Luc often took long, solitary journeys through Drumheller’s sun-baked sands. He never grew accustomed to the landscape– vast, barren and ever-changing. He went into the desert without water or sunscreen. He only took a couple of joints and his tattered, leather-bound edition of The Imitation of Christ. While Luc appreciated the desert, its limitless sand and heat intimidated him. He went there to clear his mind and to sweat unapologetically.
On one of these journeys, Luc confronted the Great Snake. He heard the echoing rattle of her massive tail from far away and followed the sound like one hypnotized. Soon, he stood beside her at the peak of Drumheller’s highest Hoodoo.
Luc’s unconditional love for all animals was always a source of great pride, but he struggled with his feelings toward the scaled creatures who shared his love for solitude. A shot of adrenaline coursed through Luc’s veins when he saw the snake: Luc’s every instinct urged him to flee, and yet he followed her call. Her eyes opened as Luc eclipsed her sun, and she welcomed him to the top of Alberta’s desert.
Luc often spoke to animals. Crow was his truly native tongue. He spoke it fluently, and with greater ease than the barbarous English which had been forced upon him. The Great Snake’s language was, at once, foreign and understandable to him. Luc’s ability to understand the snake’s forked dialect surprised him. Her command of language was incredible. She anticipated Luc’s every word.
Luc had no disposition toward bestiality, but he was unpleasantly surprised by his reaction to the Great Snake. Her body was flaccid and moved about the sand as though hovering above it. Luc’s dick became hard: there was something terrifyingly seductive about the Snake. Her writhing tongue crafted words like the delicate fingers of a potter.
“What is it that brings you to my desert, Luc?”
“Last time I fuckin’ checked this was Crown land” his voice cracked, betraying a mixture of excitement and fear.
She scoffed: “Ownership is tricky, m’ dear. Not too long ago, this land ‘belonged’ to your people. Do you think that their title holds any weight now? Ha! Their claim is almost as useless as that of this present Canadian Government; this is my earth—it always has been and it always will be. Scorched though it is, by a million suns and a thousand moons, it is mine.”
“Oh go fuck yerself!” Luc’s mixed feelings made his stomach flip; he felt ill and, impossibly, very cold.
“Who do you think created this? Look at your people. Half of them are drunk and legions of them are dead. And people say that ‘God’ created this misery? Where is He in all the torment and agony? Sitting back, paring his fingernails a long way away I suppose. And people worship him. This monster.”
Luc’s fists clenched and fell uselessly to his sides.
She continued: “We share this, you know. It is ours.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
Trickles of semen ran down Luc’s left leg.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about, Luc. Don’t play dumb, it is not becoming of you. You know this land was stolen from you and your people and you also know that you have the power to take it back. Do you even know your own strength? You have been wasting it on party tricks for too long; the time has come for you to change things for the better. Riel tried,and failed. He prophesized an heir, but nobody has had the courage; you need to do this for yourself and for your people. I can help you.”
Luc surveyed the desert sand at his feet to avoid her glare, lest he fall in. He saw plants abounding in death’s cradle. In a land where even almighty dinosaurs had fallen long ago, in a land that laughed in the face of life, life overcame, spilling over like running water.
Antelope drank from the river, and rare breeds of cacti summoned life from invisible underground founts. Hawks flew overhead. Their screams, absorbed by a choir of Angels that began ministering to Luc in yet another strange tongue.
Luc looked up and saw the Angels: the sons and daughters of light, and they pierced him with their sword. Luc’s response to the numinous unknown surprised him. Contrasting his attraction to the evil underbelly of spirit, Luc was repulsed by the Angelic host surrounding him.
Every angel is terrifying.
Angels descended upon Luc like white, luminescent bats and with them came their music, lubricating Luc’s sunburned ears with honey-sweet, sugary rhythm, and Luc was intoxicated by their planet of sound.
Luc had never before heard music like this. The time signatures of the Angels’ song, if there was one, was unrecognizable to him. Numerical representations of time, such as 4/4 or 3/4, melted away in the heat of furious crescendo.
Luc basked in the molten light. He was burned by it and yet remained unscathed. The angels’ song strengthened him for the second round of his battle with the Serpent.
“Lead your people, Luc. It is your duty. Your land is now overrun with infidels who drink your blood. Can you hear them cackle behind the City gates? They laugh in your face and the faces of your people, who have been ravaged, raped and disfigured by greed. You are endowed with tremendous gifts; why do you lay idle during this sickening age? Rise up, Luc. Make haste, and destroy the City!”
Her voice stood out from the song of all of Heaven’s hierarchies. Luc’s mind was lost.
And then, the bones of ancient birds rattled in sandy sarcophagi—they were buried in reverse, and paleontologists’ screams echo against the desert canyon’s polished walls. Scientific flesh, torn to shreds by rabid, fleshless mouths of the bones they attempted to reconstruct. Blood spilled on the desert’s sandy floor and scorched earth drank deep.
And suddenly, silence. Ancient creatures made no noise save for rattling skull. Excited by the resurrection of ancestors, the Serpent fucked smaller dino-skeletons. Eggs rolled down the valley below like streams of mother’s milk down bulbous breast.
Luc lay down; his eyes rolled to the back of his brain.
A loud and terrifying thunder rolled over the uprooted desert. Black clouds came from the West, bearing pulsing, electric light. Rain spilled upon Luc’s parched lips. He felt the hairs of his forearm and mustache rise to greet an Electric God. He turned, and lay prostrate on top of the desert; his dark skin contracted to repel a wild west wind. He shivered feverishly. The Serpent, momentarily distracted from her frantic, coital romp continued her plea.
“Look at you! You are pathetic! Cowering under a force of nature you know that you could easily manipulate. Tell the clouds to flee from me! Bring back the sun for my back grows cold!”
Luc vomited yellow bile and brown sand.
“I thought this was your earth you fuckin’ cunt! Are the clouds beyond your command? Show me your strength and I will show you mine!”
“You dare challenge me? I will call Dr. Sax from the East and he will annihilate you! Nothing will remain! Not even a memory of you or your pathetic existence will survive; not a trace!”
Luc’s face fell.
Water came down from the sky, running over the weathered bones of animate dinosaur bones. Large stones resurrected from the ground below. They burned in reverse and hailed toward the heavens. Flames burned bright and, fading, they ascended.
Angels threw their songs upon surrounding hoodoos. All of Drumheller became an outdoor amphitheater—no echo left unturned. The angels hovered above, descended below, and passed through Luc’s quivering mass. His sweat turned to blood. He coughed, quaked, and didn’t awake. Surrounded by sonic symphony, he remained– a still, silent center to the madness surrounding. And then, he received a vision.
A stranger descended. Luc collapsed into her fragile arms. Her eyes swelled with tears as she cradled him. Luc hadn’t the strength to return her gaze. She wiped the blood from his brow and silently sung a violent psalm. The darkness of her simple rhythm complimented the song of the angels above. He drank deeply from her cup, and was nourished.
The mayhem stopped as quickly as it had begun. Skeletons retreated to their graves to sleep for another eternity. The cool waters of flash flood dimpled the torn earth and western winds smoothed a restless plain. Even those who knew the desert well were blind to the upheaval; a storm raged into the night, and restored the piecemeal earth.
Luc lay at the epicenter of the madness, his eyes wide open. Deep, black sockets collected water as he surveyed the impending darkness through a veil of rain and tears.
The Great Snake returned to her hole. She searched in vain for legs to cradle her rattle: she was defeated.
And Evelina ascended. She gave a last goodbye to her son, and sealed it with a kiss upon his burned forehead before disappearing into the thunder.