And Church Lay Silent

By Mayan Godmaire

It

 lay in the grass. 

From

 the other side of the rutted road, it appeared to sleep. The plants flourished around it, nourished, it seemed, by its presence. Beneath my own feet the harsh beige stalks of winter wheat sprouted grimly. I was transfixed. My gaze, glassed over, searched the

 naked thing in helpless curiosity. How often had my thoughts wandered to this very shape? How often had my mind’s eye caressed the soft curves, conjuring the giving of skin to perfection?

It is here.

My heart, which lay tranquil in my chest, gave a sudden kick.

 The sun disappeared behind a stray gray cloud, dimming the countryside with sickened light. The grass around

it,

 however, only grew with vitality, thrumming, it seemed, with a life more alive than even the new spring. Still, I was rooted to the ground, unable to move even a finger.

It

caught my eye mid-step and froze me; I became marble. In this marble casing, my thoughts raced, the beating of my fragile heart speeding gradually to a frenzy. I imagined that my skin grew hot, and in my fantasy, I was as vibrant as the nurtured plants which

 lay around the subject of my excessive passions.

I

 licked my lips, tasting salt. My eyes blinked once, twice, blurring the world and then clearing it once again. The figure in the field across the road still rested there in bloated paleness. With incredible effort, I lifted my foot off the hard ground and set it onto

 the street. There was not a car in sight, only the long stretch of country highway, diving towards the horizon as straight as could be. The wind whistled past my ears, passing me on its journey through the lawless plains. Above, the sky reached: an impossible, immense,

 grey-blue-early-spring, glutinous globe… I felt horribly small, electrifyingly alive, 

like

 a poisonous tree frog

in

 the clutches 

of

 a mother eagle…

 I

 will kill your young, I thought and stepped fully onto the worn,

 pale asphalt. Your hatchlings. Destiny is written

 in my skin, in red, dripping danger. They are already dead. My head

 swam. 

Movement was once again possible; I

 had thawed from my stupor. I crossed the highway in its entirety and found myself only mere feet away from

it.

 I drew a breath; my lungs felt tight. The wind gusted briefly and I froze— my chest turned to ice—

had I seen it move?

For half a moment the naked thing appeared to expand, to swell

 with the rising wind, grotesque in its horrid beauty… but no. I spun around, tearing my eyes from my prey on the ground. The other side of the forlorn street was silent: there was not a creature, but instead the chopped, dead wheat. My heart pumped dully, quickly.

 Not a thing, yet I had felt eyes. Oh, I had felt

 them and they looked- at me- and they were piercing, like…

I gave a furtive glance at the steel-like

 sky which soared overhead before my attention returned to the thing before me. I approached, and I was now so close that the tips of my feet touched the flowering young plants. 

I

 bent down. The sky, silent, watched me, but I ignored the feeling. My goal was all too close. I lifted a trembling hand over the body, perusing the skin with my eyes. Blooming under the skin, delicate-like, were patches of blood, perhaps where bones had been broken…

 I touched it, then snapped my hand back, quivering, expectant, fearful. Nothing moved. The wind continued to whistle mournfully—viciously, it seemed. It parted on either side of me. I was a rock in a stream, an obstacle in the constant, unending flow. I was

 in a sea of infinity; this wind which stroked the skies with an artist’s knife tousled my hair like a hurried mother. It was infinite in its scope, in its reach; it journeyed past the prairie, even. I lifted my head to the horizon and sat back on my heels.

 The body had not reacted. So, I ventured to touch it again, but this time… and then… And then?

And then what?

 

“I

 need you to focus, please.” 

There

 is perhaps not a single word in the world that can describe the sluggishness of my mind, the unwillingness to release the dream, the vision, the lapse. I could barely see my surroundings; it was a slow, slow, half-return, a confused state of mind. I could

 barely think, much less talk, or so I thought. But when I did speak, it wasn’t me that spoke. It was pure instinct; my mind was elsewhere. How could I have controlled my mouth?

“Yes,”

 I said, “focus.” I blinked hard and the field flashed momentarily before my eyes. I felt the wind, but the thing was gone. When my eyes opened again I could see the brightly-lit world before me, the sun shining through the window, barely fractured by blinds.

 There was still a vague impression, superimposed on reality like a film of dirt, of grit, of lawless western plains, and the wind tousled my perceptive. I felt, from a distance, so far removed, light-years away down the rabbit-hole of my swirling, whirling

 mind, filled with wind, dust, dry plants and sky, myself smile. 

“I

 don’t mean to intrude,” the woman began. She was fidgety. I saw this because my focus was on her hands, her white hands, with a flashing ruby ring. The rest of “reality” was blurred. Her face, looming above, grave, dark, stern, like a hag, like a hag,

 like a beast, like looming death, like power… The air I breathed turned sour with fear, a rippling, tearing anxiety. “But I couldn’t help being somewhat worried about you today. Is everything all right?” Her phrases sent me deeper back into my head; the wide

 lenses of my treacherous eyes increased, her looming figure threatened to topple over me, her head was both in front of me and overhead.

“Yes,

 I’m okay… Just…” my mouth mumbled a few more meaningless pairs of vowels and consonants, then laughed. The laugh resounded around the room, ran on a pair of wings, stirring up wind, the same motherly, oceanic wind from the empty, mindless plains. My body got

 up and left.

 

The

 infinity of a city street snaked away before me, roiling like an ocean. Cars, like boats, passed, riding the waves like electricity along a wire. Buildings loomed, swooped, detached from each other, swelled grotesquely like murdered brats, drowned, swollen,

 drooping and sliding like jelly onto the sidewalk I walked on. Above me, the sky, the

real

 sky, so, so, so, blank-slate, a cold, indifferent stare, distorted. It watched from above: a cosmic vulture hunting for dead, lost prey. It watched with eyes, my walking shape so small, dark, and insignificant in the eyes swirling, whirlpool-like, in the tyrannical

 void. My legs carried my body forward, I saw

 myself walking from the perspective of the sky; I saw, ahead of

 me, of us, of the street, a yawning mouth.

A

 mouth that gaped open, hungry, ancient, new, pristine, and decayed. Vile teeth, dripping like stalagmites, devoured the grey, twisted street, tearing open the warm flesh of existence, murderous, and growing ever closer. A tongue danced inside, twisting the

 natural into a forbidding haze of the void. It stretched before me, yawning hugely. We drove on steady, like an army, like a passionless soldier, eyes void, unseeing, yet seeing all there was to see. 

At

 this time

I

 became void as well— 

if

 one could say there was a part to something which is nothing, then I was this. My perspective swelled, ballooned, rotted immensely, ’till I could feel the earth’s very life-fire, throbbing energy, below and around me. Limitless. Limitless. Limitless like the

 wind in northern plains. Yet even the breeze most free felt imprisoned compared to the dispersed vastness of my awareness of nothing. My sense of self, usually situated in time and space, transcended through dimensions I —

is it even proper to say “I”?

— knew nothing of.  Births, deaths, lives, sailed through my body

 in colours imagined only by the gods: swirling masses, hieroglyphs of the language of the universe. There was colour and darkness — a combination — colour and lack of colour, as one, brightness that was dark, physical light, vibrant hues that hid in their very vibrancy

 a dullness. Sound, dissonant but harmonious, painted. Still, there was nothing. Cradled in the palm of a giantess, whose eyes were stars, and the next moment fire, whose face shifted like mountains, like glaciers melting, like growing trees. She showed me

 time, showed me the slow passage of time, the immensity of this dimension of passing. I felt the toll of ages on the mountains in Colorado. Death loomed around every corner. Death lived in everything. Eternal sleep, like DNA, was written in the faces of all

 humans I passed, hung upside down by my ankles, walking on the sky, touching heads with my physical form, hopping from cloud to cloud, which writhed in agony under the pressure of the atmosphere, and dissipated as I touched them just as they stayed the

 same. The sky was an endless river, a mire, a mirror into eternity. I sunk through and fell far through space and time. I was made aware of the hieroglyphic colours once again as I tumbled and vaulted and crossed galaxies and harshly, harshly, harshly, slammed

 into the back of my own head, walking on that city sidewalk. My body crumpled, skinning its knees on the unforgiving earth. The eyes of the Goddess stared me down as I reached out a hand to my body, lifted its head— and in sudden disgust let it drop, kicked

 it aside, where it lay on its side, looking at me with earthly eyes, calling to me. The mark of death upon its forehead.

I am eternal,

I gasped, and colours flitted to the music of my lack of real sound.

 With every passing second, with each tick of the clock, my awareness shrunk. 

I don’t want to go. 

 

Yet

 it killed me. I came into myself again.The world cloaked itself in mysteries and wills of the ego. My knees stung and ached. I closed my eyes and saw the universe alive and dying inside me. My cheek was on the hard ground; every rock felt like a star. I saw

 my own discomfort in the terms of the universe and I felt ashamed until I saw that a macrocosm was represented in the microcosm of my being. At that, I pushed myself up and opened my eyes.

They were flooded by sunlight; I had broken the clouds. I stood up, feeling

 the pain in my knees like little suns, burning like fire. There was life here, life in death. Cracks in the city sidewalks admitted tiny weeds which worshipped the sun, there was moss on the stones, breathing gently, gently. My universal mind was free of

 care, of the burden of others. The sky loomed overhead, the earth spread below; I was still in the palm of the giantess, and her eyes stared from every corner of the sky, benign.

 

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