Northern Retreat

Kashana Cauley

His quest for distance began with a move to the suburbs, where his running shoes acquired ten miles of it a day, step after pounding step on wide sidewalks.  He added layers of distance between himself and the city when he acquired a job minutes from his house.  After a month the city sounded like a vicious rumor.  After a year discussing the city felt like playing a game of telephone that blurred the news until it disintegrated, bled it into the air with all the force of cirrus clouds.

He ran until his knees sang and his ankles drooped into rainbows.  He blocked out his adversaries with each step until their sounds grew stronger and took over his ears; the buzz-buzz-buzz of the lawnmower, the low hiss of the garden snake.  He moved several miles further away and then several more.  Sidewalks yielded to the aromatic black asphalt of brand-spanking new towns.  He wanted the city to stop producing ambient noise.  He acquired a set of addresses that belonged on a desolation tour: Bemidji, International Falls, Kenora, Teulon.  He ditched a house, found a tent.  He woke up, cold and alone, on the ice.  He listened to the wind, wishing it was louder.

Kashana Cauley is a native Wisconsinite who lives in New York City.  Her short fiction has appeared in Juked and Midwestern Gothic.  She recently completed a novel.