still in the fury

He was thinking of getting up. Just that. The hardest of things done at certain times. Just getting up. It needed doing…”


by j.j. deceglie


He had the tepid earth in his mouth. Could feel it crunch among his teeth when he squeezed his jawbone with the hurting. Spat it out as best he could. There was dust with his breath. His face was lain groundward and he could feel the warm reach of blood between his skin and clothes all over. Left shoulder was bust. He’d landed on it flush and the crack was especially distinct.

you cant speak to a man lacking any vision, they have no reverie, no glory, they glimpse merely today, sometimes not even

It was a fight so as not to faint. Drifting to nowhere in the heat. A vague nomad dodging the demons grasping at the scruff of his neck. He grit through.

Boy it was a dumbass conclusion to shimmy the horse downward that way. It was dumb and it was his. Laying there, intellect spiralling, he took full accountability for it. Absolutely he did. He could see the horse further on down the slope. It had ceased since the spill. Wouldn’t even attempt getting up and it was making that noise he’d known previous. Same moan a man made. Nah the horse was done for. Maybe I am too. Least twenty miles to where I’m headed, ten from where I come. Son of a damned bitch.

being absent was the truthful movement, even with this, even with it

The sun was warbling hard and fast, slicing through the clean lit air like a switchblade. He spat again. Lifted his head then dropped it swift. His face burnt stinging from the graze covering its entire left side. He was thinking of getting up. Just that. The hardest of things done at certain times. Just getting up. It needed doing.

by god boy do it, poke the bastard in the eye, this is something, just this

He heaved over, from hurt side angled into the blazing dirt to flat on his back. The sun pummelled his countenance. He loved that horse. Sat up in a painful lurching. Stood up in additional ache. He could not believe the assbackwards decision process he’d endured from himself and then come by. Saving maybe a half hour, plain rash. Stupid. He scolded himself repeatedly. Almost teared up.

He squinted upward to stop it and caught the star in his eyes fully; by God that sun was a bitch.

you even really here, I bet not

He moved to the horse. Not too close. Not yet. You can spook them when they’re that way. Bone and hide and blood. It was compound, clean out in the air. Flies mulling over the wound as if a black crowded tumour. The horse was a goner. A ghost. It’s eyes rolled with the pain and it was sweating and foaming up a lather. It wasn’t getting up. Not now. Not ever. He ran it every which way. The horse was dead no matter. It was useless with a break like that. Son of bitch, he’d have to put a bullet in him. Best horse he’d ever had or known. Only companion he’d had since he’d left that place. His shoulder ached like it was messed pretty well. This was some bullshit.

subsequent speculations, this ain’t even a failure yet, being there was, being without being can only be thus

You choose things. This planet swings a certain way. With it. Against it. Sometimes feels like it just ignores it. He’d gone that way. Picked it out. Chosen it solely from this planet. A slope betwixt paths. It had something to do with his father.

Well what then?

Well probably cause he’d have never taken his ass down that way. Not ever.

you did

you chose

well done

Now you gotta shoot your fucking horse and find your damned way.

The light through the trees scattered on the red dirt like a thousand windows shattering. Wind blew gusts like a furnace tearing apart. He couldn’t look at the horse when he pulled the trigger. Couldn’t comfort it beforehand. Somehow blood sprayed up his arm. Left a scarlet mist in the air a second. He breathed it in and choked somewhat. Started saying a prayer and lost himself half way through. There was too much thinking to be done. Too much. And thinking always got you.

His father had said that that was his setback. His dilemma. He wasn’t like other people. His inclinations were all built wrong.

He sat against the carcass.

Wept some.

He wanted to go home.

Cringed at his cowardice.

Wasn’t this something.

Wasn’t their meaning.

The sunset lit the waist high tranquil blonde grass lilac.

never felt flawed

not ever

Stars were being birthed faint in the sky. Light left and dark came. He watched it.

no such thing, not now,

or ever

He camped the night. Shoulder hurting.

Started the twenty miles in the other direction at sunup.

Originally published:
Issue Fifty-Three
November 2008


(illustrations: john richen)

JJ DeCeglie is from Fremantle, West Australia.  Published in Paris, the US, UK and Australia, he is the author of the underground novel the sea is not yet full.


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