charlieblue: (metallicar (hear the choirs sing))
Something like a crossroads song ([personal profile] charlieblue) wrote on March 19th, 2009 at 06:00 pm
Blatant Self-Indulgence, meet Shameless Prose. Now gang up on Charlie.
Meme from [livejournal.com profile] speccygeekgrrl

1. Take five books off your bookshelf.
2. Book #1 -- first sentence
3. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty
4. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred
5. Book #4 -- next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
6. Book #5 -- final sentence of the book
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph


I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. I murmured an excuse and slipped away, leaving them to their own formidable devices. The eye of the saint, focused on the meaning of a short earthly life, frightful in every way, focused on the imminence of the final decision about an endless new life to come, this burnt-out eye, in a half-wasted body, made men of the old world tremble to their depths. A long, stringy man, wearing three rows of beads around his neck, and a belt of chicken-bones around his waist; his dark skin stained with ashes his hair loose and long - naked except for beads and ashes, the sadhu strides up amongst the red-tiled mansions. I felt like a monster reincarnation of Horatio Alger ... A Man on the Move, and just sick enough to be totally confident.



--

"The world is no longer what it was, Dean." I watch him carefully, this shining lunatic of a man, who paces and trembles, blood sweating from his infected wounds. I wince in sympathy, but perhaps I shouldn't bother; he doesn't seem to notice the pain.

He looks up at me like a feral animal, eyes bloodshot, but doesn't answer, turning back to watch the desert, made far too arid with the unnatural heat of the firestorm lurking just over the horizon.

This shotgun shack will not hold. I know this, he knows this, but he is far away, spiraling somewhere within that pretty head, seeing demons and angels and god kings that belong only to him, to his world and his war; enough to turn any man mad, but not enough to make him forget.

I know Dean well, for all that we met only just recently. 'Recent' has little meaning at this, the end of Earth's own little piece of space-time curvature.

I look down, watch my knuckles twist up against sunburnt skin, the wedding ring a constricting band, tight against weeping flesh, keeping me grounded, shackled to these human bones.

We, my wife and I, we knew of the brothers Winchester, had heard all the rumours, watched for the signs and read the old family books when they finally came. We had always hunted, yes, and acceptance of the unnatural came for me as easy as breathing, but somehow I had never really believed the old doomsday warnings of my ancestors.

I twist the ring, and I remember when she left. She took my faith and ran, hair blowing in the wind, the tips burnt-out to black from the fires, marring the perfect fall of her crowning glory. She turned around but once, dark eyes and all, and told me Dean was the monster, Dean was the destroyer, saint-sweet and sick with bloodlust.

Dean, who paces and paces, Dean, who will not let the sadhu treat his wounds. Dean who offers no explanation, no words, only rage. We found him here, just as the sadhu said we would, rolling on the ground, delirious and laughing, shining like a beacon to the demons who so desire our mortal flesh.

He had laughed fit to crack, looking up at us, a forsaken man and an ascetic mystic, and told us to leave and come back with an Irishman. I didn't get the joke, but I don't think it was meant for me; Dean howled with laughter at his own words, and blood bubbled up around the thousands of paper-thin cuts scattered through his lovely skin.

I had laughed in my wife's face at her hysterics, and went with the sadhu who lived on my street corner, a stone's throw from my beautiful home, with its red tiles and sunlit rooms. The sadhu who had sat there on my very stoop for years, harmlessly and determinedly prophesying doom 'till the day it finally arrived in waves of black smoke that stole our souls and firestorms that seared our bodies clean as blank slates.

We walked the streets together then, and watched the bricks crumble to dust, the streets crack from fires burning deep below, and who could have known there was a reason we prayed up and spat down? Hell was beneath us all along, somewhere in that cosmic mind, we shaped the landscape thus. We're a rags to riches, us humans, the clay-models of a jealous god became the architects of a heaven and hell we never really wanted, and whoever said money couldn't buy happiness in this metaphor had obviously never seen the ecstasy of the Evangelical priests on the surviving televisions.

It was months later that we washed ashore in the land of the free and the dead, and still the sadhu kept walking, a fire in his eyes to rival the hellish storms the demons wrought.

Temper tantrums, the sadhu had called them, toddlers crying out for attention.

Attention from whom?
I had inquired, or what? The sadhu had smiled his toothless smile. Guess. Now, waiting with this holy warrior, watching him slowly tear a hole in himself, I think I may be closer to finding out than I ever should have wanted to be.

The sadhu, after pacing the length of the shack half-a-maddening-step out of time with Dean, finally sits, cross-legged and patient. Dean eyes him warily, and runs a hand over his face, leaving black dirt strewn around his eyes, and walks past me again.

"What is it then?" He asks, voice rough, and I nearly fall off my three-legged stool. It seemed like an apocalypse ago that the sadhu had spoken.

The fires are coming closer, I know, the sadhu knows, and he knows, and yet still we stay. I don't know why, but suffice to say I went with the sadhu instead of my wife for a reason, and I'll be damned if I give this up before I find out just what that damned reason had been.

"A decision was made, boy, made by your blood, unless I am mistaken, and I very rarely am, and the world is dying for it. In destruction, creation, death and birth, and in between, the labour pains and midwife have their function, ugly though it may be." I translate for the sadhu.

"Sa ..." Dean licks his cracked lips, "my brother?" He whispers the words, as if praying.

The sadhu nods, and the fine tremors that shake Dean's body become violent. He slips on the hard-packed earthen floor, curls tight, but cannot stop the shaking. The sadhu and I, we old men, with our wasted bodies, we look each other in the eye, then look away, and neither of us moves an inch.

When the fire comes, when the flames lick the boiling highway, I murmur some inane platitude to the wreck on the floor, and slip away, out through the old door, and feel the heat blast across my skin. The sadhu comes out behind me; I can hear his beads clacking in the wind.

My eyes water from the unbearable heat, but I see him nonetheless. A dark man walking through the fire, taller than most men ever dream of being, and naked, his head bowed not with humility but with the strain of a man fighting with all his strength against an immovable object. His hands run in elegant lines across the hood of the sleek American muscle car parked in front of the shack.

And, as if it were always inevitable, I see Dean walk past us, barefoot, head thrown back just enough to bare his throat and its swinging amulet. His stride is broken as sudden hacking coughs wrack his body, and blood spatters the desert ground.

The stranger emerges from the fire, walks across the bare spaces between flames and desert as if he has all the time in the world, and come to think of it, maybe he of all people does.

He catches Dean before his knee hits the ground, holds him, whispers words not meant for my ears. Dean's tremors ease.

I look and I see their love, I see their likeness, and I see such pride as could tear your dancing angels to shreds where they stand upon a pinhead.

I

(am one of the few,
one of the two, in fact,
me and the sadhu makes two,
two for the silent witness stand,
two,
one for each of them)


see the end.

 
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