The young girl could be seen walking the road by herself. The dust that she kicked stayed hung up in the air—hot and heavy that it was. They were making her go to the store for creamsicles. Whenever the sisters got the urge, they always made the youngest of their group get up and go. Saying, “you gotta respect yo elders!”. She always complained. But she always went. The dust hung in the air behind her.
Summer weather always just means “hot” down here. The breaths we take we suck in through our lips like sucking water through a straw. It hangs heavy as the hands of a stopped clock—half past six forever. We don’t make the time stop here. It just does. Same way, we don’t make up the stories people come to us for. All we do is hear ‘em. They come to us at night. Whispers, soft and low, trickling through the air on a current from some place that’s not here. We hear all of them. Only some people come to hear what we hear. We only can tell what we were told. Nothing more nothing less.
The bell’s ring signaling the girl’s departure from the store was muffled by the moisture in the air. Rain was coming. Soon, probably. There was no way she could get home without getting wet. Blast those sisters. And their creamscicles. The first raindrop hit her straight in the eye. She blinked fast and started walking.
We don’t understand people sometimes. They come to us with questions and we answer them. Give them whatever they ask for. But they most always leave angry. Or sad. Or scared. Like that one woman who was desperate for love. Someone to hold her when the rain came roaring down the chute. We had already heard the man concerning her. Whispers had come some twelve nights before. She asked and we spoke: marry this man at this time on this date in this dress. She left so happy. Three weeks after the rice was thrown, she came back. Large glasses on her face and sleeves all the way to the wrist. Asked why we told her what we did. Just said that we had heard. She put a pistol in her mouth the next day.
Rain came down in musical tones. Clatter on the tin fences. Plop-plop on the mud road. Hissing through the leaves. It hid the hissing of the black thing that watched her. Teeth like cold. Eyes like holes.
And then there was that man. He came, angry already. Saying he knew who we were and what we did. Of course he knew. What we do is as simple as a record playing. He demanded we save his pap from the disease that had caught in his lungs. We told him we couldn’t. Still have the hole in the table where he punched his fist. But we told him what he would do. Stay with his father, share his meals, sleep in the same bed to keep him warm. But won’t I get sick? Of course, we said, but you will heal. He did get sick, but he did get better. So did his dad. His baby boy, though, died coughing up his own young blood.
She never heard it. But she felt it. Those eyes like holes were sucking something right out of her. And she knew what it was. And she knew what it wanted. She dropped the box and ran like hell.
We heard whispers about our own sister. How she would die this one day. One ordinary day. She wouldn’t see it coming.
Her breath was ragged. What made it worse was that she was pushing through the mud, the rain, and the humid air in between the drops. She was swimming rather than running. The black thing loped behind her, flashing between shadows. The eyes like holes sucked at her, tearing her strength from herself. It was only when she saw her cabin that she even realized she was screaming.
So why should this man, this Macbeth, be so surprised? He came to us the first time (whether he realized it or not), receiving happily the news of his renown. He came to us the second time, angry and scared of “our” failure. Demanding new words of success and victory. Angry at the end. As if we could even fail. The words weren’t even ours. So why should he, in the end, call us “untrusworthy” ? We merely relate what we hear.
The girl fell upon the door. The curtains were shut against the rain and wind. The black thing was coming. Her screams sounded above the roar of the drops. The door was locked. Teeth like cold sunk into her back.
We only relate what we hear in whispers. We only said that she would marry, that he would get better, that you would be king.
From her view in the mud, the girl could see her cabin. The black thing was dragging her, dragging her, dragging her. She would not close her eyes. Not even when the curtain in the window was pulled back. Not even when her sisters saw right into her. Not even then.
We only tell what we hear.