The Sugar of the Earth – part 2


Winds swept a swift succession of squalls over the island that dropped waves of hot rain on the jungle. The only sound was the sweltering sizzle of it, hot enough to steam into clouds that cloyed at the hills. Insects like articulated jewelry labored under the deluge. Drenched birds, their feathers spiked and wild, pushed against one another for shelter beneath the broadest leaves with their beaks hung open, panting, eyes rolling wildly. Bright lizards made emerald escapes into the undergrowth.


The rain swelled the earth around Nizzin’s body like black cake. Asleep, the muscle of his mind at ease, Nizzin could be seen without any obfuscation of personality. He was lean and dark, yet awkward at certain angles like over-articulated mannequins. His hair was long. He wore slim pants with pouches sewn along the sides, a hooded serape, and tall boots, all shabby. When he was awake he would often huff like a house cat. There, he snored lightly in the mud. When awake his eyes – but no, his lids were closed. His eyes remained mysterious as he slept.


One of the birds finally forced a caw from it’s beak, shifted it’s feet nervously, then dove out into the needling heat of the rain. It quickly lost is impetus and fluttered above the mud. A hidden predator split it’s lids open sensing the dismayed bird and from it’s secret vantage lunged out and took the animal in one bite.


When Nizzin did open his eyes (amber or topaz perhaps) it was to those sheets of falling silver. His nausea had dissolved and the ache in his body was one of stiffness more than that of damage. The better portion of a day had passed by.


He fished the hood of his serape out from the sopping tangle his clothes had become just to lessen the constant tumult against his head. The residue of his crash had been softened by the rains. The mechanism in the flyer had at last spent itself leaving it’s four wings frozen in mid reach, the jeweled lace of their construction shimmering under the rain. Vigorous culms of fresh bamboo had risen while Nizzin had been unconscious spearing through two of the wings, dragging the wreck up awkwardly. There was no way he might fly it out of there. The pack that held Nizzin’s valuables sagged on it’s straps at the rear of the flyer where the segmented construction broke roughly against the red bamboo


Through the rain it looked to Nizzin like his pack was peeling as he watched, shreds of it rolling up like bad paint. He had hit his head but that couldn’t be right. He moved slowly across the sodden ground to find a rabble of butterflies struggling against the rain to cling to his pack. Many had fallen and struggled in the mud. Nizzin tried to wave them away but had to delicately lift many off, their wings fanning tiny frenzies.


Nizzin checked the contents of his pack. Wrapped in layers of soaked cloth his prize hummed. The radiation of it drew the butterflies like nectar. He waved away swaths of them while he closed up the pack and slung it onto his back. He freed his machete from it’s sheath and set about moving down the hill, through the bamboo, through the rain, towards the memory of a coastal town he’d spied before his crash



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