Home

Miss Collins came to the hospital late one summer when the gypsy moth caterpillars covered nearly every pine and fir tree in the basin. It was a difficult summer for Miss Collins, just as it had been a difficult spring, and so it was the same with winter, and fall, and the summer before the summer she came to live at Fairfield Hills. She was not from here; this place was not for her. She was a transplant, displaced here by fate, through marriage first, by car and highway  second.  Where she was from, the sun was bright and hot, the manners proper, the food soulful, the tea sweet, the church baptist, the gentlemen southernly, and the colors pastel. Her daddy would often tease her as a young girl, "You know something, Princess? God loves a soft color palette. He sure does. You know why? It allows His love to permeate right through the tough skin and hard bone and get right into your special little heart!"

Miss Collins discovered she was pregnant only weeks after her engagement to Mr. Price. Considering the many implications which often follow word of such unexpected news, Mr. Price thought it best to load up the car along with Miss Collins and head north for a while. "Gather your things quickly," Mr. Price insisted, "We must leave now before the church learns of your undoing. Satan has beguiled you. He is the clever fiend. You need rest. Get in the car. Let's go. Now!"

The colors seemed to change the further north they drove and the trees became the forest and the forest became the trees. Mr. Price eased the old Buick gently up and down the steep winding hills toward their new home, taking in all that he saw, commenting on the "healthy comfortableness in secluded property" and how "the institution of privacy creates a natural inclination toward interdependence within the family." Miss Collins took in the scenery too, although her feelings were far different from those of Mr. Price. She watched as the road became steadily more narrow and the dark gray forest became charcoal and tightened in around her. There was fear as well, great fear, a fear of things unknown, of things outside, of things inside. She felt as if the trees might extend their deformed arms at length and consume the Buick whole. As Mr. Price slowed the car down around the tense blind curves, Miss Collins thought she saw vague faces in the collage of olive colors and twisted limbs embedded in the overgrowth alongside the road. The road turned to dirt at the bottom of the hill and there on the left stood a little brown house with one small rectangular window. "Home," he said.