Hanging Rock State Park, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

It is now 1907 hours, per the Chromebook. We are now settling into the tent for the first of our three nights here, at campsite 14, in Hanging Rock State Park, North Carolina. This is our second visit to Hanging Rock. We visited last October, for 3 nights. As a result, I’m less stressed being here this year than I was last year.

It’s an autistic thing. No. Really. It is. As much as I like to explore new places, the act of exploring them places me under a ton of stress. Because I’m in an unfamiliar environment, which means I don’t know what can happen, how to respond to whatever does happen, how to behave in a social situation in the new environment.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Everybody knows how to behave in any given setting, and can figure it out by observing body language, tone of voice, eye signals, and all the other forms of unspoken communication people have, and use.

Autistic. Remember? That means I don’t pick up on those very things. Yep. Look at me like I’m out of my mind, and I very likely won’t notice.

So, being here a second time means I am less stressed this trip. Because I have some experience in this environment, and some frame of reference to draw from. And that’s a good thing. It means I’ll have more fun, and take more pictures, and experiment more with my camera this trip.

Now…. Now, I want to change the rules, and do something I know how to do. Capture a dream, a feeling, a moment, and put it on paper.

This afternoon, after we set up the tent, we hopped in the xB, and drove to the Lower Cascades Water Fall of the park. The fall is beautiful. What waterfall isn’t? The top is next to a rock face nearly as tall as the fall. At the base of that rock face where the water pulls away, heading toward the cascade, lies a moss and fern garden that could only grow in such a place, partly shielded from the sun, and receiving all the water it needs from the fall. The water plummets down the fall, into a cove. The water of the cove is calm, almost still. You can watch the ripples of leaves as they fall from the trees, trace the paths of the water bugs, as they flit about on its surface. Beside the waterfall, and the cove is an ancient rock face, laced with cracks, nooks, crannies, and holes. Trees, flowers, weeds, grasses, mosses, and lichen grow from the cracks, bringing splashes of green to the somber gray of the rock.

You would love to see it. No picture can ever do it justice.

We took pictures, of course. Lots of pictures. I experimented with camera settings, trying to shorten the exposure time so I could take a picture without the blur of moving the camera. After I finished playing with my camera, I decided to try something different. I turned off my camera, and took the time to experience the place.

The colors, so many shades of green in the trees, grasses, mosses, leaves. splashes of white flowers accenting the scene here and there. The glistening wet rock of the fall. The clarity of the water. The roots of trees, spread on the ground, looking for ways into and through the rock.

The sounds of the fall, of its echo of the rock face in the cove, of the cascades to the far side of the cove. How they washed away the sounds of city life. No cars, no horns, no machines, no phones. Just the sounds of water flowing over rocks.

Then, the rock itself. I closed my eyes, and felt it. Not cold, and unfeeling. Old. Ancient. It was there before humans existed. It will be there after we’re all gone. It has seen so much. It has been there so long.

As I have been known to say, every once in a while. Close your eyes and dream.

Close your eyes and dream.

#MWBB Week 2.22 – A Tale Of Wrath : I Try

Brian sat in the church pew. It was Friday night, and the church was available for prayers. Those who wished to talk with God in private. The priest sat in the chair beside the altar, and was available for any who approached him.

Brian was thankful the church was available. He wished to speak with God. He needed to speak with God. When he closed his eyes, he still saw the blood on his hands. Her blood.

“She never listened! God! She never listened!” He didn’t speak aloud, his words echoed in his head instead. “I played the song for her, but she never listened!” Brian shook his head. “I even sang them to her. I did.”

The words of the song echoed in his head.

I try to say goodbye and I choke.
I try to walk away and I stumble.
Though I try to hide it, it’s clear.
My world crumbles when you are not near.

He even heard the words In Macy Gray’s voice.

“I explained, God. I did. And still, she wouldn’t talk to me. Wouldn’t hold my hand. Wouldn’t be with me. Wouldn’t love me.”

Brian remembered his frustration. His agony. Feeling she’d stabbed him in his heart. “I loved her, God!” He quietly cried, sitting in the church, unable to raise his head to look at the cross before him.

He’d bought flowers. He knew they were her favorites. White lilies. A dozen of them. He’d bought chocolates. Godiva, in a heart container. And a bottle of her favorite wine. He put on his best Sunday suit, the gray one, with pinstripes. A clean, white shirt. A white tie. He’d bought the tie to match the lilies.

He’d been nervous, sitting in his car, waiting for her to get home from work.

He’d been furious when she’d arrived with that other guy. “God, he should have known! He should have known she was mine!”

He left the lilies and chocolate in his car. He followed them to her apartment. He listened to her laughter, he could hear her in the hall. He didn’t know what to do. Everything had gone wrong. Nothing was like he wanted it. Like he needed it.

He remembered his shoulder colliding with the door, several times, the sound of wood cracking, then splintering. He hadn’t felt anything as he broke through the door. The two of them stood there, half-naked, staring at the door in horror.

He attacked the man. He grabbed anything within reach, to help him. The crystal clock on the table by the front door. Brian stared at his hands, but the memory wouldn’t go away. That clock, striking the man’s face. Over and over, until the man stopped moving.

She clawed at him. Jumped on his back. Pounded on his shoulders. Her fingernails scraped at his neck, and face. The clock struck her head. “I told you! I told you! I try! But you never listen!” Her beautiful face wasn’t beautiful anymore. Her beautiful neck bent funny. “I can’t live without you!”

Brian stood in the church. He screamed at God, “I told her! I told her!”

He closed his eyes, and saw the blood on his hands. Blood he knew he could never wash away.

He sat down on the pew. “Why, God? Why didn’t she listen?”

The police entered from the back of the church. The priest nodded to them, and pointed to Brian.

Wrath stood in the shadow of the cross and laughed. He kept laughing long after the police took Brian away.

591 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 22 (Week 2.22) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.