Purcell slouched beneath a dark cloud and his yellow parasol. The cloud was rippled long like a lion’s rib cage. The cloud breathes, he thought. Then he thought of his own breath and how it had been thinning like his memories of his mother.
Purcell punched two holes in the air. The holes howled deeply—a finger beneath the hammer, a drunken child—echoing inside themselves, pink wormholes, membranes vibrating all the way to the cloud’s stomach. The cloud breathes. The cloud chokes.
Two men, pale and hairless, approached, languidly, from the south, their boots gasping suck in the mud. Purcell closed his parasol and then leaned it against a skinny birch tree, its bark curled like old paper. The first man stopped. The second man’s eyes watched the mud, ropes of brown clinging to his soles. His face struck the shoulder of the first man, popping the cartilage in his nose like an engorged knuckle.
Purcell: She’s gone.
Man one: Come.
Man two: (silence)
Purcell picked up his parasol and then twirled it, humming. It flashed open, a yellow dome like translucent, nocturnal wings cupped over the clapboard beneath a lantern. The veins of the parasol rushed with blood, then broke open when Purcell drove the parasol into the ground. The yellow dome folded over, spraying red until empty.
Purcell: Reason is gone.
Man one: (wiping blood from his cheeks) Come.
Man two: (silence, maybe shyness)
Purcell’s wormholes quivered, seasick, mouths wet noodles. Their length pulsed, tubular, all the way to the dark cloud.
Purcell: (silent, watching)
Man one: (watching, silent)
Man two: (teeth chattering) FUCK.
Man two bent, breaking his posture to unbuckle his trousers. His spine curved, his back a momentary shield for his heart and genitals, protecting him from the heavens. He freed himself and then straightened, exposed.
Man two: FUCK FUCK FUCK.
He lunged at Purcell, blood blind and driven by a crushed call of pro-creation, believing, fully, in the light switch of spontaneous mutation. His divining rod flicked as the scent of Purcell’s early cunt climbed the meat of his swollen nostrils.
Purcell held his ground, waiting.
A stampede of bison, a wave of sweltering black, spilled over the hill, hoofs raping the earth, casting aside sod like urine soaked panties or timid housewives. The vibration split the land, a crumbling maw into which crows pounded and trees toppled.
Man two: FUCK. (then swallowed)
Man one: GO. (bowing, then swallowed)
Purcell fisted the wormholes, clumsy to begin:
fiST fffisT FFFIST FFFFFF.
Then with confidence as his forearms learned lubrication:
FIST FIST FIST FIST.
The wormholes glowed white, kinetic, their connection to the belly of the cloud uninterrupted despite Purcell’s fist-induced undulations.
Purcell: I want. I want. I want.
The cloud: ROAR.
The bison: THUD THUD THUD.
The yellow parasol: (spinning, naive)
Purcell wheezed laughter until his body was pulverized. His hands were severed at the wrists and then vacuumed, meeting in the sultry womb high above.
The ripple in the cloud smoothed, a warm palm over summer sheets, and then the belly of the cloud distended.
Inside: kicking, clapping, an aqueous affair of saline memory, and a sober child burping supernovas.