Talking to Water

Alan P. Scott - Fictions

at the boiling point

She walked out to the middle of the lake and knelt, scooping up an armful of green lake water and sculpting it into a seat from which she murmured to the ripples that rose up in front of her to hear her words, words which grew louder until their echoes clamored from the dark pine trees which walled the lake, the trees leaning closer to hear as she stood in her anger, her liquid throne merging again with the dark angry lake water that stood up in spikes in response to her harangue, and the men in the village felt the stirring each in his own salt blood as she preached fever and flame, war and revolution, to the water now boiling at her feet, hapless fish and frogs leaping up to escape the elemental wrath which she called up with her voice, she called for revolt in ringing tones that called forth echoes from the bells in the village churches and rolled back the cannons in the square, that brought down the rifles from farmhouse mantels and brought up the bombs from mad cellars, she spoke up the moon and surrounded it with spray, calling out the moon in the middle of the day, she raised up an army of dirt-fingered farmers and towering waves wrathful and willing to take on the shining city looming over the lake, the lake whose bottom now laid bare the rotting husk of her husband gone, slain these many years before, now standing with the waves beside her son gone not so very long, his still face still before her eyes reflected from his last frightened call to her in her home from his place in the city, where his lover and their nest were being invaded by the hatred of strangers, the face that hovered near her through the long dark nights under the pines until she broke and ran to the lake where her call was heard and her prayers were answered, where she spoke to the water and the water listened, and she called up an army of the mist and misbegotten to march on the homes of the men who would do such evil, who would take her child for the crime of love, the shining city that harbored such darkness at its core; she cries and the waves respond, and the farmers roar and the march begins, and with the unstoppable fury of a wife and mother scorned she strides at the vanguard of her army, while the slumbering city wakes only slowly to its danger, its rumble growing louder as the righteous waves draw near, but the city's only visible response is a single black buzzing dot, a fly in the sky that resolves to a lone helicopter that flutters near and lands unmolested as the woman falters, as the forces hesitate, resolutions waver in the face of sheer arrogance, as the coiffed and cultured agent of the city grins and takes her by the shoulder and murmurs in her ears of points and fees, of licenses and franchises and market share, and when he is done the contract is signed, the helicopter flies, and the water subsides, the riflemen mutter and go home to their wives, and she who talked to the water goes home alone to her house by the lake, though she vows to return as indeed she must, for she has agreed to speak to the water as an annual event.

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