The following is an excerpt from Bound in Blood and Skin.

Luc often embarked upon long, solitary journeys through Drumheller’s sun-baked sand. He never grew accustomed to the vast, barren and ever-changing desert, and went there without water or sunscreen, only taking a couple of joints and his tattered, leather-bound edition of The Imitation of Christ. While he 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 its sound, hypnotized by a strange delight. Soon, he stood beside her at the peak of Drumheller’s tallest Hoodoo.

Luc’s unconditional love for animals was 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 his veins when he saw the snake: his every instinct urged him to flee, yet he followed her call. Her eyes opened when he 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 familiar to him. His understanding the snake’s forked dialect surprised him. Her command of language was incredible, and she anticipated his every word.

Luc had no disposition toward bestiality, but he was attracted to her. Her body was flaccid and she hovered above the sand. His dick became hard: there was something terrifyingly seductive about her– she crafted words with ease.

“What 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. This land once ‘belonged’ to your people. Do you think 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 stomach flipped; he felt ill, and impossibly cold.

“Who do you think created this? Look at your people. Half of them are drunk and legions 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 side.

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’s not becoming. You know this land was stolen from your people. You also know that you have the power to take it back. Do you know your own strength? You have been wasting it on party tricks for too long; the time has come for you to change things. Riel tried, and he failed. He prophesied an heir, but nobody has had the courage; you need to do this for yourself and for your people. And I can help you.”

Luc surveyed the desert sand to avoid her glare. Plants abounded in death’s cradle. In a land where the dinosaurs had fallen long ago, in a land that laughed in the face of life, life overcame. It spilled over like running water.

Antelope drank from the river. Rare breeds of cacti summoned life from invisible underground founts. Hawks flew overhead. Their scream joined the song of an angelic choir that ministered to Luc in a deafening tongue.

Luc considered his angels: the sons and daughters of light pierced him with a glowing sword. He was overwhelmed by the numinous, and shivered at the very top of desert.

Angels descended upon Luc like luminescent, white bats. Their music followed them, and lubricated his sun scorched ears with sugary rhythms. He collapsed, intoxicated by their surrounding planet of sound. Every angel is terrifying.

Luc had never before heard music like this. The time signatures of the angels’ songs were unrecognizable. Numerical representations, such as 4/4 or 3/4, melted away in the heat of  ever-rising crescendo.

Luc basked in molten light. He was burned by it and yet remained unscathed. The angels’ song strengthened him for the second round of battle with the Serpent.

“Lead your people, Luc. It is your duty. Your land is overrun with infidels who seek to drink your blood. Can you hear them cackling behind the city’s gates? They laugh in your face and the face of your ravaged, raped and disfigured people. You are endowed with tremendous gifts; why do you lay idle during this sickening age? Rise up, Luc. Make haste, and destroy the city!”

All of Heaven’s hierarchies sang. Luc’s mind was lost.

Bones of ancient birds rattled in sandy sarcophagi. Their premature burial suddenly reversed, and the desert canyon’s polished walls resounded with the screams of paleontologists. Flesh was torn to shreds by rabid mouths of bone. Blood spilled upon the desert’s sandy floor: the scorched earth drank deep.

Silence. Re-animated creatures made no noise save for rattling skull. The Serpent approached the smaller dinosaurs, and fucked them voraciously. Her eggs rolled down the valley 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, pulsing with electric light. Rain spilled upon Luc’s parched lips. The hairs of his forearm and mustache rose solemnly to greet his Electric God. He turned, and lay prostrate; his dark skin contracted to repel the 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 you could easily overturn. 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! No memory of you or your pathetic existence will endure; not a trace!”

Luc’s face fell.

Water came down from the sky, and ran over the weathered, living bones of dinosaur. Large stones were resurrected, and burned in reverse as they hailed toward the heavens. Flames burned bright, fading only as they ascended.

Surrounding hoodoos echoed with the angels’ song– all of Drumheller, an amphitheater. They hovered above, and descended below passing through Luc’s quivering mass. His sweat turned to blood as he coughed, quaked, yet didn’t awake. Surrounded by a sonic symphony, he remained a still, silent center in the midst of madness.

He then received a vision.

A stranger descended and Luc crawled to her fragile, open arms. Her eyes swelled with tears as she cradled him. He hadn’t the strength to return her gaze. She wiped the blood from his brow, silently singing some violent psalm. The darkness of her rhythm mirrored that 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 mass graves to sleep for another eternity. Western winds smoothed the dimpled, flash flood sand.

Luc lay at the epicenter, 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.

Evelina ascended. She gave a last goodbye to her son, sealing it with a kiss upon his burned forehead before disappearing into the thunder.