The 2020 Event |The Sideshows|

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13| Chapter 10:
The Unmarked Trail (cont’d)

The Suited Man Waits

The brained man is unsure why, but he knows it true as his joint is clenched a third unburned: the suited man waits at The Hillside Commons.

A branch snaps atop Board’s final fall. Behind him, a squirrel dashes through the leaves. Above, a pileated woodpecker. The brained man bites down on the roach and storms The Unmarked Trail.

The Trail is depressed, a gouge in the Earth, as if a mighty torrent sliced through the ground at the command of a cowardly deity. Tire tracks marl the muck and disappear into the puddle. A stream trickles off the side of the path, leaking down the leafy slope. The brained man hops the trickle, joint in his mouth. His right toe catches a stone, and on he proceeds.

White fungus reaches dead from fallen oaks. The headless chicken of the woods, plucked, fried, and scavenged.

Tire tracks carve trenches into the logging road. One battlefield, countless wars. Two contestants:  humanity and its Mother.

A stout straightaway births a weak S, but a lanky one by all rights. The serpent slithers forever onward, eyes unblinking.

He comes to The Grand Triangle. There are no footprints, no indication of the suited man’s direction. No indication he still roams this plane. But the brained man knows – the suited man waits at The Commons.

A songbird chirps melody in the distance. The brained man crosses The Grand Triangle, skipping the stones peeking out from the drink.

Man and his Mother, contestants of a war neverending.

Mother.

Mother Dearest, Daisy Williamson.

She waits at the house.

The suited man waits at The Hillside Commons.

The joint waits at the teeth, itching for the spark.

The sabres of Chairsteat Griffin itch for the taste of combat.

The brained man marches ahead.

A trail branches to the left. A framed bluejay painting rests against the parted stump. The portrait is warped, frame stricken with mold – the bluejay roosts untouched.

A light left hook, a wobbly straightaway. Lesser Triangle, marked as little as a game trail. He keeps on the path, the diversion negligible at best.

Another swamped tire pond. He circumnavigates with ease, a game trail played through completion. The swamp dries then soaks once more, the game trail serves faithfully. The brained man returns to The Unmarked Trail, hands in his pockets.

A tight S with a massive dip. A right-side embankment on a left-hand turn. A corridor through the trees, hanging right and swooping left. His right leg feels stifled, no bend in the joints.

The leftward swoop collides at an exposed roothead. Phoenix from ash, the brained man marches ahead. An empty faded beer can hangs from a drooping branch.

The trail rises over a mound. Leo responds to no calls, no beckons, and the trail fissures into a crag. He dances over the gaps. The suited man marches ahead.

A massive right bend, the entire curve flooded; at the end lays two wood bridges, the plants crippled and missing in wide gaps. Unstable at best, rickety at worst, with a six-inch drop to wet anyone’s whistle. The brained man steps where the boards fell and carries on along.

The trail dips and curves left, a tree scarred with symbols.

The straight shot blockaded by a tree fallen, he takes the right-handed sweep. It evens out with the Junction and carries him along.

A dead hollow, petrified by rain, bleached bone by sun, filled with rocks and the femur of a deer.

The tea party to the brained man’s right. The rockpath, stones for the foot.

At long last he’s reached it, The Four-Way Intersection. The smell of smoke teases from The Commons.

The brained man marches ahead.