A rap at the door: she dropped her sewing,ndisconcerted, and rose to her feet,nbut already her husband had crossed the roomnand stood at the window, peering through blinds.n”It’s all right,” he assured her, “they’re neighbors.’nHe stepped to the door and opened it wide.nFour haggard faces stared back at him.n”You’d better come with us,” one of them said,n”there’s been a murder.” The woman’s handnrose to her open mouth. She pleadedn”Al?”—but he’d already put on his coat.n”We’re sorry ma’am,” said the man, embarrassed,n”calling at such an indecent hour,nbut we didn’t know where to turn, you see.nWe thought, since your husband was in the War .nAl reassured him, “Go on ahead,nI’ll saddle the horse and catch up to you.”nOnce they were gone he turned to his wife,n”This isn’t something they’ve seen before.”nShe felt a tremor of apprehensionnand turned away. “Go on,” she whispered,nyou’d better hurry.”nHow long after that,nhow long after hearing the clatter of hoovesnsink into silence, she sat in lamplightnstaring at her hands, she could never say.nThat which awaited her husband disturbedna deeper part of herself than she knewnand, unaware that what he had foundnat an isolated farm up the roadnwas a woman shot and a man hanged,nshe imagined the killer loose in the nightnand herself alone in the empty house.nDimming the lamp, she moved to the windownThe Dark Fieldsnby Brad Omansonnand stared down the vacant road, unablento fathom a thing in the heavy dusk,nunable to see her husband standingnin a ring of silent, men in a barn,ncutting a dead man down from a rafter.nToo many winter nights she had watchednat this same window, delving the darknessnbeyond the reflected face in the glass,nbeyond the porch and the yard, throughoutnthe months that her husband was overseas.nFor weeks she had watched an old disfigurednoak on the hilltop, silhouettednlike a shape of anguish against the stars,na shape nearly human, twisted in pain.nVoices from the Book of Revelationngrew audible in those nights, voices heardnas a child, hectored in ominous tonesnfrom the depths of some evangelist’s tent,nvoices that conjured apocalypticnshapes from her own interior night,nshapes in a vapor that never resolved —nand now, as she stood alone in the house,nalone but for all the spectral fearsnclosing around her, she grew awarenof something without a face or a formnagainst the sky on the hill, something stark.nAbruptly she ran to the kitchen doornand fled out across the yard to the gate,ntripping and stumbling but still running on,naway from the house, the hill, the road,nrunning until she began to gasp,ntill the windowlights had vanished and allnaround her were nothing but darkened fields.nnnNOVEMBER 1991/31n