The Tale of the Serpent
The bus crunched and bumped over the severed body parts, skulls, and whatever else lay underneath the waves. Its spray sent some of the smaller limbs and other pieces of flesh clambering onto the side walk and bouncing off the greasy, drooping shop fronts in sickening splats. Never mind graffiti, the splatter work was amazing. If Pollock was here he'd renounce his career. Maybe this is where he got his inspiration.
As we cruised through the choppy currents swirling in the cement and the all the refuse, I couldn't help but notice the queer way that the road spun and circled, meandering in serpentine coils. It was hurling strangely in loops and coils, strangling one building and constricting others. Long liquid flares rose up and curled around lamp posts and shops. It seemed to avoid the ICE teams and their armored vehicles, and in fact it seemed to be consciously aiding them by whipping and choking pedestrians without discrimination. Burning tendrils snapping up, licking and scorching them with a magma tongue and then wrapping up an arm or leg, anything it can catch and dragging them into its boiling fires.
We passed a figure with a companion. Somehow they had managed to avoid the chaos and the ICE check points of the preceding blocks. It seems like this city, the only population is a foreign one, but then again, at some point that is true of any city and any country north of Africa. The figure was only a little bigger than their companion and the companion only a little smaller than the figure. You could tell they were close, lovers maybe. At least at one time, they must have been.
Flooding in, it comes in waves of light and colour washing over the sky in streamers of magenta and mauve. The grass we were sitting in was vibrant green and kissed with jewels of dew on the fat side of the blades, which were tall and a little unkempt. It was a warm spring day with the undercurrent of a fresh cool breeze. I unrolled a blanket for us to sit on and get a little more comfortable. Jacob grabbed the backpack in which we had packed a few bottles of wine and some cheese and crackers. I realized how clichéd this would look to anyone who could see us in our private patch among the trees. I loved the idea of a French romance, even putting on a terrible French accent that Jacob asked me to lose when the humour wore off. I was only a little hurt by that. We chatted for a while, drank the wine and ate the cheese and crackers. I pretended we were on the banks of the Rhine. Jacob always found my flights of fancy amusing. He was a colleague of mine and seemed to be a little more in sync with me at times than anyone else. I loved him for that, but I didn't love him. I can see this clearer now than any other memory I have, curious isn't it...
We finished our second bottle and of course the conversation took a turn as it often does when your inhibitions are gone, having been blurred or erased by alcohol. We talked about him and how that was going. Jacob wanted to know peculiarly intimate things about he and I. What mornings were like and if we binged shows together and if so, how. I didn't think much of it at the time, no matter how private he got. I was letting the fantasy and romance carry me through and boy was it easy. He had been away on business and was far too often away. He had much more stress and far less humour, especially as we had gotten on together in years. I guess I needed a way out, I needed to express some of my longing, my desires and this couldn't have been more perfect. I felt the shock of static as we had been casually inching closer to one another on the blanket. The day's heat was rising, either that or it was us, but boy was it hot. He put a hand on my thigh, swirled it around, gave a light squeeze and I melted. I shoved my lips onto his hard. Then forced my tongue to part them. He met my tongue with his circling it around mine. I could feel the hair on my neck prickle and arch with my back as his tongue meandered around my mouth and mine his. We rolled over interlocking our legs, each of us taking a turn of dominance. It was wonderful. We went on this way for a while before my thoughts turned back to him. I wondered, had he ever had the urge? Was I enough for him? I withdrew a little as an ugly little creature wormed its way in through an unseen hole in my breast. The fruit was going to rot and I was the one that left it out in the heat too long.
"Everything okay?" He asked with a tenderness I'd never been given.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm fine." I replied trying to give nothing away and knew I was failing.
"We don't have to... you know..." He said.
"I know." I replied. His kindness and willingness to stop, to sympathize with my position overwhelmed me in my stupor so that I reached out and palmed the sides of his head gently pulling to me. I kissed him and unbuttoned his shirt, then peeled it off him. Jacob was more fit than he was, or than I was. That wasn't normally what I cared about, or necessarily wanted. He was beautiful. But in this moment, I wanted the firmness of Jacob, the flexibility and the vigour. Jacob was here and he was laughing at my jokes. He was sharing in interests that I hadn't had the pleasure of in a long time. That part took over and it made me want him more. I undid his pants and slipped my hand downwards until it hit the top of his throbbing cock. Pausing to let the weight of it on the back of my hand tantalize. I rolled my hand over and gripped it tight. As I began working him, Jacob responded pressing back harder, breathing heavier. He grappled with me nearly ripping my shirt open and scattering buttons across the blanket and lawn. Suddenly we were both completely naked, the sun baking our mingled bodies as we groped and kissed our way up and down, over every inch of each other, squeezing and rubbing. I don't know if he felt the impact he was having on my relationship, but I was full of strife, yet it didn't really seem to matter. I never wanted to stop and yet that was all I wanted. I couldn't control myself. This had never happened to me before. I was so full of guilt and horror, I felt so ashamed and yet, so unabashedly like I was free. Like I was doing the right thing, soaring. It was glorious, glorious ecstacy to be with Jacob to be in him and he in me. Of course there was the thrill of potentially being caught, of doing something wrong and that was the meteorite that struck the Earth driving every plant and animal extinct, the thing that finally shoved the guilt down and drowned it out. There is nothing like it.
The space that we occupied that day has never shrivelled, the landscapes of our bodies on that sunny day have never dimmed in their vibrant and vivacious colour, nor has time had the power to erase it. That is the blessing and the curse. I have to live with it and it has been the greatest blessing and brought the most ghastly pain.
"Agggk, ugk, haah." The air got thicker and stickier. I found myself making horrific noises trying to clear my throat and breathe. Then I realized that the serpent tales were diminishing and the bus has yet again moved on. Am I awake or asleep. Another dream within a dream? No, just a day dream of something that was and never was to be. My penance for it to resurface on my way to meet him. I sincerely hoped I didn't miss the party. However, as I sat there on the bus I knew I needed to regroup and recover some of my faculty, suppress the memory and get my heart back under control from its wild and sporadic rhythm. I couldn't see him like this. He'd know something was off, he'd see right through me. He always was so perceptive. Especially when it came to me. I suppose he really did love me, despite the change in mood and presence. Always the up-stander, as I've said. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Only some of us a little worse or a little bigger than others. Best not to hold on to them. Still, the jade man. The thought fired through my brain like a hollow-point bullet, hitting and expanding until the recent memory of the jade man was scattered everywhere inside and filling my head with his image and the image of his torture. My guts surged and bloated floating up on a poisonous bile into my heart which pumped guilt through my veins to all parts of me. What was I to do? If that was him, and how do I know for sure; the bone knife.
"Then he is here suffering and its all because of me!"