Wandering through the gardens together, we were as happy as could be. At times we linked arms, or he'd drape one of his over my shoulder. I felt special.
As we went he told
stories. He let me rabbit on too. Then we hit upon a new game. We'd
lain on the damp grass for sometime, a relief from the sweat-drawing sun,
when, idly tramping a dandelion, softly enough that it rose slowly back
up each time, he started to sit up and said we should name all the things
we know, and by naming them make them appear.
long we were surrounded by pigs, foxes, iguanas and all sorts. The joy
hardly lessened with each new conjuring, instead we got steadily more
intent on seeing more and exercising our imaginations to the fullest.
idea became not to see what would happen, since that was manifest before
us, so much as to see what the most far-out creature we could think of
was. "Lemur" I said and one grew up out of the earth. "Erm, marsupial,"
he snapped, drumming his hand against his leg, grabbing at his first
thought, and a few hundred animals, each one of them a marsupial,
unvanished, filling the air where they'd not been a moment beforehand.
"Crocodile" I returned and one went snapping and writhing off away from
us. "Rhinoceros" he cried out gleefully, so I said "hippopotamus" just
to top him. We went on for sometime, far longer than we needed to. In
fact even if we had some perverse plan to wreck our own
gardens we still did more than was needed.
writing this on one of the last scraps of paper in my possession, I'm
scared and alone, having seen in the last few days horrors I never could
have dreamt of. Where there were grasslands and meadows just 72 hours
ago, there are now barren dust plains, the ground is dark with blood in
many places, from where the different species turned or one another or
simply turned to cannibalism.
He went the night before
last. He could be alive or dead, I've no idea. A rotting whale carcass, a
massive, final, ill-thought-out suggestion of ours lies there amid the
carnage. Big cats and scavengers stalk about. If I knew a quick way to
end it all, I'd do so.
While reading David Bellos's magnificent book 'Is That a Fish in Your Ear?', I was impressed by the following passage from Genesis, which he quotes:
And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." (Genesis 2:19)