The following text is taken from Adam Gnade's Darkness To The West novella. Read.Enjoy. Photobucket The Darkness to the West By Adam Gnade Published by Punch Drunk Press WOMAN, #2 Frances’ sea-bag was almost as tall as her, so I hoisted it onto my back, leaned against the backpack straps and we walked. With no plans or money I was worried about her. She had a vague idea of staying in DC for two weeks with a journalist friend of hers, then taking the train down the east coast to an island off Jacksonville for a few days before heading west to visit her dad in Kansas. After that, she hoped to get back to San Diego before the end of summer. We stood next to each other waiting for the metro train, talking quietly, and making plans. All day we’d walked around DC in the humid rain, looking at the monuments and going into the free museums and trying to come up with some sort of scheme to get her back on the road. Her money was gone; there was no way around that. As the subway train came down the tube, her hair blew in crazy curls and she squinted and gave the massing crowd a steely look that seemed to say, “I’m here, standing on my place in the world and it won’t always be my place but don’t you dare push me off it.” She wore a knife on her belt now. Things were changing. The doors hissed open and bodies pushed out and more pushed in. People blurred past us as we moved slow against the weight of our packs and stepped, first her, then me, into the train. Later that night we sat up in bed at the hotel, catching our breath with the lights off and sheets tangled up at the foot of the bed and Frances told me about digi cam, the army’s new desert camouflage. “Digi cam? Like digital camera?” I asked. “Like digital camouflage. Patterns of camouflage that are pixilated. I guess it’s more effective for the desert.” She leaned in close and itched the tip of her nose on my shoulder. “Remember when we were outside that one Metro station and there was a soldier standing a few feet away from us waiting for the shuttle?” she said. “No.” “Anyway, he had on digi cam. Let’s go to bed.” “Alright.” She draped her arm over me and put her hand on my chest. I could feel my heart beating strong and hard. She pulled up close to me. Around us were the remains of a feast we’d bought with the last of my money. A wine bottle, empty on the floor. Chocolate bars half-wrapped in gold foil next to discarded French bread crusts and avocado pits on the bedside tables. I looked across the room at the dimly-lit patch where the window was curtained off and saw the faint glow of the city behind it. At some point I slept and my dreams were all pixilated soldiers fighting video game wars. Link: