The walls

Darkness filled the room because I let the kerosene burn out. And then there was light. I could see outside. The walls were transparent; not gone, but transparent, as if they had been replaced by a thin gauze. The sky was a deep shade of gray, swirling variations of gray, and heavy. The rain had stopped, most of the wind had stopped, but everything was blanketed by a thin sheet of rain. I could see puddles where none were before, culverts in the backyard, filled with brackish water, small pools with small splashes of rain denting their smoothness. The storm had passed, or retreated just enough to feign calm.

The cellar was parallel to the ground, not under it, so I could see further. It was as if the ground has pushed down, flattened somehow. I could see the yawning fields of soaked corn stalks, which gave the illusion that they were somehow taller. Or perhaps I was smaller. There was a moment or two of vertigo. Things didn’t line up or have the same perspective. And the churning clouds were disorienting. The sky had become stunted; closer to the ground. The gauze was clear, but I could still see the shape of the old bricks that defined the cellar. They still had color – a soft pink color instead of their hard and deep shade of rust. I imagined if I could touch them, they would be soft, like wet parchment, and would fall apart if my fingers grazed them. But no, this was an illusion. Or a dream.

There stood Jeremiah in the back field. The shoulders of his jacket were lined with corn chaff. His arms were folded and his pant cuffs were rolled up to his shins, matted with mud.

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