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All That Soon Shall Come to Pass


And, in this future, this being just one way things will go: how the world will have come to know terror, how it will know pain, how the ground will swell with the rot of the dead, how the sky will remain afire, how those huddled wretcheds, those who are unlucky enough to survive, will wonder, how has the world come to this:

The lizard-boy, Aurelio, in this future a lizard-man, crippled with the weight of his own bloating body, his behemoth form like a expanding, exploding star, will crowd a hall that was once a single room. A single room no more as the walls that once were have been destroyed and knocked down as this lizardman grew, as his leather-skin stretched, as his bones bloated. Walls torn down, ceilings erased. Many rooms making way for one great hall, so much space barely enough to house him. And, the heft of this lizard-man, how it will be too much, how he will come to grow and grow, how no house will hold him.

And, there will be the growing of new heads sprouting from new necks sprouting from the racked body of this irradiated lizard-man and how he will order his followers daily to hack away at these necks, these growing heads, with chainsaws and axes, with their sharpest blades.

And, despite the pain of the lizard-man's ever-growth, how he will send forth his soldiers and how they will return and how he will ask, every time: where is she?

And, there will be nothing for them to say, other than to bring the newest one in, the newest captive woman with white or near-white hair, and how these men will know their mistakes before they reach the hall, before they will appear before him. And, the earth will shake with the lizard-man's roars when he looks upon each captured woman and realizes she is wrong, that the hair is the wrong hue, that the lips don't curl the right way, that the birthmarks are false.

Where is she? The Lizard-man will ask and there will be no words, no excuses. And, how he will gather the failed men and how he will swallow them whole, their screams lost in the void of his esophagus, the pit of his gut.

And, in this future, the lizard-man's best will travel the wastes and how he too will come to love this woman he is searching for, how the world he knows will too be terrible until he finds her. There will be miles and miles of roving and there will be blood and this man, how he will sacrifice, how he will pit himself against the mutated beasts of this decrepit land, how he, too, will search. There will be moments when this man, shivering and wet and cold in the night, will put a gun to his head and there will be moments when that trigger is stayed only by tales of this woman the lizard-man has told him, the only beauty he remembers yet in this world.

And, in this future, this man will hear whispers of some ever-youthful beauty, some woman hidden somewhere and how there will be death in this man's wake so that he might find her. And, in this future, how the man's heart will ache with want.

And, this man will arrive in some nameless town and he will ask after this woman. And, how the men there will be prepared for his coming and how they will attack with their ill-fashioned clubs and knives. And, how he will not desire to murder these men, but how he will know that he must do what he must do in order to find her, and how those men's lives will be worth what he will reap.

And, in this future, this man will find her, this woman he has come to love, and he will take her from this nameless town and he will shield her eyes from the bodies of the men he has killed to get to her, and they will leave, together.

And, in this future, how the man and the white-haired woman will roam, how they will travel back to the lizard-man and his gargantuan heft and his constant-growing heads. And, how she will ask, why have you taken me? And how he will love her enough to not utter the truth, to never say what awaits her.

And, in this future, this man will be certain of the lizard-man's love for this woman despite all the razing he has done to find her.

And, in this future, this man will begin to realize crossing through hill country immense with heat that the the woman knows, and he will sense her joy, and he will become jealous at this lizard-man's different, brotherly love. And, he will try to show her his love with the stories of all that he has done to find her and he will try to prove what he knows is in his heart, and, still, she will not accept him. And, how she will reject him time and time again. And, in this future, it will be this love, this lovesickness, this madness, that will finally force this man to flee, to leave a map and a gun behind, and how the woman will wake beside a smoldering fire to find this map and how she will set off on the path laid before her. And, in this future, how she will forget this man, and how he will show her the way. And, how this man will wander alone until his end, and how this future will be so dark without her.



JUSTIN LAWRENCE DAUGHERTY is a soon-to-be Atlanta resident, where he'll call home for a number of years. He runs Sundog Lit. He has a chapbook—Whatever Don't Drown Will Always Rise—out at Passenger Side Books. "All That Soon Shall Come to Pass" is an excerpt from the novella, Now, the Destruction of Days.

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