Over the years, I’ve interviewed a lot of people who wanted to discuss the end of the world with me, but Jeremy Smedley was a bird of a different color. He didn’t have a standard preferred pseudonym, for one. He was willing to speak with me on the phone without turning on any dodgy homemade anti-surveillance devices. Most significantly, I didn’t have to meet him in a church sub-basement, a hidden personal library, or anything one might describe as a bunker. Jeremy felt no need to conceal his galactic insights, instead offering to meet me on a charming grassy hill overlooking an otherwise charmless Midwestern town.
The ridiculous battle, hopelessly lopsided in the enemy’s favor, sent deserters scattering into the flaming woods, shot hopeful messengers down in their tracks, and, perhaps as an afterthought, stuffed the triage tent to the flaps with wounded soldiers. The overblown histrionics, the saucy horse that trotted into the tent strapped with dynamite, might have struck a jaded audience as faintly humorous.
May liked to set out bits of meat for the big birds. It was one of her few pleasures. She would dice up some cheap round steak and set it out in cubes along the porch rail. The part she loved, the thing about the ravens she adored was, they left her presents. She left them food and they left her a fake pearl, a thimble, little shiny things.
Well, I’ll tell it to you straight, my life has gone to poop. Here’s how I ruined it:
My sister, the wooly haired, laugh a lot, chatterbox, Liv Oh, at age nine or so, saw Digg, the goat bodied, eagle-headed desert God fucking his sister, Uwe, the gazelle bodied, fish-headed Goddess. Liv Oh witnessed the Holy Union in the high desert under bright spring skies and giggled, covered her mouth, too late.
This is the story of a girl who became a goose.
It began with a broken heart. Eloise found herself crying in unexpected places at unexpected times. In the grocery line, when a clerk with kind eyes asked with such sincerity, How are you today?, her eyes brimmed. The answer swelled in her throat. She had to look away and mutter Fine, I’m fine. She was not.
Know this, what I tell you is not true. It is just a story, just words. It is important that you do not forget this.
First, there is a forest. Or a jungle. It does not matter. It could be a town, even, abandoned many years before. But it is not, it is a forest.