Friday, 8 February 2013

75 - A Terrible Genesis

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.

Before 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.

The 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.

Now, 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)

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