The rusty water ran swift and cold. As red as rooibos, the creek reminded her of the bloody rinse that flowed from her washtub after she scrubbed Hector’s work clothes clean.
After the first, long-ago night that he came home covered in violence, his expression was enough to forbid any questions. Since then she went about her chores silently, leaving his fresh laundry folded and stacked on his dresser each morning.
Standing on the sandy bank, she watched the golden fall leaves float by on the current. Without removing her clothes or shoes, she waded into the creek until she was waist deep in the water. Lying back, her hair fanning around her face, she spread out her arms, allowing the water to carry her body along with the other debris.
The red of Hector’s gore leached from her spattered blouse and blended with the tannins, disappearing with her down the rusty water channel.
*Photo venue: Blackwater River State Park, Milton, FL. The water is a rusty-red color from the tannins that seep into the water from the hardwood trees that line its banks.