stomach churns and she shakes her head.

No, they obviously did not want to check their mail. The wind howls blowing dirt up into the sky and around her face. The trees move with force, swaying harshly like limbs. Arms to be exact.

She swallows dryly.

Leaves steadily fall from the branches as they would in autumn, landing soundlessly on the grass and rushing along the wind like water. Theresa places the mail on top of the boxes and backs away. Her loafers slip in the dirt sending her to her bottom.

She lands hard.

Theresa groans rubbing at her backside and picks herself off the ground. At once a whisper fills the air with one word.

“Leave.”

Screaming Theresa darts out of the yard and up the street past all the pretty houses. Orange, pink, russet, blue, olive. Past all of the toys, and all the cars, up to her white van with the blue logo. She gets in throwing down the rest of the mail.

The tires screech when she peels off, her heart beating in her throat. Whatever had spoken into the wind on that fateful day, had spoken to her. And with her smiling children’s faces in mind, she left and never returned. 

AN: Originally published on www.jazmingalloway.com

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