Luc often found himself on long, solitary journeys through the sands of Drumheller. It was a landscape he would never grow accustomed to: vast, barren and ever changing. He went into the desert without water or sunscreen, taking only a couple of joints and the tattered copy of The Imitation of Christ his parents presented to him that Christmas long ago. He appreciated his desert surroundings, though the limitless sand and heat intimidated him. He went to the desert to clear his mind and to sweat unapologetically.
It was on one of these journeys that Luc confronted the Great Snake. He heard the echoing rattle of her massive tail from far away and followed the sound like one hypnotized. Soon, he stood with her on top of Drumheller’s highest Hoodoo.
Luc’s unconditional love for all animals had always been a source of great pride, but he struggled with his feelings toward the scaled creatures that shared his love for solitude. Upon seeing the snake, a shot of adrenaline coursed through Luc’s veins: every instinct urged him to flee, and yet he followed her call and soon stood in her sun. Her eyes opened as soon as she felt the shadow cast by Luc’s frame eclipse the sun. With a seductive voice, the snake welcomed Luc to the top of Alberta’s desert.
Luc often spoke to animals. The language of Crow was his first language and he spoke it more fluently and with greater ease than the barbarous English tongue which had been forced upon him in his early adolescence. The language the Great Snake spoke was both unfamiliar and understandable to Luc. His ability to understand and understand the snake’s forked dialect surprised him. She had incredible command of language and anticipated every word Luc said in the conversation. Luc, who had no previous disposition toward bestiality, was unpleasantly surprised by his reaction to the Great Snake. Her body was flaccid and moved about the sand as though hovering above it. His dick became hard: there was something terrifyingly seductive about her, perhaps her ever-present, ever-writhing tongue which crafted words like the delicate fingers of a potter.
“What is it that brings you here to my desert, Luc?”
“Last time I fuckin’ checked this was Crown land” his voice cracked, betraying his mixture of excitement and fear.
She scoffed at him: “Ownership is tricky, m’ dear. Not too long ago, this land ‘belonged’ to your people. Do you think that their title holds any weight now? Ha! Their claim is almost as useless as that of this present Canadian Government; this is my earth—it always has been and it always will be. Scorched though it is, by a million suns and a thousand moons, it is mine.”
“Oh go fuck yerself!” Luc’s mixed feelings made his stomach flip; he felt ill and, impossibly, very cold.
“Who do you think created this? Look at your people, half of them are drunk and the other half, dead. And people say that some kind of ‘God’ created it? Where is He in all the torment and agony? Sitting back, paring his fingernails a long, long way from here I suppose. And people worship him? This, this monster?” Luc’s fists clenched but fell uselessly to his sides.
She continued: “We share this, you know. It is ours.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Small trickles of semen ran down his left leg.
“You know exactly what I am talking about, Luc. Don’t play dumb, it is not becoming of you. You know that this land was stolen from you and your people and you also know that you have the power to take it back. Do you know your own strength? You have been wasting it on party tricks for too long; the time has come for you to change things for the better. Riel tried, but lost. Nobody else has had the courage; you need to do this for yourself and for an entire nation. I can help you.”
Luc surveyed the desert sand at his feet, partially because he was captivated by it and partially to avoid her eyes, lest he fall in. He saw plants and wildlife abounding in the harsh desert. In a land where even the almighty dinosaurs had fallen long ago, in a land that seemed to laugh in the face of life, life had overcome and spilled over like running water. Nimble antelope drank from the river, rare breeds of cacti, unique to Drumheller’s desert extremes, gathered their life from invisible, underground founts. Hawks flew overhead. Their screams were absorbed into the song of choir of Angels that began ministering to Luc in another strange tongue.
Luc looked up and saw the Angels: the sons and daughters of light. They pierced him with their sword. Again, Luc was surprised by his response to the numinous unknown. In contrast to his attraction to the evil underbelly of spirit, Luc was, at first, fearful of the Angelic host which surrounded him; every angel is terrifying. They descended upon him like white, luminescent bats and with them came their music, lubricating Luc’s sunburned eardrums with a honey-sweet, sugary rhythm. He was intoxicated by a planet of sound.
Luc had listened to a lot of music in his youth, and never before had he heard music like this. The timing of the angels’ song, if indeed there was one, was unrecognizable to him. Numerical representations of time, such as 4/4 or ¾, melted away in the intense heat of furious crescendo. He basked in the molten light, was burned by it and yet remained unscathed. The angels’ song strengthened Luc for the second round of his battle against the sexy serpent.
“Lead your people, Luc. It is your duty. Your land is now overrun with infidels who seek to drink your blood. Can you hear their laughter overwhelming the gates of that whore of a City you once called home? They all laugh in your face and the faces of your people, who have been ravaged, raped and disfigured by greed. You are endowed with tremendous gifts; why do you lay idle during this sickening age? Rise up, Luc. Make hast to destroy the City!” Her voice stood out from the song of all of Heaven’s hierarchies. Luc’s mind was lost.
The bones of ancient birds started to rattle in sandy sarcophagi—burial reversed, and the screams of paleontologists echoed against the polished walls of desert canyon. Their collective scientific flesh was torn to shreds by rabid, fleshless mouths of bones they had been attempting to reconstruct just a few moments prior. Blood spilled on the desert’s sandy floor and the thirsty earth drank deep.
And then came a disarming silence. The creatures made no noise save for the rattling of their skulls. Excited by the resurrection of ancestors, the serpent started to fuck the smaller dino-skeletons. Her eggs rolled down the valley below like streams of mother’s milk down ripe breasts. Luc lay down; his eyes rolled to the back of his brain.
A loud and terrifying thunder rolled over the uprooted desert. Black clouds came from the West, bearing gifts of a pulsing and electric light. Sound and rain spilled upon Luc’s parched lips. He felt the hairs of his forearm and moustache rise to greet the god of electricity above. He turned over to lay prostrate on top of the desert; his blackened skin contracted in the cold face of Wild West wind. Luc shivered feverishly. The serpent, momentarily distracted from her frantic, coital romp turned once again, to continue her plea.
“Look at you! You are pathetic! Cowering under a force of nature you know that you could easily manipulate. Tell the clouds to flee from me! Bring back the sun! My back grows cold!”
Luc vomited an alloy of bile and sand before uttering his painful reply: “I thought this was your earth you fuckin’ cunt! Are the clouds beyond your command? Show me your strength and I will show you mine!”
“You dare challenge me? I will call Dr. Sax from the East and he will annihilate you! Nothing will remain! Not even a memory of you or your pathetic existence will remain; not a trace!”
Luc’s face fell.
Water came down from the sky, running over the weathered bones of now animate dinosaur life. Large stones were resurrected from underground: mayhem, darkness. They burned in reverse and hailed toward the heavens. Drumheller looked like a war ravaged Hamburg.
And the Angels cast their songs upon the surrounding hoodoos. Drumheller was transformed into an outdoor amphitheatre—no echo left unturned. The angels hovered above, descended below and passed right through Luc’s shivering body. His sweat turned to blood. He coughed and quaked yet didn’t awake. Surrounded by sonic symphony; Luc remained a still and silent center of the surrounding madness. It was then that he received a vision.
A stranger approached; she was in no way threatening. Luc collapsed into her fragile arms and her eyes swelled with tears as she cradled him. He couldn’t find the strength to return her gaze, but rested. She wiped the blood from his brow and whispered an immortal hymn into his ear. The darkness of her simple and constant rhythm complimented the angels’ song. He drank her song deeply. He was nourished and he was strengthened.
The madness stopped almost as quickly as it had begun. Dino-skeletons retreated to their mass grave and slept for another eternity. The cool waters of flash flood dimpled the torn earth as western winds countered by smoothing the restless plain. Even the keenest eye was blind to the afternoon’s upheaval; a storm raged into the night, thus restoring the dynamic symmetry of piecemeal earth. Luc lay at the epicenter, his eyes wide open. Deep, black sockets collected water as he surveyed the impending darkness through a veil of rain.
The Great Snake slinked back into her hole. If she had had legs, her rattle would have been placed firmly in between them– she was defeated. Evelina left with her. She gave a last good-bye to her son, sealed with a kiss upon his reddened cheek. She disappeared into the thunder. Luc slept.