It’s around midnight as the silver bullet goes across the empty plains. Inside strangers are sitting next to each other, some friendly others not. Most people on the bus are asleep except for one. She’s sitting eighth row back next to the window, her eyes are wide open. Her bus ticket is tattered from all of her transfers and journeys through the elements Destination: Seattle, Washington, but she has made many more stops than that. She pulls out her small notebook. Each name has a memory attached. By the beach, middle of the storm, the unwelcome stares at the cafe, and finally a tearful hello from a stranger she wished she had known. Each of them crossed out with notes underneath. The last one has a number. “In case of an emergency” he said. She said nothing but went onto the Greyhound to begin her travels to the next name on her list. The stars were her only constant. They varied from North to South on their degrees but they were always in the same order. The right order. Travelling alone is lonely business but for her business she felt like she had to travel alone. She tried to pick out the constellations that she had learned so long ago in her elementary school class, the story of the Drinking Gourd. The Drinking Gourd, or the Anglo-sized version the Big Dipper pointed the way North. For slaves this meant freedom and a new home. She closed her eyes against the window of the rumbling bus, knowing that tomorrow would be in a big city with two different names to track down.
Another name crossed off, and it was getting late. This one had shut the door in her face. None others had done that before to her. She walked away and her stomach grumbled as she passed the market, she had no more money left. It was Seattle or no where. She passed by the troll and under a few more bridges. Slowly she knocked on the door. “What is it?” the man answered the door. He was a bit unkempt but, she had seen worse, and beyond the door she could hear other noises, children or animals she couldn’t quite tell. “I think I could be your daughter” the man looked at her. And looked to the noise. “It’s dark out, come on in” She walked into the man’s home as the Drinking Gourd rose in the sky.