Rainbow Hunter Louise Sorensen May31, 2011
“Bzzzzt,” my earphone sounds.
“Hey Honey,” says Joe. “I don’t know if you’ve looked up in awhile, but there’s a rainbow out the northeast.”
“Shoot. Okay, I’ll be right in.” I rest my hoe against the garden fence. After three weeks of heavy rain, the fields are green as emeralds. Around the house and garden, spring birds fill the trees with their racket. Today the sun‘s heat has spawned a rainbow.
In the house, I wash my face and tie back my hair. Joe lies on the sofa, his arm sore and infected. It is day, and I must deal with the rainbow by myself.
I go out and whistle the horses. Three throw up their heads, see me and gallop in. Dark, Joe’s horse, looks at me and snorts, then goes back to his grass. He knows Joe won’t be needing him for awhile.
I give the horses some carrots and take Lightfoot into the barn. He gleams white in the cool dark; graceful as his bull fighting father, eldritch as his mother. I saddle him up, and rub the nub on his forehead for strength.
We ride out. Ralf, our half Dire wolf comes along. Joe’s black dog Fred, was killed in the encounter. Now he’s just a pale white ghost who never leaves Joe’s side.
Light’s hooves throw up rooster tails of spray as we canter north. Ralf runs easily alongside.
I see a young woman standing, swaying at the rainbow‘s edge. Her face has taken on the rainbow’s green. Even nibbled by mice, you can tell she was a beauty, with hip length black hair, lush breasts beneath her blouse, and bottom hugging jeans.
“Peace, sister,” I say as I dismount. Light lets me rub his nub, then nibbles the grass, keeping a careful eye on her. Ralf sits nearby as the girl looks around in confusion. I hold my hand out to her and she takes it.
“What has happened?”
“We were in the pub, having a drink…singing…everyone having a good time. Then I woke up here. I can’t feel anything. I don’t think I’m breathing. What the hell is going on?” she shrieks. The bruises on her neck tell me she has been strangled.
“I’m so sorry, sweetheart. You’re dead. You’ve been killed and swept here in some rotten cosmic current.”
“You have got to be joking!”
“No. Look at yourself.” She checks her arms and hands. Turns them over. Wiggles her fingers.
“I’m covered with green goop… I’m not dead.”
I fish in the saddle bags for my mirror and hold it up to her.
“Oh my god!” she screams, collapsing in the wet grass. I kneel down beside her.
“You’ll be alright. I’m here to help. You’re going to see a light.”
“There is no light side to this,” she sobs.
“Look at me. Seek the light. Come on Honey, get a grip.”
I help her stand, and she looks around.
“Is that it?” she says, pointing to the southeast.
“Yes, I think so,” I say, although I can’t see it. “What’s it look like?”
“Bright. Warm… welcoming. I know that sounds funny, but…”
“Okay … I don’t know your name…”
“Okay, MaryLynn, go to the light. That’s where you’re meant to be.”
She walks through the grass and fades away. A warm breeze caresses my cheek and I figure she made it to the other side alright.
I mount Light and we ride herd on the rainbow.
I spot a young man wandering around like he’s looking for someone. He raises a gun at me. His broad metal helmet, tattered khaki green uniform, and black boots on the ends of skeletal leg bones tell me soldier. His sweet young face is streaked with the blood red of the rainbow.
“Morning, ma’am,” he says, and stands there, calm as a young tree.
“Good morning… is it Captain?”
“Yes, ma’am. Now what can I do for you?”
“You look like you’re lost son.”
“I’m looking for my men. They were here just a moment ago. We were taking heavy fire, … and then I was here… I’m looking for my men…”
“Take my hand, Captain. You must know what happened, but it’s going to be alright. Look for the light. You’ll find your men there…”
He must see them; he starts walking south right away. He looks back at me and waves before he fades. I wave back. I wish I could have known him.
“That went well, “ I say. Light lifts his head and snorts as I get on. Ralf grins in agreement.
The third one. Old, so very old. All spirit, he looks a lot like Joe. I dismount.
“Good morning, Grandfather. How are you?”
“Daughter!” He says, standing in the deep grass, tall and skinny, glowing in the rainbow’s yellow.
This should be easy, but he is ancient and still here. I rub my fingers on Light’s nub extra hard for strength. He doesn’t graze, but stands looking at the old spirit. I reach out and he gives me his hand.
“You have been wicked, Grandfather.”
He hangs his head.
“You think to kill me and take my life.”
“You have tried this on my Joe. Your great, great many times removed.”
“Do you think it is time now to find the light?” 4
“I am afraid.”
For once, I prayed, let this be easy.
“Grandfather. I am weary to my soul of cleaning up the rainbow messes. Would you please be kind, and go to your wife who must miss you sorely?”
He thinks about it.
“My wife will be wondering where on earth I have been,” he cackles. Looking south, he hurries a few steps, and fades away.
“Phew!” Last time we lost Fred; this time Ralf’s help was not needed.
Light looks at me, relief in his eyes. I mount up.
Light turns around.