nalukataq

Alaska/Far Northern Gothic

You had a neighbor yesterday. You’re sure of it, but when you walk the trail between your properties there’s no sign of their house. You recall their faces, but not their names. The distance between you and the next nearest living human continues to grow.

On the longest night of the year, you wake at midnight to a high noon sun. Its blinding light renders the snow a featureless, glimmering white. You cannot even see the trees.

You visit Barrow for Nalukataq and are invited to participate in the blanket toss. When you come back down, there is no one to catch you.

You open the windows.  Pile snow on your bed. Allow icicles to form on your ceiling. It is still too hot to sleep.

You spy a raven near the grocer’s with an eyeball in its beak. You tell yourself that it must be the scavenged remains of some animal. It couldn’t be human. It couldn’t be your own.

You come back from the outhouse to find the door to your cabin locked. You see movement through the window. You live alone.

When the snow finally melts, you find something that you lost years ago. In another state. Another life. It is something you hoped to never find again.

The river in Nenana has been frozen for years. The Ice Classic continues to pool their bets, leading more and more people to pay in with the hope that this year it won’t roll over. The year passes. There is still no sign of spring.

This year’s Iditarod winner harnessed wolves instead of dogs. They froth at the mouth and drip blood from long fangs. No one but you seems to notice.

Your roommate brushes her teeth and spits out blood. She looks thin, almost gaunt, even though she’s been eating constantly for the last week. It occurs to you that you haven’t seen her boyfriend around lately. She smiles. Her teeth are sharp and cold.

Late one night, you whistle at the aurora. The last thing you hear is the aurora whistling back.

youtube

Liked on YouTube: Nalukataq whale feast at Barrow, 1947 https://youtu.be/8evmLpUHqa8