In BURNT on February 9, 2010 at 7:56 am


There is a cleft in the rocky bluff.  It’s a natural fit for a baby and Waring slides her in there.  He leans over the edge for a better look.

The wagon train has given up on the circle.  Arango stands in what’s left of its center.

Vaqueros prod, they push and in this way a child is ushered forth.  This is Eirik’s son.  Eirik helped Waring build a little hammock for the baby and his wife nursed her over fifty miles of dirt and rocks.  Arango rests his pistol on the boy’s forehead and fires.

The shot and the scream bounce around the canyon, around the wailing pioneers, around Waring and the baby.

Next up are Jokkum and Nina’s twins.

Arango is turning in circles now, shouting at the surrounding hills.  He’s too far away to hear but Waring assumes he’s repeating his threat — he’ll kill all the children if the baby is not returned.

The twins hold hands.  Waring swaddles the baby in Nina’s knit blanket as Arango fires twice.

The vaqueros are burning the wagons.  Arango starts in on the older children.

“Do you see?  The devil determines their order.”

Waring lifts the baby high above his head.  “Do you see?  Do you see what this world is?”

He holds her face close to his.  Her lids flutter.  Her eyes focus.  He starts to say, “Do you see what I am?”

No.  That’s for when she’s older.

The Story So Far

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