issue twenty-four

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(340 words)
David Woodward

Don't Stop
Don't See Me
Keep moving. The ancient train whizzed past the ghost town, dead for decades. Keep to the shadows. The apparition with the umbrella stood immobile beneath the light, the source of a sun unknown. Keep to the source. Salvation. The night salivated and fed the light. A fine spittle fell and made the fervent mistake of touch. Keep a distance. The moon was approaching. The earth's fractured self had been orbiting nearer and nearer in recent months. Their attraction grew stronger and stronger. In turn, the earth's inhabitants grew further and further from self and reality. Other became a force so powerful the beings had to push further into the darkness to keep from being completely absorbed. Keep to the perimeter. The moon's proximity raised the ocean's currents beyond the borders of old. Jerusalem and Bethlehem went under water; the Gaza Strip and the West Bank fell into the Dead Sea. Keep a record. I am the wind, the trained howled. I am a hurricane. I am keeping tabs on what I see. I see the memory of plans made and plans lost to the rule of change, the law of chaos. Keep a brave face. The earth was readying for new territory, new frontiers; continents were shifting, mountains sinking. Pangaea was alive. The dead were onboard. Dinosaurs paced the soul-filled cars. Below, the volcanic crust moaned. Revenge. Keep out of sight. Fear was onboard. But it had morphed -- entirely -- into some thing else. Justice. The souls were spilling out of their crammed seats. They were on a return trip. From the ovens. From the battlefields. From indifference. Keep the embers going.

The moon circled, edging closer and closer. The air was damp with the sweat of the rising seas. An ungodly presence filled the nostrils with an unworldly distaste as they flared famished for flesh. Judgment. The righteous quivered. The atheists nodded. Keep alive. The nihilists had some thing to cling to. Silence.

The ancient train passed. The moon pulled -- tighter, tighter, tighter. The light blinded.


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This work is copyrighted by the author, David Woodward. All rights reserved.

Photo by
Leszek Bujnowski