The S'allow Man

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
The elder one who returns annually for his people...

Submitted: September 24, 2008

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Submitted: September 24, 2008



Some things linger on far longer than they should. Ghosts that haunt the living are no more than the memories of the deceased, the past that will not accept that their time has moved on. It's a form of decadence, really. The ultimate in conservative thought and behavior. We do not wish to be thought of as a thing former tense. We want to be current, to be vibrant and alive.

Isn't that all we want?

There is a town in Ohio. It is a small town, no more than a village, really. A farming community, that holds very few inhabitants. It is old - old people, old views, old ways. It does not take kindly to change. Here, the citizens speak of the earth and the country and of their god who was nailed to the cross two millennium ago with great respect. They are a simple people. Good, honest and kind to one another.

Once a year, these people have an autumn festival. They call it the Apple Seed Festival. It is their time to rest, to gather and make merry. They have done so for over a century. It is a time to bring in the crop, to prepare for the winter, to speak of another summer gone.

It is the time to mark the passage of the S'allow Man.

Now, every town, every village has its legends, its myths. Every school child whispers secret stories on the playground about a house, about a bridge, about a old woman. These are the things that build the mythos of small towns. It creeps fear into young lovers when parking, into campers out in the trees at night, into slumber parties gathered around flashlights. But let us move on from this.

The mothers set up the tables to present the best pies and the fathers round up the livestock for show. Young men bring around tractors for a hay ride, and children help out where they can. Girls ready their horses, like ancient virgins before the unicorns, and the masters of the village clap their hands in anticipation.

The festivities begin at the same time every year. They begin with him. Like clock work, he will come. They all know it. He will come from the forest on the east edge of town, a wonder to behold. Made of vegetation and earth, smoldering from the hell he has dragged himself from, he will come. And straight through the village, right down Main Street will he proceed. He never quite makes it to the county road at the west end, never quite. He has fallen apart by then, their S'allow Man.

So rejoice inside your hearts. He hears you. Make silent little prayers, prayers the All Mighty wouldn't mind. He hears them. Whisper not in this time of silence. He will hear you. Gather along the sides of the narrow roads, lining the parade route, marking his path. He awaits you.

And they do, these people, they do all those things. They go about the merry making and joys of life, waiting for the calls to come from the east end. Wait, here they come now! A shout, a yell, an exclamation! He has arisen, he comes yet again, he is here, he is the resurrected one, their S'allow Man.

And so come, he does. A hulking mass of a creature, shambling down the street on two legs barely constructed. He is huge, lumbering, a thing in any other town, from a nightmare. Towering at over ten feet tall, he has no neck to swivel his massive head upon his giant shoulders. Vines trail out down from the back of his head, the nape of his neck. A stray leaf here and there blow off his form, all the while small clumps of dirt roll off, roll out of his body. At all times he is smoking, the smell of burning leaves and roasting embers.

Each step seems a chore, his arms swaying at his sides like he is pawing his way through the air of this world. His feet are like that of an elephants, ending in wide circumference. He has no human sex that is apparent, but all know that he is male, that he his the S'allow Man. They can see it in his eyes. Eyes that burn still, red glowing coals that stare forward, ever forward towards a destination that will never be reached.

The towns people stand along the narrow country lane they call Main Street and watch in awe, ever vigilant and in reverent silence for his passage. They watch as their mascot shambles his way down the pavement, staring at the resurrected one. He is the reason, the purpose, the meaning. He is the glory of the life cycle beheld!

All are in attendance. All are here in honor. To do any less would be like a blasphemy. He is their dreamcatcher, their hopeguard. He is the thing that moves them throughout the long summer days and long winter nights. The promise of his return every year, the promise of his existence. To think he may not come is never thought, let alone spoken out loud. He is the S'allow Man, and he is the deliverer of justification.

Grown men openly weep as he passes by, and women rub their lower regions, hoping his presence has made them fertile. Children stare and know they have seen something more powerful than they could have ever witness on the flashing screen of the living room television. Many fall to their knees, some even pass out. This is what it is like to be in the vicinity of something so ancient, so grand.

But, alas, he reaches the West End so quickly. His arms, clawing their way through our plane, have been eaten away. His head reduced to a skull. His powerful legs, now little more than branches. Still he smokes, but so much less. He falls, he wobbles now on broken knees, his arms are entirely gone. The county road is so close he must reach it at least once. No, he has been obliterated. The wind has caught the last remnants of his form and scattered his ashes. Another year has passed, and the S'allow Man is no more among us.

But life endures in this small Ohio town, this small slice of special Americana. The people shout and cheer, cry and dance. There are feasts to be eaten and strong drink to be imbibed. Wonderful long winded talks between neighbors and friends, alliances made, and old quarrels mended. New loves kindled and old one relit. All thanks to the passage of their oldest family member, the first of their community, their dearest of dear.

All thanks to the S'allow Man.

© Copyright 2018 brianfatahsteele. All rights reserved.

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