Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The Time I Died
She bit my knee playfully on a cloudy day, hard enough that she had to spit out a little morsel of my flesh, blood dribbling down her mischievously pleased chin, dark blackberry stain red, and her impish eyes danced from behind a wall of thick hurried air that wouldn't crumble outward into my lungs so I could scream. Her blond hair wisped in the cold caustic breeze that assaulted my face, carrying bitter flecks of ocean across the stretch of sand and seaweed where they pelted us, the strong boy with strawberry hair and a hole in his leg, and the delicate waif with razor teeth, letting warmth and crimson spread beneath her and seep down to bathe the crabs. "I love you," she whispered like Claudius' poison in my ear. I scrabbled away, bellowing at last, pulling a yell up from every part of me like a tuning fork, a yell that was swallowed by the grey sky atop his hoary oceanic sister. The girl followed me on hands and knees like a puppy, a horrible demon cur with leathery gargoyle wings that wants to be friends but can't keep its tremendous weight from squishing your brittle soul, while something about its sleek scaly elegance keeps you aroused until it kills you. I ran and ran and fell, salt in my mouth and deep into the bite in my skin, and I rolled over quickly with a look of flagrant horror on my strained face. "You are not the only victim here!" she kept shrieking through injured tears, and for a moment I dumbly wondered if the imp was telling the truth, if there were others who had fallen into her trap. Then in dizzy desperation I stood down or up or aside or some direction and grabbed for the shovel, which I would swing around and around in a fabulous arc until it connected with the side of her shallow beautiful face. But there was no shovel, only a boy in wet blue denim shorts, and a teenage demon waiting for her breasts to fill her big sister's faded floral bathing suit, and lots of sand, and maybe some soggy bits of kelp and the flaccid blanket my mother had wrapped me in when I was younger to protect me from the elements. Even my essence was being carried away into the water, leaving no way of sucking it all back inside through a straw in the sand like the way they drink coconut milk in cartoons, and no chance of getting my life back from inside her belly without risking the loss of even more. As I bent to gather up the bits of myself and try to pressure them back into place, she came upon me, descended, and devoured the rest of me whole. She returned alone along the tortuous yellow-lined road that evening with stains on the front of her hand-me-down bikini, though witnesses in the town say they saw her in the company of a muscular shirtless young man with a blank stare on his face and a strange limp.