Shack #11 (DS)
by julad


I first returned to Inuvik on the trail of the killers of my partner. 
Naturally, they were quickly apprehended with no further casualties, and
their drug pipeline from Russia soon dismantled with the invaluable assistance
of the local authorities.  I was several months chasing down loose
ends--suppliers, distributors, waystations--ensuring that justice was served
and the lucrative Northern Heroin Trail would remain forever closed.

By the time the matter was resolved to my satisfaction, I had of necessity
made repairs to my Father's cabin, and through shared purpose made valuable
friends among the local population.  It seemed only natural, then,
to end my leave of absence from the RCMP by requesting a permanent transfer
to Inuvik.

Life here is... satisfying.  To wake up cold, to step outdoors
to fill the kettle with snow and gaze over the white horizon, feels appropriate. 
To start a day in hollow silence is easier than fighting a city's clamourous
sounds and smells.  Composure comes easily here, as does kindness. 
To nod at familiar faces in the small street, to exchange pleasantries
in the supply store, to discuss the weather at a hockey game, to receive
orders and information from the Yellowknife office -- there are many small
pleasures to be found here.  It is a relief, one finds, to go about
life amid people as isolated as oneself is, and be regarded as such without
judgement.  One gets on with life, here in Inuvik, although American
visitors sometimes comment loudly that we have escaped from it.

There is no escape, I know this.  Nights are long, here, sometimes
days long, and sometimes lit so brightly that sleep is an unattainable
dream.  Ghosts have a habit, in this place, of lingering, but I am
immeasurably fond of the ghost who visits me.  He lacks the tenacity
of my father, or perhaps his meddlesome purpose, because my ghost never
speaks.  He leans against the wall, or slouches on the sofa, watching
me.  Sometimes I look up from my dinner and see him sitting in the
chair across the table.  I smile, of course, and he always smiles
back as he fades.

To leave here is unthinkable.  I grow unsettled at the very thought. 
My ghost is too precious to risk losing amid too much noise, too much colour,
too much distraction.  His body rests too near by, at the end of an
aborted adventure.  Duty, it seems, must always cut pleasure off at
the knees, but if duty calls me to another region, it will go unanswered. 
Duty took Ray from me, and I am done with Duty the minute it would take
me from Ray.

My audience, it seems, grows impatient with my tale.  He only asked
how I found Inuvik; he is new in town and this is, perhaps, more information
than he desired from our interaction.  I hand over the money, and
accept my package and the change.

Thank you kindly, I say, and take the paper-wrapped bottle home to my
ghost.

(500 words)


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