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Chapter V

“I don’t suppose they have many horses out there in Illinois, now do they?” Sally asked with an amused smile as Wally struggled to rein in the pair of steeds that were merrily galloping down the country lane after sensing their freedom of will. She leaned over to tug gently on the leather, and the horses slowed to a proper trot over the frozen road.

Wally flicked the wrists beneath the reins, and enjoyed the tempered enthusiasm of the animals as they hurried their trot in the direction of the barn dance that was their final destination. “They have horses, but my family had a car.”

Sally’s right arm hadn’t left Wally’s side since her jerk on the reins, and now that same arm slipped inside his left. “How did you end up in Monroe? I mean, it’s not like it’s New York City or something.”

“Just riding the rails,” Wally replied as he looked down and forced himself to smile with his companion. “I wanted to see the country, so a buddy of mine and I started out from Chicago and headed east. He got off in Pittsburgh to see his cousin, and I got off in Monroe when the money ran out.”

Sally looked up with big eyes at the stars that shone more brilliantly than Wally had ever seen them shine in his own time. “So you ended up in Monroe, New York, by sheer accident, completely at random?” she asked, with a flick of her head on the last phrase.

Wally stared down at a horse raising its tail to take a shit on the move. “You could say that.”


The Van Dyken barn, the largest in the vicinity of Monroe and the one that accomodated the midwinter Saturday night dance, was warm and dusty when Wally and Sally arrived, warm from the bodies and lamps collected beneath its rafters and dusty from the scores and scores of shoes and boots trampling the thin layer of hay that covered the dance floor. The two entered as one, such prewar conventions as chaperones forgotten, and Sally immediately began introducing her father’s latest hire to those friends of hers he had not already met through church socials.

Alternity, Chapter VI:

51 / 52 / 53 / 54 / 55 / 56

Jump to Chapter IV / Jump to Chapter VI

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