Crooked tree

    It was almost as if the dark wanted to be felt. Thick and heavy-laden with humidity, the gently cool, damp air clung to my face and arms. This dark had depth and palpability. It perceived us, and we couldn’t ignore it.

    It infiltrated our car as we rambled down an old road, which was empty save for the sparsely strewn gas stations that looked as if they were abandoned years before I was born. Their shuttered windows seemed to wink as we tumbled through, as true to the term “blindly” as any.

    Nervous laughter peppered comments relating the scene to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which we had conveniently just seen.

    Our destination: Durden Road. No number — that’s the simple address we had to work with. After turning off the last paved road we would see for a while, we weaved through trees with neon arrows fastened to their trunks. This vague guidance only led to further skepticism. Eventually the trees became less dense and a clearing opened up ahead. Two light-colored buildings stood in stark contrast to the underdeveloped area we were unwittingly exploring.

    One building was a home of some sort. The other was perhaps in a previous life a barn, now turned concert hall. Inside, people lined the walls, holding the boards in place, looking sarcastically amused.

    But outside we stood, with our eyes drawn to the sky. It bore down on us with surprising weight and force. It was deep and dense, but held no stars and lacked the typical frost of clouds. Suddenly, as if conspiring against us, or perhaps to avert our gaze, raindrops began to fall. I suppose these couldn’t exactly be called raindrops. They were roughly the size of marbles and fell to our upturned faces with astonishing speed. But as with everything else in this place, what should have at least produced a slight patter or faint splash, a sound of some sort, was just silent.

    From a cloudless sky fell a rain so pregnant with water that it nearly burst through its cohesion. Drops fell on the heads of countless dogs that roamed the expanse that could be classified as the yard.

    “Woah!” suddenly resonated from the silence.

    The unanticipated breach of sound caught most of us off guard. One companion had kneed a dog in the face. There were just far to many to avoid without employing extreme care.

    An old man, past his prime, ironically informed us that we would never make it anywhere in life.

    “What, you want to be a musician?” His gravelly voice could barely expel. “You’ll never make it.”

    His breathe was rife with God-only-knows what substances. My companions just looked back at him, bewildered.

    “I suppose not, sir,” one shrugged.

    It didn’t seem, however, as though our anti-sage was being in any way insulting. This was a side effect of this odd destination’s incredible ability to dull the senses, such that nothing seemed really shocking or unnerving.

    In a haze as thick as the air that hung around us, we unloaded instruments, eyes wide with confusion, but a blanket of detachment washed over. All set up, music pushed its way through the water molecules holding so tightly to their spot in the heavy air. The sound filled the room, bored by the disaffected strangers who were pulled almost magnetically toward the perimeter of the building.

    Mechanically, we moved to reverse our previous actions and fill the trunk again with instruments and equipment. The old man watched us. Despite the future he foretold for us, he wasn’t going to be leaving. But we would be. Almost as if we had never been there in the first place.

    This odd place didn’t give any explanation. Nothing made sense, but there were no excuses or apologies for any of it.

    We left before really grasping that we were actually there, weaving in and out of the neon-colored signs and trees, back to the dark and empty interstate.


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