Chapter One Paralysed
Chapter Two The Fly Past
Chapter Three Dog fight of conscience
Chapter Four Bonjour Henri
Chapter Five Mummy
The grey oily smoke filtered up through the heavily wooded canopy. For three hours, it had wafted, initially a thick choking black smoke, but now more steady but weakening by the minute as the fuel that supplied it dissipated in to the dense forest floor.
Weka and Kea, both vocal in their confusion, watched the smoke from a distance. Their safe native existence had been temporarily rent asunder by the crash of the huge bird that the two-legged tribe liked to fly. The green miasma of beech trees swayed gently in the twenty knot sou'west wind being whipped off the Tasman Sea and tried vainly to cover the remnants of the accidental intrusion.
The smoke did eventually cease. Over the chattering of the podocarp forest creatures, another sound emanated. Hours passed and still the sound continued. Reggie was in pain. He cried, continually, incessantly, and painfully. He cried and cried and cried. And for good reason. The front of the Cessna was impaled backwards into where the seat was normally situated. The hot steaming engine, now powerless, had been forced backward, or had the rear of the aircraft caught up with the front? Reggie's legs, once carriers of his athletic frame, were now a mangled mess of ripped flesh and bone. Blood vessels had been ripped away from muscle and were bleeding in a slow trickle. Arteries, still pumping away in rhythmic unison, were somehow still intact. Pain pulsed through damaged nerves and told his brain that he was in a power of shit.
He tried wriggling his toes and when the little fuckers, visible through the plastic mess of his Kaydee sandals, failed to replicate his wishful commands, he cried again. And again and again. He was fucked.
The smoke stopped. He could smell the forest now, a little at first, but as the smell of burning metal, flesh, and other by-products of the mangled aircraft crash dissipated, he could smell it. The dank smell of decomposing flora, the aged stench of decaying forest insects, the freshness of the recent rains, all started to permeate through the pores of what remained of his flattened nose.
The piece of plastic dashboard ungainly protruding from where his nose used to be was a fucking pain, though. Physically and mentally. Reggie could feel and see it, but by the fucking lord he couldn't bloody remove it. Didn't matter though. He had beaten it. He could still smell. Beyond the pain and the injustice of the situation he still had ALL his goddamn senses.
"Awhhhh Fuuuuuucccccckkk!!!" The plane slipped off the branch of the old beech tree and plummeted two metres to the forest floor. Ten thousand messages of pain all advanced on Reggie's brain. They didn't bother queuing and waiting to be processed one at a time. No, they stampeded, all at once. For three fateful seconds, the world went crazy, and as quickly as it advanced, it stopped. Unconsciousness blissfully enveloped him and the world stopped.
The Fly Past
The dream was pretty bloody realistic. The Germanic hordes of Messerschmitt 109's flew incessantly overhead, the buzz of their single turboprop engines pumping out a continual thrum. The kid in the dream covers his ears, kicks his old mans shins, and scampers in to the cold stone house on the moor. He looks in the dark room for the security of his mother. She is nowhere to be seen.
He looks harder for her. The planes are scaring the shit out him and his hands remain clamped tightly over his lugs. He wants his mum and wants the noise to stop. Soon, oh, all to soon, he spots her. Slumped on the floor by the sink. Her green gingham dress has draped over her head, exposing her unshapely, cellulite-laden legs, her patched bloomers covered in shit and urine. He stares hard, willing her to move, to say something, to be mum. But he knows. In his most desperate hour of need, she's bloody died on him.
He removes his hand from his ears and runs over to the lump that was his mother. He leaps at her from a small distance of three feet, and lands fair and square on her limp body. He cuddles her cold torso, feels her now grey face. He kisses her blotchy cheek, over and over and over. He looks for his dad. He yells for his dad. He lets out a blood-curdling scream, but the old man is still being mesmerised by the hordes of airborne Hun. He eventually falls asleep, the smell of shit and urine permeating the last memories of mum. The flies gather.
The fly past has begun.
Reggie regains consciousness. The dream washes off him. The dead reality of light launches itself in to his now painless body. He hears it. At first very faintly. Then as waves of consciousness roll in, the sound becomes a torrent of awareness. He tries to sit up, to look up, but nothing moves. He looks straight out with eyes now in panic. The dead leaves and humus of the forest floor are clear and stark, being forced into his immediate vision not half a metre from his face. He moves his eyes around and sees a bit of the remnants of the crash.
"Awwwwwwhhhhhhhhh Ffffffuuuuucccccccckkkkkkk!!!!" The scream emanates forcefully from his dry, blood-caked lips. He hears the sound again.
He knows it's not planes. He knows they're not looking yet. He knows they have no shitting, crapping idea where the hell he is. He knows that noise. The flies from his mums' carcass zero in on his legs!
His cellphone, lying alone on the forest floor twenty metres from the mangled wreck, bursts suddenly in to life. It rings and vibrates incessantly, forcing the quick evacuation of weta and ant from the immediate scene. In the deadened life force that is the beech forest, the sound is totally alien, sharp and loud against the sound of the West Coast forest.
"Piss off" says Reggie under his now resigned breath.
Dogfight Of Conscience
Two flies, sated from hours of gorging, sit alongside each other. Perched on the now lifeless legs of the human, they share anecdote on the tastes each has partaken in since it fell on to their section of the forest floor. The first fly is convinced that the rotten burnt and bloodied flesh is the best feed its ever had in its' short life. The other is convinced the smelly rotten diarrhea and urine mixed faeces are the top delicacy of the year. They argue, allowing for the time to pass and their own dietary tract to process the unexpected feast.
They agree to try the others preferred delicacy. Once again they hoe in to the banquet. After a while, they stop for another break. For some inexplicable reason, they both look up towards the hairy part of the feast, the area where the movement is. They both observe the orbs that serve to make the banquet see, and watch them turn toward them. They step back a little, ready to vacate the area should it decide to terminate their existence. But the orbs just stare at them. They both get a case of the guilt’s. The first fly spits out a piece of meat. The other disgorges its load of crap. They fly off into the forest searching for other carrion.
A conflict of conscience. Reggie is pleased they fucked off.
Chapter Four Bonjour, Henri
through the clouds,
Memories come rushing
up to meet me now,
And in the space between the heavens,
and the corner of some foreign field,
I had a dream,
I had a dream."
Between the ever-increasing bouts of unconsciousness, Reggie sings songs penned by Roger Waters. Apart from his passion for flying, his other obsession is Roger Waters. Reggie knows every song backward, frontward, and sideways. Not that they were of much use now. Physically that is. But as a mental backstop, the songs are bloody magic.
"Satellite buzzing through the endless night,
Exclusive to moon shots and world title fights,
Jesus Christ, think what it must be earning,
Who is the strongest, Who is the best,
Who holds the aces, the East or the West,
This is the crap that our children are learning,
But oh, oh, oh, the tide is turning,
The tide is turning,
Oh, oh, oh, the tide is turning.
Reggie hears the bloody cellphone ring again. A bug jumps in fright, sails nonchalantly through the air, and lands heavily on the send button on the phone. The voice leaps out from the ear piece, sending the insect into another aerial catapult.
"Hey, Reggie ya gormless dickhead, how the hell are ya?
Reggie tries to say gidday but as the proverb goes "Man who try to talk with mouth full of swollen tongue, not make a great deal of fucking sense."
"Awwwwwhhhhhhhhh Shhhiiitttttttttt" he screams silently.
"Hey Reggie, I know ya there. It's Henri mon, back from Jamaica. Got some good gunga for ya ta try. Awh, come on mon, talk to me." Henri pleads.
A heavily laden forest pause permeates the air. The cellphone crackles into life again.
" Awh get fucked ya shithead. Hope ya fucking kill yourself." The phone clicks as Henri hangs up.
Reggie mouths the words to himself. 'Bonjour, Henri. Ya wanking shithead.' And as he flakes out again, he thinks, "you never wrote that, Roger!"
Reggie feels the hand on his cheek. He can't open his eyes anymore. The nerves have died there as well. The only thing he feels is his skin and the movement of his thoughts through his brain. He feels it again. Then he hears it. Above the sound of the forest and the rain. The silver rustle of light cloth on dead leaves. The light tread of footfalls. The scent that he once smelt before. It invades his senses. He's been in it. He's dreamed it. Over and over.
"Mother, do you think they'll drop the Bomb?" Fuck off, Roger. This is for real.
The voice rockets across time and space. She's here. All these years and finally, she is back. Great Balls of Fire. Yaaahhhhhoooooooo.
"Come on, Reggie, time to go."
Reggie lifts his consciousness as high as he can and whispers to her….