Beginning Friday, February 29th and appearing every Friday that follows, I’ll be writing an online novella one chapter at a time one week at a time. From the seat of my pants. Who knows if it’ll suck or if it’ll flow well, make sense, or have any merit whatsoever. Regardless, it’s going to happen and I hope you’ll come along for the ride. – Nick.
I was twenty-five
years old when The God arrived.
going through my father’s tackle box looking for the gold spinner lure we used
to catch rainbow trout and finding that soiled knife. The knife he was holding
when the dock broke. The blade was thick with grime from gutted fish, sliced up
earthworms, and who knows what. Yet there it was. I faintly recall my aunt
Janie meticulously gathering everything from the lake after the funeral and
neatly arranging it in the shed behind our summer cabin. Like nothing bad had
ever happened. She’d even gotten that knife, which had to have been at the
bottom of the lake after the accident. Never asked her how she did that. She
went above and beyond.
I also faintly recall going into the tackle
box a few times in the decade since he died, sometimes looking for something to
fish with and sometimes looking for something that made it easier to remember
my father. Everything in there was caked in memories of him. Oftentimes, I was
stymied on both accounts, whether by fear of the rising emotions or the fact
that fishing never took on the same significance in his absence. That day I was
determined to show my newest lady friend I knew how to conduct my manly
business with a stick and some thread.
everything went belly up.
The flash of
light. The impact. The sound of a magnetic nothingness. Everyone on the planet
felt the presence of The God at precisely the same moment. I was reeling in a
lure very slowly when it happened, a little crank and tug before the spinner
caught the light to tell the trout that the dinner bell was sounding. Clara sat
behind me nursing a beer and laughing at my lack of style when it happened and
I instantly thought of terrorism. Knee jerk reaction back in the day. You heard
a big boom and it was on. The Rags were invading our space again. That was the
knee jerk. Reality was a concussive force and then the physics which followed.
I fell on my
ass, but she wasn’t laughing any more.
are pretty spiffy but the animal parts of the brain and the neurological
impulses which fire in times of heavy shock remind us that we’re not as special
as our air-conditioned homes would lead us to believe. Regardless of creed or
culture, we all knew the jib was up for us when it first washed over us that
blistering summer day.
The God chose
a field in upstate New York to be its Ground Zero. Fitting I suppose. It was a
serene enough place, cows and red barns and the whole nine. A six thousand foot
chunk of jagged rock standing in the middle of it all was just another
skyscraper in the state with the most famous ones in history.
stood there casting a shadow somehow miles long despite the time of day. It
hovered an inch above the ground and it could be seen from twenty miles away,
some sort of cosmic optical illusion. It could be seen from space, as witnessed
by the astronauts unlucky enough to be in orbit during its arrival. They all
came down to Earth in embers. So did the satellites and so did most of the commercial
and military aircraft en route to wherever they thought they were going. The
God seemed to issue an unspoken mandate on mankind’s desire to fly, a stamp
marked “No” witnessed by Notary Public and sealed with a wicked kiss of instant
death to all who defied it. My sister Kate was a flight attendant and it was
only later I discovered that she was lucky enough to be judged by The God in
that first fell swoop.
But here I
still sit, aged like a cheap wine and with more stories and theories than
minutes on my own life’s clock. I sit still and remember. Memory is the only
freedom we have now, an offering from a vengeful God.
minimal grace was a bouquet of flowers compared to the work of Its Followers.
They arrived much later. Right about after we got used to the idea of a whole
and pure power standing tall above us and owning our every move.
snuck in the back door.