••• The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes Stories
“I can’t breathe”…. “The air is thick” …….. “How could this happen”?
A mole pushes itself out a hole not too distant from a crouched man, it’s curious as to the new smell (musky and pungent but not animal)….. It probes the air with its snout, tries to catch the breeze …….. Spilled fluid crawls to a halt just before the rodents’ foot……
The breeze isn’t ‘telling’ this morning; it’s keeping secrets. Maybe the rising sun will reveal what the breeze won’t say…… it yawns deep and broad, blinks its eyes wide open, warms up slowly, anticipates a steady heat, and begins to melt the morning clouds away… it gradually reveals a cold reality in the midst of a gentle spring morning …..
The man’s hand is pressed to his chest; his heart violently forces blood through shocked chambers/ he breathes hard …… He’s leaned back now/ unsteady, and is seated in a deep and tall wheat field. His left arm is stretched out, stiff, behind him, it props him up, while both knees are upturned and bent attempting to make sturdy the lower halves of his forelegs…. They’re frigid with fear.
The rodent is conditioned to investigate…… Just one more concentrated sniff, and …..“Oh…I see”…. It becomes aware. The registry in its little brain has connected with the scent…. It understands why the breeze held back and why the sun was slow to tell….. Neither likes starting out the days’ morning with a loss, a needless loss, even an accidental loss, and the moles custom is to avoid septicity; it doesn’t want to catch the spirit of dread.
The man however, is dreadfully still; he’s unaware that the sounds have left, that the birds have stopped swooping in on the fertile soil, the worms, from fear, have burrowed deeper into the earth, all the ground creatures remain shut up, locked in their earthen abodes. It’s been relayed to the great sea that death is fresh this morning, it’s within the reaches of her salty currents that upsurge and saturate the air……. She says to the wind… “Please, will you carry off some of my preservative salt to the dead one before the talons of the Raven rip at his flesh”? ........ The wind accepts and ‘openhandedly’ complies.
The man frantically whispers…. “Hebron …. no/ no, Shechem ……. Which …… Which is closest”?!
The three witnesses, the mole, the sun, and the breeze are in league; they alone can testify to the reality. A second man lies dead on his back, what has crumpled and pressed the stalks of wheat into a patch. Unease drives the first man to swat at flies and brush off ants that invade the dead mans’ body. The ground is sopping up the blood that earlier sprayed out from a severed artery. The slice to the back of his neck is clean. Only yesterday both men had spent grueling time grinding at the edges of their sickles, at the stretched inner blade, to make it keenly sharp to cut into bamboo without resistance. Today it will be wheat, not bamboo, and on a dry, warm, less than humid day, to whack, collect, and bundle countless bushels of wheat….. Golden, glistening wheat, the grain of bread that delivers life to the masses.
Israel doesn’t know to be sad as of yet. There will be a chase, a game of cat and mouse, a revved up fire driven sprint……. For one to a house of asylum to save his life, and for a larger horde, to capture and execute the fugitive, for the sake/ taste of pure revenge.
The man lifts himself, his legs feel heavy but the adrenalin is already surging……the mole scuttles into its hole, reverses itself and pokes its little head out, the sun brightens up to shed more light and heat on the site, and the eddying breeze begins a slow ‘sing’ in the man’s ear…… “Now it’s time to run”…….
The man looks down at his dead neighbor, a fellow reaper, his friend……… The flies and the bugs have over run him…….. He mouths… “I’m sorry”
The breeze now screams…… “RUN”! ..........The mole ducks into its hole when dirt burst in from the man’s sudden launch.
The day is now turned from her normal course and is steadfast for the chase.
An assigned angel high in flight will observe in anticipation of the ‘end of the man
* * *
In the time of the judges life is raw, brutal, but clear filled up with adventure. Israel, her tribes, are mainly settled and a theocracy unlike any other is commenced. Annual harvest of barley, wheat, and fruit are adorned with pageantry as to remind the clans that providence is in their midst. He gives freely and big-heartedly but when slandered his character is extreme with retribution. Mercy and justice coexist and kiss in the almighty, but along with, a swift distribution of acquittal or punishment for dubious mishaps or reprehensible trespasses ……. This sets him and his tribes apart from the more barbarous tendencies of ethnic people, their hedonism, and their lack of an equitable penal code.
Providence has fixed six cities, equally spaced, for safety. When there’s a kill, intentional/ unintentional, both the innocent and guilty can strive for refuge inside any of these cities. “You kill you run/ you kill you run/ you kill you run” …. That’s the ‘hymn’ of the fugitive. Avenging kin can make haste and ‘run down’ the runner, cut him down, and not suffer the penalty of a slaughter. It’s the law! Preliminary hearings are held in her court yards where the fate of runners is prescribed ….. That’s if they can reach the cities.
In these days of despair the adventure is in the chase. For the pitiful bastard a premature capture declares his fate and for the pursuers it’s the ‘strike down’ with no questions asked that provides the relief/ a diabolical sort of satisfaction.
The avengers of blood rarely exercise any mercy therefore discount justice. They are simply on a hunt/ both rage and pleasure is their tonic.
© Roy Valenzuela June 2016
The Lone Writer
A conversation with Roy
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