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Saturday, November 22, 2014

11. The Wilderness (The forgotten bars)

The taste was bitter. Still I was surrounded by the aura of youth, and I looked and though I was seeing again, the boy was still there. This boy was dead. I had sucked him dry by the banks of the Seine.
“How?” I said. How had he brought back my first memory of my second life, alive?
“To the initiated, such things are easy. I can give you the power to recall your kills. The sweetest ones.” Everywhere I looked the world blurred, choppy color blocks. But the voice I heard clearly; it was delicate and cultured; it was wise with years. “You must eat.”
The invitation held power. So much of humanity is spoiled, the passions convoluted or overindulged, grown fat or stringy. The young ones still rich with uncut feeling was my favorite flavor. Hope was even better, and ever more rare. And the power over death. I had cheated death, the gaping maw, but to be able to bring others back from it, from the smithereens of the earth’s ceaseless toiling.
“Just eat,” he said.
But just eating was the wheel that crushes, the tiger that takes the deer, the wolf and the rabbit, the eternal cycle. I hate the wheel, I thought. “Always the fear in the little ones, always the hate in the big ones.”
“No,” I said.
He said, “Ah. Do you imagine that there is anything of meaning beyond your thirst? Tell me what is it? You are some agent of good? For what and whom? These ones don’t even want to live,” I saw them all, their smell as sweet as honeysuckle, and all had the good in them, even the homeless and the old.  
“No.” I said. “I am of the earth.”
He laughed, a bell. Now I now the voice. Then I smelled it, a bouquet of life released, as if someone had crushed flowers under a steel tack boot. The glug of slaking as the punkrock boy with his fresh anger died a second time.
I don’t remember anything after that. I woke and somehow I had crawled into a group of bushes. The sun was still finding its way through, and I shrouded myself in sodden porn that I found.
That night I walked the streets again. I should have been thirsty. Either that or passing out—but I discovered that the Romani was right. I had full energy, even a single focus that was new. The blurry fugue world of thirst was replaced by a moon lit world of black and white, and my hands closed around weapons, fractals torn from old cross beams.
The first mark is a blond sweeping a middle aged man along. He is marveling at his luck, but looking back too. He has a squat woman at home, I can see, whom he loves, but this fine thing is taking him home. He never planned to cheat. He never thought he’d face an opportunity this good. His heavy brow is creased with determination. He will have his way.
She is pale beneath the moon and elf thin, pretty like porcelain. Her fingernails are red, they press into him, little dents raised in his hand. She laughs at something he says, he smiles like an idiot with a piece of tinsel.
I grab her hair and pull it back. She falls on her back and I fall with her, pinning her. I slam the splinter into her ribcage. Thunk. Thunk. Multiple times. She gasps then gurps. I look up. The middle aged man’s mouth is open. He doesn’t know what happened. I smile at him. Let him see my canines.
He scampers, home to his woodchuck.
This does not answer the craving the way that drinking does, that ephemeral first sip’s kaleidoscope. I am always thirsty. But this kill strengthens my purpose, a compounding, like the process whereby rock becomes diamond.
Young flowers surround her, peeping out of the earth. Hoping for spring.

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