As If We Stayed

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
NOTE: This work contains graphic violence.

A work in progress, adding little bits at a time. It covers the journey home from war undertaken by a functional nihilistic sadist.

Submitted: June 20, 2017

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Submitted: June 20, 2017

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I.

The tempest creeps while watching pulses throb slow. Under the skin in the dark they move barely with thought and purpose. Living things here beneath the carnage. Breathing. Beating. A singular soul gives a thought to revealing oneself to the air. But no movement. Staying under with those singular throbs from neck to wrist that all come together as one. All of those under that carnage were scared to silence and scared still. If one being could think a thousand thoughts simultaneously, perhaps this would be the product. A day as this surely leaves a stain on the collective. A moment in time so cruel and needless that the wall between physical being and the unbearable continuance of eternity is slit. But then, how many moments have been like this? For this one has lasted three days. But it is a flicker in the presence of extensions across time where the suffering is prolonged. Is 53 days too long? It would be prudent to ask those who endured it if only they lived still. Or perhaps the time matters not, nor the beings, nor the carnage.

It is early still. Dawn just broken across the field sodden and crimson. Smoke that writhes to the tops from spent cartridge and abandoned arms becomes cloud cover. The whole field is as the pulse. A spread of worms slinking upon each other and calling to their tree. Their hopes dashed before their glistening eyes. Their loved ones just that. Loved before and now fleeting to the growing shade. But still one lies as to be one of those mortally wounded. He stirs slow and can wait the hours.

The shade moves barely beneath the bending oaks when a northern wind blows down. The blackness consuming all in the field. The pictures become nothing. The shapes together in darkness and the unknown nature of their existence. What lies in there? Down between the blades the six legged crawl in their concentration. The workers scramble upon each other without thought to serve their queen. Or if not the hives and colonies, the lone figures move from husk to husk sustaining still. They are because there is nothing else. As that oak moves the creatures move. As the wind blows the creatures firm will carry their tasks upon their bodies. Unbowed by the moving above and around them. But still there is movement. Grander than they can imagine with minds so occupied. They crawl and crawl and move between bodies larger and breathing deeper. Some will begin the picking of the flesh down below those oaks that crop the field and the beasts are all between. The scramble grows fierce. Clutching to the cloth they begin to crawl on the skin. Between the standing hairs they move. And some are so wounded now as not to even resist the coming pests.

II.

The treeline beckoned me to her. Crooked and welcoming with cover. The dye would not matter when I throw myself between the birch. Creeping slow through the brush. Dew laid the damp on my sleeves and legs stepping through the rough. No creature feasts on me. I took no wounds there.

A glowing light dim but warming sought me in the darkness and through the trees towards me. A faint voice and a second. Laughter. Clank. I stalked in hope that my yawning stomach doesn't give me up. If they're war minded still I had little chance. My right gripped the dragoon's handle. My tender thumb felt out the hammer. I drew in precaution and step closer. Crack.

“Now, slow it up.”
“Ain't no need for shots. Come get some to yer belly.”

I hesitate but instinct damns me.

“Got enough?”

“Can spare some hows.”

“I'd appreciate a warmth at the least.”

“Then come on up. Best put 'er away for all our minds.”

“Alright old man.” I put it back in the hold mindful of its place and my icy movements.

I staggered over the branches torn from the whole. Two buckled stags lerching over the suffering flames. One blew to the bottom to raise the heat. The other, a tin clutched in his hooves, I saw him shake with the cold. They were uniformed. It didn't matter so out here in this darkness and winter. All trying to find our ways back or ways out. They had some food at least, and something that could tempt a heat.

The conversation meandered from pleasantries to our choices. We'd been the same in principle. But though they posed no threat and welcomed me at their risk I felt the need to assert.

Behind those thoughts the gaping questions. What is this before me but my own projection? Would I realise at any point now that my conscious is not the all? Would it be through the suffering of others? I doubted. Even the screams agonizing as they are to the meek, are naught but props to my being. Would I falter from my views when held to the blade and my skin carved from my bones as I had done before? Agnostic in my opinions. It was a weakness in my theories that I cared much to avoid the answer. Instead, the forcing of my intention was my motive and drive. To show myself and all beings that nothing is true beyond what I conjure in my divinity.

Embowered though we were the great void spoke softly through my skin. The heavy log was my hammer and swung with embers flailing. His dentures broke upon the bark and foreshadowed his frame falling backwards to the snow. The other in surprise and disbelief tried for the Winchester by his side. Swung overhead the hammer crushed his crown and all thoughts were to the air. He fell forth, his face nestling into the flames. The first, he gargled slow and limbs swirled like he were a beetle turned. Crooked mouthed with teeth bent in and hanging out, mangled between his tongue and some that must have caught in his throat. He bled some.

Behind me the other burned slow. A thick and all consuming stink of charring meat. He was dead for sure as his body neither groaned nor twitched at the flames that licked his ears and singed his greying mane. No need to move him yet. Instead I perched next to the breather and watched deep his struggle to comprehend the moment. Was he wondering why? The purpose? Or was he too far into the pain and enduring sense of coming death that all his thought was of panic?

The moments passing were mine. I was all that fading light had. My actions now would be but a speck in this war, but to this man writhing before me it was everything. He was hopeless in any case. But my boot pressing slow to his gullet surely hastened his panic. His desperation for life showed through even though he was all but ruined. The light took long to go. I watched him every second. His eyes, they didn't fade like a shot would cause or even the knife. No, it was a lingering existence. A cigarette left on the porcelain, it burns still and when a wisp of air comes it fans the embers ever so. Eventually it passes, burnt out and useless.

My home was far. A farm and wife. She's alone now I would guess. Out there in the trees in the homestead. Fearing the dark and the isolation. Perhaps she's ended it by now, or replaced me with another. I had these murderous thoughts then. Flickered and passing. But they were there, deep down under my facade I thought on occasion about the actions of killing a man. Not just killing, but in a thought annihilating man itself.
 


© Copyright 2017 A. Meryl. All rights reserved.

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