There are thin trails of gold under hard granite flesh and it appears that the lines are multiplying. A spring underground has collided with snow-melt and it’s rising up and eroding back and under the clear pools that are left is gold. And men will die and women will miss them and children will gather around in circles when they jump into the wells and the mouths and the caverns. When the mountain is done with the men it will swallow them up or force them out with empty pockets and what will remain is timber, wood, magpies and marmots, the Spring, and ghosts.
It might seem as though Justine let the world fall away when Blake fell deep into the caves. On the surface she had moved on, moved away, moved apart from the little blue veins that separated her from the Valley.
The burning truth was that she still felt a sideways pull back there, even months after she had left carrying her little yellow traincase. In her new life she was shadowed and surrounded by a tamed, highly populated city with walls and gardens and department stores that had escalators that led up to light and glass. In her dreams, though she still walked out of the Valley to the highest places where no trees grew, and then down again to the beginning, where birch and spruce embraced one another in the still-frozen soil. She would never leave the Valley, really. She’s still there, if you’d like to look for her.