Fragments from Old Stories

We smelled and tasted nothing but the ozone that rose off twisted metal and melting iron. We were sick, sick to the pit of our stomachs with the blackened feeling that bent everyone toward the ground. We were without humor. We gathered together around the ruins and argued without heart about what had happened. We all had opinions…we were all stupefied by some natural law still operating in the offal of doom. Suddenly I rose and announced that we were to leave, leave and start again. I had no enthusiasm but realizing my destiny I had no choice and watched them pick their knapsacks, utensils and meager belongings. We began a climb up a slope, leading to the great mountain. The air became pure. We breathed once again and felt joy for the first time in a long time.

We knew there were others. We didn't know where they were or if they were, even, "good." After all, those who we haven't found as yet may be those who started the nightmare in the first place. And for all their explanations of why they did what they did they are always dreaming up the next scheme to destroy things. And if we met them what would we do?

We would test them. If they viewed us as heroic or substantial that would be one thing. If they ripped us, clobbered our escape as chicken or somehow less than what humans should do we'd think something else. We left it an open question. It was out of our hands. We hadn't met anyone and for all we knew every living creature was dead. Perhaps all around the world was nothing but death and burning.

It was only later that we realized we were in a fortunate position, especially if we were the only ones left. We began to realize that with a certain oppression lifted from us we could be exactly who we were. And because our spirits weren't in constant competition with objects and scurrying-around-humanity we could live in a delightful variety rarely experienced on Earth.

It took a long time to get to this point because no one could leap up and out with joy at the fact that everything and everyone they knew was gone and dead. And then, almost at once, they dedicated their energies to everything and everyone gone and not alive and tremendous energy surged through them with such power that they immediately trusted each other and themselves.

That was the beginning of it of course. It wasn't a movie we were in. We treated it like a dream so there was no pain really even though life at every step was arduous. The painless state was such that each movement was graceful and quicker. Every gesture seemed meaningful as though we were the soldiers on a victorious battlefield where the dead still lay where they fell. It was as though we had been awakened to a new world we had never seen even though it was the same old world. We stammered at first and pointed. Then gave names to the objects that already had names. We gave them the exact same names but we did it with authority as if now the names were real and would stick. When we lay down to sleep we were full of strange sounds as if we were entering a new territory, as if we were vulnerable for the first time. It rose to a crescendo and mimicked all the animals we were familiar with. Then utter silence. And we woke for the first time out of an endless dream. And eliminated with curiosity and laughter. And someone said, "I am hungry," but we didn't know how to catch any food. We admitted to our faults, our limitations and went into a profound mourning for our lack of knowledge, even the simplest knowledge.

It was the idiot who never said anything who said he had a vision of catching food. He set out his dream and when he was finished we acted the dream out and killed a few small animals. We told the idiot, "keep dreaming and tell us what you come up with." And for seven nights he related dreams that led us to the "doing of things" that had proven difficult. He even told the dream of a pregnant woman and how she gave birth in the stream. And so it was. One guy got jealous of the idiot and tried to do him in but we stopped it just in time. We gave the idiot a special place and he was very happy until he realized he had to come up with a significant dream every night. I knew he made a few of them up, elaborated some of them but that was cool because the results were productive. We survived and started our next round of memories and a lot of what we thought was lost came back.

After a time we forgot about that time and lived as if tomorrow never existed and found what we needed right in front of us. It was literally a matter of thinking it was so and poof there it was.

Our thoughts always came back to the events leading up to the catastrophe. The idiot told us we should remember through as many generations as we could back to the earliest time possible. Only a few could do this. They would lay out sticks and every stick represented a generation.

And every generation stepped forward and played itself out, dressed up in its snazy clothing. Some sticks were shorter than others. Then they would conjure a personifcation of the generation by the memory they had of it or some aspect of their brain that contained that information. A few got talented enough to have different personifications to "talk" to each other or reach out and shake hands across the generations. There was no talking of course, everything was done in a delightful telepahty.

David Eide
January 24, 2014