“The Black Egg” by Shondhi

The interior of the car was dimly lit in the city’s halogen glow. Its leather seats were tattered from many years of hard use. The fabric glued to the ceiling dangled low, a victim to the ravages of time and heat. The steady rhythm of quiet breathing.  A lone figure drives through a forlorn neighborhood obsessively glancing through the rear-view mirror and into the back seat. The car smells like sweat, blood, and cigarettes.  In his lap, black hot gunpowder steel. His assurance that no one will take what he has found, even though guns didn’t stop him from taking it from them.

Nestled in the back seat of the car is the object of the man’s obsession. The thing he had abandoned the entirety of his life to obtain. A puzzle piece that’s whisper had created in him a zealous yearning fever to find it. After he heard the sweet music of its voice he was enthralled to its discovery. He knew he must find it, and the searching for it had led him down a dark and twisted path. He had given up all he had ever known; His job, his home, his familiar life, and his wife and kids…what were their names again? It didn’t matter now. Now that he had it. He had lied to keep others from it, stolen to continue on the paths towards it, and finally he had killed to obtain it. But he had emerged victorious. His prize tucked safely in the backseat of his hijacked vehicle, wrapped like a baby in a morbidly stained jacket.

He glanced back at it again and glimpsed its sheen poking through the torn and bloody apparel. He couldn’t even remember the face of the man whom he had taken it from. It didn’t matter. He didn’t really have it, and he didn’t really deserve it anyways. He was just some pretender playing dress-up in a hierophant’s garb. Defrocked and insane he had huddled in a seedy back alley warehouse muttering to himself and his doe eyed followers about the majesty of it. They had looked on as he held it aloft with the confidence that only he knew it and only he could possess it.  Thinking himself protected by his fanatics and their weapons, imagine his face when it was taken from him. How could someone so weak and afraid even think he had the right to hold it, to tell others he had it, to show them its glory? The man had slain them with a burning righteous hatred in his eyes and a cold empty vacuum for a heart.  The pretender to its throne had clutched it tightly to his chest even in death. Part of the man was left behind in that place as he squeezed the trigger again and again, but what he had gained was so much more than anything he had lost. And at least part of him believed that.

A bump in the road jostled the deep dark of the object from the jacket. Its surface was so frictionless that it took a great effort to keep it covered, or keep it held. The man had dropped it twice fleeing from the carnage of the warehouse but it had simply hit the ground with a silent grace and rolled about unblemished until he had retrieved it. He would never drop it again he promised himself. Now, he needed to find a place where he would be safe from the other seekers, because he knew they would come just as he had. But HE was the chosen, the blessed, and ordained, how could they hope to take from him what was his by birthright? He would never drop it again. He would show others just a sliver of it and they would gather around him and become his minions, drunk off the promise of just a glance they would follow unquestioning and stop all that sought to relieve him of his prize.  They would be cattle and he would usher them to the slaughter with the power of its whisper, or his. They were one in the same now.

As he drove into the foggy daybreak his eyes searched through the amber murkiness for a safe place to be alone with it. These parts of the city were poor and many of the building were empty. He needed to find his grand basilica. The seat of his empire. A place with no windows and few doors would do just nicely. As he drove and searched the winding whisper of it crept its way into his mind. He found his eyes drifting to the rear-view mirror and gazing longingly at its smooth surface resting in the back seat. He found himself whispering to no one. It was the only thing he had ever known, but somehow, he felt he couldn’t not know it. It was wrapped in blood and enigma. A mystery for all time. But he HAD held it, and HE possessed it now! He could hold it at any time he wanted. It was his ALONE! No force on earth could ever take it from him!

The insanity of a fanatic’s gaze on a polished void. The unwavering attention of a madman. A missed traffic light. A tired truck driver. A rusted truck well on its way to becoming the scrap metal it carried. A cacophony of shattered glass and steel in a tragic dawn symphony. Someone should have worn a seat belt. The truck driver with hand held to face lit blue and red from flashing lights. He had never seen a body so destroyed. The smell of gasoline as a cleanup crew works to remove blood and wreckage. For them the scene is just another Monday. A boy watches the scene with morbid curiosity, music in his ears, and a hood on his head. His breathe lazily rising from him in the dim sunlight. A whisper through the music. He looks down. Smooth black space touches his feet.

 

Shondhi resides in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood nestled next to abandoned buildings in a kaleidoscopic gathering of butterflies and color. He writes and plays music, but more often than not he can be found procrastinating and having imaginary arguments with the enemies in his head.