Rumbling, pouring, cascading streams of time,
Roaring, rushing, unseen by eyes of mine,
So do all these crashing dreams align,
With stars and streams and foamy brine,
That roar and crash like waves, unseen,
On beaches distant and serene,
Across the gulf of starry night,
Those streams that roar, cascade, alight.
Scott runs like he did when he was young.
He springs, he bounds over a rustling green sea. Wildflowers cluster amongst the foliage; the pollen tickles his nose. Ahead: a ringlet of dark brown hair drifts through the forest like smoke—a trail for him to follow.
He calls out, but he doesn’t know her name.
Now: he can see her.
She’s climbing over a boulder and pushing through a dense wall of vines. She does not look back, but he can tell she knows he is there.
Sunlight diffuses the forest; glittering motes dance in the air. But as Scott draws closer to her, each one is snuffed out. With every step the forest grows darker.
The darkness closes in around the edges of Scott’s vision. At first he does not pay attention. His focus narrows: he studies the girl and the dancing undulations of her hair. He watches her trip on a twisted tree root and go sprawling, face-first into the dirt.
Around them: the forest has descended into full darkness. A delicate glowing ember drifts past, caught in a breeze that carries the hint of distant fire.
Scott pounces. He grabs the girl by the shoulders and turns her over. And then, as he finally looks upon her face: he starts to scream.
The girl is pale as death. Her features are contorted into disturbing, inhuman proportions. She stares up at him, dark red lips peeling back to reveal a pair of fangs.
The sky thunders.
You inherit something. Something mundane–let’s make it a serving plate with bevelled edges or something–that you keep because you remember from your childhood. For a while it sits in the cupboard: untouched, revered.
But there will come a time when you will look down at your hands, stained red with the blood of the human heart you are preparing for use in a dark ritual (or from slicing a tomato) and you’ll realise you’re using THAT plate.
You will find yourself frozen for a moment in your blasphemy. Red drips from your hands.
But it’s okay: because a plate was meant to be a plate. And even if you stain it, or it falls from the bench and shatters, the world will move on, you will move on and that plate you kept for some reason is still just a plate, whether or not it’s in pieces on the floor or in your cupboard.
In the end, only memories that are real. And in the ending after that, even your memories will fade away.
Cliffs and rocks and grey dirt and dark green plants that burst out from between the rocks and cling there. The roar, the drone of the engine of the bus as it rattles, rattles, barely holding together, or–perhaps–held together by our faith.
Believe. Believe. BELIEVE.
I think I can. I think I can. The bus rounds a bend and for a single dizzying second there is nothing between me and the plunging ravine except a pane of dirty, cracked glass and the reflection of the pilgrims’ faces looking through me like ghosts.
Their faces are also my face, impassive as the mountains and the jungle trees and the rocks and the sand on the tracks that wind back and forth as the path snakes higher–wraps tighter–like Vasuki around Shiva’s neck.
And I am certain now that faith alone is what is holding this bus together. It sounds crazy, I know, to whoever is reading this: sitting wherever you are on some lazy, comfortable day, in some stolen, fleeting moment, eyes glancing across these words.
But here, on this bus, joints straining and rattling as it sways and bounces above great gulf of plunging, deadly rocks; here amongst the overwhelming smell of bodies and dirt and petrol, I can believe it.
I have to believe it.
writer sets pace
line starts again
beyond meandering wastes
writer sets frenzied pace
scratching words fountain pen
each line ends starts again
beyond the meandering wastes
writer sets a frenzied pace
scratching words fountain pen
each line ends it starts again