The first time her father mentions the elves, Carole assumes that he is joking.
“My helpers,” he says to her, over the phone. “My house helpers.”
“You mean like the construction crew?” she says. She has the phone tetrised into the crook between her ear and shoulder while she feeds the baby, who is sick. She hasn’t slept in thirty-eight hours. Her father’s voice sounds disembodied over the phone, as though everything he says is its own little dream. “You call them elves?”
“No, no,” Peter says. “I mean—the elves. They live down by the river. They brought us gifts the first night that we stayed in the trailer. They’re going to help us finish the house.”
“Elves,” she says. “Like Galadriel? Or Legolas?” The thought comes unbidden: Orlando Bloom in tights and fishtail braids, balancing on top of the house frame. Delicious.
“Of course not,” he scoffs, as though she is crazy. “They’re much smaller. Like the elves in the stories your mother read to you when you were little.”
“Santa elves,” she says. Child-sized Orlando Blooms in red suits with white trim.
“Not like those ones either.” Now he sounds exasperated. You just don’t get it, do you? “But I guess you’ll meet them soon enough, anyway. So you’ll see eventually. Amy too. She’ll love them. Like playing with fairies.”
“I thought you still needed to build the shed,” she says. “Before you started on the house. Are they going to help with that too?”
“You’re coming to help build the shed,” he says. “Tomorrow. Right? I thought that was the plan.”
Carole looks at the baby, who is almost two now and still tiny, still petite, but active enough. Flushed. Impatient. Tired of her fever, tired of the way that her tiny bones are not responding to her tiny brain. The river air might do her good.
“Yes,” she says. “We’re coming.” Then, because she can’t help it. “Are you feeling all right?”
“Never better,” her father says. “This land is the best decision your mother and I ever made.” Pause. “After you, of course. You were a good decision too.”
She hangs up laughing and tells Roger about the elves over dinner. She is laughing then too, and stops only when it becomes obvious that Roger doesn’t find it funny.
“Has your father talked about elves before?” he says. “Seems a bit, I don’t know. Odd.” He means dangerous—she can hear it in his voice.
“I’m sure it’s just a joke,” she says. But even as she says it, the words become less amusing.
“People don’t joke about things like that when they’re sitting on a half-a-million dollars of debt.”
“Don’t talk like that.”
“He’s retired. He’s happy. If imagining elves are what help him build the house, then so what?”
“It doesn’t sound like imagination to me. It sounds like stress. Has he gone to the doctor?” Roger feeds the baby with one hand and crumples his napkin into a ball with the other. “Grown men don’t start talking about elves just out of nowhere.”
The thought that she hasn’t even considered this makes blood surge in her head, behind her eyes. “I’m sure he’s fine. It’s just a joke, Roger. For God’s sake.”
“Well,” and he backs down, momentarily. “I mean—maybe it’s just the retirement. Waiting for the house. Maybe he’s just lonely.”
“Or maybe he’s happy,” she says, again. It is always easier to believe in magical things when you aren’t depressed. Besides—hasn’t she felt magical too, on that plot of green land by the river? Wouldn’t it be easy to imagine fairies there, a world where the cities of her youth and her present fade away into the heartbeat of grass and sun and country air?
His eyes go soft then, looking at her. “I just mean—we’ve seen this before, Carole. Maybe not with elves, but—”
“I know what you’re saying,” she snaps. Maybe not with elves, but with messages from God that come through the TV and messages from ISIS that get plastered over the front page of the paper and furniture that Peter moves around at three in the morning and then abandons, a couch left halfway between the living room and kitchen. Your mother tell you about our drive last week when I went two hundred clicks on the QE? Felt like I was out of my body things were going so slow. Like God was on the highway, Carole, just lifting us up and speeding us along it was amazing. I’ve never felt so alive.
She swallows. “I know what you mean, Roger, but he’s fine. For God’s sake—he sees the doctor every other week.”
The silence that comes between them is not new, now, but old and familiar. It is the Third Man in their house, the collected repository of things that everyone is no longer saying.
“I just—I don’t want you to be unhappy,” Roger says. “Or disappointed. Or upset when things…turn out the way they do. That’s all.”
She reaches over and takes the baby out of her chair—Amy has eaten more over dinner than she has over the past few days, which is encouraging—and tries to keep the bitterness out of her voice. “I’m not unhappy,” she says. “I think it’s good for him to be excited about things again. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating that.”
“Sure,” he says. He sounds smaller now, which makes her hate him that much more. “You’re right. I’m sorry. Maybe it’s nothing.”
She takes Amy upstairs and lies with her until they both fell asleep. The elves that come to visit in her dream are fine-boned, like the baby. They have green eyes. In the dream, they dance around Carole and the baby and Roger until even he is laughing, his fingers just out of reach of the elves, out of reach of her.
Roger, she knows, is unhappy. The first time they met him, Peter joked about Roger’s black turtleneck—I thought my daughter married a professor, not a poet. Roger has since packed the turtleneck away and doesn’t wear it anymore when her parents come to visit. He is terrified of everything—the city, the accents, the stretch of the QEW that takes them into Toronto. When they met in Melbourne those years ago—three years now, she can hardly believe it—he’d seemed so much larger, happier, more suntanned, free. He is a much smaller man now. Her country has done this to him. The waiting on visas, the inability to work, the coldness of the winter.
Also, maybe she has done this to him, a little.
Every week, Roger’s mother calls their house and hints at how much he—they—are missed.
“The baby’s going to grow up without her Granny,” she says, as though there are no other grandparents on that side of the ocean.
“We’ll visit soon,” Carole says. “And we Skype.”
“Oh, but that’s not the same, Carole. You know that it isn’t.”
Every week, Roger winds up their family phone call by taking the phone into the bedroom for more talking with his parents. His accent ramps up when he does this. It shouldn’t annoy her, but it does. He sounds like Crocodile Dundee, like he’s forgotten how he used to talk and is reaching for stereotypes to help him get it back.
Every week, she half-expects him to come back out of the bedroom, phone in hand, and tell her that he’s leaving. It hasn’t happened, not yet.
It doesn’t happen the next morning, either. Instead Roger brings the phone back out to Amy and gets her to murmur into the phone. Carole can hear Sandy’s excited squeals from where she stands at the kitchen counter, packing lunch, halfway across the room.
“Right, Mum,” he says, and he brings the phone back to his ear. “We’ll call again next week and talk about Christmas. See you then.”
Carole folds their sandwiches neatly into their Zip-loc bags and counts to ten.
“I thought we were staying here for Christmas.”
Roger glances back at her, looks surprised. “I figure it’s time we go back. We’ve had the last two Christmases here. Seems only fair, really.”
“But,” she says. But what? It had made sense, hadn’t it, to move home two years ago when her father was so ill. So didn’t it make sense to go back to visit this year, with Peter so stable and happy? “We were going to spend Christmas in the new house.”
“The house that isn’t built yet?” he snaps. “The house that’s waiting on the elves?”
“Oh fuck off.” She shoves water bottles into the bottom of her tote bag and sweeps the sandwiches off the counter, crushing all of her nice wrapping work in the process. Then she picks Amy up—bright-eyed with nothing more than happiness today, thank goodness—and stomps out of the apartment.
She watches her cell phone for most of the drive out to the country, but Roger doesn’t call. He doesn’t call when she is reaching the edges of the city, he doesn’t call as she winds down the wider country roads. She stops looking. When she turns into her parents’ driveway and rumbles through the thicket of trees, sees the foundation of the house standing pristine and new amidst the bulldozers and the dirt and the construction crew, she glances at her phone one last time and then decides not to call him back.
“House,” Amy says, and she points a little finger out the window.
The construction crew is jovial, polite, hilarious. They pick Amy up and toss her gently in the air until she shrieks, until she is so thrilled with the terror that Carole is afraid she will be sick. They put her back down on the ground, gently.
“Isn’t she a beaut?” Peter says. He nods to the foundation and ambles over to them in his toolbelt and jeans. There are workers over by the shed now, too—hefting the frame into place, nail guns popping the air like exclamation marks. “We’ll be snug in the house in no time.”
“What happened?” Carole says. “I thought the permits had been stalled. I thought you weren’t going to start until later in the summer.”
“Elves!” her father says. But Carole’s mother makes her way over to them across the grass, rolls her eyes and smiles.
“The permits came through,” Margaret says. “And once that happened, all it took was a phone call.” She is wearing her denim gardening shirt and rubber boots, her straw gardening hat, her best-loved gardening gloves. All round them are the sounds of hammers and saws, laughter and shouts. There must be twenty crew people here, maybe more.
“The elves made the permits come through,” Peter says. Carole watches him for the telltale signs—is he talking faster, is he fidgeting, has he eaten anything at all—and gets nothing but another smile. “Christmas in the new house!” he says. “I hope it snows. Our last two Christmases have been so dry. Roger’s never seen snow, has he?”
“He’s seen snow,” Carole says. “But only in the movies.”
“It’ll be great,” Peter says. He hoists up a wrench, cocks it at them like it’s a magic wand. “Snow outside and the five of us, snug around the fireplace. Like something from a postcard.” He winks at her before turning back to the shed. “I’ve invited the elves over for Christmas dinner already. They said they’d be delighted.”
Shortly after this, Peter goes back over to the shed and leaves the three of them to sit lazily around the garden. Amy up and down and toddling but never out of sight, Carole with her hands behind her back and her palms pressing down into the grass, into the soil. “So,” she says. She doesn’t need to go any further.
“I don’t think it’s anything to worry about,” Margaret says. She kneels a few inches from the edge of the garden plot and begins to transplant a lilac bush. All these years spent clearing the brush and taming the grasses and tearing apart the old barn and now, here they are, the home glimmering just out of reach. “He’s certainly still on the meds, if that’s what you’re wondering. He’s just excited. I think he feels like a kid again, with the house finally going up.” She hums as she digs into the dirt—the same wordless tune she’s been singing since they bought the property four years ago. The tune that she sang all during that first long summer when Peter was sick, when Carole was back, pregnant and terrified and falling so rapidly out of love.
“What is that song?” Carole asks her, again. It sounds familiar but she can’t place it, no matter how she tries.
“I don’t know,” Margaret says. She laughs, shakes her head a little. “I always feel like it came from here— from the water, maybe.” Then she winks. “Maybe from the elves. I suppose they like it when there’s music.”
It would sound silly, except that it isn’t. This is how they think, her parents. They are river people—they might not have been river people when she was growing up, but this is where they belong now. Their minds run with the water that flows below the ground, with the dirt, with the slide of summer into fall. The new house is going up right there, to the left of the shed. It will grow from their fingers like moss on rocks, and a year from now you’ll be able to see the lilac bush from the dining room window.
Is it a bad thing, to let her father have this little bit of magic? Is it really so terrible? Carole isn’t sure. She kneads her fingers deeper into the dirt and closes her eyes, listens to the river. It doesn’t tell her anything, although it sounds so pretty.
Her parents bought the land three years ago, when Carole was in Australia. Seven acres, sixty feet of waterfront, sewer and electricity hookups already in place. The barn sat on the northwest corner of the property. The seller, a retired farmer, had had his own plans for a house on the lot, but a stroke had left him in hospital. No one could do the upkeep, and so his family convinced him to sell. The son played for the OHL and came down from Toronto to finalize the deal.
“He’ll be glad to know you’re building.” The son drove a truck worth almost half what they were paying for the land. “He might like it if you sent pictures when the house is finished. Anyway, I’ll be sure to let him know.”
First the house was going to be two stories, with an arched cathedral ceiling in the foyer. A loft attic built especially for Amy—as yet an embryo, a small bundle of cells. There would be a gourmet kitchen. There would be his and her sinks in all of the bathrooms, except for the powder room on the first floor. Peter drew up the plans himself, spent his days lugging detritus from the barn. Then, about six months after they’d signed for the land, he threw the plans away and drew up something else. A bungalow now, with a glass floor in the living room so that they could divert part of the river to run through the house.
“What if the land erodes?” Carole asked. This was the point, standing only-just-pregnant in the grimy windows of their tiny Melbourne flat, where she started to get nervous. She knew nothing about building but this seemed problematic, or at very least awfully expensive.
“Won’t erode,” Peter said. “I’ll engineer it foolproof. No problemo.” He was talking faster then too, as though they had limited minutes on these transatlantic phone calls and needed to say as much as they could in the smallest ways possible. Fair enough, Carole remembered thinking, at the time.
A week after that Peter threw the plans out again and went to the furniture store, then came back with a sectional and two armchairs and a set of babysafe nesting tables for the as-yet-to-be-born grandchild, all of which were for the as-yet-to-be-built rec room in the as-yet-to-be-built house. None of the furniture fit in the house that they were renting, the house that they’d moved into just after buying the land.
They took the furniture back, and Peter drew up other plans. His telephone calls became more fragmented, hard to follow. Sometimes he forgot the time difference and called them at three in the morning. Carole. There’s a fucking fortune in old windows in that barn! That hotshot hockey son had no idea, thank fuck—otherwise he’d have nabbed them for sure.
She came home when he started spending nights out on the farm with a pellet gun, sprawled in an old sleeping bag beneath the stars. Isolated area. You never know, right? Gotta be careful. Gotta protect your own. This is going to be the best house for miles around. The most special house you’ve ever seen. For miles and MILES.
She drove straight from the airport without telling Margaret that she’d arrived and found him at the farm, hacking at grass with a pair of pruning shears.
Carole? Carole, that you? Holy Christ, do you ever look pregnant. I’m gonna be a GRANDPA! Holy fuck! Goddamn!
He was cheerful as they drove to the hospital, cheerful and impatient as they waited at triage, cheerful and polite as the nurses walked him over to the secure part of the ward. He asked for paper and a pencil to help him pass the time and drew one more floor plan, then another. L-shaped, bungalow, tall three-story row house. Secret stairs and passageways. The doorways didn’t match up. The dimensions were all wrong.
When they discharged him some weeks later, he’d stopped all the drawing.
She didn’t go back to Melbourne.
They stay long enough to plant the lilac bush and have lunch, watch Amy run screaming from one end of the grassy lawn to the other. By the time they go, the shed is in place and part of the house has been framed. It all feels very fast, but Carole doesn’t say that. She doesn’t need to—Peter sees it in her face.
“The elves,” he says, and he brings up the edge of his shirt, wipes the sweat off his face. “It’s all them.”
“Or,” Margaret says, gently, “it’s the construction crew who’ve been here since six a.m.”
“There are no elves, Dad.” Her voice is sharper than she means it to be and the hurt shimmers over his face.
“Sure there are,” he says. But he is quiet now. “They might be invisible right now, but that’s part of the magic! I told them all about you. And Amy. And Roger, of course.”
She carries Amy to the car and buckles her in, tries counting numbers in her head as her parents amble along behind her. It doesn’t work.
“We’ll have firefly parties next summer,” Peter says. “The elves will bring them out. You’ll see.”
Carole slams the car door and veers round to face them both. Behind her, Amy starts to cry. “Did you stop taking your meds?” she snaps. “Tell me the truth. Both of you.”
Margaret frowns. “I already told you, sweetie.”
“Don’t sweetie me. Do you think I have time to drive back and forth to the hospital again? Do you think I have the money to bail you out when he buys new furniture that won’t fit through the fucking door?”
“Don’t swear in front of the baby,” Margaret says, her voice severe. “For God’s sake, Carole—mind your place.” Peter says nothing, just looks at the ground and grows smaller, more unsure. Like how he looked when they came out of the hospital that first time. She will care about this later, feel ashamed even, but right now it doesn’t even register.
“Roger hates it here,” she says. “He hates the weather, he hates the way you made fun of his shirt that one time, he hates driving on the goddamned highway. He didn’t move here just to hear you talk about elves.”
Her parents are both quiet, maybe a little shocked. She can see the unevenness of the new ground they’re on reflected in their eyes. “Right.” Peter stands a little straighter, rubs a hand against the back of his neck. “Well, okay then. Won’t say anything about the elves when Roger comes over. I can do that.”
She rolls her eyes, yanks open the driver’s side door. Peter and Margaret don’t move as she slides into her seat, as she turns the key in the ignition, as she backs the car out of its space and then three-points it back facing the road. The construction crew will go for a few hours yet. Have they eaten, her parents? She doesn’t care.
They wave to her when she reaches the road. She can’t see them as they do it—the house is swallowed by the trees—but this is the way that things have always happened, this is the way they say goodbye. Normally she would honk as she drives past them, but this time she does nothing.
By the time Carole gets home she is embarrassed and ashamed, but she doesn’t say anything to Roger. When they clump into the dining room—Amy has clods of grass and dirt up her pants and leaves a trail of little crumbs across the kitchen—he looks up from where he’s writing at the table, surprised.
“I thought you were staying there for dinner,” he says.
“Plans changed. Want to go out? Let’s have Thai.”
They take Amy to the Thai place at the end of the street and feed her noodles and tofu. Carole doesn’t say anything about the elves, and Roger doesn’t ask. “I’ve been thinking,” he says.
“Thinking about what?” The terror and relief fight for space in her heart. Jostling over valves, thumping on the walls of her aorta.
“Maybe we should move in with your parents,” he says.
“I mean, when they’ve finished the new house. Obviously. Maybe it will happen in time for the holidays.” She sits with this for a moment. It isn’t terror that she feels now—not exactly—but it isn’t relief, either.
“What about Christmas,” she says. “I thought you wanted to go home.”
He shrugs, and as he does so his haphazard ponytail shifts from side to side. He hasn’t shaved in two days and the stubble on his chin is flecked with silver. Dark-haired Roger, who got drunk at the wedding and spent the first night of their honeymoon puking in the toilet. Roger, the professor. Roger, whom she loved, or maybe didn’t love anymore, or who knew what. “Home’s not going anywhere,” he says. “And I think—maybe it would be good for them, for your dad. Having us around all of the time.” He reaches across the table and takes her hand. “My mother will survive another year. I guarantee it.”
How long has it been since they’ve had sex? She can’t remember. “Who knows when they’ll finish the house,” she says, flatly. “We might get a Christmas in Australia after all.”
He laughs. Amy has made a mess of her noodles—they’re all over the table, on the floor, scrunched underneath her on the booster seat. The waitress who comes over to their table with extra napkins in tow looks at their linked hands and smiles. How sweet, Carole can almost hear her thinking. What a lovely little family.
She can’t picture this now, any more than she can picture feeling at home by the river. It feels shut off to her, somewhere she no longer belongs.
She doesn’t call her parents for a week, and then dials them one Saturday when Amy is down for her nap. She gets the voicemail, leaves a message. They do not call her back.
She leaves another message the next day, and the day after that drives back to the farm—where else would they be, if they’re not answering the phone. Amy falls asleep in the car on the way there. Roger, who has come along to see the progress, has made sure to dress respectably. No black turtleneck, no funny hat, just cargo shorts and sunglasses, a dark blue buttoned t-shirt. Peter can’t laugh at that, she thinks. Peter will try to make an effort. Everyone will try.
This time, when they pass through the thicket of trees, there are no bulldozers. There is no dirt. There is the river, and a shiny new house reaching up to the sky. Two stories, brown siding, pretty shutters on the windows. The lilac bush has pushed out a few flowers and glimmers purple in the sunlight as they drive up to the house.
Roger whistles. “Maybe he should go off the meds entirely,” he says. “If he builds houses like this when he’s manic, he could make a killing.”
“They had so many crews,” Carole says. She’s so confused. “Maybe it was like one of those reality shows, the ones where they build houses for poor people in twenty-four hours, or whatever.” She turns off the car and they sit for a moment, staring. Then they unlock their doors, slide on out. Roger goes around to the backseat and unbuckles Amy from her seat. She doesn’t wake up. He nestles her soft against his shoulder and they shut the car, move up the front walk, ring the doorbell. It does feel like coming home, Carole realizes. The thought makes her smile.
An elf opens the door and stands there, blinking at them. An elf in a tiny pair of jeans and a red flannel shirt. Like something that Peter might wear in the winter.
“Can I help you,” the elf says. His nose is sharp and there is white hair coming out of his ears. His eyes are brown. His voice is deeper than you’d expect from someone so small.
They blink, and blink again. The elf does not go away.
“Can I help you?” he says again, annoyed.
“My parents,” Carole croaks out, eventually. “Are they here?”
The elf frowns at her. “Why would they be here?” he says. “This is my house.”
Carole swallows something—it feels like shame. My God, she thinks. My God. “This is my father’s house,” she says, speaking slower than she perhaps needs to be. “I was here last week—they were building.”
The elf shakes his head. “This is my house,” he says, again. “Come in—you can see for yourselves, if you want.” He shuffles back and opens the door for them all.
They step inside, gingerly. As soon as she’s over the threshold Carol hears the water. She moves like someone is carrying her forward into the great room and yes, there it is—cathedral ceiling, slanted skylights, glass portions in the floor. She walks until she’s standing on the glass, watching the river gurgle and bubble beneath her feet. It sounds even prettier in here, if such a thing is possible.
“I don’t understand,” she says, and she turns back to the elf. But there are more of them now—a female elf in a small blue dress, hair in her ears too, and two younger elves, one black-haired, one blonde, holding a baby between them. The baby is the size of an avocado, maybe a little larger.
“This is our house,” the female elf says. “What are you doing in our house?”
“My parents,” Carole says, again. She pivots back out to the south-facing great room windows. All you can see are rolling hills and soybean fields. A farmer in his tractor, planting seeds far out on the horizon. “My father told me about you. I didn’t believe him.”
The older elf frowns again, and shakes his head. “I don’t know what you mean,” he says. He sounds peeved now, the way you do when someone comes into your house and refuses to leave. “This is our house. We live here. We’ve always lived here.”
“But—but it’s a new house,” Roger says. The words wake Amy—she shifts and turns forward, sees the elves. They smile at her, all of them. She smiles right back. The baby turns over in the younger elf-woman’s arms and reaches out to Amy, waves a tiny, star-like hand. “It even smells like a new house, for God’s sake.”
“You are mistaken,” says the elf. Is that a note of pride there, in his voice? They can’t be sure. “This house is as old as the river. We have always been here.” “How can this be your house?” Carole blurts. A rumble in her stomach now, a whisper in her ears.
“It’s…it’s too big for you.”
The oldest elf smiles at her, then. “No it isn’t,” he says. “Dreams can fill a house.”
“Yes.” The wife nods. So solemn and dainty, even with the hair sticking out of her ears. “Dreams can fill a house even more than people can.”
Where are my parents, Carole wants to say. But the words just won’t come out. Instead she takes a breath and looks away from the elves and stares back down at her feet, at the river that rushes beneath them. It is musical the way that all rivers are—sweet and removed, uncaring. I will sing, says the water, whether you want me to or not. I will go on singing long after you are gone.
Behind her, Amy whimpers. She can hear Roger as he bends down and puts her on the floor, then the tap of her tiny feet in their tiny shoes as she makes her way across the floor. Carole watches the water and waits. She doesn’t know what she’s waiting for, only that she hasn’t seen it yet, only that the house feels older to her too, now, and the ground beneath the glass seems to be a different colour. Or not. There is music coming from somewhere, someone humming. Or not. Is the light tricking her too? When she sprawled by the garden two weeks ago and dug her hands into the soil, did the ground say something after all? What is going on?
Roger steps onto the glass beside her. They stare, and say nothing.
“Please be careful,” the oldest elf says, from behind them. His voice is softer now, and musical, just like the river. But when Carole turns back to face him, slowly, he only shrugs. “The river is meaner than it looks.”
Amy is standing by the young couple. She is taller than both of them and yet as she reaches a small fat hand out to the baby—the avocado baby, who is smiling and reaching her own tiny hand out to Amy, her miniscule white teeth shining brighter than is possible in this airy house of light and water—she seems more delicate, more ephemeral, like something that will disappear the next time Carole blinks.
She lunges backward, off the glass, and snatches Amy off the ground. The toddler starts to cry.
“I think you’ve stayed long enough now,” the oldest elf says. “I think that it is time for you to go.”
“Roger,” Carole whispers. She looks back and he is still on the glass, still watching the water. “Roger.”
“Here,” says the wife. She walks forward and takes Roger’s much larger hand in her palms, gives a little tug. He stumbles backward, almost falls. The wife hasn’t let go of his hand. “There now,” she says, and strokes it.
And then they are at the front door, the three of them, they are over the threshold, they are stepping down off the porch and onto the grass and closer to the car, closer, they’ve reached it, the car is cold metal and glass beneath their icy palms. They wrench the doors open, tumble Amy into her seat, buckle her in. Roger gets into the driver’s seat and Carole does not complain. They drive away with their seatbelts undone. No polite three-point turn around now, just a circled plow of earth as Roger rams the pedal, as their tires eat into the lawn. They drive through the trees and the house disappears. They reach the end of the driveway and stop. Roger tightens his hands around the wheel.
“It must be a joke,” he says. “A prank. Your dad would be just the kind of guy to do something like that.”
This is true. Truer still, though, is the song that won’t leave her head now. Margaret’s song. Maybe it is older than Margaret, too.
“Where do we go,” Roger says. “Their house? The real one?”
“Okay,” Carole whispers. It is the only thing that makes sense. They move onto the road and drive away from the property. As they drive, Carole turns around and watches the road peel back behind them. It is solid ground beneath the car and then it ribbons into mist and fog.
She already knows that Peter and Margaret won’t be at the rental when they arrive. She just doesn’t know what else to do. She can’t think where else they might have gone.
Photo by Flickr user milo bostok