Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Creation Myth

Once upon a time there was a man who was very old. He lived in dark brown house in the middle of a forest. Every morning he woke up and stepped outside. It was always shady. The old man would stand on his door step and stretch his crumpled back. His shirt was white and had blue pinstripes and his brown trousers were held up with suspenders. The suspenders had gold buckles. One morning, during his regular stretches, the old man looked up through the leafy canopy and noticed a flash of red. The red darted black and became green again as the leaves steadied once more into focus. The old man remained bent backward for a long while, staring up into the leaves until the outlines faded and all became a whirling mass of green and black. He bent down to do toe touches. On the ground he noticed a spot of gold. He brushed dust and fallen leaves from the glittering item and held it close to his eye. It was the hook from his suspender. The man looked down at his trouser; there was the loose suspender flopping against his thigh. The old man Harumphed and walked down the winding path deeper into the forest. His gate was ambling, every once in a while he stopped to smell a flower or pluck a twig from a tree. The woods were silent and he was used to the silence.

Something about the air told the man that this day was different. From far off sounded drums, a thin flute writhing up and down in an uncertain tune. The old man was startled; he began to run down the dark path deeper and deeper into the woods. He crunched through leaves, fell over a stray branch that had fallen, perhaps stuck down by lightning. The noises followed him, drums beating faster, mocking his own terrified heart. Suddenly deep throated bassoons sounded, bells tinkled far above the trees, and the man ran without looking back. Static formed far above the trees; a storm was at hand. He ran blindly trunk after trunk passing, brown, brown, darker, brown, dark, black, the branches twisted strangely above his head, the man ran on puffing his own breath coming out tattered the one long suspender flapping tail-like after him. The flutes began anew, starting low and trilling upwards and as the man took a heaving step into the mouth of a cave the rain unloosed itself from the angry sky.

The music drew to the cave mouth; the man stepped into the darkest recess, cowered. One of his polished brown shoes had broken a lace, the man leaned back and gasped into the damp air. Rain lashed at him, wind blew the hard drops through the mouth of the cave and he was soaked, drowning; each gasping breath drew moisture from the rain and suffocated him, formed a thick hymen in his throat, he called out but nothing could be heard. Tears mixed with rain, the flutes trilled gaily, the drums danced merrily about the cave mouth the rain and wind drew together like old lovers, sharing moments of spontaneous laughter. The angels came down from the sky prepared for combat. They swooped down, one by one, slowly, seeming suspended by wires, each one a magnificent array of colors.

One was a flurry of shimmering blue and black, another an opalescent pale so bright against the deep green the old man had to shield his eyes. Hundreds of them poured into the cave, wings batting against the old man as he struggled to fend them off, his thin arms waving wildly as they landed and fluttered close to his rough cheek. A huge one, red and black and furry beat right at his chest, rent the shirt open and pushed its elongated tongue into his chest. The old man cried out his fury but it was stoppered in his mouth. His voice traveled back down his throat, into his intestines, his stomach, wriggled through him like a parasitic worm and burst through the hole in his chest where the angel fed.

Sound and tongue entwined the horrid birth of a thing both alien and wonderful, this angel been given voice. But a screeching voice, a loud and thunderous voice, piercing. This red and black creature lifted into the air, pounded its heavy wings through the rain, spiraling upward, the sound of its cry a high wavering note on a violin. Or perhaps a fiddle; the sound so loud and clear the old man's dried body shivered and burst. The angels gathered around him, fluttering gently, close.

The rain calmed its lashing and thunder stole its booming call from the body of the man. The trees began to shake, a soft rustle could be heard, like the man's deep sleeping breath. Slowly, scuffling could be heard from the lowest branches. Squirrels leapt about, their soft chatter multiplying until a cacophony of sounds filled the air. Birds dove and screamed, monkeys yelled playfully and pushed each other about. From the ground where the body had lain sprung a dark pool, a rustling stream that gurgled and bubbled down the path all the way back to the old man's house.

The next morning, the old man awoke and went out to the doorstep. The early bird calls greeted him and he smiled, bent his crooked back and looked up at the shifting shapes in the trees.