Friday, August 7, 2015

SWIMMING IN THE GHOST RIVER: V

by A. A. Attanasio 



Five






Shaman Salmon


Bobbing in the Ghost River, you peer toward the far shore. Night paints the black water acrylic. The topaz gleam of the Sunstone beckons from among trees slender as Van Gogh’s cypresses.

Wisely, you turn away. You will swim back to the near shore and seek advice from the Ghost Deer. You kick, and a chill hand seizes your ankles. The river twists you backward. Your arms flail empty spirals, struggling against the surging current that pulls you under.

A song comes into your throat, your last breath bursting to get free. You swallow it. It won’t stay down. It tries to push out from behind your eyes!

And then, you are staring into a hooligan face. A salmon has swum up close. “Stop struggling!” his chiding voice teems. “The way up is down! Follow me!”

The instant you stop trying to swim, you plummet. The song of your life spins above you in crystal bubbles. 

Gritting your teeth against the next moment’s grim inhalation, you bounce off the river bottom’s soft trampoline. You somersault through a cloud of silt and land in a kelp forest that sieves the current. 

“Take hold!” A slippery flash of salmon sews a path among the leathery fronds.

You claw your way through that nightmare jungle and strain against the undertow. The salmon skims close to your ear and whispers encouragement: “As every ray of light is free, all darkness has design. Hold on. Keep crawling. You’re defeating defeat. A little farther. Okay, now. Let go!”

Your fists unclench the river weeds, and you rise. The salmon pushes from under. 

With a wet gasp, you break the surface and inhale moony air. Rolling to your back, you gape at the breathing stars.

The salmon slaps its tail and declares through a pugnacious grin, “It doesn’t take a Shaman Salmon to see you shouldn’t be swimming in the Ghost River.”

When your breath finally fits words, you say, “The far shore… I must reach it.”

“Then, you better get yourself a boat.”






Click Below
for Part VI of

Swimming in the Ghost River
by A. A. Attanasio 


3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. The world gets shoved aside for a writer when confronting a carefully-wrought composition appearing in public. All at once, what had been revealed to the self as something ethereal and mutable arrives fixed, unbreakable for all its flaws and infelicities. Then – at least in this writer’s mind – words turn to moths, bright pieces of the night soul attracted to the incandescent moment – and the peril of combustion in the glare of the printed page (or actually the reading screen). How exhilarating for me to find these totem animals (part language, part magic) materializing here in The Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, where everything that was “I” lets go to embrace you.

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  3. Wow. Beautifully put. I must admit I'm quite intimidated to be attempting to illustrate your words, and really my images will never come close. I love your carefully whittled language, and the gentle igniting grasp you have on all the pigments of myth; constantly spinning them into new forms.... Your work is just bursting with gems. Thank you for all your energy and effort and creativity.

    ReplyDelete

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