Thursday, September 8, 2016


I Slumber In Moist Soil
By Joseph J. Patchen

The rain thickens, its pace quickens. I hear thunder in the distance.

If only there could only be a thread of lightning to give me a better clue as to where I may be walking. The water and fog have conspired to mask what lies in the distance.

This town, this dot on the map of a state and a neighborhood is all unknown to me. This area appears to be an unspoiled space swallowed into a tiny hole in the fabric of urban planning and design.

I lost cellular service about four miles past after dropping off an empty interstate and I don’t necessarily believe the weather to be the sole culprit. There are no street lamps, signs or signals. No building or structure of any type. And yet there are no corn fields, no farm meadows, or typical empty lots. This isn’t necessarily wilderness despite the trees, grass and assorted wild flowers.

It is as though this place was once populated, thrived, and died only to be stripped and left with dirt, rock and nature’s growth waiting rebirth.

At least four inches of rain so far. So says the radio before my car died. They claim another five will follow before dawn.

What few trees remain sway, wobble and creak in the wind. The squalls slap and I am rethinking that perhaps I should have spent the night in the car waiting for sunrise.

Water is pooling, a great sum though is flowing past my ankles. I have to walk. I ran out of gas. I can’t wait to drown. The water is cold, colder than the stiff gusts.

I ran out of gas. In my entire driving life I have never run out of gas. There were signs and billboards all along the way promising lodging, food and fuel but once off the interstate all I would encounter is emptiness.

I needed to push forward to find something in town to either fuel my car or myself. I just wanted the drive to end. But as I drove more it was apparent to me this wasn’t the rural side of town.

Still the drive ended, without gas.

This is my first time out here and like the idiot I truly am I failed to take the time in preparation to fully map this trip out in advance.

I wasn’t expecting to actually go. I didn’t think my parents would put the screws to me to attend a family reunion of cousins several times removed, in their stead, out in the boondocks two states away.

‘Removed’ is the perfect word. There is nothing here. Not a vegetable stand or a rundown brothel. No train tracks or even a mailbox. Not a falling stone wall or rusted iron fence. Not even a stray piece of litter.

The road though is paved with lines drawn bright and neat which means someone maintains them and appears to have maintained them recently.

I slumber in moist soil
so I shall not decay.
I slide from shadow to shadow
shunning the sun’s rays.

A voice, as if on a constant loop now repeats the verse, in a tone both calm and deliberate that I can only hear only from within. It is a whisper, a mechanical female whisper loud enough to be heard over the roar of wind and falling rain.

A pinpoint sun-like light appears up ahead, neither bobbing nor floating; it is streaking across the sky without a wobble and streaking across the sky straight in my direction.

Almost as if it sees me, it is coming faster; a disc of light, intent on me and as it approaches the size of it continually widens.

This circumference of white stark against the darkness illuminates much of what I have already encountered. In the wake of this light, particularly on its edges, I can see the rain lessening and the barrenness grow.

The wind is dying as well and a high pitched whistle stings my ears.

I don’t how long I have been walking but I haven’t gotten far. It feels as though I have been wading through this water for at least an hour but as I turn back to check my progress, my car is a mere thirty feet away.

The blinkers mock me as the water soaking my legs begins to drain away. I am growing tired, my muscles and tendons are tight. I am confused and fearful. The light is coming up on me and I am trying to push to the side seeking a place to hide.

Within minutes I feel a tap on my back.

I am at the car.

And so is the light.

Focusing the brightness below is a ship; a saucer of immense size hovering several hundred feet above. The light raining down from the hull bathes me, warms me, caresses me and I slowly feel serene and dry.

The same female voice I heard in verse soothes me, congratulating me for aiding the greater good.

I am about to be processed. I am about to be processed for nutrition in the same way this small town has been processed. The occupants of this craft are hungry after a long journey from far away. The minerals contained in my body, in every living body, as well as the structures and possessions we own are vital to their existence.

Water however is not. And the rain that is now ending is merely their waste; a vital nutrient for man and cattle.
I fall to the side into the mud. The processing has begun. I am numb as my body is extracted from my soul, a soul in free fall, a soul at peace, a soul drowning in dirt and filth.

The ship departs with the night.

There is no moon engulfing the stars. There are no layers of shadow on shadow. There is only bright sunshine, a crystal blue cloudless sky and below there is only sweet pain and death.

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