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RUN, AQUARIAN RUN
The burly man hacked up a cough. “All I have to say is, yur lucky ya weren’t the one breaking and enterin’, Aquarian,” he trailed off before carrying on with some rolling laughter. Some of his words seemed to almost transform into different ones before he corrected his slur and finally verbalized like they should. “Even so, you ought be cautious where you are wandering. No one summoned you in, and here you are, still faltering and stumbling. We can’t quite make him suffocate, though. Can we, present madam?”
“Yes. The Aquarian one is belligerent. Crowding our spaces,” said the veiled woman, slithering.
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far. Not quite as belligerent compared to how the Victoria was. But this one, he’s quite alluring inside,” said the burly man.
“No. What lies inside of what’ll be left of him, that is where the beauty hangs in the balance. I desire to see it, to drink from it.”
“He thinks there is wisdom in his beliefs.”
The two apparitions continued to talk, but LJ could hear nothing. Calling his dead girlfriend belligerent was one thing altogether, but using the word was at the end of his sentence, that was the icing on a big-fat cake.
Why are they talking at me, and not too me? I’m not even supposed to be here. Vic didn’t deserve to die like this, he echoed strong words inside of his own head.
Vic had been the absolute best; She stuck with him through all this, and now it all meant nothing. LJ’s mind, body and spirit triggered an internal urgency to move and to move fast. His pool float body wet, heavy and uncomfortable, he glanced back and forth at the two apparitions. An emotion so strong, so rabid; a cunning realization you were in too deep, somewhere you didn’t belong and somewhere that magnified the atrocious into an arrogant, explosive, mother-effigy that ultimately took the life of LJ’s first love, Victoria. So sad.
I’M NOT WEAK, this time he yelled at himself internally, echoing the warranted brashness through synapses and memory. I’m not a fool. I must. Find. The. Strength. To. Push. Forward. Haarooo-rah!
The center of his energy, if it was even ever purposely focused on internally, most notably had always been between his eyes before this moment, but then LJ felt his center shifting from the Ajna ( in between the eyes ) down to the Manipura, ( in the solar plexus ) also known as the chakras, the energy centers in the body that are always purely spiritual. The energy centers in the body could never be proven, but they were there by God. In LJ, they became a contortion of mind, body, soul and also a-from-outside, universal in-pouring of benevolent gifts in the form of energy, caustic to his personal calcination experience. However, not having been induced directly by himself, it was inferior to some other methods.
As he controlled his wet, neoprene body in order to prevent an internal meltdown, his bones turned into red-hot flashing things, vaping off anything that was absolutely not needed to cope with his mere existence including the less than favorable, dream-like neoprene body. Rubbish it would seem lifted, split and expanded from his body into the thick air. All the previous pressures being evaporated away: what he was, all that he had absorbed before now, it had become a part of what simply wasn’t needed anymore. And, it returned as it should be, as the bits returned as flesh, then wrapped his bones once again, surrounding LJ’s brief exposed internals, sheathing him proper once again.
He would serve as a first of his kind, an Archetect, a living, first prime example if he was to make it back out of this thing in one piece. The rest of what was left combined in his stomach, the solar plexus of Good, swirling madness. Existence hurdled LJ forward in a fit of mad rage and as a physical, fight or flight mechanism to prevent stasis of blood from the immense pressure surrounding him. Muscle memory was a bitch and nothing about this happening was a think-and-do situation anymore, at least for the the next for-seeable future. Only do. The dichotomy that had once taken a small place inside him were now irrevocably broken. No longer a record player. Thank, God.
Go far away and be small, he cringed. In his mind he pictured the burly man and then redacted the thought in light of moving forward.
LJ’s peripherals could see his arms, legs and torso were now made of proper flesh, this was nothing new to be had or lost, just simply different and the clothes he wore before his previous transformation, now on him.
So very well, he ran and did so with extreme precision, over the top of the rubbish that was beyond the pool. Jumping, dripping with sweat as he leapt from top-to-top of piling concrete rubbish, not faltering and never without a misstep as he went. Did he do this strictly on his own accord? Not hardly at all. No one ever did. Some sort of God must have been involved, if not number one, himself. He heard mummers of talking in the distance. Sometimes laughing.
However, his powerful rage was somewhat short-lived in relation to how he felt moments ago. Approaching an outward cropping of misty air with twisty, crooked trees and spinedy brush, he pounced forward but became quickly hollow.
“Ouch.”, LJ said as he took a step further onto yet more thorny tree extraments. “Argh! Argo asloff mein-duction boo loo!!! GRR-AH!”, his voice echoed off of trees and painful, distant effigies.
Nothing happened because of these tonguey words about cocktails with flowers in them and especially not one of those pink umbrellas. He hated pink umbrellas in a drink. They got dirty and when pink mixed with dirt, it was the worst thought he had since this whole thing started.
A heavy, hunched hard breath cascaded atoms from within and a hard knot in his throat from the transformation. Why were the feet so sensitive? It must have been the shoes’ fault. Although they weren’t on LJ’s feet anymore. No one could have ran like that and kept their shoes on. No one! Not even here. He ripped his shirt off, starting at the center of his collarbone all the way down and then ripped it on the reverse side, just the same. Two pieces of cotton made it around his sensitive feet as a barrier to the thorny tree extraments.
He could now walk and so he did, through the misty, woody space for some time while the environment twisted and densely contorted the further he walked and he did so without fear.
A tree. A tree that seemed it was once soaked in water, also known as steam bent. All its branches were molded like combed over hair, in one swirling direction. Another tree, made out of taxidermied wolf skins.
No fear, nothing. No emotions. Just a warped environment that seemed to wrap his consciousness and so LJ’s consciousness wrapped it. Comfort. A proverbial blood letting, intertwining and dancing of musical nature. Was he walking at all or was the ground moving underneath him? It wasn’t for the sake of confusion. Quite the opposite, for LJ felt a comfort like no other place had ever shown him. Wretched and beautiful. Complex and simple. Class without the teaching. No teachers. No lessons. The space of this place rang with a vibrato, in through to the space even beyond. He didn’t think at all this moment, but the conscious mind was still open to the fact that he would see Rom very soon. He would reunite Dom with this band and family. He could feel it, deep in his heavy bone marrow.
Dom . . .
You come ‘ere.
. . .aiight.
A path. A path ran from right to left and bent with the misty eyed forest on both sides. Which way to go? Right? Left?
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a tiger by his toe. If he hollers, let him go.
Three times four was 12. He was sure of it, but it hardly added up this time. Numbers. The land had no place for numbers, THAT was down-right offensive. Might land you beneath the trees. Down-right? That doesn’t make sense, either.
Makes about as much sense as I do, LJ thought.
The feeling of presence was near, a feeling like Rom’s presence. Could he see him anywhere? No. Couldn’t see him at all. He remembered about a six hundred dollar check he had left at the house, uncashed. As he kept looking at the two different options for travel, left or right of path, his false-dream-like memory told him the check was in his back pocket. Rom was traveling in between the atoms in the dirt, on the hunt for his money check.
Thief! How could he?
Somethings not right at all. Rom wouldn’t do that, LJ internalized.
Wait? Dom! Where was Dom? Dom was in LJ’s comfy crevasse, inside the ridiculous pool float body, but LJ paid no mind to that fact. How could he forget about Dom? Things are so hazy, that’s how. Nothing could be done about it at this moment anyways. Like trying to take a picture at a concert and being moshed. Phone goes flying into oblivion. He wanted to grunt like a grizzly bear again, like he had when he landed in a circle of prickly leaves. It’s just not appropriate for someone to growl like that, not with civil, social reasoning anyway. No one was around, but habits die hard. Really hard. Heaviest thing around.
The money, again. The way it circulates is amazing. Going from hands, to hand, to more hands. It was a sad day when any amount of money sat in no one hands. Frivolous thoughts.
Six hundred dollars in the form of a paper check was a lot! Even for a thief to potentially squander. Better keep moving, LJ’s mind or maybe the environment had told him. He didn’t care which one it was. The future is forward. Or is it? Dream recorder . . . ugh. No one wanted to think about that right now. Offensive.
Which way damnit? The italics were even getting on his nerves, but LJ had no way to know this. Rules were to blame. Problem fixers for stupid problems. People problems. Different mind problems caved through from beyond like bleeding ink off a page, onto a dirty floor where it would never totally be removed and only made a bigger mess on an clean up attempt. Not ever.
He looked down, started moving and a single strand of barbed wire hung loose, stapled onto adjacent trees, right at genital level. Yeesh. The worst spot to be in. He grabbed himself in between the legs to see if his genitalia was still there at all. Someone told him once that Angels and other worldly beings didn’t have genitalia, so that would be a good indication if he was still alive or not. That very fact reasoned with him as a great relief, but the barbed wire said otherwise. Stupid barbed wire. Conundrums like these are why some men turned back into teenagers, but had lost their inner child somewhere on the way back down. The answer was simple: in between the barbs LJ must, as a newly calcinated person, transverse the hanging wire. Hazed. Simple answers almost never provided a simple action to solve a problem, especially with this one pair of family jewels were at stake. Now that was an emergency.
As ridiculous as it was, he proceeded to put his future kids and pride at stake. One foot up. One hand on. And another hand on. Balance. Balance! One foot still left on the ground. And . . . push up! Gyrations of getting stabilized were almost in sync. Most of the time gyrations fought each other in the body, worked in opposites but not here. Not now. The act of body stabilization on a single piece of barbed wire was not so stable, ever. A shaky one at best, to finally put his last foot on the wire in between another set of barbs. At least LJ’s testicles weren’t on a barb. No, not this time, not ever . . . hopefully. Two hands on the wire. Two feet on the wire. A lot of small back and forths to stay upright. Craziness. Now what? Got. To. Get down, off to the other side, onto the path to proceed to . . . what exactly? It didn’t matter because future bullets raced past in between the trees and onto the other side of the path. People screaming, “ELLLL JAAAAY!! ELLLL JAAAAY!!!”, as if they were looking for him. It wouldn’t be best to have physical followers in this situation. Or would it? Nope. Shaking. Shaking. Shaking. Shaking. Arms, body and legs shaking together, trapped on top of a piece of wire. Getting down was never as easy as going up! Sometimes, something drastic had to happen to make it over to the other side of a calcination experience . . . and barbed wire.
LJ yanked his body at once, in a sideways flip and landed back on his feet, right on top of the trenchy, dirty path.
Camino, LJ thought.
Camino is Spanish for path. For Italians, it means fireplace or chimney.
And a fiery path it was.
LJ wished the path was a old river so it could deliver him to the deep blue sea. But, that wasn’t a good answer either. Something was missing. Probably a lot of things. He started walking the direction of right, instead of left on the path, with his nuts safely where they should be. And, the rain was pouring down. No one could stop him. No one. They didn’t need to, it would have been frivolous activity. But, he was cold, even deep on the inside. Almost like hypothermia setting in. He wasn’t sure if it was actually cold or his energy was unsustainably low and feelings of drought coldness turned worse as he kept walking on the path, in between the trees.
Cultural phemomons could get through this. LJ wondered how bright and colorful that could be even though he was already a celebrated race winner. Would all this add to that for him? It was never known, like playing roulette all night, every night.
This has to be an experiment of some sort, he thought. They are going to pay for this. Whoever THEY are. Rascals at best.
Unpaid, free work is offensive in most places, besides jail. Even then, most places in the United States of America gave you something for it. Free lunch or early release, even. However, this felt like way more than just work to LJ. Some people he knew hired people on Saturdays for strange purposes like making sandwich diagrams on a piece of cardboard for a trade show. Other times it was for writing a three piece stanza that five other people would turn into 30 songs in hope of making a hit. It rarely worked, but when it did, there were lots of money to be had. He didn’t know about the last part until his friend slipped him a silent note about it, about the money, when one particular Sunday everyone else was asleep. Shit, maybe the guy that slipped the note was asleep, too. Duh. Hooligans, the lot of ’em.
The path ended inclined and straight into a rolling pasture with beef cows. They flipped their tails, ate grass gracefully chomping and minding their own business. Not caring about LJ’s presence at all. No response. Not even a single atom of attention from cows? Come! On!
Weather had blown over to create a high-pressured blissy air.
Then, LJ yelled out, “Help! Help me!” as he stomped, rocking back and forth forward, hoping for the assistance that he needed so badly. Anyone’s help would do more than wandering aimlessly through whatever the frack this was. Frickin’ frack! No one needed a frack. Puke, frothy projectile vomit right past a cow. Chain reactions were no longer useful. Glass was, but still no mirrors anywhere. Makes no sense.
A man emerged from the house and looked at LJ like he was a ghost. LJ didn’t really know how he looked. No mirrors or household gadgetry to speak of or speak into. None of that. It was rubbish anyways, just like the stuff that surrounded that, whatever it was. They ruined it all so far with coffee. How could coffee ruin so many experiences? Cows don’t drink coffee. Maybe they could fix this.
“Man, you, you are ma-ma-mmm-messed up, aren’t you?” the helpful man shuddered while waving.
“No, I’m not,” LJ said with no emotion.
“Well, I can’t tell. Come inside. Come inside. Get a blanket. We can call someone to come help you.”
LJ followed the man inside what looked like a hoarder’s house, four cats scattered in different directions, and then he sat on the dirty couch. The man returned with a blanket covered in cat hair. LJ covered with it, not quite yet warm and the helpful man handed LJ the phone and he dialed Rom’s number.
© 2020-2021, S.D. McKinley
Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.