Once Landel started to speak, there was no stopping him. The chapters of time turned backward at an astonishing rate as he unfolded the story of the earth’s earliest days. Each word seemed to strike Jared in an unsuspecting way, evoking an emotional symphony playing the entire range from the twinkle of the piccolo to the thunder of the kettle drums. Jared was drawn into it, his mindset free, open to the fears and the wonders, barraging him side by side.
So drawn was Jared to the world that Landel described that any sense of where he was, whether in a barn or even in Kansas, was gone. He was lost in Oz, so much so that the storm had passed, and the night had dissolved into daybreak. All without him noticing.
And then, just like that, Landel stopped.
And when he did, it was shockingly abrupt, like stomping on the brakes to avoid a collision. Jared, roused from the new world, looked around, got his bearings, and felt the pain in his bum. He pushed himself to his feet, no small task after all that time, and hobbled to the barn doors. Pushing them wide, the smell of a new day, fresh on the heels of a cleansing rain, filled his nostrils as he breathed deeply.
The trees glistened in the morning light, their leaves burdened with the coating of rainwater. Branches swayed in gentle harmony with the welcomed breeze as Jared closed his eyes. Behind him, Jared heard footsteps crunching on dried leaves and fallen young branches. “Why have you come?” The steps ended close behind him.
When no answer came, Jared turned and stared in the face of Landel. Never had he seen a more perfect and beautiful man before, elegant and powerful, judging by his build. It was a face too perfect for this world, and after all that he had heard, Jared began to formulate some ideas—ideas that were almost too far out there for him to believe, and yet, how else could it be explained?
Jared stepped closer. “Please tell me, why are you here? What is it that you want with me?”
The beautiful face seemed cast in a stoic pose, like a bust of an ancient emperor, frustrating Jared, who clinched his fists and spun around, walking toward the road. The departure of the storm and new daylight brought a bevy of cars and farm trucks, zipping up and down the highway, but Jared gave them little notice. He was still tethered to Oz, the claws in his mind holding fast.
Jared took no notice in the old pickup truck, traveling from the east, its load of hay bales well beyond the safe limits, stacked high and wide, strapped down by rope and bungee cords. His eyes swept up and down the road, but his mind remained trapped in the days before judgment reigned upon the earth. He may have seen the truck, its top-heavy load, and its balding front tires, the one on the left nearly flat, but if he did, none of it registered.
He thought of the man who was his namesake, Jared, the father of Enoch. The man who in his days, by the account bearing his son’s name, lived to see the sinful encroachment of certain angels on the human race. He rubbed his eyes, stepping ever closer to the road, his hair tossed in the gale produced by a car full of screaming kids on their way to a party in the next town.
Jared didn’t know that the truck driver, a lifelong smoker, dropped the tip of his smoldering cigarette onto his lap, a mishap that began with dry sticky lips adhering to the filter. The little ball of ashened fire didn’t remain on his lap too long but rolled of his leg and down into the deep recesses of his crotch.
And no one saw the calamity of events that were lined up in perfect cadence, running toward disaster, including the death of a young man stuck in Oz. No one saw, and neither were they prepared for what was about to happen. None that is except for Landel.
The frantic truck driver pressed his feet against the floorboard, lifting him off the seat, his eyes off the road, his hand inadvertently turning the wheel in a dangerous direction. When the car filled with the kids blared its horn, the truck having crossed into its lane, the truck driver fearfully reacted, overcompensating with the wheel of the truck. Slinging the wheel in the other direction, the truck began to lose control, its balding tires offering little in the way of road-gripping resistance, the top-heavy load taking its toll.
As the kids and the smoker sideswiped each other, the kids went off into a ditch, with bumps, bruises, and scratches to go around, as well as a substantial amount of damage to their car. The truck, wobbling badly, the driver now spinning the wheel right and left, lost its bald footing, sliding sideways along the asphalt, leaving behind a trail of hay and truck parts.
It was the crash of the two vehicles that finally jolted Jared’s consciousness to the present, just in time for him to see the rapidly growing grill of the truck heading directly for him. In the second or two it took for him to process his situation, the truck was nearly on top of him, and it was quickly becoming doubtful that he would escape without injury or even worse.
But then, something amazing, something unimaginable and unexplainable, occurred. Jared was not conscious of it until it was over when he found himself standing near the barn with Landel at his side. The truck came to a halt directly in front of the road access to the barn, the driver shaken but alive as he stood upright through the passenger side window. Down the road, the kids tumbled out, frightened, angry, but okay. Unable to put it all together, Jared turned to Lamdel, his mouth gaping as he shrugged.
It was then that the stoicism broke, and Lamdel turned and looked at him.
“Tell me about your grandmother.”
This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.
Jared spent the night listening to Landel giving him an ancient history lesson. But Jared grows frustrated, struggling with what he is hearing and wanting to know why Landel came to see him. In the midst of it all, he nearly loses his life but is delivered from the clutches of the encroaching danger. His deliverance only adds to the mystery.
I just returned from holiday in Oregon, traveling without my laptop, so I am a little behind in all my writing.
I hope you enjoy.