It was morning by the time I awoke again. I saw the blue sky above me and breathed the fresh air. My mouth was cracked and dry; my stomach, on fire, though I was no longer nauseous. I lay there for a while, motionless, looking at the sky. I didn’t think about the truck, didn’t even think about my wife or the kids. I was strangely at peace.
An hour must have passed before I turned on my side to survey my lot. I was surrounded by dirt. I couldn’t see the truck, nor its tracks. The trees all around me were fallen, roots exposed like strange earthen poppies. Everything was silent. No cars, no jets or birds. I had never felt so alone.
It was then that I noticed that the ground below me was churning… no, churning wouldn’t be the word to describe it. There was frantic movement at the most microscopic level, like every speck of dust had become manically animate. It looked much like late night television static. While I saw the movement, I couldn’t feel it on the parts of my body that rested upon the ground. I stuck my finger into all that motion, and immediately it stopped, as if struck dead by my touch. When I removed my finger, it resumed its movement undisturbed. I then gagged.
“Shalomen, trista. Gabuya tellumen robar! Glok, Glok, pantella smeka. Lotta, linga, lubella.” The ‘words’ that issued from my mouth were beyond my command; it was as though I had vomited them out. And again, from the depths of my lung sprung, “Shoola, kenyagas. Miluiim, gaka, kaja, gaka.” (Belly laughter; trembling) And the earth rose up in the familiar shape of my mother. ‘She’, if I could call ‘it’ that, walked around me silently in concentric circles before returning to the earth again. I smelled her lavender and flour.
And then I heard a high pitched hum, a high frequency wail falling in drops from the sky. It pierced me. I fell to the ground. “Shleeta, shleeta, shleeta. Mananas colleges. Blilial. Shunta, shunta, shunta. Paraguanas collegas miliainas!” I shrieked those ‘words’, like a desperate prayer to a senile God far away and the sound finally ceased, only to be replaced by another. The new sound, however, came from inside and around me.
The only thing the sound my body made that day can be compared to is a dog fight– snarls and thumps, wet bites and growls. It didn’t come from my mouth, rather, the back of my neck; I instinctively covered my ears as it was so very loud, only to feel the sound rather than hearing it. The feel brought horrific images to my mind. I have always loved dogs and, in this moment, I was forced to participate in the bloody misery they eagerly bestowed upon the other although, there were no dogs, only sound. I dug my fingernails into the earth; again I shrieked.
Dear reader, please believe my words. I have never been one to take up a pen, much preferring the dark, wide lead of my carpenter’s pencil. Prior to this, I have mostly just written measurements upon the porous slate of pine beam. I am an honest man, and a hard worker. Prior to that day, almost a year ago, I didn’t have anything of substance to document. But this all happened to me, believe me.
Suddenly, it was dark again; the sound of angry dogs remained and I removed my hands from my ears; I was defeated. I stumbled blindly through the dark. I felt the earth below me absorb every step I took with my big, black boots. As I walked, I felt the silk of spider webs on my face—I tried, in vain, to wipe them off, but they stuck to my cheeks, my nose. And I was alone in a dark, jeweled wilderness, with only the sound of bleeding dogs for company.
I was starving too: an entire day without food, a night of vomiting. I was desperate and terrified. The sound of dogs seemed to intensify and the night grew darker. I got down on one knee and grabbed a handful of earth; it felt good between my fingers. I brought it to my lips, tasting just a little at first, before forcing the rest in and down. I ate about three handfuls of dust that night before I was knocked down by sleep; that night, I dreamed dreams of dogs and of my family.
I saw my wife: the morning light streamed through our living room window, illuminating the dust and cat hair that hovered about the room. Our youngest, Percy, was on Karen’s lap. Karen braided Percy’s hair in silence. She then turned to me. “Glen, where have you gone? Where are you? The kids ask me every night. I haven’t slept since you left us that day.” I try to speak but my tongue has turned to lead. Not even a note makes it to her sleepy ear. “Where are you, Glen?”
Awake in the darkness—the darkest darkness I ever did see. Long gone the sound of canine for company; my eyes painted black. I opened my mouth to call for help, craving the sound of my own voice for assurance, but of course, “Liuta, Liuta. Shangala stupenda glasgos glasgos, GLASGOS.” I closed my mouth again, preferring silence to insanity. Dreams knocked on the broken window pain of my imagination.
Scepters hurtle from above tragic light; a, a, bl… blue, a bird. Orchestras and straws, nineteen bowls all empty. And the sound, the light. Open bellies, catalogued and broken. The Fall. Shrines to the Goddess, covered in gold, thrown into the fire, molten again. Extinction. Extinction. Extinction. Cabins in the shade of arbutus. Salamanders under tin can. Wigs. Curls. Brine. Weeping willows and wind. Shirley Temple. The dawn. (Shivering, awakes.)