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Walter Weinschenk


Flash Fiction Walter Weinschenk Noah
Noah and the Fire of the Sacrifice by Adi Holzer

I stepped into the street but the street disintegrated beneath my steps. The asphalt was gone and all that remained was a field of high grass and some trees. The trees were crying and their burning tears fell from oblong leaves and seared the lapel of my jacket. I noticed that my briefcase had disappeared and so, then and there, I stood in a field of grass beneath a tree without a briefcase, my suit ruined.

The flood was soon to come. In a dream, God spoke to me in a voice that wasn’t a voice in words that weren’t words. Nevertheless, I understood God’s commandment perfectly. I could have immediately taken up the few tools I owned to build an ark large enough to shelter the animals and save the men and women who wished to be saved. But I didn’t build it, I didn’t try. Having failed to build it, I had no reason to corral the animals and call upon the people. I didn’t care. I should have cared but I didn’t.

I walked through the grass at leisurely pace as clouds collected and chaos ensued and the animals ran in circles and the people called for deliverance. I stared out toward that distant line, that eternal line, where the sky cuts off like the bottom of a page. That’s when the ribbon leaves and twiggy stems began to dance and branches lashed out like whips and were wrenched back and released against their will by the raw wind. The clouds propelled themselves as if fleeing and they lowered themselves toward the ground and absconded in arrhythmic procession. It was a sullen wind and, like a changing tide, it pulled and shoved the extremities of my body in varying direction. I tried to make sense of the rabid air and the frantic leaves and the animal howls and the human cries and it seemed like a nightmare but one that seems very real. It was far from this and far from that; it was something I couldn’t understand in the way that I had always understood the world. At that moment, I needed to absorb the moment in a new way, a different way. I aspired to witness the world through outside eyes, new eyes: a manner of sight beyond myself. It was an urgent craving and it consumed me. I needed the true light of the sky, itself comprised of so many shades of crimson, to find me.

And it was, in fact, a crimson light that pervaded the space above the horizon. It filled the caverns and gullies of the earth. It was crimson mist but more of an aura and there was no light left of the sort to which I was accustomed. This light was real, unlike the synthetic light that leaks, limp and insipid, from the towers and traffic lights that fill the city. It was an ethereal vapor, the kind that floats and embraces and defines the murky edge of a setting sun, bright in its own amorphous way and it was tenuous and intoxicating.

I was tired. I lay upon the grass and absorbed the light as best I could but that haze-light soon turned dark, deep red, practically black like ancient firmament, and it was now very difficult to see through that ether. Suddenly, the great mass of the storm surged out of the sky like a whale that rises from the depths and explodes in the air. “You could have tried to build a boat and, if you tried, it would have been built,” I said to myself, but I was incapable of responding to my own admonition in a way that made sense. I tried to fathom why I would let the world devolve around me; I tried to comprehend why I would let countless souls succumb. I just couldn’t understand it, not at all. I began to feel guilty and alone: I am human, after all.

The lightning came and, sure enough, the flood delivered itself upon the earth. The rain poured down in angry sheets which collected across mountains and plains and rose up from the ground and formed waves, and wave upon wave crashed down upon me as I lay upon my back and floated out, floated somewhere, floated atop the world which was now one large ocean, as unified and whole as any sea. There was no light left in the world, at least none that I could see through my old eyes. The water subdued my body and the pain was immeasurable, a fitting punishment, but those waves were delicious and I was resigned, if not happy, for I had waited so long for a moment like this.

About the writer:
Walter Weinschenk is an attorney, writer and musician. Until a few years ago, he wrote short stories exclusively but now divides his time equally between poetry and prose. Walter’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of literary publications including Lunch Ticket, The Carolina Quarterly, The Worcester Review, Sand Hills Literary Magazine, Meniscus Literary Journal, Waxing and Waning and others. He is the author of The Death of Weinberg: Poems and Stories (Kelsay Books, 2023).

Image: Noah and the Fire of the Sacrifice by Adi Holzer (1936-). Serigraph handprinted April 1975 (Work number 255), part of Holzer’s Noah Zyklus.  417 x 295 mm. 1975. By free license.

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