Among These God-Spooked Hills

For three days now, they have been staring down the barrel of eschaton.

Inhuman hands etch words of fire in the wooden floor. Everyone born in April falls into uneasy sleep; roses bloom from their palms, their knees, the crooks of their arms. Voices race laughing through the deserted stoplights, chattering, screaming in pain.

Dance mania. The fourth graders organize a children’s crusade, and march around the Walmart parking lot for hours, calling for the head of Richard the Lionheart among other, more shadowy organs. Lions haunt the mall, appearing in front of the Claire’s and racing to the Yankee Candle Company, only to disappear.

They prophesy salvation, they preach destruction. Sex on the edgeless lawns, fires gnawing at the cracks in the sidewalk. The pavement cracks and splits open, and the red gullet of hell yawns up at them. They choke on the sulfur and cast the entire graduating class, all 67 of them, into the fiery pit.

The end of the world has come to Moses Lake.

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