Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
The cliff face rises shear above the old skeleton. A tidal wave hewn in ancient granite, it crests high above the smoke that bleeds a bitter mist from the ruined city. A thin wisp that sweeps out upon the great lake that fans out as splotchy just cleaned glass at its edge.
For as long as anyone could remember, the armies of the Pabulum had amassed on the eve of this most sacred of months. Listen as now they crank their contraptions and ready their fire as hearty songs of conquest spill over the lip. Lyrical hate that flutters down to we, the People of the Stipe, and we brace en-mass at its foot.
This festival of death and cruelty, such a needless and hellish taunt. An intractable spectacle drawn in blood and fortified with ancient vintages of faith. An unwavering addiction to the notion that this city, this once beautiful thriving haven, had been promised in verse to those at the top and not to we, the heathen pretenders who toil as pigs down below.
In the old city, the resistance yawns as we, now too, lock our weapons in for the kill. The sniper sits in the warehouse, inclined with her back nestled into the over-stuffed bale of wool at her back. She lines her eye along the barrel of her jezail and up through the skylight and up still further until it falls on a fraction of movement up in the holes in the rock.
Children with dirty faces huddle in the cobbled plaza and they calculate the currents in the wind. Razor bullets will soon pepper the ground at their feet and they’ll let loose the balloon with the sting in its tail, and they’ll pray that it’ll kill at least one.
The Pabulum know this is a farce. They know that up in their lofty nests there is no chance for we creatures that pretend ourselves human. It is ritual contempt, prodding us down in this cage. The killing, the maiming so perfectly honed so that next year there will still be sport to be had.
The children will be shattered. Those not ripped apart or scorched from the barrage tremor will wail both in and out of their dreams. But they need not worry, I’ll whisper. Tiny ears, they must be patient and wait. Wait for the Hood Rat to come.
That whiskered thing that has lived for eternity down and beneath us in filth. This saviour, he will climb up and into our streets and, with his hood pulled tight to his head, he will stride to the foot of the folly.
He will lay waste to our enemies.
He will save us.
He will conduct the air and the bullets will drop dead to the ground.
He will scale the great cliff and he will crawl into their minds, and he will eat from the inside to the out.
Wait. Huddle down, for he will come. Listen beneath the drone of the guns and beneath your own screams and the whistle of the bombs as they fall.
“Do you hear the scratch of his clawed feet on the cobbles? It is the Hood Rat. He has risen and no more will we breathe in the smoke of this hate”, I’ll say.
He who would tell lies to children.