Resurrection Bay

Page 5


Rav was not happy about being here, but he wasn’t leaving, either.
“What you’re thinking is crazy,” Rav said.
“I know.”
“I should just walk away from you,” Rav said.
“Then why don’t you?”
“I guess I must be crazy, too.”
I smiled at him, and that seemed to make him a little bit ill. He looked away. “You said you banged your head, right?”
“I didn’t bang it that hard.”
“It was hard enough to make you bleed,” he pointed out. “You were in pain and probably confused. How can you be sure of what you saw that night?”
“Because I am.”
We watched as the geologists took measurements and the reporters reported. Not a single piece of ice had fallen from the glacier’s face since we’d arrived.
“I really don’t want to spend a whole day watching a glacier not move,” said Rav.
“I know what I saw the other night—it was that dead woman,” I insisted. “And maybe it’s not as impossible as you think. The Tlingit traditionally believe that everything is interconnected. The earth and the sky, the ice and us.”
“You’re only half Tlingit,” he pointed out.
“Right, so the other half is annoyingly skeptical and needs undeniable proof. That’s why we’re here.”
“What do you expect to see? Dead people strolling out of the ice like zombies, looking for brains to eat?”
I turned back to the glacier. “No, not zombies. Not exactly . . .”
“Then what?”
“I don’t know. There’s not a word for what they are.”
“And anyway,” said Rav, “most of the people in that cemetery have been dead since, like, forever. There won’t be any thing left to come back.”
“Permafrost,” I told him.
“There’s permafrost six feet down. It’s frozen all year round, which means that a lot of people will be perfectly preserved.”
Rav got that ill look about him again, maybe even worse than before. He opened his mouth to say something, then closed it again when nothing came out.
We watched for a few more minutes in silence, then Rav asked me, “So, is your mom buried here?”
I shook my head. “No,” I told him. “Her family took her to a Tlingit burial site.”
“Oh.” He was quiet for a good ten seconds before he said, “Mine is.”
Nothing out of the ordinary happened at the glacier that day, or the next, so things began to settle back to normal. Many of the geologists and all the reporters left—the glacier was now old news. It sat there more still than ever, its leading edge hunched on the cemetery.
It’s funny how the rational world has a way of pummeling things that don’t make sense into a neat little pile that it can push under a rug and dismiss. That whole business with the woman under the porch, for instance. See, the next day some homeless woman was found shoplifting in town. She was one of the summer people who didn’t leave, because she apparently had nowhere to go. Even though this woman had blond hair and the woman I saw didn’t, it put enough doubt into my mind. Maybe that’s who I saw. After all, it was just in the dim light of a dying flashlight, and as Rav was so happy to point out, I had bumped my head. My thoughts might have been addled. That made more sense than anything else, and with things getting back to normal, I’d rather believe I was temporarily nuts than the alternative.
But there were things going on in the town in those few days after the glacier had made its move. Had I been more observant, I might have noticed. I might have put two and two together.
Like the way our English teacher, Mrs. Mason, suddenly seemed to have no interest in teaching at all. And when the bell rang, she left class even faster than us kids.
Like the way that our mailman stopped delivering mail. He just stopped showing up. Word was that he didn’t call in sick or anything—he just locked himself in his house and wouldn’t come out.
Or the way Betsy down at the nail salon kept redoing her own nails, happy as a clam, instead of doing her customers’ nails.
But the only thing I noticed was the strange way Rav was acting, especially toward me. He was avoiding me; he wouldn’t even look at me in class. When I finally did corner him by his locker, he yelled at me.
“Just go away. I don’t want to talk to you, okay?” And he stormed off.
He failed a math test that day, and I figured that maybe he was mad because I’d made him sit on that stupid roof watching for the undead instead of letting him study. Rational. Simple. Easily explained away.
A week later, Dad went out on a date. Believe it or not, one of the female geologists he had been flying around had taken a liking to him. She was one of the few still in town to take readings, but I suspect that was just because she wanted to see more of Dad. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but I wasn’t going to ruin it for him.
It was a bright full moon that night, and Dad was going to take her on a moonlit flight over the ice field. Very romantic. I, of course, was left at home to babysit Sammy, but at around eight o’clock, Rav turned up on our doorstep, knocking so timidly I was actually surprised it was him.
He stood there with his shoulders shrugged up awkwardly, like he was cold, even though he was wearing a heavy jacket. There was something on his mind. Something that was weighing on him so heavily, I could practically see his back curving from the burden of it.