Green Man Red Woman
Part 2. A Story in 14 parts, based on Pacific Northwest Mythology
When Cherise opens the front door of the apartment building, a blast of cold wind and ice slaps her face, so she pulls down her stocking cap and tightens the scarf around her neck before pressing on. There’s no traffic, and the night seems eerily quiet, the only movement an occasional swirl of snow stirred by the wind. Across the street a sleeping bag lies stretched out in a doorway, its occupant likely passed out. No one should be out on a night like this. Probably too drunk to get to the shelter.
The deer tracks continue along Couch Street across 3rd and 4th Avenues, and turn north on 5th alongside the Max light rail. No trains run this time of morning and the snowfall has nearly covered the rails. Cherise is now totally into the chase. She feels a familiar sense of freedom she thought she’d lost when she left her small town home for the city.
As she inspects the deer tracks, she notices an extra set of deer prints in the snow, smaller, merging from the south. They continue for a block, and just beyond Davis Street the tracks stop and circle each other in a little dance before vanishing. A sudden gust of wind blows snow hard into her face, and when she looks again, these remaining tracks are gone, as well.
Across the street a bickering couple she’d failed to notice until now puts an end to the quiet night. The woman, dark and diminutive, takes a long swig from a whiskey bottle and passes it to the man, a tall, lanky redhead with a grisly, unkempt beard.
“What the hell you looking at?” he says in a thick British accent, throwing an icy stare at Cherise, leaving her momentarily flustered. She regains her composure and she crosses the street toward the couple, cautiously defying the man’s continued glare.
“The deer,” she says. “Did you see two deer walk by here just a moment ago?”
“How the hell’d we know?” The man passes the bottle back to his companion. “We’re too busy minding our own business.”
Disappointed, Cherise turns to leave. “Sorry I bothered you.”
“No need to apologize, child,” the woman says. “This cranky old asshole is piss poor company any way you look at him. Wanna drink?” She holds the whiskey out toward Cherise.
“Oh, I… I really need to get back home. Thank you, anyway.”
“It’ll warm you up.”
Cherise thinks of all the reasons she shouldn’t. But there’s something in the woman’s eyes, her black raven hair, like Cherise’s own, something familiar and sad. She smiles and accepts the bottle.
For the next episode of our novelette go to Part Three.