Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chapter 1, Post 5: The Man Who Does Not Exist

Tearing his eyes away, his hard and muscled paw reached beneath the aged buckskin that clung to him like a second skin, and removed a worn leather journal. When new, the journal’s cover had been the lively red of raspberries boiled down into jam, but it had paled, bleached by time to a dishwater sunset. The patina of faded color, grooved and bare where the leather had flaked away, gave it an appearance so ancient it looked as if God Himself had handed it down from the mountain.

He perched on the flat of a nearby rock and secured the pages against the wind’s growing wails. All this he did automatically, the movements as rehearsed as a trick roper in a Wild West carnival.

He turned page after page, passing a menagerie of emotional bric-a-brac: Dog-eared notes scribbled in margins and corners. Frayed newspaper clippings the color of clotted buttermilk and tattooed by cheap typeset. A Bible verse prescribing death and damnation scrawled in such poor hand that it seemed only fear of Satan himself could instill such haste. A pressed blossom, as likely a red rose as a white daisy, so decayed it was little more than dust motes clinging together to form the memory of a flower. It was a lifetime of memories. It was far more. And yet, if the man noticed any of it, he made no sign.

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