Friday, October 24, 2014

Satan's Fever

Dear Sarah,

You must read this letter in private. You must read it only once. But you must read it to the last letter! I know you will doubt the sincerity of this letter, for you know better than anyone how I kid and joke. I promise you, dear Sister, that what I lay out before you is no joke. This event that I record truly occurred whilst I crossed the Ledbetter’s woods on my way to the new library in the courthouse.

I was alone, filled up with a hearty breakfast, and had no issue with a thing except for the osage fruit that lay fallen on the path of the trail. I kicked away plenty; some I kicked rather ruthlessly. I Confess, I made quite a mess with the ones that I stomped. I left quite a scene most resembling that of a war, but I meant no harm in my childish play.

I admit that the mass of osage rolled down and collected at the foot of a hillock tempted me enough to stray from the Ledbetter path for rather devilish delight. Until, that is, I saw a large man seemingly appear from the middle of it, lying on his back as if he had fallen there from a tree!

I ran to his aid, but stopped dead in my tracks; a whisper in my ear warned me from nearing closer. As I stare at the man from a wide distant where a large, old maple stood, I realized the man was no man at all! It was a creature so large, so hideous, and so awesome in its black as nightfall, that I backed my rear against that old maple tree as to nearly meld with it!

“Come to me.” It said, in a low growl like nothing I’d ever heard before.

 “What are you?” I asked, more to myself. And, regretfully, it then answered.

“I am your Master beyond God’s tenet.”

Well. A head scratcher for sure. I didn’t care to continue the conversation, so I turned to leave. I’m sure my heart had stopped beating momentarily when the creature started to moan. Certainly, I broke into a sweat and had every intention to putting some miles between it and me.

“You will stay.”

I suddenly found myself pulled back and up against the very tree that I had just walked away from! “Now, let me go.” I demanded. “I wish you no harm.” But when I turned round, there was nothing that had a hold of me, for that thing did not move an inch!

“You will stay. You will witness. You will know. You are destined.”

My dear Sister! How I shook! I had no control of my own feet! The thing that spoke to me; the thing that lay among a pile of osage as if it were his bed of roses; it willed me to stay! How I wish I had my gun. Of all times!

“I’ll do what you wish. I can sit a spell with you. But only on condition that I can then be on my way.”

“Why should you? I am here against my will. Why not you, too? I wish to fade into the vacuum, but He keeps me here, twisting in a dimensional vortex, snapping me back and forth, for eternity, across time to witness how you spirited beasts come to terms of the wrongs inflicted on your miserable lives…to accept your fates…to become part of that which is the conscious of Him. I wish to become part of the vacuum that serves nothing and no one – to be extinguished…to spread to nothingness! But He will not unchain me! His wish is to have me suffer! Why shan’t you?”

“I don’t know who you are referring to, sir. I don’t understand what you mean by dimensional vortex. Now, I’m obviously not the company you seek, so –“

“Shut up. You will stay. You will witness. Come here.”

It then stretched out its muscular arms as if to grab me forward, though several feet did lie between us. I found myself holding onto the tree for dear life, for my legs failed to set my feet to path! Still, although it could not physically touch me, I somehow felt its claws wrap around my throat, one finger at a time and yank me from the safety of the tree!

Now Sister; please do not discard this letter thinking the tale I am sharing is a falsehood, or one of my odious pranks. What I share with you is the truth: down to the last letter! I beg you to keep reading.

I fell to my knees, felt myself get dragged. I pushed back against the ground – leaves and dirt were flying! And I managed to hold back from the thing about four feet, seven inches or so. It sat up from his lying position and laughed at my struggle.

“Ask yourself this, you mortal womb creature. Do you truly think His will flows in only one direction?”

I pulled at the invisible hand around my throat; tried to loosen its grip.

“Answer me!”

“What do you mean?” I asked, wishing that I had not.

“Time! Time! Can you not measure? Can you not comprehend? Are you so ignorant to think you learn new information with each new day? You animal. You artless beast. You…minuscule soul! You are but a derivative collection of timeless information, yet you think you so unique. Bah! The entropic destiny that your kind fear is but a gift that I pray could be granted to me. Yet, you things take everything given to you for granted. Even death. Stupid, stupid animal.”

Oh, dear Sister! These words it spoke! Their meaning, their wording; it is all a mystery to me. But, I cannot forget them or put them away, for they are somehow burned into my memory, as if they were words spoken by me! I must go on. I must tell you. Everything I record is what was spoken and heard. As witness, I must share with you every detail, lest I go insane.

“Man has not the proper concept of existence,” it continued, as if it were a master of such things, “Nor…of time. Third of October. 1865. What you would think of as three minutes prior, I was a young Mexican rebel being led to our execution, captured by Maximilian’s men. A fine death for him, for his only thoughts were on his young daughter and how she was safe at his coastal village with money he extracted from the dictator’s house of governance. A miserable death for me, for I wanted his heart to feel the bullet sink deep into his bloody ventricles!”

“How,” I was foolish to ask; “How could you have been in 1865? It has yet to exist.”
“Dumb hound! You haven’t the capacity to listen? I told you! His will is the fabric of space and time! Six minutes ago,” it continued, but only tightened it grip round my throat as it shifted on its mushy bed of osage and sticks. “I suffered with a woman who was a sex slave in Japanese-controlled Vietnam.”

Dear Sister, you must forgive the rawness of what it said next. You know I am a man of standards, and that it is against every fiber in my body to relate such foul language in the company of women, in the company of those whom I love. Yet, forgive me, for it comes forth as if my hand cannot stop at my will. Dispose of this letter and do what you must, but read what I detail so that you know what evil can say! It continued:

 “Upon being told of the bombing over Pearl Harbor, she poisoned the commander in charge of her village. I loved the turmoil. I fed off of her evil. I credited her for her insidious murder, if mostly for her delicious timing: during the act of sex! Yet, my inebriation was soon lost when I felt her reach for the bottle of poison and drip its last drops onto the tip of her tongue. I cursed her for her act; seethed in her selfless yet wretched attempt to preserve her honor, her bloodline, her village!”

He picked me up by the hand I could not see and pushed me against the tree.

“I wanted to rip her tongue out! Instead, she is forgiven for her act and ascends to Him while I remain in His eternal subjugation? No!”

 “Where are you now?” I dared to ask, for it pounded me against the tree with such force that I heard my joints crack! “What are you now and who are you now?” Anything to keep its attention off of me. “If I am to be a witness, then I must know.”

And it is then, my dear Sister, when it let go of my throat and released its grip on me. I fell to the ground, took in the sulfur of its breath and its tremendous odium; its exhaust seemed to carve deep grooves into my lungs as if made of shards of glass.

“I am just a few months into the beyond. I am battling a cold fever. I am…osage.” It looked to the dark canopy of skeleton maple trees that rose above the thickets. “Indiana. 1828. I am a woman. Tired. Bleeding. Lovely that I bleed.”

It lay back down, and I watched its claws dig deep into the soft dirt. I looked back to see where I could run, for I had forgotten where I was in my delirium. “What do you see? What do you hear?” I gasped, wishing this nightmare would end.

“I hear a frozen, windblown corn husk scrape against the glass of the window. It’s delightful in its dry scratch. It reminds me of a tortured death.”

On my knees, I backed around the tree, ever so slowly. “What is happening to the woman?” I asked, to keep the thing motivated in his torment as I planned my escape.

“We have spent hours looking out the window from her bed; the yellowed meadow grass…snow covers the swamp mud. The wind…it whips back and forth in the winter gusts, and the sky…rushing clouds, yet openings of deep blue sky. I hate the blue. I desire the ice. I want the death that the ice can offer. Not blue. I want to kill her, too; to be released. I am her fever. Her cold fever.”

My stomach turned. I nearly lost the breakfast I had just eaten. “Can you not escape?” I tried to appease it as I held my stomach. “Can you not leave her at your will?”

“Fool. He keeps me here…locked under her pure skin…as a witness to her pure faith. I want to die! I want to kill her! And I will kill her! I am the fever! Yet…I am forced to stare at streaks of blue while my fever drenches her in the cool…the wet, cold…cooling blanket of sweat.”

It turned his ugly head --its torturing eyes piercing mine -- and declared, “She is not long on this earth!”

I trembled at the thought that it knew I was sick from fear. “You mentioned the direction of time. Can you not simply travel somewhere else? In time?” I thought I was clever, my dear, but it only annoyed the creature further!

“I am kept here! Listen, you fool! She now turns to her side, and so must I! She now stares towards the adjoining room, and so must I! But, OH. What is this? What does she wish to see? What is it, sick woman, that drives your eyes …onto that closed door? Curious. A curious thing.”

It then suddenly laughed, and deeply so; its wide grin cracked into a display of canine-like teeth! I readied by left foot, thinking I could jump away and take flight if I could not run –the evil thing frightened me so! I then felt a heavy hand pressing down on my head as if I were a peg in a game board.

“What is so funny?” I asked. “Why do you laugh?” I tried to pry the ghostly hand away.

“She thinks her newborn child lies in the room, asleep! Ha! I relish the thought! Hours have passed, you know, since she held her child. Too rested did her child seem! Too quiet was her child’s cry!” It reared that ugly head towards the forest canopy as if mocking God Himself. “She will find nothing in the cradle waiting for her!”

It laughed again, but more hideously, gleefully in what terrible news it shared. I then felt its grasp release, and so I quickly pulled myself up against tree and held onto the trunk for dear life! “What has happened to her child?” I asked, looking up the tree with the dumb notion to climb it and then jump to the branch of another like a squirrel!

“It is dead, you wretched thing!” It nearly stood on its knees from its bed of osage and slammed its stone-like fists into the ground. “It is dead and now part of His majestic, tiresome dominion! Can you not comprehend the obvious? Why are you things so stupid? Such ignorant, dumb beasts you are! Stupid, stupid man. You –“

“What is the poor woman doing to you now?” I asked, shivered by that thing’s hideous tone. It seemed instantly confused by my question, but soon curled its claws and laid back down on the bed of osage, one arm under its head almost leisurely.

 “We have stumbled to the floor. Her husband finds her…calls for her...picks us up and puts her back to bed. God must help my child she whispers, but he says nothing. She now draws with her finger a cross on the bed next to her bloodied waist. Her husband kisses her forehead. He sits. He waits. He sits while she, by degrees, fades away.”

 It then clutched its forehead with both hands almost as if it was about to weep, or throw a tantrum!

“No, no, no! Not that again! She has us looking out the window. Oh, that window! That bedroom of hers, too… The whiteness of her unadorned walls adds to the irony…to my misery! Release me from this boredom, I demand you! I hate this woman and I hate this room! Let me spread into the void!”

It started to moan; a deep, miserable moan! I can hear it even now though I write to you from the safety of my chamber. I stepped back, but it pulled me once again against the tree by that mysterious, unseen hand.

“You poor soul.” I said, in desperation. “I hope you two find peace.”

“What? You are as stupid as any man could be! She does not deserve peace. It is me who deserves peace!”

“Of course you do. So tell me if I am to be witness,” I persisted, not granting it a moment to focus attention on me, “Will she survive her ordeal? In the very least, could she recover?”

“I never witness life lived. I am chained to witness life deceasing. No, stupid thing. She now finally knows her fate – she only fears falling asleep and never holding her child again. We are so tired; just for a few minutes, we rest our seared eyes…our aching spine…my scorching head!”

It then agonized once more, for it writhed about on its strange bed.

“I long to choke the life out of her. I wish to end my suffering! But her husband; his fear…his incompetence will do it for us.”

“What do you mean his incompetence?” I asked, for I was truly intrigued, I now regretfully admit.

“Sarah…Sarah…” The thing then called. “Sarah.” It called again! Imagine my fear when I heard that name! A name so dear to my heart.

“Three of your hours are passing. Yes. By now, the physician should have been called. We are bleeding to death, you see; and her husband does not know. Instead, he prays.

“Ah. Yes…” It then stopped writhing and seemed to calm like it had entered a sudden state of contemplation. “She now wakes, and the room has succumbed to dusk. She turns to the window; we see the sky an orange grey. We know the wind has calmed. We know too much."

“And now?” I asked, feeling a strange optimism that my only way out alive was to see this extraordinary event through.

“She turns once more to search her husband; the flame of a single candle still yet thin. She finds him sitting near her, crouched in his chair, and his hands against his clumsy head. She whispers to him, where is our child? And I happily feel her heart sink to a depth it cannot reemerge…for she knows. We know too much.

“Yet another hour has just passed, and I cannot escape this room, lit by that miserable flame! Her husband now rests his wet head on our shoulder.  She thinks to touch him, although her hand is forever stilled. Over his shoulder, she sees a yellowed osage, cut in half, lying on the nightstand. We see the pithy fruit through eyes nearly succumbed to the call of death.”

My heart sank, for I sympathized with this poor woman whose pain this evil beast so willingly relished. “Has she now died from her sad condition?”

“Twelve minutes now pass and she is but milliseconds away from ascending. The last we see is her child cradled in her arms. The last we feel is her husband’s kiss that evanescently warms her frozen lips. The last we hear is the stillness of the caught husk outside her bedroom window. And the last we smell is the fruit of the osage.

“She ascends. But, no. I will not go with her. He gives me the choice…that eternal choice…that miserable choice to join Him. No! I will never return to you; never return to the conscious that is yours! I will not be reined in like a beast! I will only be sovereign unto myself or be nothing at all!”

It covered its head again with its grotesquely thick and curled hands as if holding back a tremendous ache. I grabbed the biggest stick I could find with my hands, for the woods then darkened by a sudden fog, thickly gray.

“I wish for the void!” It called out. “Or give me my sovereignty!” It shrieked; and how anyone else could not have heard miles away…! And as I squinted to gather what the thing was doing, I witnessed yet another extraordinary event! The thing had liquefied in the form of a copious tar, slipping into the dirt leaving nothing behind but burnt maple leaves and the crushed green and yellow essence of the osage.

Needless to say, my feet could not carry me back home fast enough! Only now do I have the strength to deliberate on what I had witnessed three morns past. Please burn this letter if it keeps you from sleep; cleanse your head with the honest work your daily tasks afford, my dear. Do not allow this tale to encumber a single new day! I wish I could do the same, but instead I am left pondering how the physical and spiritual worlds that govern us are intertwined beyond our understanding. If it is the only harm that creature has inflicted, then desire for this knowledge so impossible to gain is my punishment!

Do not worry for my sanity; I promise I am in full capacity. Do not worry for my being, for I am strengthened in my faith greater than it had ever weakened. I have gained a philosophy more valuable than any words of wisdom I have yet learned. For dear Sister, what the world need know: the selfless human heart transcends time, and so does God’s will.

That creature; that devil I dare not call its name; it is punished to witness the last throes of Man’s selfless moments that codifies human love. And I – well, I must suppose my dear Sister -- that cruel and hideous thing will forever experience Man’s welcoming peace; an eternal peace granted by God whilst it –that most selfish of beasts -- forever agonizes in its self-inflicted wounds!

Shall write you no more on this event. Knowing that you, and only you, are aware of my test in faith has set me free of its near paralyzing hold.

With love to you Sarah, and to your husband – and always
Your brother, Abraham.

Postscript: I never wish to see, smell, kick, or squash another osage fruit for as long as I live!

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