There are things in the wind that we sometimes feel and can sometimes catch. I thought this image was great because that windmill looks like some sort of filter, pulling all the energy out of the wind and gathering it. But for what purpose?

5 min

The old green truck that Flanner King drove over the hill rattled loudly enough that Miss Mollie heard it long before the old man had a chance to honk. She stood out in yard and watched him drive slowly through the tall meadow, bending stalks as he came. There was no road that led to the windmill. He drove straight for her, slowing, slowing, slowing, until the ancient vehicle creaked to a stop, emitted a metallic groan, and went silent. The bumper almost touched her knee.

Flanner King did not get out. He didn’t speak. He didn’t even look at Miss Mollie. She was a young thing, hair pulled back, high chin, the type of figure that usually made old men like him sad. Not Flanner. His eyes were dead flint, focused on the wind-shield dust and bug smears. Miss Mollie didn’t give him a glance either. She lifted her skirt a bit, to ease her passing in the high grass, and walked around the back of the pickup.

It was loaded with junk. She began to rummage.

Over the course of the next hour she managed to drag two old tube televisions into the lighthouse. She also gathered a refrigerator door, a cordless hair crimper, a bundle of barbed wire, and a stack of Playboy magazines (that somebody had cut all the nudie pictures out of). Flanner didn’t help. Even when she was cursing and sweating and dragging the TV across the ground, he stayed put.

When she’d picked out everything she wanted Mollie opened up the passenger door and got in. Despite her lady-like appearance Flanner noticed that she smelled like burnt paper. He’d never been this close to her. She rolled down the squeaky window and caught her breath. After a while she reached into her pocket and removed a small package, the size of a match box, wrapped in red, orange, and purple yarn. She set it on the seat between them.

Flanner didn’t say nothing, but this time Mollie did. “Don’t come back next month. Don’t ever come back.”

The wrinkles on the man’s face deepened. His confusion was evident and he opened his mouth to speak. Mollie swung open the car door, got out, and slammed it shut. “Not my problem,” she said through the open window. “I’m done. It’s finished. I don’t need you anymore.”

He got as far as putting his hand on the door handle but couldn’t bring himself to pull it. Mollie walked into the windmill and left him there. She kept the mill door ajar, confident that he would never follow her. She wasn’t wrong. He just sat there, an old man in an older truck, and and didn’t move his hand. He couldn’t, didn’t dare, step out, let alone go into the windmill. But it couldn’t be over, could it? Just like that?

The moon rose and the wind kicked up. The sails began to turn on the mill. At they picked up speed rotating, they began dripping with strange colors. It was the Aurora Borealis come down to play spin games with the wind on blades of cloth. He heard the spur wheel grinding. There was a rumble in the ground. She was serious.

He picked up the tiny box she’d left, pressed it to his mouth, and put it back. That’s it then. This was the last of it and he’d better make it count.

The truck started up with a cough and a puff. He clicked on the headlights (actually only one headlight on account of the left one being shattered), swung a u-turn, and headed back across the roadless field.

Flanner King angled his rear view mirror up to the point of uselessness and kept his eyes, eyes he refused to wipe, locked straight ahead.