1.2 The Cajun Prayer
To Luckadoo Cove
The Wagoneer was totally silent, save for the rushing of cold country air through a window cracked just enough to vent Graham’s cigarette.
It was eerie. I was the least spiritual of the bunch. Generally taking all our little rites and chemical adventures as so much psychodrama for creative stimulation. Yet the way the gibbous moon hovered above the solitary spire of Foley’s United Methodist Church. The general sleepy stillness of the hollow, like some perpetual dream, was beginning to stir things in my imagination. As we rounded the last ‘civilized’ corner of Foley proper to enter a wooded country road the feeling was compounded.
The still searching faces of my comrades didn’t help matters. There was only one face that showed no fear of magic. It was that of our unexpected guest. Whose implacable thin-lipped smirk would probably outlast the reaper.
Doctor Pierce was with us. He’d made just one single remark in the past quarter-hour. He was clearly of a reserved nature. His eyes were of an indeterminate color. Perhaps hazel but they were absolutely resolute. Chuck’s comment about his age rang true until you glimpsed those eyes. These were old eyes. Ancient with experience, they seemed to drink in everything, and find it daft.
Officer Fabre was following us in his squad car. Not that he needed to. I’d now had my suspicions confirmed. There weren’t many deer with two legs. Neither did deer rifle through ones papers. I did have to give him credit though. He was a stealthy git. I did really attribute all such happenings to inattention and wildlife till a few days ago when I found boot treads round the greenhouse.
I was quiet impressed that after forty-five minutes of plowing through the inky hills we’d heard nothing but the weird cry of an ocassional owl. Normally there was much protestation even from my preternaturally silent ex, that dirty blonde Finnish number, I really missed her quiet energy. She’d gone back home after the last semester. I really do hate family values….
My musings were cut short as they always were by the change of surface. The smooth silence gave way to a quiet sort of crunch as our tires found Kentucky clay.
The woods here were deep and thick. They pressed in closely on either side. There was scarcely room to lean an elbow out the window. The old growth branches vaulted overhead suggesting a foyer. It was as if we were being borne along to some sacred ancient temple.
In some sense I suppose we were. These hills, with their attendant mountains, the valleys and meadows, and woods were positively primordial. especially here where geology chose to become Swiss Cheese. Strange noises did at times carry on the air. This was due to winter wind passing through grid lock caverns like some vast pipers breath through a hoary chanter.
These especially when combined with the subtle rush of subterranean streams made it seem as if a thousand voices were reciting some subtle litany. We had arrived where nature worshiped. The prayer it offered to the glimmering heavens at times answered by the shooting tear of a falling star. It was as if some great god wept with joy at the song of his children.
Yes, this was indeed a temple. I began to feel some certain pious trepidation. This place was perhaps no more ancient than my own blood and bones but my conceptions had only the faintest inkling of the purpose of my blood and bones. These hills knew, they knew why marrow fed the ligaments of the things that scurried through them. They knew and they brooded in a rapt vesper.
Perhaps they were now toying with us. Putting things into our head. Since we’d come here just for that purpose. They honored our request for their influence. I do not know if we are meant for such influence…
I broke my trance by taking another swig of Jim. There was something in its warm cheery sting that quickly dispelled any ancient terrors. Though in such a place, where the thing called time stands still, the aeons are merely muted by such tricks. Muted but not drowned.
“This is a Mossberg.” Came the quietly surprised voice of the doctor from the seat behind me.
I turned round to see him inspecting the gun appreciatively.
“Yes it is,” said Lucas who was driving, “and we’re here.”