Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Apocalypse Fragment

I don't know yet where in the novel this will go.  The setting is at a Kansas City, Missouri community of survivors.  This area is now largely arid, wasted land.  The "I" is the main character, David Bancroft.  Those of you on top of your Old Testament will recognize this as the dinner shared by the elders and...well, you'll see.  The reactions of both are derived from the Old Testamental story.  I remind you that this is a rough draft.

[By the way, for those of you having trouble posting from Word to Blogger, use Notepad as an intermediary.]

An Immense Dread  

I felt an immense dread that transcended simple feeling.  It was a weight that pushed on me; I was scared, full of terrible wonder.  The wind was a hurricane that howled and knocked upon my door like a demon.
    I opened this door and found outside a dust-storm.  The red sand obliterated most of the sun; it flew in a puckered sheet right to left, and what sun shone through was a fixed red eye, a fireball, a barrel, locked and loaded, pointing at me from forever.
    And yet I saw to my right a large table covered by an overflowing white cloth; upon it lay more food than this camp would ever see—and four tall candles of white wax, their flames a solid life unwavering in the breeze.  Sitting in simple wooden thrones were the other seventy-three, each side holding thirty-six, all of them smiling, speechless, every eating movement slow and without noise.  The throne closest to me, with most of its back to me, sat vacant, turned slightly to the left, waiting for me as if it lived and breathed.
    Then the wind stilled and I was filled with terror.  A moan I didn’t recognize escaped from my dry, dust-covered lips; an indescribable dread chilled my heart so that I could not feel it beat.  A mania of awareness surged through me in this terror.  The sun was still a red eye, despite the stillness.  Again it seemed to me a red eye, unblinking, aimed at me directly.  In this dread I looked again at the people, at the table, and finally beyond them.
    And there, at a distance, beneath the frozen grey clouds, from out of the air and dissolving mist, appeared the giant figure that had always been there, now discernable in the stillness.  He crouched like a catcher, the toes barely touching the red dust and earth, the heels and large rounded knees not at all.  A huge muscled hand cupped each knee; the hands were bony, etched, despite their size and muscle.
    The massive face wore the color and lines of the desert on it; the blues of the eyes startling in a bright sea of whiteness.  This figure appeared and disappeared and appeared again in this stance, as if a cartoon character drawn incompletely on flipping pages that did not catch each small movement, causing it to flit in and out of this reality.
    As I walked slowly towards the table, trance-like, full of dread and terror, I saw that everyone else watched this image also.  All were transfixed and open-mouthed, unsmiling as I was, full of awe and terror.  A scream rose in my throat then, for as we watched this fleeting figure, as we gazed upon him, so he too watched us, gazed upon us.
    And his face was as terrified as ours, unsmiling, mouth open; as he moved his face closer, closer, still closer, his brown eyebrows descended into a solid wall that covered the upper-corners of his eyes.  Deep furrows dug into his forehead, and a feeling of death, of something beyond dread and terror, consumed me so that I felt that I would never stop dying, even as I lived.
    His cheeks thinned as he inhaled.  Its vacuum-wind blew out the candles, creating a three-second darkness that died when we were consumed by the red-eye sun that finally blinked and fired.
    And then he breathed.

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