“I’m not really here, you know?”
I gave her a poke and my finger sunk into her gelatinous arm, grabbing and sucking. My knuckle trembled and then began to dislocate as I tried to resist and retrieve my digit before the hand was lost. I shouted playfully…
…and she giggled. I clicked it back inside the joint and flexed the stiffness away.
We’d been tramping for most of the day. The sun now hung low enough to be level with her head, so whenever I turned to look at her, the Great Giver And Engine Of Life eclipsed the Great Giver And Engine Of Life, but golden. Backlit, her hair writhed like a hungover Medusa, and when she looked straight at me the rays shone through the back of her skull and turned her normal blue eyes into a pair of terrifying silver discs. I looked down at the dead grass we’d been kicking the shit out of for the past mile or so, leaving brittle clouds of dust in our wake.
‘You’re here. I see you. I feeeeeeeel you’
…and for emphasis I drew my sore finger along her fuzzy jawline.
She split her tongue into a ‘V’ and blinked twice. I had a headache. Gravity felt like a fish-eyed lens, drawing everything down to a concentrated point. I looked frantically for the edges before I collapsed standing up and rigid, bound by premature rigormortis and condemned to life as a warning. She held my hand and gave it a squeeze.
She asked me…
“When did God die? And why?”
‘Well… God died because people became scared of death. So rather than find some hope in the end, they preferred to distract themselves entirely from the concept itself.”
…she wrinkled her nose.
‘Actually, concept is probably the wrong word. Death isn’t a concept, it’s… am I boring you?’
She’d let go of my hand and crouched down in the pose of a pre-race sprinter, one leg elongated behind her and her palms splayed flat on the chaff.
“Since you cant’ make your mind up, we’re going to have a race to decide if God exists.”
‘Of course we are…’ I shrugged. It made perfect sense.
“Are you ready? You have literally seconds to get down.”
I scrambled into an adequate pose. I’d barely lifted my arse up for the word ‘GO’ when she took off like a hungry cheetah. We ran at full lick along the lane and I felt a new lightness as though broken free from the heaviness of before. The sun dimmed next to us and retreated back to a safe distance, brimming rays below the horizon. She was in front, kicking up so much dirt and shit into my eyes, I could barely stay with her. We blasted through the end of the lane, our legs broken by the transition from soft earth to hard tarmac. I stumbled forwards, trying to slow myself down bent over on my hands and feet, whilst she cartwheeled in celebration all the way across the road into the forest on the other side. I regained my breath and composure in just enough time to avoid running into a dead tree.
“Mine, I think” she said, dusting her ankles.
‘Which proved what?’
“That I can run faster than you.”
‘No, but okay… and God?’
…she crouched down and emptied her shoes of dried mud and stones.
“Did you see me run? You’re looking at her.”
(in unison, and we both laugh. I can’t really breathe yet but I’m hiding it.)
Later on. The sun is down and the night is a pale grey, seemingly determined to not sleep and not allow anyone else to sleep either. The restless Earth vibrates around us and there is Bad Energy. Everyone and everything feels aggressive. The heavy gravity now balloons my arms and fists, my feet and knees, and I feel like I could punch holes in a cathedral or kick a marble tomb into talcum powder. This is all useful because we’ve been stopped on our way home by menaces to society, demanding our jewels and electronics. It’s three against two, but I am fighting alongside God and I feel emboldened. These three opportunists are lairy. They don’t want us to meekly hand over our belongings. This is about more than money. They want resistance. They want to lean. They want malevolence. A good slapping before a good fucking. But they’ve come far too early. They’ve gone straight for the mouth and not bargained on such quality. Now they are post-ecstactic, but their empty balls are now transferring all blood and energy to refill and none to stiffening the appropriate organs. I can see their hands beginning to tremble. Soon the rest of them will follow.
I’ve got one pinned against a wall. I’ve deflected a punch and in the same motion headbutted him just below the bridge of the nose. I feel the satisfaction of my forehead sinking into matchsticks as his orbital shatters. His blood mingles on my cheeks like evil tears. As he’s covering his face the first gutteral sobs are struggling from a throat now running double duty, trying to scream out and bring oxygen in. I’ve planted a knee deep into his thigh to the bone and he’s sinking to the ground. Now I’m kicking, and kicking, and kicking, moving on from parts of his body when they go soft and instead looking for the firmer ground.
At some point during this I’ve looked over to her. My brutal assault seems crude and unneccesary. Her attack is balletic, elegant. I notice both her victims are not bleeding, but neither of them can walk. One of them is desperately trying to lift up his trouser legs to check what is still there. Nothing is working. I look down at my punchbag, all crossed up, hunched and ugly. Arms folded over each other, legs not symmetrical, the head streaked with blood and hair. I crouch down and use a piece of his shirt to try and clean him up a bit. He shrinks away from me. I tell him softly to relax, I haven’t got a knife, I just want to help. He allows me to wipe his cheeks, but underneath the blood are the red welts of damaged tissue. When I push too hard, I can feel bones moving underneath and I feel sick. He is trembling. If he had teeth, they’d be chattering. Instead, blood bubbles up from his lacerated gums. Some of it is laced with purple streaks, internal fluids. Oh dear. I have a sudden urge to wash his hair.
I look over to her again and now she’s standing perfectly still, pulling her hair back and tying it with ribbon. Two men are lying at her feet, partially absorbed into the ground and sleeping peacefully without a mark on their visible flesh, laid out like starfish. She walks over to me and smiles, then looks down at my bundle and back to me with faint digust.
‘I’ve got whole worlds, in my hands’, I sing.
I’m lying on my back next to her, forming a square with my hands and looking up to the night sky. Framed between my bruised hands are hundreds of stars. After the violence, the night calmed down and returned to black. Everything is sleeping, even sleep itself. We are the only two things awake. Living or dead, real or conceptual. Just me and God and hundreds of worlds.