Sunday, May 5, 2013

The legend we are left with is equal parts hyperbole and carbon, numbers manipulated in such a way as to suggest living beings with auras dancing around their heads in every color of the rainbow plus some, wavelengths as yet undiscovered because they are not really waves. The uses we put that legend to, though, remain remarkably consistent from one generation to the next. We believe each time that we have unearthed it through our own industriousness and we refuse to give credit to those who’ve come before, with, say, bear skins thrown over their shoulders and the syllables tripping from the end of their swollen tongues in torrents that transform themselves eventually into rivulets and then dry up entirely. But not before we have been given a glimpse into a world very similar to ours, with its plaintive insistence on mortality and the ordinary aging process. If you look closely enough, you will discover a few differences and you might even be able to forge a career for yourself penning lengthy exegeses on those differences, enormous formidable things that your nearest relatives won’t read because they suspect they are somehow sacrilegious. Dismissive of a logic that has haunted the family since the time it first discovered there was such an entity as logic, that you could map it and keep track of it the way you can keep track of how many goats have been lost to the wolves and how many have simply wandered over a cliff at night because they didn’t know it was there. The episodes themselves last between forty minutes and two days and when they are finished I feel as if I have been beaten around the head with a tennis racket, but you wouldn’t know it to look at me because no one is allowed to be a witness. I can feel each episode coming on ahead of time and I am careful to absent myself from all human company (and most subhuman) in anticipation. If offered a cure, I don’t think I’d take it if only because that would mean starting over from a position I don’t recall ever having occupied to begin with and the anxiety the thought causes me is enough to send me to the attic where there are boxes full of old shoes and photographs. Of course, I recognize very few of the people in them. They are dressed in clothing typical of the nineteen forties, I suppose, though one or two of them are decked out in what appears to be a futuristic suit of armor, with a cobalt visor and titanium plates placed about the torso in a pattern reminiscent of flying insects. You get the feeling that none of this is to be taken lightly. The others are trying desperately not to look in the direction of those so attired, you can tell, but the children can’t help themselves. The horror in their eyes is such that it can’t be replicated, I’m sure, no matter how hard you try and that suggests they are seeing these apparitions for the very first time in their lives. They have not been prepared ahead of time in any way for the nightmare that awaits the moment the shutters on those cameras open and then close.

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