The light summer evening rain faded after a couple of minutes. I walked for quite a while along the edge of a long ridge as I admired the vista that was unfolding in front of me.
The air pressure seemed to plummet.
The horizon’s colors evaporated and the air slowed. The lazy blue sky darkened as the lighter clouds coalesced into ribbons of black. Insects ceased their instinctive chatter. For a brief moment, I could hear the faint murmur of what sounded like thousands of voices. Though I could see no one, something on the horizon was watching me.
Whatever it might be sensed that I was observing it and the voices immediately ceased. I could feel it shift to make its approach. My hair didn’t stand on end but I felt like falling to the damp ground. My stomach gurgled and my neck constricted like it often does at that moment immediately prior to nausea. “It” slowed as it crossed the flat valley, stopping near a large solitary tree. As it hovered, the tree lost form and its living leaves began to swirl and shimmer as if they had become thousands of imperceptible insects. The nothingness of the ‘it’ enveloped the tree and began to coalesce along the fertile ground.
Oddly, I stood my ground, my curiosity in defiance to self-preservation. After decades of walking the earth, it seemed as if the worst truth would still be a comfort to me.
“Not today,” a quiet voice whispered, literally in the air.
My chest compressed as ‘it’ passed over me and through me. I could feel the interminable nature of it as it passed.
After it went, I stood motionless, watching the sky infuse with sapphire hues again.
As I stepped toward the place where the tree once stood, the insects began to chirp and hum again.
My pace quickened. I knew that all my steps were now counted and measured.