Savannah Naffziger

A howl rose over the lake. It could have been human, but as it went on and on, that seemed less and less likely. It was vaguely electronic, but the options for technology in rural Alaska are limited. A night creature responded — an owl? A wolf? I never did learn my wildlife when I lived here. Too busy making my body into a science experiment.

Julie woke up mid-way through it. She fumbled for her flashlight, didn’t find it until the noise had started to fade. Silly girl, if she had just paused to listen, she could have heard that it was too far away for a flashlight to help.

It came again, shorter this time. Can I say otherworldly? Is that too trite? But it was otherworldly, and the night was so dark that as I listened to it, everything seemed to float a little, turn just the slightest bit. High on noise and sensory deprivation.

Julie checked the car locks.. She didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much as I was. Always cautious, that girl. It was a horn, maybe? Some sort of ghost ship? As it started again, the third time, a flock of birds flew away from the tree closest to the car, squealing and cawing in protest, unnatural in the night. Julie stared at the lake through the car window.

It moved too, like me, just glimmers of light as the moon reflected in small waves, and as the treeline just barely started to brighten, she turned the key and the engine over. I might have told her to drive carefully, but I was never that kind of mother. We didn’t find any sign of other humans until we reached the next town, 110 miles away.

Prose from Savannah Naffziger,
Residency participant, 2015

Carole Bugge

(EMMA watches impatiently as he and the PORTER struggle to collect the luggage.  Exasperated at their bumbling, she heads toward the house, followed by HELEN, doing her best to mirror her mother, though she can’t resist a backward glance at GEORGE.  He catches her eye and grins rakishly.  Like any proper young lady, she returns a withering glance, and trots huffily behind her mother with as much indifference as she can manage.  GEORGE grabs a couple of valises and scurries after them.  The PORTER limps behind him, carrying the rest of the luggage.  EMMA enters the house, followed by the beleaguered PORTER, while GEORGE and HELEN linger outside for a few moments.)

GEORGE:  I’m George.

HELEN:  I believe you covered that already.

GEORGE:  What’s your name, then?

HELEN:  My name, then and now, is Helen Cunningham.

GEORGE:  Please t’meet you.

HELEN:  I do hope your conversation improves with time.

GEORGE:  I play the banjo.

HELEN:  We all have our own cross to bear.

GEORGE:  Would y’like to hear it?

HELEN:  Only if it is entirely unavoidable.

GEORGE:  You’re a saucy one, ain’t ya?

HELEN:  Do you really imagine any young lady enjoys being compared to a culinary condiment?

GEORGE:  I like you.

HELEN:  Luckily, that won’t last long.

(He is about to respond when EMMA calls to them from offstage.)

– Except from a play in progress by Carole Bugge
Residency Attendee, 2015

Kurt Opprecht

Giant Sable

A whiff of hairspray
and a flash
amid the din of August vacations
so many little baseball caps
a tribe of African elephants
stands guard
in the center of the darkened hall.

The gemsbok are suspicious
of the Taiwanese couple
and their son of five
in overlarge sneakers.
They could bolt any second
before the elephants even
suspect foul play.

But the family of sable is more sanguine.
Children come, children go,
they can’t mess with us
and after all,
there are very few tigers
here in the hall.

Nevertheless,
a young couple on honeymoon
apparently didn’t get the memo
walk right past the
two eland bucks
standing guard at the frame
step around the wildebeasts
and out onto the savannah.

“We can go out there?”
“Look at those two.”
Before long
the hall has emptied into the vitrine
spread out across the wide plains.

– Kurt Opprecht, 2015
Residency Director

Andrew Boyd

At first, everything happened so slowly and piecemeal — a tragedy here, a little catastrophe there — I didn’t know I was under attack. It felt like the rumble of far-off gunfire in somebody else’s war. It took a while for it all to come into focus.

         If it had been an army of Orcs led by the Eye of Sauron, or gangly robots from Mars, or jackbooted Nazis and their henchmen marching into town, then I would have known. I would have seen it plainly. I would have taken up arms, joined the Resistance, whathaveyou. But our 21st Century Lords of Carbon, in their suits and pipelines and feel-good logos, blend in better. Their ultimate designs, however, are just as evil. They plunder the land, poison the water, slaughter our animal brothers and sisters. With five species lost to eternity every day[1], and the slow-drip of carbon dismembering the planet, they’re driving us all to extinction. My home, my people, every one I love and all that I hold dear, is under direct attack. What else is this if not war?

Excerpt from a manuscript in progress by Andrew Boyd
Lacawac attendee August, 2015.