Sacred Pass

Kylie Rae
6 min readJun 27, 2023

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A small village in a mountain pass

A small village sits in a dip in the mountain. Outsiders call it Sacred Pass, because it is safe from avalanches or rockslides. There’s a perfect ledge leading to a lake off the side of the mountain where all the runoff falls and avoids the village completely. Anyone who lives there, though, simply calls it the village.

The first signs of spring were popping up at the base of the mountain. Color dotted the fields, yellows and greens and pinks. The trees were lush with leaves and the sweet smell of warm weather to come was in the air. And at the top of the mountain, ice was melting.

Delilah Summerton lived in Sacred Pass. Her parents had left her their house, and she’d lived there alone since they’d passed some years before. She had friends in the village and busied herself by walking through the shops and chatting. In the evenings, she cooked herself a small meal and ate alone at her kitchen table, reading a book.

Delilah didn’t think there was anything wrong with her life. She enjoyed her solitude as much as she enjoyed walking through the village during the day. If a friend called, she would invite them over as many times as she didn’t. But just because she was content with her life, didn’t mean there weren’t others who thought her strange.

“She’s too pretty to be alone. Surely one of the nice young men in town would suit her,” old Mrs. Walsh was known to say if anyone got her talking about Delilah.

“She doesn’t want a town boy,” Mr. Scott would answer, nearly always. “I think I saw her eyeing Mr. Davies’ boy in the store the other day. She lives here. I’d bet she’ll settle down with one of the men who grew up here too.”

And the bickering would continue about who was a suitable mate for Miss Delilah Summerton.

At the bottom of the ravine, beside Sacred Pass, a landslide shook the earth. A rumble of rocks and snow and snapping trees as the land shifted and fell towards the bottom of the slope. The pile of debris grew and mounded against the other side of the ravine, like filling a bowl.

Some people from the village stood at the edge of the cliff and watched as the ground rose closer to them. But no one thought anything of it. They’d witnessed plenty of rock slides in their day. Nothing to worry about.

And at the top of the mountain, the snow continued to melt.

Delilah Summerton did not, in fact, like Mr. Davies’ son. She didn’t care for any of the men in the village, or any men at all, for that matter.

Delilah enjoyed the company of other women. But she was also painfully shy and found herself incapable of ever making the first move. Which had led to her inevitable solitude.

But she had her eye on one person in particular. Her name was Melissa Lewis, and she worked in the bakery with her sisters. Delilah walked past the bakery three or four times each day before she would walk inside and order a muffin and a coffee. If Melissa was at the counter, she would stay and chat and attempt to flirt, or at least show that she was interested.

But every day, Melissa would either not get the hint (as light as it probably was) or she was not interested.

Delilah’s fear stemmed from not knowing if anyone felt the way she did. She’d only met other women loving women when she lived in town for a few years. And even then, she’d failed at making the first move. But at least she’d known she wasn’t the only one in existence with those feelings.

Now, she could never tell. Everyone in the village was polite and friendly, so she couldn’t figure out who held a genuine interest in her. And so she kept to her schedule of walking through the shops. She’d visit the library and the bookstore last and ask again if they had any job openings. But they never did.

At the end of the day, she would return home, eat her dinner, and read. All the while, thinking about how she could attract Melissa’s attention.

The melting snow ran off the sides of the mountain and into the ravine. But with the accumulated gravel and trees from the rock slide brought the water level up higher. Mr. Lincoln stood at the edge of the cliff and looked down. He saw the water much closer than he’d ever remembered seeing it in his seventy-seven years of living in the village. But he thought little it. Maybe he’d never come to look during the majority of the melting weeks. He didn’t tell anyone what he’d seen.

And at the top of the mountains, the snow continued to melt.

It was a Thursday when Delilah’s entire mood changed.

She walked out her front door and down the path to her mailbox just as she did every other morning. And to her surprise and delight, she found a letter. Her name handwritten in a scrawl she vaguely recognized on the outside of the envelope. But there was no return address.

Normally, she waited until she’d done all her shopping and chatting for the day before she opened her mail over lunch. But something about this one was different, she was sure of it. And so she stood against her fence and opened the letter right there.

Dearest Delilah,

I have admired you every day when you come to the bakery. Your hair is so beautiful and I want so desperately to run my hands through it. And I could stare into your bright blue eyes for hours if you’d let me.

I hope this doesn’t sound too forward, but I’ve been working up the nerve to approach you for weeks now. And I think I sense your interest when we talk. But if I’m wrong, please forgive me.

But if I’m right, I would love for you to meet me for a picnic today. I’ll be at the top of Whispering Path, under the tallest tree, at one o’clock. If you don’t show, I will take that as my answer. But I so hope you’ll be there.

Yours always,

Melissa

Delilah’s heart raced in her chest and her cheeks warmed to a bright pink. She’d been right. Not only had she been right, but her feelings were returned!

Instead of continuing down the path to do her shopping, she raced back into her house to change into her favorite dress.

A large chunk of ice and snow detached from the mountain top and slid down the hill. With every foot, it gained speed and gathered more snow and ice around it. Anyone looking up would have seen it.

But no one was looking up.

Delilah made herself walk at a normal pace as she followed the trail up Whispering Path. The tallest tree was her favorite. And she wondered if Melissa had known that and that was why she’d picked it. Or maybe it was her favorite too, and they would already have something in common.

At the end of the trail, she looked back down at the village, so small in the little dip of the mountain pass. But then she heard plates clattering behind her and she turned.

Melissa sat in the center of a blanket, under the tallest tree, and she’d dropped whatever she was holding when she saw Delilah on the path.

“You came?” Melissa said, more of a question.

Delilah hurried closer, her cheeks burning. “Of course I came. I was so thrilled to receive your letter.”

Melissa stood and took Delilah’s hands in hers. They smiled at each other for a long moment. Melissa slowly reached up with one hand to run her fingers through Delilah’s hair and a chill ran down her spine. She leaned into the touch.

They drew even closer together. Melissa slid her other hand around Delilah’s waist to hold their bodies together. And just as Delilah tilted her head up to receive the kiss she’d been dreaming of for months, they heard the crash.

Both spun around to watch the avalanche tumbling down the other side of the mountain. This was a normal occurrence in the spring, but just as Delilah had known when she’d seen the hand-addressed letter in her mailbox, she knew there was something different about this one as well.

They held on to each other and walked closer to the path leading back into the village. And looked over the hill. The snow plummeted into the ravine, just as it normally did. But when it met the running water and the buildup from the rockslide, the avalanche spilled over into the village. And it kept on falling, kept on creeping towards the first row of houses. And then the next row, and the next.

From where they stood, they heard the screams. They heard the cracking and snapping of wood. But in only minutes, the entire village was covered with snow.

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Kylie Rae

Independant author | Book lover | Whiskey Drinker | Mother of two crazy boys | www.kylieraewriter.com