Sacred Pass

A small village sits in a dip in the mountain. Outsiders call it Sacred Pass, because it is safe from avalanches or rockslides. There’s a perfect ledge leading to a lake off the side of the mountain where all the runoff falls and avoids the village completely. Anyone who lives there, though, simply calls it the village.

The first signs of spring were popping up at the base of the mountain. Color dotted the fields, yellows and greens and pinks. The trees were lush with leaves and the sweet smell of warm weather to come was in the air. And at the top of the mountain, ice was melting.

Delilah Summerton lived in Sacred Pass. Her parents had left her their house, and she’d lived there alone since they’d passed some years before. She had friends in the village and busied herself by walking through the shops and chatting. In the evenings, she cooked herself a small meal and ate alone at her kitchen table, reading a book.

Delilah didn’t think there was anything wrong with her life. She enjoyed her solitude as much as she enjoyed walking through the village during the day. If a friend called, she would invite them over as many times as she didn’t. But just because she was content with her life, didn’t mean there weren’t others who thought her strange.

“She’s too pretty to be alone. Surely one of the nice young men in town would suit her,” old Mrs. Walsh was known to say if anyone got her talking about Delilah.

“She doesn’t want a town boy,” Mr. Scott would answer, nearly always. “I think I saw her eyeing Mr. Davies’ boy in the store the other day. She lives here. I’d bet she’ll settle down with one of the men who grew up here too.”

And the bickering would continue about who was a suitable mate for Miss Delilah Summerton.

At the bottom of the ravine, beside Sacred Pass, a landslide shook the earth. A rumble of rocks and snow and snapping trees as the land shifted and fell towards the bottom of the slope. The pile of debris grew and mounded against the other side of the ravine, like filling a bowl.

Some people from the village stood at the edge of the cliff and watched as the ground rose closer to them. But no one thought anything of it. They’d witnessed plenty of rock slides in their day. Nothing to worry about.

And at the top of the mountain, the snow continued to melt.