Joseph Zozaya

     "The machine, if anything, is ingenious," said one man, emphasizing his assessment to another man.  In the distance was a peculiar machine, its lumbering form was striking out against a man, while engulfing him with preponderant contraptions which resembled morbidly prodigious arms.  The two men continued to stare, perhaps in anticipation of something or even nothing.  It would be quite deplorable to substantiate that they were amused by such a spectacle but it seemed that they were.  The man who had been besieged by the machine was by then dead, his body was elongated like a severed root arising from the dirt and his black hat was torn along the edges.  The machine moved away slowly, as it was very cumbersome and not intended for perambulation through such terrain.  The two men wandered closer and examined the body, inspecting all the pockets and removing what they thought beneficial.  "A watch!" one man said in exasperation but was soon despondent because he had only removed a broken contraption.  One of the men picked up the tattered hat and placed it upon his head, he strutted along without any intuition of the events which would follow.  The other man was occupied by removing eyeballs from some pockets but eventually happened to gaze at the man with the hat, and his eyes instantly became alarmed.  "Are you without thought?" he yelled but the other man was distracted by his elegant revelry and would not let words affect him.  After some time, a raucous disturbance was heard in the sky, it was as if the tremors of the earth had surged upwards and located those two figures.  The man threw the eyeballs upon the ground and attempted to find a place to conceal himself but that environment was comparable in resemblance to a desert and so he protruded like a fresh wound to any observer.  The man with the hat stood idle at what he discerned above him, hideous creatures with wings, forming along the contour of that expanse.  More and more gathered along the ascension of his head and he attempted to withdraw but they were upon him and began to shred him with their jaws.  The man who witnessed that heinous scene stepped back, fearful that he too would be assailed.  A myriad of gurgles and shrieks was heard in the distance and the creatures flew away and then the sky was confided with emptiness once again.  After some time the sole man stretched his weary body upon the ground and awaited the outcome which was to prevail but he was only left there with the night and those thoughts of that horrendous scene, often he would look out into the blackness and detect a machine which was lethargically crossing the region. In the morning he awoke and looked around him, the eyeballs which he had secured from the pockets of the dead man were still present, covered by patches of sand.  He ran to them and dislodged a piece from one of the retinas and began to drink the liquid which was found inside.  It seemed his thirst had receded for the moment and after wiping his mouth with a handkerchief, he commenced on walking, distinctly staring at the sight of the torn black hat in the distance.  He walked for many miles, often at times extracting one of the many watches he held within his pockets and he would remove a number and put it within his mouth as if swallowing time itself.  The wind blew in the distance, until the distance itself came to him and he studied the vague ambiance, brown mounds of sand, red enclaves of rock staggering beneath the sun and an empty horizon was all that he observed.  He moved ahead until the hours no longer progressed, and when he came to the remains of a dead tree he stopped to look about, his hand reached into a compartment deep in his abdomen, in which he removed a key and then he placed it in a small hole in the dirt.  Before him arose a staircase and he proceeded to climb the levels until he arrived at the top of the platform and then he opened a door in the air and disappeared.
"No," she croaks, throat raw, bruised, and tight as a drum.
"What in God's name has happened?"
"God?" says The Beast. "Your Gods can't save you now."
Happy Ever After : Gary McMahon