The execution of a demigod
By Daniel Landes
The house was set beneath the navel of the reposed form of our universe. It was deeply rooted in bedrock, shale and divine purpose. The putrid winds that blew from the north buffeted the foundation, and pelted the shingles and siding in a relentless effort to reduce the house to a granular form. The house withstood the torment and continued to shelter the tragic players as they accepted providence. Inside the walls of the house, the elemental battle for balance played out, again, and again and again.
The blowing leaves of the trees, planted as a windbreak on the north side of the house generations before, were brittle with draught. The sound was of shattering glass as the leaves chafed against each other in the morning wind. The precious dew, here and gone, never settled long enough for the dehydrated cells of the leaves to rejuvenate.
The child was pacing as early morning light shone through gossamer curtains of her bedroom window. The torn and crumpled pages from Leaves of Grass were strewn across the floor, like crumpled love notes filled with the poetics of unfulfilled promises. From the rafters above her bed hung a mobile of the nine planets and their moons, made in school from Styrofoam balls. Pints of spilled paint, red and green, pooled under the windowsill and swirled together as a random blue creation. The nightlight flickered, preparing for daybreak. The child’s mind, red with fury, was empty but for the plan. She thought only of the plan.
The man awoke from his narcotic slumber with a full bladder and covered in the humid sheen of night sweats. He arose, relieved himself, and then went to the kitchen to brew a pot of coffee. As he did every morning, he turned on the radio and waited for the crop report. The water filtered through the ground burnt beans and drip, drip, dripped into the awaiting pot. A detached, monotone voice, reported the news; the record breaking heat wave continues as the draught worsens, the daily tally of solider corpses from the Endless Wars adds up, and the diverting scandals of politicians never ceases. It was the oceans, not the wars, not disease, that was the new pandemic, killing millions as they claimed higher and higher ground, wiping out cities like sandcastles. The man, sipping his coffee, waited for the crop report.
In her room the child stopped pacing and stood as still as a statue. Her balled fists barely peeked out from the flared arms of her nightgown, ankle length, made from soft cotton in a place far away by evil means. She would soon be free of it, her death shroud. She stood waiting in the blue grey light of dawn thinking of nothing but the plan.
The man, a moneyman, a farmer of sorts, owned fertile land above the encroaching seas on which he grew corn. Acres and acres of Holy Corn.