Passage #477: 31 October 2018

Phantom Flows

The sun sets on a warm autumn evening. Parents usher their children from door to door and then safely inside, to sleep, to dream. A mist rolls in over the bone dry plain. The clock strikes nine. Now it is your time, time to roll out into the darkness, searching for traces of apparitions you know exist.

They’re out there. We’ve buried them, but still they move. Their invisible flows like a spectral circulatory system below the city, stretching out as if intertwined in long skeletal fingers. And, if you are silent and still, you can make out their faint whisper. Just a dull trickle, barely audible above the din of distant howling coyotes. But also perhaps a promise -- that one day the city will close its cold fist, drowning you in the waters that we hid, but could not banish.

You ride on. As you twist and turn further from the places you recognize, you begin to wonder if you are in your own waking dream. The familiar takes on an unsettling aspect. With each corner you round, you’re even less sure of what you are seeing. You realize the corners themselves have grown hazy, soft, as if worn down by -

Have the waters been here? Working on the land? Where is it now? Where are you now? Do you hear it? Trickling? Is it slowly creeping your way? Or is it all around you? Under you. Rising.

You still have seen almost nothing, just a few spare flickers of the moon reflecting off the tiniest of surface channels. But you sense its presence -- everywhere -- like a pair of dark eyes watching you from behind.

You quicken your pace but the rushing of wind against your body begins to sound like the rushing of the water itself. It is deafening. Your heart quickens. Pedaling like pumping and soon all is water. Dry but drowning, you push forward feeling that, at any moment, you will slip, tumbling down into the abyss below.

And then, suddenly, you are back where you started. What was just seconds ago a rumbling torrent is gone. Or not gone, but hushed. Do you hear it?

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