The Mountain Remembers


The last time Marks was on the mountain, he was eighteen, forty years ago.  Kaiser and he had gone bird hunting and ended up drrinking a six pack of beer the doghole miners had left behind.  Sine then, he'd gone to university, lawschool, and a couple of graduate schools and had worked in corporate law in sunny Southern California.  Now he was retired and living in his native village, amused by the locals, but relaxed.  He could walk to the store, to the bar, to the church..  There was no rush hour traffic, there wasn't even a rush hour. He was bored, but happy.  He'd walked every street in the dorf and the adjoining town and decided to walk up the mountain to see if the strip mines had grown over.

At he doghole where they drank the beer, there was no more hole and the hilllside was covered in Sumac.  Up the valley, everything was green,  He kept walking until he reached the rridge, then took a break to eat a hard roll and drink the wine that was always in his rucksack.  Two doe walked past him about 100 feet below. Behind him, there was a rustling of bushes.  He fig;ured it was another deer and didn't bother to look.  Then the movement turned in his direction,  It was too close to be a deer, he turned and standing ten feet away from him was an old man with a deer rifle.  He recognized him.  It was Kolaija, the guy who terrorized  them as kids.  In fact, he was terrorized now.  Kolaija was a recluse and it was said that he'd killed a few people in these woods.  The official versionn was that they had gotten lost and were never found..  He tried to be casual and said "hello". Kolaiaja just laughed.  Then he turned and vanished in the brush,  Marks quickly packed his rucksack and headed down the mountain.  When he got to the bar he told everyone in sight about seeing Kolaija.  "Kolaija's been dead five  years" said the bartender.  Marks insisted.  They all agreed it was the mountain.  The mountain remembers and makes you think its real.

copyright 2007: john zavacki (the elder)