Spring 1989 • Vol. XI No. 2 Fiction |

Black Stars

Rachel sat up in her sleeping bag and listened to the wind. Leaves tattered in the darkness above the tent like birds hovering. She slid forward in her bag and gazed through the mosquito netting. The breeze had shifted to the northwest, off the sea; the moon was gone, and the beach was black as a grave. Ted's constant breathing beside her made her more aware of her own wild thoughts. God, how could he sleep? She couldn't see him clearly—just the pale shoulder protruding from his bag—but she knew his expression: watchful, wary, even in sleep. She imagined his longish brown hair, though she saw black, and his blue eyes, closed now, which asked so many questions she could never answer. He would sleep through the changed weather, through thunder and rain and the wind's ripping the leaves, but he would wake to the small sounds of her moving around in the tent. Still she edged slowly from her bag and began to unzip the netting. "Rachel?" "I'm going to the bathroom," sh

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Kent Nelson has published four novels and five story collections. His novel, Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still (Viking Penguin), won the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award and his story collection, The Spirit Bird, won the 2014 Drue Heinz Literature Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. He is an avid birder and has twice run the Pikes Peak Marathon. He lives in Ouray, Colorado.

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