A Man Called Edgar Snatch: A Storm Is Coming
Sounds scraped against Snatch’s eardrums. The dead grass swayed in the field around Snatch, where he sat. His dirty coveralls smelled of musk, a sweaty, filthy man’s musk. The smell of his sweat burned his nostrils and the stale taste of his mouth left him feeling sick. The whispers in his head grew more persistent.
Just ask her to follow you. Her head will snap open like an egg under a truck tire.
Snatch shook his head and clutched his ears. The dirt and grime made his flesh greasy and gritty; his fingers pushed the dirt and sweat around to create little balls of dark grit, beads of disgust. He pulled a deep breath into his barrel-shaped chest and squeezed his eyes closed.
“I love Danielle,” he murmured.
No you don’t. Don’t lie to yourself.
“I do,” Snatch insisted. He rocked back and forth in the field and looked at the distant farmhouse, where it stood at the other side of the field, nearly falling in on itself. “I don’t want her to suffer.”
Why? You suffer.
“She doesn’t have to,” Snatch whispered into the field as droplets of water splashed down around him with growing frequency.
Yes she does. She really does.
Snatch shook his head and dropped his hands down into the dirt. On his left, his hand fell over the rough wood handle of his sledgehammer. Tiny particles of wood stabbed at the rough, calloused hand. Snatch wrapped his fingers around the handle and tightened his grip. Drops of rain splashed down and turned the dry Louisiana dirt into tiny pools of mud, each time, sending tiny brown specks on Snatch’s skin.
The ground shifted beneath Snatch and he swayed under the low canopy of clouds. His eyes rolled back into his head until they hurt. He squeezed his eyes shut and steadied himself against the unstable earth. Again, he should his head.
You know what you need to do.
Snatch’s ears buzzed with a soft hum that originated inside his head, like the sound of a swarm of flies, each one bouncing off windows, all inside his skull. He felt sick. His stomach churned and his heart flopped about in his ribcage, a lost vessel on a choppy sea. His lungs choked and forced air out in a rush.
“I love her, though,” Snatch croaked. His words had no air, no force. The words barely made it by his cracked, dry lips.
Your love for Danielle is unnatural, disgusting. Forget about Danielle.
“I can’t,” whispered Snatch.
You can. You will. You must.
Snatch’s skull seemed to swell and try to split out of its skin cover. He groaned in pain and felt the pressure growing behind his eyes. “I won’t do it,” he said.
You know you will, Snatch. You always give in.
“I can’t hurt Danielle. Please.” Snatch tightened his grip on the hammer at his side. Even sitting, the world seemed to jerk back and forth, like someone pulling a rug from beneath him. The field was a merry-go-round, spinning faster and faster -faster and faster- until he couldn’t take it anymore. He lurched forward and planted both hands firmly against the dry field ground. A rush of chunks and fluid pushed up from his stomach, into his chest, and out of his mouth. It spewed forward with force and splattered the ground with a sour mix of food and acid. Tiny chunks of chewed food stuck to his lips. He sucked his bottom lip into his mouth and felt the grittiness of his teeth with the tip of his fat tongue.
It will only get worse. Everything will get worse.
“How do I make it stop?” Snatch asked no one at all.
Snatch swayed and fell onto his side, into the dry grass and dirt of the large, dead field. His heart rattled against his bones. His stomach flipped and flopped like an epileptic trapeze artist at a cheap circus. His legs burned and he could not feel his feet. His fingers twitched.
“I don’t want to do it,” Snatch whispered into the wet, humid air.
Thunder smashed through the clouds like a rock through a window. Rain ripped through the sky in a torrential fall. Lightning cut the black clouds apart.
A storm is coming, Snatch.
“It’s already here,” Snatch said.
A different storm.
Snatch rolled onto his back and stared into the sky, as rain poured down and drenched him. He reached out and grabbed the wet handle of his sledgehammer. He shivered, even in the humid heat of the Louisiana day.
“I have no choice,” Snatch said. He shuddered and sat up. His muscles screamed at him and jerked in defiance. His stomach clenched down and his throat burned. Each raindrop slammed into him with the force of a flying bullet.
You never did.
“I never had a choice,” Snatch muttered. He pushed himself away from the ground and stood in the rain, in the field. He stared at the old shack, the falling farmhouse in the rain.
Go get her, boy. Go get Danielle.
Snatch stumbled his way toward the farmhouse on the far side of the field. Rain ran down his face and his head protested the movement. His brain collided with his skull with each step. He hefted the sledgehammer up to his shoulder and clenched his teeth. This was the only way to slow it down. This was the only way to make it stop, even if temporarily. He stalked closer to the farmhouse.
A storm is coming.