“You keep the children.” Jason disposes of them just like that as the aurora burns over the Vermilion River. Witchlight. We’ve been married nine years. “I’ll keep the dog,” he adds.
Across the river, a wolf edges out of the forest to drink. Our sons, Jeremy, eight, and Kevin, six, sleep in our tent, unaware. Upriver, wolves cry, a pack. Jason doesn’t explain, but I know it’s Sharon, honey haired, golden, one of those twenty-somethings in the Montana Café in town, charming as otters, smooth and quick. Jason saw her, wants her. Her father’s rich.
In a sudden wolf silence, the river talks, chugs over hydraulic potholes. Our fire snaps. Jason’s throat works as he drinks cold beer, sits firelighted, honey gold as Sharon. I can almost hear the thunder of the falls, south of us. I can imagine the deep pool at the cliff foot, black water there, or maybe gilded by the streamers in the sky, running down the magnetic lines, like a script, like a written language of gods.
Ten miles north is the border. I’ve crossed it a hundred times. A lot of us from up here are very good at border crossings. Late at night. In any weather. Summer or winter. Private business. Nothing ever stops us. Jason has forgotten that. He’s from the Cities, from Minneapolis, not really like us.
The wolf drinks, looks at me, a knowing look. Wolves cry like humans sometimes, late, late at night on the Vermilion when the aurora shines. Things happen in the forests, at the border. The terrible witchlight of the aurora flickers green, white.
“So Medea,” Jason asks, “you gonna be all right with this?”
Janet Shell Anderson writes flash fiction, has published a "flash" novel, has been published by decomP, Vestal Review, FRIGG, Convergence, Grey Sparrow, Cease Cows and others and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for fiction. She is an attorney.