A Dark Adventure Told Between the Lines
Alpine Bavaria 1936
Darkwater Creek, Nebraska 1968
Love and lies led young Bridget into Nazi entanglement, through war-torn Europe, and across an ocean to her Nebraska farm. With secrets under the floor and graves in her garden, Bridget's a double wife living a double life. Her crimes are leagues behind her, but as civil rights unrest and assassinations divide her new nation, genetic illness shakes her and a legacy of retribution climbs her farmhouse stairs.
A blizzard of violence strikes home, driving her underground, where Bridget discovers a tattered ledger. Registering a life well lived, the empty pages invite her to confession, but can Bridget balance her accounts before the past breaks down her door?
One of two emotions greets me as I arrive home, here on my farm. When I see the hired men puttering on the tractors, discing or planting, or combining the corn that’s hardened into gold, I savour an evergreen tint of joy. It lasts through seasons when farming is hard, as I’m up all night with sick livestock and struggle to balance the accounts, pay debts and keep safe what is mine, this house and the land Merlin left to me. These acres and this house draw down my miserable, twisted roots to feed. Deep green.
As Erich pretends to own us, bearing down, thwarting and scraping us on his cruelty, the green dries pale. It casts me in ice, not clean and clear, but dirty grey, clouded with windblown topsoil and bad air, bubbled disappointment and sorrow. Hard deep glacial ice, as sheer and fatal as that in the high Alps.READ MORE
Since Erich abandoned me on that frozen road, I’ve been scolding myself for my foolishness. We’re anything but normal folk who can quarrel a little, with all forgiven at the last. What was I thinking? My son tried to kill me, a terrible thought; I speak the words, “My son tried to kill me,” so I won’t forget again.
But in spite of the ice that locks me, by the grace of God, today I hold that first, green impression. It’s planting time. Merlin’s old red Farmall H drags the rows, out by the higher north property line that missed out on last night’s capricious showers. Ours still runs, even after other farmers around Darkwater replaced theirs with 560s and 1206s. Merlin loved his tractor and I loved him, so the grease and metal give me something of him to keep. Albert Grange, the man Merlin hired to oversee the farm, loves the tractor, too. He says they don’t build them like that, anymore.
After parking the car, I walk the fence line halfway to Albert. He doesn’t see me because he’s pulling away, so I watch for a while, before I walk back to the house. All those months of winter, I almost believed the farm was dead, but it fooled me again. April proves.
I hide Iris’s present in my room. From my window, I see her and Nora bending over something on the ground. Maybe a washed-up worm or a broken-necked bird fallen in last night’s rain. Iris holds back Nora’s hand when she reaches down. I imagine she’s saying, “Let nature take its course.” It’s what I believe, most of the time. But piercing moments, eruptions in time manifest, and something must be done. I sense one coming on. Itching like the blade of a leaf, slicing free of a stem in my mind.COLLAPSE
K. Lyn Wurth writes fiction that considers health, family life, regional experience and history. Her short fiction has appeared in The Examined Life Journal, The Broadkill Review and The Arduous Touch: Women’s Voices in Healthcare (Purdue University Press.). She lives in northwest Iowa with her husband, David.
Read more about The Darkwater Liar's Account and Kelly's other writing at: