Kristen remembered the carriage ride to the home of her new husband. It had been exciting and dull all at once.
She was the daughter of a farmer, wealthy by the standards of the poor. Her marriage had been much the same as her mother's, and her grandmother's. She never saw her husband until the wedding day.
She turned away from the window and looked to the inside of her home. Everything was cleaned, her two sons were tending to their chores. She caught sight of her reflection in the small mirror the family shared.
The flush of youth had long since left her cheeks, her hips filled out more from the strain of childbirth. Perhaps a walk would clear her mind.
She pushed open the door and stepped out into the evening sun. It was late August, the evening was not cool enough for a shawl. But not hot enough to be without one either.
She looked around the farm, and a gasp caught in her throat. Tears came to her eyes as she finally saw what was causing her malaise.
There were no hills here, in this land far from her home. She had grown up in the mountains. For as long as she had known she had always been surrounded by hills.
This land was flat, shapeless, as far as her eyes could see. Something has always felt wrong here, but she couldn't bring whatever it was up to the surface of her mind.
She felt her composure fracture, the tears spilled out of her eyes like water from a dam that had burst. She fell to her knees and wailed.
At once David, her loving husband dropped his hoe and ran to her side. "My love, why do you cry?" He said as he enveloped her in a loving embrace.
"They're not there!" She cried as she pointed off into the distance.
David looked up and saw his two sons standing, frozen, watching their mother's breakdown. "But they are there, the children are fine." David said gently as he tried to calm her wailing.
"Not that!" She pointed again, "They're gone!" And then she collapsed.
David picked her up and carried her into the house. He washed her face and put her to bed. When he entered the main room his sons were standing there.
He could see the questions in their eyes they dared not ask. "She will be fine. She just needs some rest is all." The boys nodded. "Now get yourselves ready for supper."
It had been three days since her collapse. The doctor had seen to her, and said her problem was not medical. So a priest had been called for. He said rosary over her and left her in the hands of God.
David tried, but nothing would rouse her from her depression. The only thing she would say was "They're gone." In a voice that was getting quieter by the day.
She lived only five more days. Had David put his ear close to her mouth in the hour before her death, he would have heard the slightest whisper, "The hills. The hills are gone."
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