When I was a boy I spent my summers at my grandparents' house out in the country.
Those times were when I found my living conditions to be most suited to my temperament. I have always been that solitary figure wandering off into the distance with no seeming purpose or direction. The farm suited me well for it was the only man-made structure within sight but for the worn road that lied some ways in front of the property and the small wooden bridge beyond it, which was the means for passing over a small stream that wound its way through the plain and down into the forest. There were smatterings of trees here and there on the plain but it was flat otherwise, though it sloped down in a gentle way until it reached the woods.
I spent my days back then wandering along the side of the stream, following the flow of the water to see where it would take me. I set out each day with the naive and impossible mission of finding the place where the stream ended. I knew little about geology then and didn't have any notions whatsoever about what I would find at the terminal point. It didn't matter very much because there was always some distraction along the way that prevented me from going very far. Here or there among the pebbles in the stream would be a shinier or smoother one, or one coloured in a peculiar way, essentially demanding that they be made into a collection. I had no choice but to oblige them.
Somewhere away in the land, beyond the reach of men like myself, of the masses that make up the majority of this world's impotent inhabitants, there are those who have been charged with the constant care of the records.. Some believe the record-keepers slave away in great caves underground in semi-darkness, away from the elements and the unpredictability of all things, while others claim that the keepers inhabit open palaces that are filled with shelf upon shelf of books from every age of the world. Whatever the truth may be, it doesn't really matter much to the population at large. Keepers are selected at random from birth and are soon taken away to wherever it is that they are to spend their lives in our service.
It was away in that place that a keeper held a lottery and my name happened to come up. It was because my name had come up that an official-looking man now stood banging away at my door. I rose from my meditative position on the floor and walked to the and pulled at it but it resisted, preferring to remain closed. With some effort on my part, the door relented, but it wouldn't remain ajar without a constant application of force, so I found myself outside with the official-looking man who had only watched my struggle.
A short time after creating the heavens and the Earth, God summoned a man named Harold to the gates of heaven. Harold was a birdman. He wore overalls and glasses, and he had a halo of white hair around his head. He was a short, kindly old man.
God met Harold at the gates of heaven.
“Good morning,” God said. It was always morning back then for night was not yet a concept.
“Good morning,” said Harold.
God took Harold by the hand and led him down a golden path among the clouds. As they walked, He explained to Harold the situation and why he needed a birdman. Something new, something different, had been found in a corner of heaven.
I go around to the back of the house and enter through the yard because the back door is always unlocked. There is a great big fence all around that is only broken up by the big red gate that I just came in through. I leave the big red gate open because Apollo can't open it on his own.
Apollo is my friend. Apollo is a dog.
I go into the house through the unlocked back door. It is very quiet in here because no one is home except Apollo. He usually never leaves the house for very long. I walk to the biggest bedroom because that is where he likes to nap during the day. I find him lying on the big bed that belongs to his parents. I sit down on the bed beside him and stroke his fur coat. He notices me and his tail begins to tap on the bed. Tap tap tap, he says. This is how my friend says hello.
Decker pulled up to the mansion. His old truck rumbled and kicked up thick clouds of dust. He turned off the engine and stepped out, shotgun and flashlight in hand. Glancing up at the sky he saw that the sun was already on its way down. His wristwatch showed that it was a little after three.
He walked to the back of the truck and checked the heavy walk-in safe that he had strapped down onto it. He regretted that finding this place had taken so long and now felt certain that they would be sleeping in there tonight. Opening the safe, he looked over the supplies inside, making sure he hadn't forgotten anything.
As he started to make his way toward the front door of the decaying mansion, Chomsky let out a shrill whine from inside the truck. Decker went back and tried to rub him behind the ears but was rewarded with a scratch from its small claws. He shook his head and then poured water into a bowl out of a large cannister and set it down on the seat so the animal could drink.
“Professor Chomsky's his name,” the seller had said, a young girl with long and dirty black hair, but Decker seriously doubted the cat's credentials. He and the cat had been together for a few weeks but seldom on speaking terms. He tried to assure the animal that he wouldn't be gone for long then stepped out again and walked to the mansion.
He knew the names of all the trees and he spent his days wandering among them and talking to them with the music of his flute. The faun was as old as the woods and he remembered the days when the forests were immeasurable in size and filled the whole Earth, before the time when the forest creatures had fled and the humans had come.
Today, there were two humans in his forest now. The faun was following them, hopping from behind tree to tree and watching as they ran. There was a little boy in blue and an even littler girl in red. They were running and laughing and occasionally tripping and falling.
Eventually, the two children ended up rolling around on the golden leaves that littered ground. They laughed as pushed and teased each other. The faun smiled and a wicked glint lit up his eyes. He was glad to be back in the human realm.