The Heavens

July 20, 2010
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The soil was dry and cracked underneath of my bare feet, rocks protruded from the earth and into my soles. The air was sweet and hot, it smelled of fruit. I left the vineyard just as the sun fell behind the rolling hills and inundated the small hamlet in shadow. It would be completely dark soon, I sighed thinking of the lengthy walk back to my dwelling.

In a small clay building on the far side of the hamlet, I lived with my mother and father, and a younger brother. In the center of the small town, there was a market which was teeming with activity by afternoon. Carts lined the bumpy streets selling fruit, pasta, clay pots, bowls, and things made my local artisans. Once every few days a cart would come through selling meat of all kinds. By the market emptied every single piece of meat was gone.

I was taking a path that went around the edge of town; it was rarely traveled, especially this late in the evening. I carried a basket on my shoulder, full of freshly picked grapes. The ground was warm after baking in the sun, but the night air felt cool. There was nothing but silence, a deep silence that you could feel in your ear drums, silence which sucked your soul into despair, pulled your thoughts to the farthest corners of your mind, and rattled every nook and cranny of your being. The stars lay a glowing blanket over the sky, the thin textile of light, the only thing separating us from the heavens. I stopped walking in the middle of an incline. Looking to the stars I suddenly felt monumentally small and insignificant. A sound came from the right, but I could not take my eyes off the sky. They searched back and forth, on and on for something, finding nothing. The trance was broken by a pebble clamoring down the path and into my foot. My eyes trailed up the dirt ground, until they fell upon the silhouette of a dog.

I stood there facing the dog for a moment. It suddenly began to vibrate violently. I tried to blink away the image, maybe I was imagining it. The dog growled, still shaking. One final tremor shook through its body, and from it unfolded human limbs. I shook my head, rubbed my eyes with my free hand. It wouldn’t go away.

“S-s-alvatore.” The creature said with the lisp of a snake. I tried to yell, I tried to run. My bare feet were suddenly cold, chilled to the bone. The feeling spread throughout my body, and I looked down to see a deadly purple smoke rising around my body. Circling around me like a serpent, climbing like a vine headed for warm sunlight. What was happening? I began to panic. The fog found its way into my open mouth. I felt it slither down my throat and into my lungs. I dropped the basket of grapes, and they spilled over the ground at my feet. I staggered from my place, as I moved the creature came closer. I could see it had the features of a man. Demon, I thought. The night sky swirled above me as I fell back onto the earth, the stars blurring together like a bright ocean being sucked down a drain. I heard a loud crack, and felt a warm liquid spreading over the crown of my skull. I felt no pain. I gasped for air, grabbed for the stable ground, felt the smashed grapes under my body. Their fragrance was strong, and the sky was beautiful. I blinked drearily, as I saw the shadow of a man come over me.

The stars were gone, everything was gone. I could still smell the scent of the dirt, soaked with fruit and blood. My mind was trapped inside an abysmal, dead body. Thoughts smashing against my skull, trying to force my eyes open, my fingers to move, nothing. My last thought was, this is no heaven.

To Be Continued...

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