Blood On The Moon – Part 3

Days seemed to slide by quickly, and my memory ebbed and pulsed, much like the sun. At times images from the past were clear and vivid in my mind, at other times they were jumbled and confused, even strange and surreal on occasion. I vaguely recalled that I had journeyed to Odessa in search of family as soon as the sun stopped scorching the earth. The scorching lasted for about three and a half days, I think. I lost track of time as I sat in the cave caressed by a never-ending silence that touched my flesh and chilled me to the soul. The sweat poured from my body throughout those days, as the temperature soared. I thought surely I would be roasted within the depths of the granite tomb where I’d hidden from the end of the world. When I emerged, my clothes and body hair were gone. I was as smooth as baby’s skin from head to toe. I remained so in the days that followed.

The lack of clothing quickly proved to be of no consequence. It was immediately obvious that the need for modesty was gone. And everything, without moisture, was powder. Trees would disintegrate at my touch. Asphalt roads were gray strips of dust winding through barren hills. No wind stirred. Stillness and silence were complete. My movements were all. It is dust and ashes. I thought… no… I knew the world was dead.

Dust to dust… ashes to ashes.

Odessa was gone. The entire Permian Basin was gone. Where it should have been, I found a gaping hole in the earth. I stood on the east side of the canyon and stared across its enormity to a sheer wall that stretched as far as I could see to the north and south. The pit appeared to be without bottom, and in the twilight that was both night and day, it was unclear to me where the land stopped and the abyss began. I stood a distance away, not caring to step into a deeper unknown. I don’t know if the wall on my side was as sheer as the one on the east. It didn’t matter really. I said a prayer for my mother and the rest of my family that had lived in the Basin. Their lives had centered on the black crude, which in my mind was the reason for the chasm that now stretched across the whole of west Texas. I theorized that when the moisture was pulled from the underground store of black soup, the rest turned to powder, and somehow the entire landmass was sucked into a dusty black grave. A deep grave. I wondered how deep it was…. and how hot. I don’t know if it was my imagination playing tricks on me, or simply my mind slipping a bit further into the dark loneliness of my situation, but nonetheless I thought I felt a puff of warm air wash across me, coming from the depths of the chasm. With no hesitation, I turned and walked quickly away.

When I’d put some distance between myself and the gaping hole, I began to walk slowly, thinking I should conserve energy. My destination was the once thriving capitol city of Texas, but I wasn’t sure why I wanted to go there. I guess it was home, if there was still such a thing. My thoughts wandered. At times, the want for water would assail my senses. My mouth would suddenly become parched and dry and I would envision rivers of cool, rippling water cascading over shimmering sun-bathed granite boulders. I wondered if things should grow any drier, would my tongue, would I…. turn to dust. I stopped. In my mind I could hear the water splash and gurgle as it rushed toward the Gulf of Mexico. My eyes closed and I dwelt upon on the sound. I seemed to sway side to side—it was as if the world were lolling this way and that—then I drifted into a mindless, thoughtless night…. and slept where I stood.  To be continued…

1 Comment »

  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    You’re making me thirsty!

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