Their song pulled at me from the roadside. I walked for hours to find a town nearby, but that place was nothing but trees and open sky. But when I neared the women in the field, I felt like I had found everything I was searching for.
“Come close, stranger,” one spoke to me. Her eyes glowed emerald while she honed her vision on my weakened frame. “We have water and bread,” she teased.
“Am I far from the city?” I asked, but she and her friends laughed. Something told me there weren’t cities anywhere nearby.
The woman motioned me over, and there I stood. The sun was low and the air cooled; but I gazed in wonder at the women. They stood, took hands, and then began to dance in a circle. Their words melted over me and I, too, began to dance.
The sky remained dark, but I could hear birds singing—again and again. It was rhythmic, but disturbing. Soon, I grew curious and looked to the trees over the cliff to the east. They were bent awkwardly; sharp branches pierced the blue and I shuddered in the center of the circle.
“Quiet,” I whispered, embracing myself. “Quiet,” I spoke louder. “I’ve had enough!”
The women released one another’s hands and stepped back. Their eyes were dull and wide and gawking. I steady my step, gathered my confidence, and I started toward the road. And as I reached the gravel where the dirt met the pavement, I realized an awful pain in my back.
“Sir?” a voice called out from across the road. It was dawn, and I could just see the sun peeking between the trees. “Sir, do you need help?” I walked close, realizing it was a young woman in a shiny red car.
“Uh, no,” I said with confusion, still gripping my back. “I suppose I could use a lift.”
“Of course,” she agreed, jumping from her seat and approaching me quick. She put her hand on my elbow to steady my walk. “Did someone leave you out here?” she asked with bright blue eyes.
“My car broke down,” I replied, pointing behind.
“Can I call someone for you?” she asked. “Do you have children? Grandchildren?”
“Grandchildren?” I scolded. “How old do you think I am?” I could see by the look on her face that she was deeply bothered.
“I just… I thought, that because of your hair—”
“My hair?’ I grumbled. I looked to the side mirror and felt my heart fall. There I was, white hair, pale skin, wrinkled from time I had not lived. And turned fast to the open field to see the women who had entranced me. But all I could find was a wild oak tree. Tall and slender, emerald green leaves. Strangest thing I had seen in that desert—save for myself.