After rain. After hours, but you've come too far to turn back now. The trail looks inviting tonight, like some black shadowed bat out of someone's blacker hell hole. Maybe yours. And maybe just as well. For what you're going to do. Not death, but close. More or less.
You begin. Past the farm's backlands. Just through a strip of woods. To the right. Before the river returns up ahead. Past the bend in the road bending away from the canal running parallel. To the left. On to the house with the yard in the back. The pier. And the end of civilization. For the present.
A pale blue light from behind. (Cell phone? Gas?) A voice? You walk towards both. Neither are there upon arrival. A sign? Undaunted, you turn and continue on.
At a point past the house, you change your sex, unseen.
But you are not the only shapeshifter present on the trail this night. First, there is what was believed to be behind. And still might. Present, but not to you. Two, the house. Alive? Three, the great owl. And an inescapable feeling.
Still, you walk on. This is for what you've come. Not to the end, perhaps. Not tonight. But to an end you walk. For a feeling.
It appears out ahead and in front. Lights. A helicopter? Coming towards and roaring low. A phantom out of the fog. Uninvited. Or is it you?
You toss the evidence mindlessly thrown off a minute sooner. To your unwitting salvation. Saved once again by some merciful God unseen. You instinct pivot and turn before the arrival inevitable. Which comes but never. Not really. The roar louder, everpresent, behind but distanced.
This could be the end.
Up ahead, the sound of the cars beyond the bend. Now to your right. The faint lights of the farm. Now to your left. The roar roars off to the left, now. Like Lot, you dare look.
Phantom fogged but there, it is huge and hovering, just above the thickening tree tops, just above the open field behind the farm. Faces, figures, if there, invisible. Mist opaqued. A faint outline of substance.
As the thickness grows, you (mercifully) lose touch. The roar appears away and fainter. And as you can see the lights of vehicles passing on the main drag five-hundred feet ahead, you thank the unseen God and his ghosts,
as the roar disappears from sound much too early. No Doppler Effect.
Too early to be taken seriously.
But you do.
About Bud Berkich:
Bud R. Berkich was born in Somerville, NJ and raised in Bound Brook, NJ. He has been writing creatively since the age of eight. Bud has had poetry, short stories, plays and prose pieces published at The Idiom, Subliminal Interiors, Quantum Poetry Magazine, The Analectic, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Literary Juice, The Rusty Nail, Bareback, Surreal Grotesque and Downer Magazine. Several book and music reviews, as well as literary critiques, have appeared on both Bukisa and Helium.com. Bud is the co-founder and director of the Bridgewater Poetry Group in Bridgewater, NJ. He currently resides in Manville, NJ.