December 15, 2013 by The Citron Review
by Nathaniel Heely
II. What You Have Seen
The recurring image. The recurring scenes and sounds. Thunder in the earth, the air, drawing up into your skin like manifested fear. There were no clouds out, but the rain fell anyway. You could hear the whole world breathe in, recede from itself, the shores turned into deserts that smelled of moss and dead rock.
When it exhaled, when the rain fell, we scattered like cockroaches exposed by light. All of us. It was only her and me and for days it was nothing but darkness and fear. We hid underneath our rubbled-up houses and turned the twisted metal coils from the stove into picket fences.
I. Where You Have Been
The electromagnetic pulse came through the streets like the angel of death, but nobody called Moses to save us. The explosion bloomed and for a few brief moments we stood in the light of two suns. I wanted to tell her I loved and her and things would be okay, but she beat me to it. So I settled for screaming at her to run, run, run and we did just that holding hands and running the whole way.
IV. Wounded in Love
Life implies death. So it came as no shock when we ignored the fact that the fallout would kill us. We did what we could to resume normalcy. After the earth stopped pulsing and once our dreams went back to being more terrifying than real life we were able to mimic a society.
I went back to the sporting goods store I had been in when the hard rain fell and I spent my time trying to straighten out the golf clubs. I sifted through the rubble until I could find enough loose change and I laid it on top of the counter—still in tact by the way—and then I took a little off as a kind of discount for labor.
III. The Poet who Died in the Gutter
Clearing out rubble for the road, the bulldozer cancelled out her screams, if there were any, and we pulled her up in time to see that she was happy to be dead. We set her down in the sewers because someone said that eventually all the bodies would go to the ocean and it would be like the olden times when kings were set upon the water with their wealth. Except there’s no edge for her to fall off. So she circles the globe haunting us all and I wonder if this is what it’s like to know God’s heart.
V. Standing on the Ocean.
I kept going back to the sporting goods store and straightening out golf clubs until there were none left. St. Peter calls everybody’s name at some point. Even the sinners. But none of us wanted to repent and give up on this world. Dying meant taking responsibility for it all.
* Bob Dylan “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”
Nathaniel Heely is an undergraduate writing student at the University of Arkansas. His fiction has previously appeared in Crack the Spine, Revolver, The Fat City Review, theNewerYork and others. You can find more of his writing at iamseamus.tumblr.com/writing.