In Some Strange Storm
by winter baby

Close your eyes. Remember sunlight -- brilliant, obliterating sunlight -- and know that such a thing as warmth once existed for you. Don't forget this feeling. Hold onto it. This is as close to escaping as you're ever going to get.

It used to rain when you walked through the streets -- warm, fat drops sliding off the end of your nose, muddying your bare feet -- but then you grew too old to run through the bayou without shoes, like a poor man's child. Instead you met Vera behind the post office every time it rained with the sun still out. Vera, with her pinned-up hair, lips a brighter red than crimson, long legs in nylon stockings. You thought this was what it meant to be grown up. Her flesh in your hands, your knees scraping up against the brick wall, the buttons on her dress torn off accidentally by clumsy, overeager fingers. She'd hiss, Careful, Gene, and your apology would come out in pants, I love you, je t'aime, I love you.

Was that a lie?

Open your eyes. Necessity calls for it. This is a cold like you've never known before. It's the kind of cold that seeps through the soil and into your back as you try to fall asleep in your foxhole. It's the one that cuts all the way through to the bone and freezes you all over. You wouldn't have signed up if you had known that such a cold could even exist. Nobody told you it would be like this. Nobody told you about the snow.

Go where you are needed. Press the bandage down on Gordon's chest, hard, like they taught you. This will save his life, they had said, back when you still believed them. His blood is warm; this man is a vessel of heat. Your fingers burn momentarily at the contact, but then the blood is lost to the snow. Wonder if that heat can ever be regained. Doubt it. Doubt yourself.

A shell explodes behind you. Stumble. Fall. Catch yourself. It wouldn't do anybody any good if you got hurt. Gordon is too heavy and the jeep is too far. Think that at this moment, there is no greater distance. The ground beneath you rumbling, the snow and trees exploding with each step, Lipton at your side holding on when you need him to let go. Let go.

Look at the body in your arms. His lips are parted to the sky and he might be praying. Say: You'll be all right, Gordon.

That's the lie.

He turns his eyes to you like you'll be the one to save him. Never meet his gaze.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix