Like my sister, I’ve always had a streak of insomnia. These days the bourbon usually helps – more nights than not – but when I was young, twelve or so, I would spend every other night wide awake. And I remember Emily, standing in her nightgown in the yard, staring at the woods. She was barely six, I think. She turned from the darkness, looked up over her shoulder. She smiled, mouth open, like something was terribly funny.
Strangeness. My mother’s word for it.
As I fall asleep I see Emily, standing there like that, laughing. Then she’s gone and I feel like I’m choking on ice water. Staring at the empty space where she should be, a lightless blank sun rising up over the trees in the morning, every morning, for all these years.
Beyond the Fields We Know is the working title for the new novel by Benjamin Schachtman, to be represented by the Speilburg Literary Agency.