Excerpt from Lady in White: A Collection of utter Speculation ...
“Go to the river. They will take care of you. Keep track of the calendar.”
The note vexed Johanna, and the room was full of small paintings and little charms of stone, glass and marble, but no calendar. The trinkets had tags with random numbers, like the books — 236 – 167 – 146.
As she moved into the room, the difference in weight from her shift to the dress was obvious, but not uncomfortable, and she pulled the whispering material around the chair and smoothed her hands down the front.
She noticed something sharply imposing in a back corner, shadowed and indefinable. She took a tentative step closer only to realize it was a large, dark wardrobe with two long doors, and at the bottom, two horizontal drawers. It was so deeply set into the corner it almost seemed it was trying to stay hidden; not wanting to draw attention to itself. And yet it was impressive and mysterious, almost beckoning her to see what secrets it housed.
Johanna took steps toward it … and then she stopped. The energy of the piece felt as though it were looming over her, trying to intimidate her with its height and sudden cacophony of wailing voices. Her chest pressed in on itself until she felt dizzy as she clutched her shaking hands.
She needed to be in the open air. The pressure that filled her head since she had awoken traveled down her face and into her clenching jaw. It crawled down her neck, to her spine and out the tips of her limbs. Leave, it said! Go to the river!
— Lady in White: A Collection of Utter Speculation
— River Eno
Excerpt from Jersey Devil: A Collection of Utter Speculation...
Pine Barrens, New Jersey, 2021
“Can you hear that?” Willa kicked a broken pine branch out of her way and off the covered trail. It was officially dusk. The part of day when all the brown and green foliage begins to blend together, making it difficult to judge distance or see tree roots protruding from the ground. “It sounds like a flute … but also a little different. It echoes. Can you hear it?”
“Of course, I can hear it,” mumbled Francine.
“They were playing Eugène Oneguine in the museum this morning. This is similar … maybe just in the sadness of it. It’s beautiful though.” Willa looked around and up at the trees. “I wonder where it’s coming from.”
Francine shrugged, her mood no better for the questions.
Willa continued behind, but slowly. She fiddled with the scarf around her neck. It was freezing, unlike the last few disturbingly warm Novembers. And after fifteen more minutes of crickets and cracking branches, she finally lost patience with Francine’s mopey silence.
“This is stupid. You’re not talking or singing or anything! I feel like we’re funeral marching through this forest. What is the point of us being here if you’re so unhappy about it?”
“If you want to go, then go. I didn’t force you to come.”
“No, you didn’t force me, but I felt like I had to, if only so you don’t get lost out here all by yourself.”
“Please. I know the way, Willa. I can do it in my sleep.”
“But doing this doesn’t make you happy. And if it doesn’t make you happy, we don’t have to do it just because it was our yearly ritual with Mom.” Willa’s boot hit an upended rock and she stumbled.
“So, we just forget her altogether!” Francine argued. “The way you do the rest of the year.”
“What the hell, Francine! That isn’t what I meant, and you know it. How could you even suggest that I’ve forgotten Mom?”
Francine used a small machete to clear the thinner pine limbs out of their way. She stayed quiet; she knew she’d gone too far.
— Jersey Devil: A Collection of Utter Speculation
— River Eno