Black Water

Victims of the cleansing.

Line both shores.

Stand motionless.

Say no words.

He hurries to explain.

“I was too young.”

“Not ready.”

“I was one.”

“They were many.”

Black water streams over his feet.

They wade in.

Circle him.

Shrink the radius between them and him.

Lay their grey thinly skinned bony hands on him.

He swings his fists frenetically.

They drag him into the deep end.

Dunk him under the water.

He seals his lips.

They hold him under.

He shakes his head.

They push harder onto his chest.

He gasps.

Bubbles burst forth.

Full of his final words.

Race to the surface.

Pop upon contact.

“I’m sorry” they say.

He drowns.

Floats face down.

FloatFaceDown

Drifts slowly downstream.

Into the rapids.

Picking up speed.

Racing past rocks.

Over the waterfall.

He screams.

A long, lonely hollow scream.

He kicks off his burlap sheet.

He cannot breathe.

He needs to leave.

Crawls on his hands and knees.

Touches the walls of the cave blindly.

His eyes are open.

But, he cannot see.

Only It can.

It enters his sleep.

Makes him repeat the same dream.

To take control.

See what he sees.

It wants him outside.

Away from his cave.

Out in the open.

Scanning the landscape.

One moonlit landmark is all that it needs.

To find his hiding place.

Then take the tree.

But, first.

It will smash the terrariums.

And, with no further need of him.

It will.

Once and for all.

Finish him off.

The tree extends a branch.

Barricades the exit.

Nudges him back to his bed.

Next to the fire.

His eyes full of black.

He is still with them.

Their hair dripping wet.

His breathing grows ragged.

They circle again.

A shaft of light on the shoreline.

She appears within.

A wisp of green at her feet.

It dies.

Decomposes.

Another wisp grows

Now greener.

Now stronger.

Now taller.

It unfolds at her knees.

“From what was comes is and what will be” she says.

He reaches out for her hand.

Grabs ahold of a branch.

The tree pulls him out of the dream.

He blinks.

Black water rolls down his cheeks.

Stains the grey in his beard.

His stares at the tree.

Laden with terrariums.

Its branches bend low.

Like the leaves of an early spring holding a late snow.

He miscalculated their wait.

Wisps have outgrown their twigs.

They bend at the top of their terrariums.

Press against each of the three sides.

All of them.

Have lost their green.

Photosynthesis in shade of the cave.

Has made them see through, sickly.

He lets out a weary weighted exhalation.

The cave glows bright.

Bathed in a warm golden light.

Terrariums start shaking.

The tree raises it limbs.

He leaps to his feet.

Climbs to the top of the tree.

Exits the aperture in the ceiling.

A ball of golden light streaks overhead.

Enters its descent.

Deep into the east.

With eyes of disbelief.

He looks to the tree.

It shoos him to leave.

He chases its trajectory.

Not to its ending.

But, back to its beginning.

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