Issue Forty - Summer 2022


By Kendall Johnson

That night, Mad Martha slept fitfully as the wind began to blow down canyon. She listened to the yapping coyotes get closer, knowing they were telling her something. Mad felt the cougar, and even smelled it before the distinctive chirping and rough purr could be heard. At first she was afraid and pulled her covers around her. Then she slipped out of bed and pulled aside the curtain. There, in the moonlight in front of her cabin, stood a mountain lion.

Fascinated by its elegance in the silvery light, Mad opened the door slightly. The cold air was tinged with the lion’s scent and Mad could feel, as well as hear its wild, raspy purr. She slowly stepped out onto the porch. The lion sat down, watched Mad closely, and blinked. It lay down in the road, rolled onto its back and stretched. When Mad came closer, the cat purred louder and closed its eyes, only to rub it’s cheeks against the roadbed. Mad lay down next to the cougar.

She knew the cougar had something to show her. They rose together and walked down the road to where the West Fork of the creek went off to the right, and they followed the trail. They came to a clearing where a deer stood. Mad used to think of deer as somehow suited to her, timid, somewhat flighty and shy. She walked around the deer, feeling the chirping and rasping purr in her throat.

Copyright Johnson 2022