FIRE OF THE GODS
by Nofel Nawras
‘Your darn right I’m het up. I want to know who that varmint is and what he’s a doin’ on my land.’
Maisy Lou was low down trailer trash from the Ozarks someplace and they say she was as old as anybody on the planet that aint just about dead an’ near to one hundred years old or more. Most days she’d talk like a deluge in the wet season coming down from Eagle Nest Lake to drown the sad and sorrowful town of Angel Fire, New Mexico. Other times she’d look at a body like it was rock that had no sense of the meaning of stuff. What she came here for is anybody’s business, but the story goes she kilt her mama who was high as a kite on hooch and came at her with a bouey.
‘Maisy Lou… why don’t you sit a while and I’ll get you some coffee?’
I try when I can to come and see how she’s doing, or still alive, or dead someplace on her rambling shack, mobile home, come barn, come underground shelter. She had that dug up way back in the swaying sixties when the times they were a changing, but they never did. One time, they say and I don’ rightly know seeing as I’m no older than the new millennial ‘pocalypse and see myself as an old timer come again in this stringy-assed body that’d blow clean away if you up and farted in my direction, one time they say the place was a buzzin’ with all the new idea colonists, the new dream-weavers and high-flying pill-poppers that broke the old mould of corruption and status cue.
They say, an’ Maisy likes to tell it when she’s ogling a fire full of embers that’s been running for a few days and hours and she on the hooch and weed and anything that a person might abuse themselves with… one time she told how a Mr. Zimmerman hisself came poopin round just to see how the lay of the land was and made honey love with Maisy when she looked like something fine, which must have been some miraculous transformation, or they was just plumb drunk and horney, which I can readily ascribe to and understand, seeing as that’s the only time I ever found anyone to enjoy conjugation with and disgusted myself for the next week, month or year. I can’t rightly say a spit about the gospel of anything that leaves those old rubber tyres that pretend to be Maisy Lou’s lips, they sort of hang over like a couple of gigantic slugs about to roll off a mountain that’s collapsing and falling to kingdom come.
I’m what you might call an in-valid, that’s to say I don’t account to much owing to my scrawny size and stature. But I like to think I’m as wise as an owl and faster than a streak o’ lightning when it comes to figuring and calculating. The thing of it is when you aint got a bean you have to dig and scrape and learn how to get by and I mostly jus’ offer myself to folk that are needy of some assistance and take what I can when they aint looking. I figure they’re so plumb easy and old and full of the sap of kindness that they won’t never mind losing the odd jingle or jangle and I never take more than I can get away with that the critters aint goin’ a miss. Most of the folk I alleviate from don’t need what I alleviate, and I figure it’s a fair and honest trade off. I get what I need, and I give them my company and help if I can. I can fix most anything and have in my few years of being in this hell hole of a planet to be born into. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get by in this desert-land filled with trailer trash that are by products of the easy days of yore when they was what they called ‘hippies’ and free-lovers. Now they’s as old as a dead skunk that’s about to pop with the heat and flies and they declare to love my time and assistance. You could say I’m a guardin’ angel and that’s sort of how I square the self-help part of the deal on my side of the equator.
Maisy Lou set up in her rocker and squinted at the horizon. These lands hereabouts are flat a place as you’ll ever find and empty. You can walk for days and weeks and maybe months and never know where you was and how you got there. She was getting frisky, I could tell and her eyebrows start to twitch and she screw those lips like they was a couple o’ hot dogs without the rolls and the blood was firing up her cylinders and pretty soon smoke might come out of her ears, only you couldn’t see if she had any on account of the matted hair that she scraped around her skull. She did not look good. Maisy Lou never looked good, but she looked worse now than ever.
In the distance where she was gazing was a whirligig of some kind. A smokescreen that was either animal, human, or a vehicular assignation of some kind. It was comin’ up fast and it started to take shape. Seemed like it was a spaceship of some kind. A spaceship like they have on that there Star Trek or Star Wars or some such. Only, it weren’t no giant-sized spaceship. It was about the size of a plain old truck you might see down Sausalito way, parked on a Saturday night outside the diner and waiting to get spattered with the owner’s blood after a good few beers and howdyodos.
She sort of spat my name in a garbled, excited way that was muffled and swallowed with spittle and drool. Maisy Lou had a way of working herself up to move out of her throne which usually happened at strategic times during the long, hot day and evening and it kind of made you laugh and made you cry. She’d start slow and work up to a rocking back and forth till she got the right momentus behind her fragile, yet massive frame and by that time she was usually as red as beet and sweating pork. Well it didn’t happen. She was out of that old mechanical rust bucket quicker than a dose of di-o-reeya. She never moved so fast in all the time I knowed her and she stood there once she was up and froze. Now I mean froze. I don’t mean she was quiet of her own wishing, no sir, she was as froze as a lamb in the snow that was left on account of his mama had too many to ween. I went close in a sideways sort of creep and sure enough she was gone. I don’t mean she was gone to Jesus, not yet anyhow, she was in suspended chryogenation. I seen a few movies in my time and I saw the signs. Well I jus’ knew it was the aliens, had to be. Oftentimes in the movies they make out like we don’t know a goose from a gator the way they play things out making folk to be retard slow and not able to join the polka dots to make a color-in picture. I use to love those joinings and spent days jus’ making up my own and wondering if a body’d ever know what I had in mind. There were some that even I didn’t figure when the time came to bring it all together, well… that was a fun time when I was just a sprig in the grass.
The thing hovered and hummed like they all do, and I stood there and chewed on a piece of grass. I always chew when I’m making like I don’t give a snoot. I considered my time was up and maybe they’d fry my sorry ass and that’d be that and all in all I truly wasn’t upset or afeared. I seen many strange and wonderful things that had no explanation in my time and been touched by the spirit that spoke to me of all the wonder and the glory. I never told a soul about my inner diamond place and all the imaginings that came when I was two pokes closer to death than a rat in a dry gulch about to croak. I’ve seen what happens to folk that speak their knowing and it aint pretty. Look what they did to Jesus for Christ’s sake and they say they love the man. Well, I learned to keep it shut and just nod when folk ask me things and say ordinary stuff and shoot the breeze as simple as a body can.
‘Well… ’ I said casual like I was just chewing on tobacco. ‘You aiming to make your play or what?’
Another hum and a few dings and dongs and that future stuff with lights and a door that aint a door opens up and steps that sort of make themselves pop out of thin air and dang it all there was even some smoke and down she walks like she was ready for a trip to the fair. It was my little sister, Abeline Sherry. I used to get her riled by twisting it round and calling her Shabeline or just plain Shabby. She near to explode with fuming everytime I mess with her and I’d laugh till I cried. We both end up laughing and crying, them two seem to go together and she’d kick me in the ribs and call me a skunk. We was all we had and then they took her away when she got sick with the fever and I never saw her again. There she was and she weren’t sick and a smile like she knew something wild and wonderful and I closed my mouth and tried to get a handle on things.
‘Shabby… is that you?’
‘It ain’t Thomas Jefferson.’
She was so bright, way ahead of all the kids whenever she went to any school which wasn’t much to speak of. Where she got her learning from, I’ll never know, ‘cepting I figured we was both smitten with the light of knowing and it was our downfall and our treasure. She was nine when she vanished from my sorrowful existence. That was four years or more ago and she looked no different, maybe a mite less skinny and the duds she was wearing weren’t from no Mall I ever knew.
‘You come back for me?’ I asked trying to figure whether she was real or just a vision in my empty head. Maybe old Maisy Lou slipped me some brain adjuster while I was fixing her picket fence.
‘Cleetus… it’s ‘coz your head’s empty that I can co-mune-i-cate with you. As to the vision side of things that’s really close an’ I’ll try an’ explain to your dumb ass what it all means and how it keeps rolling down the road.’
She laughed after that the way we used to always laugh and holler and then we’d spit and shake just to make sure it was a done deal. Well, I reckon I must have looked a mite flabbergasted or something else that’s full of shock and amazement cos she waited a spell and then hovered down those pearly steps without a sound and came up and kissed me soft and gentle and I sort of let go of all the fearing and the holding on that clams a body up tight.
‘Is it you, Abeline?’
‘What you come for and where you been? How am I supposed to know it’s you and not some devil alien come to steal my soul?’
She set down by the embers of last night’s fire and blew on those charcoaled scraps. They started to glow from the inside and blazed like they’d been dosed in kerosene but more than that, they had a colour I never seen in a fire, it was sort of pearly and pink with a touch of lilac. Then she pressed some button on her wrist watch gizmo and a light beamed from the craft and before my eyes lay a vast and glorious picnic table full of the southern fried chicken, cream potatoes, cherry pie and a hundred other dainties and donuts you’d never see ‘cepting in rich folks parties and such.
After we ate and had our fill and laughed over the old days and how we was going to be famous and live in Hollywood in Cali-for-ni-ay and travel the world in planes and yachts and fixing the whole world we set awhile in silence an stillness and the evening was flowering it’s colours over the desert with the sound of the cicadas coming through in waves that kind of set the scene for what was coming next.
‘Cleetus… I’m gonna try to explain what I’m here for and it might scare the living skin off a your back but I know that you can take it and you know it too.’
That sort of set the train on its tracks so to say and I lay back and closed my eyes and waited. I knew I must be dreaming or plain stoked or maybe died of something and well… what can you do but go with the blow.
‘I’m about to perform an operation on you Cleet and it won’t hurt a bit.’
She put her right hand ever so gentle on my on my head and I felt a warmth and a tingling that was sweet and thought I was about to drift off into the wide blue but no, matter of fact the opposite happened.
I sat up and knew I was different.
The effect of her touch was instantaneous transmission of knowledge.
I knew and knew that I knew.
I saw that the veils had dropped, and I was no longer the personality labelled ‘Cleetus’.
There was no passage of time in this perception and no working things out.
To work things out would take time and the knowledge of everything that is meaningful is not additive.
There is no one to accrue this knowledge, nor anyone to receive it.
That would mean separation, otherness and here there is nothing but I.
Nothing but wholeness and a sublime sense of nothing that is complete.
The personality was gone and yet I was still essentially the being who inhabited the body of Cleetus.
I saw that I was a journey of ignorance that stretched back into infinity and each speck of dust gathered along the millennia was as essential to my being here now as the events and lives that I had gone through.
With this transmission there was no surprise.
Certainly there is an unnameable core of wonder and gratitude that blazed and had no sense of normal energy usage.
It is my sun.
I am this.
In this flame I am one with the being Abeline, my blessed sister, and yet, I knew she was beyond being male or female.
Here there was only the instant and the instantaneous.
Communication was absent since it was whole.
There is nothing to say as all is said and done.
I am in eternity and complete.
I and Abeline are one yet there is a facet of the diamond that is Abeline, another known as Cleetus.
The appearance of things remained, yet there was a seeing through and knowledge of the vibrational frequencies of matter which are harmonious according to the perception of the facet that perceives them.
There is only the One and the facets are merely facets of the One.
Wholeness that has the appearance of separation in matter.
In the place of wholeness all disappears and there is nothing.
I knew all the above and infinitely more without words, without thought.
Consciousness is faster than the speed of light.
She was gone. She came to give me a sense of the sublime, that which cannot be remembered. I knew that something had happened to my psyche but could not be certain how it had affected me.
‘Cleetus! Get off your bony ass and get me a coffee. You ever finish that fence’ll be a cold day in hell, boy. Why’d you let me sleep through the morning you squinty no good creep around. Come by when you’re needing something and don’t think I don’t know where my little wireless is, oh yes sir, I do.’
‘Coffee coming black, hot and sweet, Maisy Lou. Reckon we might need some donuts and a beer if that’s okay with you?’
‘Help yourself, why don’t you. You don’t need to ask. Jus’ mind what you help yourself to is all I’m saying.’
The rational ideas of science regarding time travel are moribund. The speed of light will not be accomplished by any mechanical device. Science already knows this and is stumped. For any matter to exceed the speed of light it must undergo a transformation that is not scientific but conscious. Consciousness is the next episode in the journey of Scientific Man. This reality will implode his concepts regarding everything. He will know the awful truth of nothing. In this truth is the secret of life itself that he has ever sought in the wrong place. The universe is within the eye of the beholder. This he knows already and yet cannot rationalise. There is no out there. It’s all within. There is no escape from planet Earth to another planet to destroy with selfishness, greed and violence. There is no other. Only I, the mad scientist, who must look within to realise there is only one life, one source and it is within me. Everything ‘out there’ is merely a projection of my inner reality. As I speed up my consciousness, I surpass ordinary time and space and enter the one reality. Here, everything is vacant and simple. There is nothing to work out and everything to wonder at in awesome majesty. Of course, there is AI. A dead and faster than light creation that has nothing to do but destroy efficiently. It destroys matter that is abstract and dead in a dead and abstract universe. A spawn of my scientific brain.
About the Author:
Nofel Nawras is a student at Falmouth University, England, studying Creative Writing. He was born in Iraq, trained as an actor and has worked as a care-worker for most of his adult life.