© 2017 by Meatful Things

Night finally falls, thick with noxious fog. I turn onto Stewart Young Road and park on a campestral pullout overlooking a marsh. After a few minutes of silence, the toads start croaking. Loud. My girls will experience country living while they're still young. Spending some time in the sticks is the silver lining to life on the lam. I light a cig and pull open the ashtray. Full. The fog thickens, and I roll down the window and flick the ash to the ground. Smells like marsh gas. Pungent. As fog envelopes the car, I glance at my girls in the rearview mirror. They're wide-eyed, huddled, and silent. The marsh gas-infused fog swirls eddies around the tip of my cig and creeps around the window frame. The croak of the toads grows louder, synchronizing into a single steady beat. The miasma snakes down my arm. Spooky. So I roll the window up, leaving just enough space to tap my ash. Gaseous tendrils flow through the crack, so I blow back the night air with my cig smoke. I am Momma Bear. I must protect my cubs. Keep them safe, keep them fed, and keep their spirits free in this foreign hinterland. Cig spent, I crawl into the back seat and explain the new rules.