II. Crazed Vines

In the distance Zalan notices a colorful parade of men coming his way. Some are the color of bone and ride atop large, fantastic beasts, while others, which are the color of real people, follow them on foot. From head to toe they are covered with unimaginable feathers and hides.

The oddball team comes to a stop and gathers around  a bald man in flowing  gray skin. ‘The headman’ thinks Zalan. His head shines, it’s so bald, and he goes about telling the others what to do.

Two men step forward carrying two crossed beams. They drag it up to the head man who instructs them to pound it into the ground where his finger points. They grunt as they  force it down, twisting it into the earth as if they mean for it to stay there many lifetimes. A melody break out, and heads are bowed, as the men drop to their knees in adoration.  Then, from the very spot the cross was placed, a little green bud emerges. It is small and two-leaved  and stretches upward, eager for the sun’s rays to fall upon it. The kneeling men see nothing, and continue their song, as the plant begins to climb, steadily entwining itself around the cross.

Zalan sees insects and creatures of all sorts rouse from their crevices to examine and marvel at this new plant. It seems to attract the attention of everyone except those who have planted it.  Then, without warning it begins to grow faster. First come leaves and flowers of bewitching scents and fragrances, intoxicating the land with their allure. As the curious gathered, vines fork away in every direction.  Each vine sets of other ones, at which ends the sprouts numerous piranha-like flowers, the color of dried blood, begin to stretch their jaws and flash their teeth. With their fleshy long stems they move like the snakes on a Gorgon’s head, each with a mind of its own, howling and screeching in a frenzy. It is a spectacle that would awaken a more fragile dreamer, but not Zalan, who by now was accustomed to these nightly terrors.

It becomes a thing that even the other people cannot ignore. They  scatter, riding off in the backs of their beasts. Zalan too runs and takes cover between a rocky outcropping and a manzanita bush and continues to view the scene with horror.

The flowers sway and slither around the land, snapping ferociously at anything they can. They spread around, up the hillsides, down the valleys, across rivers and gullies, and out into the sea, making new vines along the way. The flowers make no distinction between bird, fish or tree. They rampage, they chew, they swallow all that they can snatch up, sending it down their throat-like stems, which bellow and enlarge with the passage of their meal.

Zalan does not move as he watches all of this unfold, that is until one of the salivating blooms uncovers his own hiding spot from high above. It spots Zalan, and without wasting a second, lunges downward like a darting snake. All he sees are the jaws encrusted with sharp thorn-like teeth that flash in front of him as he wakes up.

Next chapter:



~ by Francisco Nieto on May 17, 2009.

One Response to “II. Crazed Vines”

  1. […] II. […]

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