Parabola in The Rain by Peter Baltensperger
January 3, 2013 Comments Off on Parabola in The Rain by Peter Baltensperger
Harrison never carried a gun. He had many reasons, not the least of which being his deep-seated fear of gravity. He could have tripped and fallen at any time, perhaps even hurt himself, especially his pride, but he always made sure he walked along straight lines and avoided uneven surfaces. He never had any problems with that, his earth being flat and his landscape tailored to his needs. It was, as he always pointed out, merely a matter of choosing the right life at the right time.
It was for that reason that he always wore a watch, to keep himself from falling victim to gravity. He firmly believed that a wrong step in the wrong direction would upset the cosmic balance between solidity and fluidity, between what was and what had to be, even between himself. It was a complicated life, but he felt it was well worth the time and effort, since time was an artificiality and effort a necessity, both integral aspects of complex curves.
A man with a gun walked out into the pouring rain that pelted down on a smooth flat countryside without any houses or trees anywhere in sight. He didn’t mind, having made the choice for good reasons. He held his gun straight in front of him with both hands and fired a bullet into the rain. The bullet travelled in a perfectly straight line for the longest time, then started to curve towards the ground as it began to lose speed, finally falling into the grass.
Harrison picked up the bullet and put it in his pocket, as a reminder. The man with the gun fired a second bullet, this one straight up into the rain-soaked air. He didn’t wait for it to come back down. He already knew. Harrison picked up the second bullet and put it in his other pocket, for balance, since the first was already a reminder. He felt it was an excellent day.
With a bullet in each pocket, he found the courage to circumscribe a small stand of old evergreen trees, a leftover from a once majestic forest surrounded by grassland, cows grazing all around him even though cows rarely grazed in the rain. When he completed his circle around the island of trees, he resumed his straight-line progression through the landscape of his life, carefully avoiding any bumps and grooves in his path.
His watch pulled him persistently along, time travelling in a straight line as it did, just as it pulled the man with the gun until he was back in his house. Harrison never saw the man, then or again, although he knew then, too. Somewhere at the edge of his consciousness, church bells were chiming the hour, their tintinnabulations echoing through the relentlessly falling rain. Their sounds travelled in perfectly straight lines until they, too, started to curve towards the ground, falling to the wet grass, victims themselves of the gravity Harrison so carefully tried to avoid.
© 2012 Peter Baltensperger
Peter Baltensperger is a Canadian writer of Swiss origin and the author of ten books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His work has appeared in print and on-line in several hundred publications around the world over the past several decades. Most recently, he has been published in such publications as The Big Book of New Short Horror, The Big Book of Bizarro, Soul Reflections, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Danse Macabre, Smashed Cat, Leodegraunce, Apocrypha and Abstractions, The Medulla Review, and Black Heart Magazine, among others. He writes, and has been writing all his life, because he has to and loves to do it, and because it constitutes an integral aspect of his personal quest. He makes his home in London, Canada with his wife Viki and their three cats.