What We Seek

“Ghost-men should pray and seek the…”

A sharp voice cut his sentence short, “Ortiz, what are you mumbling about? Wait, don’t answer that. I don’t care. Get that knot undone and get in.” The silence of a wet dawn crept between the two men as Ortiz did as he was told, still rasping under his breath. Precipitation somewhere between a drizzle and dew sat in the air more than fell.

An hour into a circuitous canoe ride, Hawthorne deigned to address his companion, “Ortiz, what were you going on about?”

Hunched at the outboard motor, eyes intent on the passing cypress trees, Ortiz answered, “Ghost-men should pray and seek the forgiveness of the Lord.”

“Who, pray tell, are the ghost-men?”

“We are, sir.” Ortiz paused, sucked in the rank air, then droned, “We are dead men, senor. What you seek…what I help you find…” Again he paused, ejected a lazy stream of tobacco juice into the swamp, and finished, “It will not fulfill. It will not abide.”

“Ortiz, we should really talk less…if at all.”

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