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The Flood – Feb. 11

The Flood

by Shane Jesse Christmass

Audette took a bite out of the hamburger, placed it on top of a stack of magazines on the
bedside drawer. He laid his head down to doze knowing all the wars wouldn’t end
tonight. His flat was stuffy so he’d wedged open the window. A wind walked through.

As he lay there something filtered down across the centuries like it was a killer of
illumination. Audette felt afraid for his life. He knew there was nothing shriller than
being afraid.

He lay on his left side, lying on top of his left arm. He put his right fist under his chin. He
nestled it there tight. The world conjured like a fake. Audette then knew they’d placed
baubles where his eyes use to be.

Audette started to crack off into slumber. His body became drowsy, pliable like plant-life.
Suddenly the corners of the bed shook, Audette snapped from sleep. He was holding
something in his right fist, nuzzled up tight under his chin. It was a pistol, a tightly-coiled
pistol that was ready to go off at the first tremor.

Again the bed quivered heavily, Audette’s body jolted. Sturdy the pulsations came,
Audette’s finger, which was on the trigger flicked, he jarred the chamber, the bullet fired
up, out, down the snub-nose, into the fleshy craw of Audette’s chin, through the cartilage
of the nose, strewing mucus, brain, skull upon the bed-head, the wall.

Audette spasmed thickly. He was half-dead, blood seeped from what was left of his mind.
From his groin down to his feet he twitched.

Audette hurt so much; his molecules were outstretched to the night. With his death, with
half a brain, Audette started to grow away from the Earth into a vacuum. The arms of his
lifeless body flayed about. What was left of him started to push through the bed sheets
and soil, further away from the infamous Earth, further away from the constraints, further
into an open gulch, a golden gulch of rhapsody.

Audette wasn’t in his flat anymore. He wasn’t on his bed. He was high up, overlooking a
point in the river, high up, north from the river mouth, just up from the harbour.

He was peddling a bicycle. Richelle was sitting on the handlebars. Audette had been
riding her around the backblocks, around a hill, past the sugar refinery and now Audette
was cycling down to what was left of the rocky bay.

He wasn’t dead.

He was alive.

He was never dead.

It had been a horrible mistake.

The whole time he’d been here, having a great time with Richelle.

He wasn’t sprawled out exhausted, nursing a pistol under his jaw-line. What grandiose
daydream was that?

Audette thought Richelle looked fantastic in her short skirt as she slid off the handlebars.

Audette wheeled the bike over to the edge of the road, laid it on the grass.

“Hey Richelle, let’s go up there.”

“What’s there?” she replied.

“I’ll show you something.” Audette mentioned, perking up. “You’ll like it.”

The road lay behind them. It was a straight road, on a hill, a little rise. At the top of the
rise was a block of flats. Behind the block of flats was a backyard, then a wire fence, then
a stretch of land before it dropped off onto the cliffs of the bay. As they walked Audette
looked at the trees up there. Richelle made her way up the track, noticing the way people
had punched out the ground with their footsteps.

They walked the to the back of the flats. Night had come in upon them. They walked
under one of the trees. They entered under the foliage of green. Audette showed Richelle
what he wanted her to find.

“It’s breath-taking.” Richelle mentioned.

“That’s what I thought. I mean when I found it. It’s truly great isn’t it?” Audette replied

They sat down. Ages ago someone had constructed a wooden bench and placed it under
the canopy of trees. They watched, and with the light from the street at their backs, they
sized up the clutches of beloved stars.

It wasn’t an ordinary setting, nor was it a bullet-driven mess either. What they were
watching was ripped from pages, ravaged from the wreck of the human origin, wrestled
from the centre of an essence that had been roped in by violent centuries.

Off, on the far reaches of the horizon was the city, a true speck, an insignificant city. It
had been everlasting on a fixed set of suffering for years.

A crest of sea eagles hovered, then glided from the other side of the cove. Audette
watched them, realising he was granted to be here, granted by grieving fibbers who gave
him the themes of terror that inhibited him.

He became cold thinking about it. He knew he was positioned between thieves and the
hammers of archangels. It was a disgrace.

They had riveted Audette with nails, thorns, petals, then once they’d left him they
returned to him these themes of terror reborn.

“I got something else I want to show you?” Audette gravely spoke.

“What is it?” Richelle asked.

“It’s underground. Way underground.”

Audette led Richelle down a pathway to the shoreline of the bay. It was a pathway
formed from years of footsteps, cigarette ash. There were limestone rocks they had to
climb over to get to the water’s edge. The ligatures, the beams of their bodies pushed
them over the rocks. Richelle’s arms were outstretched. The night was this, a tendency to
grow it sick.

Audette walked to the shore of the river, reaching down he cupped water into his palm. It
didn’t feel natural to want to drink it, but Audette did. It curdled in his mouth. The gulls
rose above him in the sky. The seagulls pended their essence to the moon, the moon-lit
clouds.

“What you want to show me?” Richelle asked Audette.

Audette turned around toward to her. He tried to extract one second of something
sensuous before he spoke.

“It’s that.” He mentioned as he pointed behind her.

Richelle turned around. Behind her was the opening to a cave.

It wasn’t some indentation to the rock face that sucked you in one metre, but a real
cavernous place full of darkness, guilt.

Richelle entered the cave. She reached her arms up over her head, further up through the
rock, the soil above her.

“Go deeper into it.” Audette implored her as he started to follow.

Audette looked at the back of Richelle’s calves. They glistened like heads shined in steel,
then coagulated into solder.

It took Audette’s eyes a few seconds to condition them to the darkness inside the cave.
Audette looked at Richelle, she was giving off a greyish light, like she was gilded in a
barrage of mercury, inebriated vapours.

There was rubbish on the ground, the refuse of where someone had previously lit a fire.
Audette reached down, in the dark he could feel newspaper, ash-felt stones. Audette
stood up again.

“So what do you think?” he asked Richelle.

“It’s amazing.” Richelle replied.

It was then, at that moment, that Audette realised he needed to ask her. In that moment,
that instance, in whatever fumbling eloquence, now was the time.

Audette reached down, picking up a large, paving rock.

“Richelle! Quick, follow me, Follow, follow me to the water!

Audette’s brain flicked out in shudder. He was draped in chasms, forcible nuisance.
He leapt from the cave, out into the night. He dropped the stone down into the damp
sand. He dropped to his knees with thievery, skill. Audette demanded the world to give
him thievery, skill. He demanded the world to clarify him in the light that was sliding
down from the sky. Audette was determined to get appeasement.

Audette lay on his side, starting to slam his head down into the rock he’d pulled from the
cave. Richelle lurched toward him, attempting to make him stop, but Audette was
determined to get Richelle to do something else.

“Stop it!” Richelle sobbed.

Blood leaked to the surface above Audette’s left eye. Audette thumped his head back
down, over, over, over, above, above as below.

Every bloody image was now powdered in enlightenment. Audette felt great.

“Kill me!” he screamed at Richelle. “I’ve always wanted you to kill me!”

Richelle leaned over Audette, wiping blood, debris from his forehead. She didn’t
understand.

“Kill me!” Audette screamed.

Then it happened, like an arcane symbol that had crashed from the desert, like a wall
opening up, the water from the river came crashing around Audette’s limbs. His blood
mixed with the water, the water splashed onto Richelle’s thigh, fish flapped their gills,
white plastic bags, ice cream containers, other waste from the waterway washed in.
Mould stained Audette’s knees, the backwash of the river tore from the shoreline.
Audette grabbed hold of a rock, but the force of the tide upended the rock from his hand.
Richelle rushed to safety, further back, toward the cave.

Waves started to crash upon Audette. He was a heap stuck to a rock; noxious visitors
weaved into his lung. He let go off the rock; he pulled into the tide, beyond emotion, on a
moment bathed in human milk, slime, solid muck.

Audette let his scream fly, every scream that had been sent forth before, every scream
that had been held down, that had been waiting for a moment like this.

He could barely see Richelle back on the shoreline now.

He was a hopeless cause.

The water dripped into his lungs, hot water that had spent years condensing the blessed,
bare heart of it all.

Audette was falling back toward the start of madness, toward the start of the universe.

It was his endtime, not the end of an empire or a temple, but the endtime of anything
euphoric within his body.

Audette groped about in the river, he was in the dark, still entwined within his newfound
light. It was a shifting light, shredding freedom into Audette’s self, wedging apart false
notion, prejudice.

Audette slid under the water. He rolled under, out from his throat, gurgling, choking,
drinking away all the thuggery. The flog of deception moved down upon him.

“Kill me! I’ve always wanted you to kill me!” he winced.

He came apart, exhuming himself into the sand bed.

“Kill me!”

Audette fell onto the sand bed, onto a rib of wet twigs.

His head exploded onto the wall above the bed.

He saw himself on the bed, casting away skin, moving through nonsense. He watched himself raise his hand. He moved his hand into the cavity that the bullet had shattered in
his skull.

The dying stars, the dying body exploded in blood and cobalt. Audette’s hand dipped,
deftly touching what was left of his brain.

“Richelle!” he yelled one last time.

He twitched on the bed.

Horror-struck.

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