the missionary

The missionary rode up the path from the woods on a black, unmarked motorcycle with thick tires. Silence presaged his arrival and silence met him as he killed the engine and dismounted. He matched the somber day very well, dressed all in black, just like his motorcycle; a black suit, black gloves, black boots, and a wide-brimmed black hat. But his gas mask was the same olive green as mine.
He bent to lock the motorcycle, and I saw the carbine slung casually across his shoulder. Ermanno saw it too, and stared at it with undisguised admiration.
My father stepped forward. Welcome to Crow, he signed.
Thank you, the missionary said, turning to look at him.
When my father waved him forward he stepped past, towards the metal dome of Crow, without so much as an acknowledgement. I caught a glimpse of the back of his head as he passed me; some hair was caught between the hood and the mask, just peaking out from under the wide hat, bleached blue-white by the poison in the air.

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