Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chapter Thirty-Six: Twaddle

Chapter Thirty-Six: Twaddle

The voles were in the garden, eating slugs. The crows' duck joined them, waddling through the jungle of tomato plants, seeking the succulents seeking to eat the reddening fruit.

Marmots have moved their truck, one said, chewing.

So I hear, said another.

Still, they're here to weed.

Yes, yes.

If slugs could scream, they would be screaming. The slaughter was immense.

And Jarrod? Who sees him lately?

Mainly the crows, a vole said. Since he's back from the canyon, they've kept a close bead on him. I seen him once. Thin, frail-like. Don't imagine whatever went on in the canyon helped him.

He's always been thin, said another.

It's a cruel world, said a vole to no one in particular. That wee creatures like us should use our energy so inefficiently, while the big beasties get long with their bulk with less.

Keep eating, a vole said. Keep eating. There are plenty of slugs to go around.

Yes, there is that. It's like a perfect world.

Like heaven.

There was a general pause in chewing.

There's that word again, a vole said. I heard Jarrod using it a few nights ago, talking to the crows in the beeches. They didn't know I was there, but there I was. And they were making no effort to be quiet in their speech, so it's no fault of mine I heard what they had to say. And I tell you, yon Jarrod is not as frail as many of you think. I think whatever happened in the canyon shocked him a mite, but in a good way. His eyes are clear. Clearest I've ever seen them.

Then there's the light.

Chewing slowly recommenced.

Yes, the light. You've seen it as well?

How could you not see it? Even Blind Mole has seen it. Or at least felt it. Jarrod exudes light. He's always had those iridescent feathers, mind, but now, they glow in the moonlight. He's well again. He's full again. Whatever it was that ailed him, it has healed.

I heard there are beavers again in the canyon.

Again, the chewing ceased.

Oh lord. Will there be another flood, do you think?

You've hit the crux there, sister.

Quiet in the garden.

There's this thing called a chiasmus, a vole said. It's like a story told in a circle. Something happens, and then something else, events trickling on like water. But this water flows in and on and around itself, flowing over the same rocks, carving the same bars, caressing the same fish. As the story goes on it winds in on itself, telling itself in reverse until, at the end, you're back at the beginning.

Jarrod has completed his chiasmus. Thence the glow.

How do you know so much?

My gran was a good one for storytelling, and loved telling the stories in round. Mostly, they were of the voles growing, growing strong, entering starvation or predation, then weakening. And then growing strong again. But with characters to guide you along the way and to point out the morals with their claws.

And if your gran told a story of Jarrod?

The vole sighed. She would tell a story of a Holstein pheasant who will no longer cringe when we mention the beavers.

A long, thoughtful, chewing-filled pause.

Is that what they mean by heaven?

No, a vole said. Heaven is something else.

But it were close enough to heaven, said another, that Jarrod acts as if he's just returned from there.

So when are things going to happen? a slug asked.

Soon, the vole said. And pounced.

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