Trouble. Previously it was ennui but not trouble. Trouble in the old days, in the days of her grandparents, was not a light word. So, when she thought of the word, and used it in her mind to denote her current situation and environs, it was with gravity. This is trouble, and it is going to end badly, was one of the last things that rolled through the noggin. She had gone there, to the land where there was nobody, in order to clear her mind. It’s a common thing, she had thought then, in books and films, and perhaps in real life. I am at a crossroads, and have to gather myself before I go in new directions. The first weeks were manageable if not ideal. Tabitha sewed and read, planned and slept. Cooking light meals, reading books her grandmother had left on crocheting and needlework. At the night, she stared as the firmament blinked on. Constellations. Magical, whimsical, even bordering on esoteric. Was it a great Rorschach, the night sky, a tabula rasa? Or was there something to it? It had mattered then. It was a puzzle she was going to figure out. But she didn’t want to figure it out through death. And now, only weeks later, she was going to die. First a storm had come, screaming white and wind and mayhem. It cut off electricity, and the provincial workers that were to clear the roads were just that, provincial, and had limited resources. Then, low on food and energy, Tabitha had fallen from the back steps while trying to clear them. If that was not enough, another storm arrived and lasted two days and nights. If it could be seen from above, her grandmother’s property looked simply like a dot, for really only the roof could be seen. The trees were fallen and snow covered and there was no longer even the outline or hint of a road, a driveway, a stream. There was no longer hope. A few days went past, and her wounds from the fall, along with her lack of food, took a toll. Propped up on a bed, snow covering the window, she tried to pen a note but could not. The fall had created an internal bleed in the head, a brain bleed, and this inhibited carrying out motor skills. Trouble. In the stretched out night, cold, cold and dark, the moon hiding, that firmament opaque from yet a third storm, she passed. The outside didn’t blink for her. It only kept portraying the snow and wind and dark. It only kept screaming its trouble.

Brian Michael Barbeito is a writer and landscape photographer residing in Ontario, Canada. A two time Pushcart Prize nominee, his work appears in various electronic venues and has been featured in print publications in Spain, the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK.  He is the author of Chalk Lines (Fowlpox Press, 2013).