Farther into Truths, there is boredom. My visual connection--whatever it was--to the outside is gone. I was looking up at shaking clouds moving across the sky in my last attempt to make it. Before that, I was leaving the winter wonderlands in a plummeting fashion back into the twisted arms of the forest, eventually landing in a swamp. Did the impact end Survival’s reign? My body was changing. Is it now Vlerd’s protégé out there? Being taught the ropes of draining blood from living things? It’s probably a simple act. I shouldn’t be too worried about fitting into my new role should I ever return.
I wander through and entertain an endless maze of possibilities to pass the crawling time. I have mused over the silent Subira and counted each of her feathers. Her magnificent wings that so fascinated me what feels like years ago now look stale and poorly groomed. Her light has been such a constant that I don’t even acknowledge its benefits anymore. It’s a drudge to be around her, but there is nowhere else to go. She tricked me with the promise of truth--of dispelling the fog of my father that has plagued my mind for years. I lend more weight to my footsteps in an effort to annoy or disrupt her comfort level, but she does not turn her head to me.
Then she’s gone. Not in a flash, but in a dimming fizzle. And I am left in the dark; I apologize to it. My voice travels a handful of centimeters before being suffocated. It’s just me and the darkness. I continue heading in the direction that feels like forward, although there is no feathered floor depressing or providing a faint tickle for my feet to give me any sense of progress. But I keep moving my legs, because what else can I do? I will not be stagnant any longer.
After hours, I see a glimmer in the far distance. Progress!
“Subira?!” I say, followed by apologies for my behavior.
I quicken my pace, then ponder why I even need what Akil calls gravity in my mind. I become weightless and able to leap far beyond my normal range. In one bound, I make it halfway to the glimmer that’s gaining shape. Then the memory of Akil explaining to my brother and I that, beyond our atmosphere, there is no gravity nor is there air to breathe. A moment later my lungs are empty with nothing to refill them. I turn my thoughts back to breathable, mundane darkness and walk.
The glimmer is not a swan, but I swear I see a beak. It’s definitely an ape sitting in a wooden chair like the elderly security guard tasked with protecting the Grove Museum used to--legs sprawled out in front. But it’s not him; he used to wake up--without fail--every two seconds to check his surroundings
like he was still in some war and not guarding art no one wants to steal. This person just
sits, solemn like a sleeping cat.
I approach, taking the final steps to the figure, and a cone of light clicks
on above it, catching then searing the vision from my eyes. I’m
used to walking without visuals by now, so I just continue. When my
sight returns, I’m met with a red ribbon not two centimeters
from my face. It’s under crossed arms, conforming in waves and
wrinkles to their pressure. I step back and behold the figure.
My mother, wearing a frayed hat made in the likeness of Subira.
“Mom?” I say, tapping her right shoulder. My fingers burn a small
patch of hair away. I pull my arm back. The smell of burning sulfur
fills the space.
“Kafele,” she says in a whisper without lifting her
eyelids, “Call your brother for dinner.”
“He’s not here, mom,” I say, “He’s back in the
village with you.”
“Humor me. Work was brutal today. ”
I scratch the back of my neck and clear
“Mosi! Dinner!” I say
Behind my mother, the dark is pulled open like a
theater curtain. The image of a war-torn battlefield
wafts in on wind smelling of brimstone and blood.
-Nicholas Perilli, insightfulape.com