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All Are Safe and Sound

All Are Safe and Sound

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Published by Paul Friedrich Lang
All that matters is that we are men, and men do what they set out to do.
All that matters is that we are men, and men do what they set out to do.

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Published by: Paul Friedrich Lang on Feb 07, 2013
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05/27/2013

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Paul! LangAll Are Safe and Sound(The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters)“Justice, in a word. In a word, I think it's about justice.”“You're just spouting nonsense now, Rick. You have a full on case of brain freeze.Rick, who was tall and lanky, led the way. Mort, stumpy and weak willed, followed.“Why aren't we frozen to death yet, Mort?”A white wind slashed across the eyes of both travelers and blinded them. Mort shivered.“Not yet, perhaps soon.”“I'll tell you, I've spent seven winters here and not once seen a flake of snow, much less a wholedamned blizzard.”“I think Meg said she saw it snow once.”“Bull, Meg is even more Yankee than I am, and no authority on Louisiana weather. Meg says thingsshe doesn't know.”“But why are we going to all this trouble, Rick? Does it really matter whether or not there is a body buried out here?”“Meg acted like she knew for sure that there was was nothing buried here. I distinctly remember 'Clarence Stills' right in the middle of the old farm, buried under a gray piece of rock. Clarence is here,waiting to be found.”“Why does it matter, Rick? Seems like a lot of works.”“It doesn't matter, only that we are men, and that men don't need to make sense. All that matters isthat men do what they set out to do.”“Are you doing all this to try and impress Meg? She's probably worried sick.”
 
Mort screwed his eyes and could just barely make out Rick's lanky shape, taking huge steps in theTabula rasa beneath. He ran his hands up and down the handle of his shovel. If he did get splinters, hewasn't sure he'd know it until he got out of this cold.One step. Two step. Three step. Four step.“Are we almost there, Rick?”“How in the hell should I know, Mort?”“I think this was a really drunk idea, Rick.”“Doesn't really matter. We're closer to the grave now than we are to home, I think.”Mort was now losing feeling in his feet, and the chills were beginning to creep up his legs. The windroared deafeningly for a long stretch of time, and every word that Mort said was lost and shattered. Hadthe world continued to be so silent and white for much longer, Mort would have to begin imaginingthings to hear and see, because the walls around him were all Tabula rasa.Once, Mort slipped and thought he might fall on his face, but found himself suddenly upright. Inthis snow, he couldn't even tell up from down.Finally, the wind subsided a bit, and he could see Rick's lanky shape again before him. Perhaps itwas an illusion of the snow, but Rick appeared to have become more slim and slender. Mort had littlevalue for his senses at this point, so he kept walking.He looked up and focused on the sky long enough to make out a big, round moon. It was the whitestmoon he had ever scene. When snow began to fall in his eyes he went back to his task, trudgingthrough an ever deepening blankness. He gazed at Rick again, and this time he seemed even morestarved, even skeletal.“Rick, how will we know when we've found it?” he asked the figure ahead of him.“Just leave all that worrying to me, I can see just fine.” the voice that spoke came from behind. Mortturned and saw Rick, shadowy and right by his shoulder. He gasped and looked ahead. The figureleading was took off running the moment he looked back, taking great strides with its dark legs thatwere way to slim to belong to any living person.Mort gasped and stopped and tried to say something until he simply inhaled too much cold andcouldn't bear to keep his mouth open any longer.“Just a little beyond here.” Rick stated “I recognized that twisted tree back there.Mort, half senseless and nearly as white as the snow, complied. The two walked on, deeper anddeeper into white. They walked on and on, getting colder and more confused with each step. Finally, atlong last, a bit of the snow began to settle, and they were left with clearer view. Out before them lay a along, shadowy field, with crooked trees on every side. They were a ways off from a precipice, fenced
 
off by a rotting, wormwood fence. The moon hung high up in the sky, mingling its bright element withthe snow, and the sky was tinted red. In the very center of this little macabre stage was a single stonecrucifix, a tombstone.“And you doubted me.” Rick snarked “Here it is, the old grave I was telling you about. Now, let'sdig him up and give him a look. If we find a man at all, that will be one I can hold over Meg.”Mort clung tightly to the handle of his shovel, which now felt as though it was almost frozen to hishand. It was frozen. He could not let go. He had come too far, followed Rick all the way into a world of Gothic horrors and antebellum wonders.“Now! Let's get to exhuming!” as Rick approached the grave his light boots barely made a mark onthe snow.Mort looked back over the way they'd come. He could still barely see anything in the distance butwhite. He was still in the cage, still trapped.“Are you going to get over here or are you just going to fondle the shovel?”The vigilante resurrection-man joined his fellow, and the two put their two first bruises into theground, piercing through layers and layers of crystal before touching the frozen soil. After a few hard blows they managed to peel off some of the skin, a triangular clump of dirt with frozen grass, then they beat into the ground like vicious killers striking a witness. Mort thought briefly that he saw a red flicker in Rick's eyes. He kept digging. He became manic with fear, with doubt, with cold and he just keptdigging. Finally they struck something truly solid. Rick cackled like an imp.“Let's see that face of yours, Mister . . .” Mort looked up at the tombstone. The air was now clear enough to allow him to read the name “Clarence Stills.” he cackled again and thrust his shoveldownward with all his might. To his chagrin, it sunk down into a deeper layer of soil.“They call it six feet under for a reason, I guess.” he sighed “I guess we just have to keep digging.”“Rick . . .” Mort shuttered “If we leave now, we might be able to make it back to the car before thestorm starts up again.”“I didn't come all this way to turn my damn tail!” Rick hissed, and for a second, Mort was fullyconvinced that Rick would kill him and bury in the fresh hole they'd dug. He made no morecomplaints, but just kept digging.He gazed around him with a stupefied kind of wonder while he dug, watching the line that dividedthe world from the under world rise slowly higher. His eyes began to read the shadows, and imagine people in the trees. A birch with snowy leaves held its single finger up to the pursed lips on its trunk-face, gesturing for silence.“The dirt actually feels like its getting softer.” Rick cried cheerily “We should be there soon.”

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