Cabinet of Heed (Online) February 2018
Coyote only comes to town once or maybe twice during the tundra months, dragging his game leg and leaving an odd print in the deep snow down by the place where the gray silent river turns toward the north. He’s tired of the hard-won slim pickings starvation diet he scratches out from under the hard-packed snow cover. He’s fed up with putting out a full day’s labor for a three-minute reward.
This time when Coyote comes to town he’s looking for a little something extra; something a cold and half-starved beast can take his time sinking his teeth into. He’ll be out there, relaxed and happy, well-dressed, late at night, smiling and coaxing some sweet piece of easy prey into his waiting snare. Few can resist him or, once he turns on the charm, even want to.
Back in the forest, Coyote always had to take whatever he needed by force. There was neither time nor need for either stealth or finesse. Survival suffered no flourish, no filigree. But here, under the protective eaves of balsam and hemlock, inside the sheltering windbreak of the common town, Coyote could afford the luxury of laying-in-wait, the methodical stalk before the inevitable pounce.
It was weeks before the corpses began to accumulate; weeks before his grisly handiwork became apparent; before the bloodstained snowdrifts, driven by wind, gave up their horrible secrets.
There was massive carnage before anyone even knew that Coyote had come to town.
Monday, February 05, 2018
Months To Years (Online / Print) February 2018
Half of these people are already half dead he thinks, watching them watch each other stare out the tall plate glass of the hospital’s east pavilion solarium into the rapidly fading mid-March sunset; the other half is already further gone than that, but remain resolutely unwilling or merely incapable of simply accepting facts.
He goes down two levels in the oncology elevator and sits silently with the waiters and worriers, sees how long he can hold his breath waiting for a specialist to find and read a chart, to suggest a cure or announce an imminent demise, or to otherwise free him from his tedium and chafe. Here, at least, two levels down, where the truth is at last both known and spoken, there is far less opportunity for being blinded by the false light from above, as there is no such light to be found. Here, at least, everyone knows.
There are, he knows, many other rooms; many other even lower levels, most with even far less light. This he knows with certainty. Armed with this awareness, he contents himself with his current level of twilight.