Black Stone Road by Aramis Zepeda


Dirt encrusted sidewalks- white on the surface and dirt in every crack within. It’s a route of fragile safety and of disconcert. Order is your only protector, order, in a world where order itself is a patron to chaos. One mistaken move, one unfortunate day, minute, second. Life in the afterlife. Filthy white crosses line sidewalk like forgotten flowers, and somewhere else a someone sits through their life wondering how somebody else’s could have been. How it would have been. Or should have been.

Look- somebody comes this way. Look- it is one the creatures who calls themselves human. It wears cloth over its face and covers its figure with symbols it has chosen to represent itself. It is afraid of the sidewalk. It is afraid of the black stone road and the continual flow of ending possibilities. It is afraid of the cars. Of the other creatures. Of the dirt. But it attempts to convince itself that there is nothing to fear. The cars, which could kill in an instant, will not. The creatures, who have killed and killed again, will not. The dirt, which has swallowed countless creatures and rotted the remains, will not.

“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is- is fear itself.”

That is what it was told, by a creature who has been dead for decades, and that is what it will act by. Pin it on your chest and continue on your pathway to the finale.

“Let’s go for a ride.”

They tumble through the darkness, with no control over their destination, and it isn’t enough for them. They take their only flowers, the ones that bloom for them and they poison them, because there isn’t enough light. They bring all the light they can, from every corner of the darkness, and the light brings more darkness. One cup of poison for the flower and one cup of poison for themselves. There must be measured geometry to the light and the darkness, or their creations crumble down. And this is just. This is fair. There is always a balance whether they can see it or not.

They enter their vehicle, and travel across their world. They are poisoned and they are poison and they wish they weren’t, but they bite and claw and growl at any who offer an antidote. Their salvation is between between death and tears, and they aren’t ready to choose either.

“Open your eyes, but don’t see the shadows. Open your mouth, but only to please me. Uncover your ears, but don’t listen to me breathe.”

These are their requests. These are what they cosmetically hope for. So they drink poison, to blind themselves. For the inhibition they crave. So they can open their eyes and drive without seeing.

“Pin my heroes to my chest, and with them, I shall not crumble as they inevitably will.”

It holds itself to a pathway it doesn’t know, and hopes to know the temple of the blessed giant’s head at the end of the unmarked sidewalk. It hopes to find the temple, just as it was told that the King did before him, in order to defeat the forces of darkness, but the sidewalk continues and the bag on its back inevitably grows heavier as the creature grows wearier, and the darkness continues to move lethargically around him, closing in further and further with every second.

It has sharpened its tongue to use against those who sharpen their tongues against others.

It has softened its hands to climb past unforgiving mountains of stone and daggers.

And this is what it shall do, as soon as the shadows move with his velocity, and as soon as they shout as fervently as he does.

There- it sees what is searching for- the creatures who have killed will kill again, but this creature will not allow it. The creature sees its brethren frothing and growling, there, across the black stone road, on the other sidewalk, and there is little time to act, or the ground will have more creatures to rot and will house more corpses.

Two creatures chain themselves to each other, and they say they do it to be together. They poison themselves and each other, and have become blind. They cannot feel each other, but they believe they are together.

“I can’t see you. I can’t hear you. You can’t feel you.”

Bite, claw, growl. They tear at each other, and smile at the end, as they believe all those who are chained together do bleed. They believe it is normal. They believe it normal to bite the flesh of another and leech the heat of another, and finally return to their shackles at the end of the month. It is normal.

Normality to them is poison, inhibition, driving through the streets alone and together, with few thoughts for those they have killed and will kill with their blindness. Normality does not award absolution.

The cars plummet towards it, screaming as they do, as it travels across the black stone road, and the creature sharpens his tongue and readies its hands. No more fear. No more poison. No more shackles. No more biting and clawing and growling. This creature will not allow it. It has flown halfway across the street, and double this will bring salvation.

“No more darkness, only-”



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