Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chicagospell (part 3)

Jesse S. Mitchell

part 2 here

part 1 here

Charlie felt a small hand touch his palm.  The hand seized a hold of fingers and tugged frantically.  He looked down to see the little girl again, she was pulling him and leading through the foliage.
“We have to keep moving.”  She said without looking back at him.  And they moved on.  On the other side of the shrubbery, was the orchard still but the fruit trees began to be replaced with tall skeletal trees, black as pitch, and sharp and hard like spears sticking point up out of a rapidly freezing soil, leaves hanging down like knife blades, razor-sharp and ominous.  The white birds gone, but now black birds on every branch, ravens, cawing and not chanting.  Overheard the light followed them, a spotlight, a floodlight, and the definite chopping of air, the whirl and bite of a helicopter.  Several helicopters swarming as Charlie and the little girl ran-walked through the steel forest.  Snow beginning to fall.  Huge white flakes covering over everything.
“Where are we?”  Charlie asked, nearly out of breath, out of shape and unaccustomed to this kind of physicality.
“Not far from Sheridan Road actually.”
“Really?” amazed.
“Listen, we have to keep moving.  We have to make it past the Ogre of the ironwoods.”
“Okay.” amazed. “But, it is getting hard to see, is the thing.  Are you sure you know which way you are going?” a certain noticeable condescending tone to his voice, humoring the small child.  She didn’t answer him back, but kept wrenching him forward.  An orange glow slowing emerging deep within the center of the forest, a deep red, a fire light, and the sound of low groaning, grinding stone, a terrible concrete hard, blood gurgling sound, and terrible bright, frightening light.  And they were heading towards it.  The birds, the black feathered crows, covered with snow, charred snow, and soot, their feathers hanging and dripping thin droplets of melt and blood, long demonic claws, talons like bayonet blades stabbed-stuck in the thin bony branches, the birds began to caw-chant a sing-song language, “krieg! Sich bekriegen. La guerre. Amputacja. Bloed! Death.”
In the middle of the woods, they came upon a large clearing.  The little girl stopped, put her hand and motioned for Charlie to stop as well, put her finger to her lips. “Be very quiet.  We will have to move around the edges.”
As they moved slowly, quietly around the perimeter of the clearing, Charlie looked into the center of the breach, watched the fire blazing.  Sitting high, fifteen of twenty feet tall, legs spread wide, a deep cadaver-grey humanoid beast, all covered in scars and putrid scabs, long ragged nails, bulging blue thrombosis-veins snaking wildly under the ugly skin.  Fat, rotund gut jutting out in front, sweat dripping out the pours.  Grabbing up great handfuls of sun bleached bones, broken vertebrae, and busted skulls, throwing them down violently into the fire, no wood, the fuel was completely bone and corpse.  The monster’s mouth was huge, nearly splitting the head completely into two different objects, and ringed on the bottom with rows of short sharp teeth, shark jaws, and the cavity inside the mouth was filled to the brim with blood, dark brick red blood, spilling as the ogre moved.
“Don’t look it in the eye.”  the girl warned.
“Why?  What will happen?”
“Madness.  Violence.  You will be become like them.”  She pointed to the rows of rotting bodies in various uniforms stuck decaying, impaled on the sharp branches of the trees, some still clutching gun, or rifle, or knife.
“Hmm.  So, this place is…”
“The end of the whole world.” the little girl interrupted.
They both stood still and watched, moments past, and as Charlie and the child turned to head the other way, they moved strangely, a whole 180 degree turn without moving their bodies, just their view.  And the forest was gone.  The dark was gone.  The sun had returned but the sky was overcast.  Clouds and a stiff breeze, a chill to the air, and a rocky beach had their feet.  It would seem they had reached the other end of the island.  The ocean came up quickly, rushing, tall waves but the surf turned gentle as it washed up on the boulders and grey stones.  They didn’t move.  They just watched the sea.  And then Charlie spoke.
“You know, one of the first things you have to accept in this world is nobody really cares what you do, about the things you do.  I mean, of course, everyone has a few friends, some family, and they are happy when you are happy, glad when you are glad, satisfied to see you occupied and productive, but mostly we are alone with our endeavors.  But that’s good.  And that’s okay.  We call that freedom. We call that autonomy.  Nobody is looking, do what you want, it’s your life after all.  And that is called wisdom.  It is the gift you get for livin’ long enough.   But it is a kind of wisdom wasted, because the best years of your life are used up trying to make a mark on this world, and that can’t be done, this world isn’t clay, this world is iron, hot iron. Atrophied and half-starved, a bag of broken bones hoping to make a rattle, this empire or that, it is so easy to get mixed up.
 Back before I started writing plays, when I was still a journalist, when I was still mostly human,” Charlie chuckled, “I was young, yeah, I… I would come across these stories, or was assigned a story , or whatever, I would sit down to write the thing, and I would tell myself to really make this one stick, squeeze as much poetry in as I could.  With newspaper writing, there is no room for bullshit, concise, you gotta be concise, but I would find a way, I would find a way to be as artsy as I could.  I mean, it was a big city, it was a big newspaper, one of these damned stories would pull me out, the right eyes would see, and then, I would have it made.  But you know what the trouble with that was?”  He looked down at the little girl.
“No one reads the damned newspaper.”
And they started walking out into the cold grey water, a gentle foam around their ankles.  
Charlie continued  walking, the water lapping and moving around his ankles.  The little girl was gone but Charlie was still talking, either because he hadn’t noticed her departure or else because he had become accustom to the mood, and the words spilled out freely.
“Ah, but what did I expect, really?  I mean, I blame on it on this or on that, on the apathy of the dimming populace, the liaising of ignorance and ease of living.  But, but I know those are just terrible excuses, easy answers, go to places for a bitter mind.  I was never aggressive enough.  Not with my work.  Not with myself.  Maybe if I had of pushed a little harder, I could’ve, sort of made some kind of scratch, a smear, on the face of this Earth.  Maybe not a globe of clay but maybe one of a softer metal, if I could’ve just put my back into it.  I have seen in my life, great huge trees wither away and die, tiny shoots spring up and grew straight and high, vine covered hills, blossoming brambles eat away at hard rock and straggle out hard barked ciders and snuff out thorny rose bushes.  And all for the sake of the sun, the earth food, the liquid swelling under the stony ground.  Nothing is impossible to life.  I am not even a good socialist because I can see this, and everywhere, without the struggle for resources, we would be living a thin green film, a planet of slime and slime eaters, no diversity.  Nothing new, no niches to fill.”
The water churned.  Bright big bubble popped up and in the effervesce, walls began to grow up around Charlie, a roof began to cover over his head, and soon a whiff  of sweet tobacco smoke blew into his face.  The scent he noticed first and came slowly out of his delirium, he saw walking in front of him the man in the beret and green fatigues.  He looked around to his side and saw that they were walking down the very middle of the Nave of St. Sernin  in Toulouse.  Shiny chandeliers hanging gold and brilliant from the high ceilings, tall arcades and vaulted archways, dark wooden seats and pews to each side of them.
“You again.”
The man nodded.
“But maybe it was my subject matter.  With the plays at least, who did I thin I was, the very patron saint of total toothless pomposity, writing, squealing out screeds.  Sitting around some zombie-eyed toothless old typewriter, click-clacking away, everything about impossibility, sincerity, immorality, probability, soggy science, all wan colors. The different states of matter, the frozen notion of the time, the liquid leaking away of days, the gaseous cloud of expression, everything rotating around our heads, our lives. And for what?  To sate my desire to hear myself talk.  To put words in mouths not my own to have confirmation of principles I thought dubious but wanted…wanted so very badly to be real or to not be real, to live on their own, or to finally die away.  I wanted to be god.  A god.  A divine breaking of words against a most destructive wind of wild and complete ennui.    The demon, indifference that plagued me so, what tear me to my bones, that stripped away my flesh.  To heal my hurts.”

No comments:

Post a Comment