Friday, July 29, 2011

The Winnower

Jeremy touched a wilted flower.  It blossomed and he sneezed.  The petals looked undamaged and well nourished.  Jeremy found his eyes and skin a little dryer.  But it didn’t bother him.  There were worse things in the distance.

Screams led him down the block.  Heat grew more intense with every step.  Jeremy continued to unwilt flowers along the way, bringing beauty to a pervasive macabre that had now consumed the sky in black.

Flames began flickering on houses and trees, or they had been already; it was hard to tell.  They mixed with noxious smells, the origin of which Jeremy could not place.  It would have been enough to stop most others in their tracks; Jeremy kept walking.  The city was not far ahead; just another mile.

The trail of new flowers following Jeremy ended abruptly.  Flames consumed them as fast as he absorbed their wounds.  Jeremy stepped onto a winding stretch of broken pavement, mourning the loss.  Cracks forced themselves together as he winced.  There was much work to be done.

Bombs were falling from the sky; bodies strewn, some thrashing in agony.  Jeremy reached his hand out toward the warplanes first.  Their incendiaries dropped, but didn’t fall.  The force had been taken as Jeremy felt an intense spell of vertigo.  He almost lost balance but steadied himself on a still standing fence post.

People were sick.  They needed help.   Jeremy fought his dizziness and aching back.  Legs, arms and heads were gashed; most barely breathing.  He took it all.  The wounds became his own.

Jeremy’s head began to bleed and his breaths slowed.  The people around him came to, not understanding the strange phenomenon.  Some rushed toward to stop Jeremy but felt themselves held back.  The blackness of the sky was turning blue.  Jeremy’s eyes, once green, were gray.

Engines blared; the planes were coming back.  None seemed confident that he could stop them all.  Jeremy, whether he believed or not, looked in the direction of the sound.  Smoke left his entire body in a whirlwind.  The planes approached and hit dead on.  They sputtered, losing all control.

But Jeremy still had more to do.  Burns had scorched the grass and many people’s skin.  Both, found themselves renewed.  But Jeremy had finally taken on too much.  He collapsed.  A young man managed to rush up and catch him before he fell.  Jeremy smiled, though the smoke had rendered him blind.

“Why did you do this all?” The young man asked.

Jeremy could barely speak.  The young man told the others the best that he deciphered from the near inaudible gasps.

“What did he say?” They asked.

“He said… for life.”

It was apparent Jeremy was fading fast.  The healed formed a circle and said a prayer in his last moments.  He was then carried outside the city and laid on resurrected flowers that were more than happy to embrace him.

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