The neighbors have all gone.
I can’t help but think they vacationed early because of what happened last week in the neighboring Historic District, when on that Sunday night the blood moon shone, and we were watching it rise and plump as if pumping with blood and readying Earth for a kiss. Wet branches yellowed everywhere, and we were out here, me alone but not isolated, in proximity of these neighbors, who leave their homes of the country every year to be more of the country themselves. We were barking at the blood moon, and the blood moon shone through the clouds, even, and the power lines and radio waves of the country were brimming with howls, our communicative arterial walls plaqued with our hoarding. We were making dinner and standing in our lawns, and on the other side of the streetlight, the Historic District was doing the same, except for one empty historic house, the one that flies the rebel flag, the house which was painted white and tinted red under the moon. Autumn had come, and we were full of something like awe, and then came the shattering of the windowpanes of the empty historic house.
A girl not of this neighborhood was covered in blood. She said, This is my house.
We said, Are you all right? Blood ran from her shoulders to her fingertips. She did not sound like anything, like the brokenhearted neighbor or his kenneled dogs. We met her eyes in which the blood moon shone as she walked around the corner of the house to try another window. Her eyes conveyed nothing. We said, Do you need help?
She said, No. Her voice was not of any country. She turned back to the window and went through it like it was a gaseous, trans-dimensional gate, but it was not that. It was a sheet of glass in a historic house of the country, and then, dragging her blood soaked body to the couch, she clutched a yellow throw pillow and squeezed shut her eyes. She lay in the dark, her blood dappling the historic wood floor, and we stood stone still in the quiet of the country.
The blood moon shone everywhere, even through the clouds. We called the police. The girl was taken away in an ambulance. The windows of the empty historic house were boarded up until the owners came back from their own vacation of the country, and then the girls who live across the street boarded one window of their own from the inside, then another, and maybe realized it wasn’t enough, couldn’t possibly be, and left, being there is only so much one can take and so much to take everywhere.
The empty historic house was not the girl who bled there’s home. We do not know her name. We do not know where she is now, where she was before. We are not always where we think we are.
Joe Lucido is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. Some recent stories appear or are forthcoming in Passages North, Wigleaf, Booth, WhiskeyPaper, Hobart, and others. He grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis.