A Terrible Sight

Justin Dobbs

Somewhat softly, Matthew said "Get up." Billy arose. His back felt sore.

"How are you doing?" said Matthew.

"I am well," said Billy.

"I want to give you something," said Matthew. First he looked around, then pointed towards the hills. "Look for the banners, Billy."

"Is that where my gift is?"

"Yes," said Matthew. But then he dashed away.

Billy chased Matthew through the weeds, but Matthew was too fast for him. The sky was yellow, although the moon was quite white. After falling on the ground, Billy pressed his face down. He breathed in deeply.

How soft is the earth when the moonlight.

What did you say?

Billy sat up. A dragonfly flew by. Billy followed the dragonfly. Something here is not right. Something is broken.

Billy entered a grove of trees. The grove was dark, and yet Billy saw that something terrible was happening. Billy's head hurt. His nose began to bleed. "No!" he cried. "It's impossible."

"I am your father," spoke a voice.

Billy looked at the visage, but it was small, and appeared blurred. Surely, whatever it was was spinning. "Is this me?" thought Billy. Billy saw the goat boy. "Good god!" he shouted. Billy ran from the glade. The spirit followed. He ran through the weeds. He fell to the ground. The thoughts murmured around him.

"You don't have a father," said the voice.

"No," said Billy. "It's not true." Billy sat up. "Oh god," he thought. "Stop. Don't touch me." But the visage surrounded Billy. It seemed to transform him. Billy fought it off. He had memories. He had sudden memories. He was back in his parent's house. He was eating dinner. His mother asked him for his plate. "What?" said Billy. "What is my name?"

"Your name is none of your business."

The memory ended. Billy closed his eyes. He wished the visage away. The visage fled.

Matthew returned.

"Who is my father?" said Billy.

"I don't know," said Matthew. "Are you okay?"

"Do you call that a gift?"

Matthew opened a book. "Look here," he said.

Billy looked in the book. He saw a butterfly. He saw text. He didn't want to read it.

"Read it," said Matthew.

"But it's my destiny," said Billy.

"Fine," said Matthew, now closing the book. He ran away. Billy closed his eyes. He tried to sleep. His dreams were pulsing. He could not control himself. In the dream he was in the book, Frances Johnson. In the dream he was Ray Garn. In the dream Ray/Billy opened a can of tuna. After opening the can, Ray/Billy looked out a window. In the dream, Ray/Billy saw Frances approaching the house. In the dream, Frances had radically changed!

Billy woke up. He was sweating. Some bugs were on him. Billy swept off the bugs. "Who is my father?" Billy asked the sky. But the sky was dumb, or so it seemed.

Justin Dobbs has work at 3:AM Magazine, Dogmatika, elimae, Pineapple War, and The Unexpected Hamster. He lives in Seattle, Washington.