Excerpt from Chapter Nine Continued
After I finished the dishes and went to set in the living room, we listened to the rain drumming on the roof. The rain was harder and faster now. It sounded like an army marching over our heads, and it sounded like millstones rubbing each other. I heard a drip and seen water splash right on the hearth. It was leaking around the chimney. Hank got the ash bucket to put under the drip. "This house is going to fall apart like cardboard," he said.

"It is not," I said, trying to sound like the rain was a little thing. But looking out from the back porch into the steady rain had unnerved me too. In the dark it was like some force was coming out of the sky to drown us in the mud and flood. Whoever thought of an evil force coming from the sky? But it was like the air was threatening to smother us and crush us.

To work against the gloom I got up and lit the candle on top of the Christmas tree. The tree stood in the corner pointing up toward where all the rain was coming from. I thought of a description I had heard of the host of fallen angels being throwed out of heaven. The air was full of black angels falling in the dark, thick as snowflakes. Crowflakes, I thought. But the lighted candle pointed upward.

"We ought to sing some Christmas carols," I said. I thought if we sung it would make us feel better. Hank always loved to sing. It would make me feel better to hear his fine baritone voice.

"I can't remember any Christmas carols," Hank said.

"I don't believe that," I said. "You know all the Christmas carols." I started humming "Silent Night" and then begun singing it. But Hank didn't join in. I sung the first verse and stopped.

"We should have an organ," I said.

"We couldn't even afford a mouth harp," Hank said.

"I wish you had kept your banjo," I said.

"Ma made me give it up when I got saved," Hank said.

"You'll have to get another one," I said.

Hank looked toward the front door and fear come on his face.

"What is it?" I said.

He pointed to the door and I seen a tongue of black water reaching over the threshold. It was the shape of a bib spreading on the floor.

"It's just water from the porch," I said.

"That is the creek coming into the house," Hank said.


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