The Mutilated Farmers – Kevin Johnson Murillo

        Garlic Castle. I am nowhere. A thin trace, like glass, expanded through the air and sliced through our bodies. I asked Jeremiah if he had felt it go through us, like a curse. He didn’t know what I was saying. Only his chest and arms answered my enquiry; the rest of his body was immobile on the damp earth beside him. As for me, I’d felt the force slice through my chest and shoulder at an angle. There was no question in my mind, we were all cripples now, but my companions acted as if nothing had happened. To the extent that they could. None of us could move very much, except for Jessica, who had only lost her right leg below the knee and could hop about around us. Some from our company were reduced to heads and eyes. Scalps.
        What on earth had happened to our lively troop of troubadours, I wondered not long after. I soon forgot the force I’d felt. It was much easier to be lulled into a daze by the ringing, prancing voices all around you. There wasn’t a campfire but there’d once been a campfire and I felt its warmth as Ned Wodzinski recited a poem about the fall of a great Eastern Empire. Tonia wept and I dragged myself with my left arm, the arm I had left, onto the imaginary fire.
        It didn’t take long before we were forced to question the soundness (i.e. completeness) of our bodies. Bands of wraiths and agricultural specialists used the road not far from our campsite to reach Estonia. Some of these pilgrims would stop and stare at our mockery of happiness. More than one came to question our motivations or to laugh at us in our noses. How unkind! How could we explain our predicament, we who had forgotten the cause of our crippledness, or who had chosen to forget, which came down to the same thing in the end, we were lost. A farmer, missing most of his teeth, once tried to provide Martha and I an explanation. Between phlegms he flung on the fertile earth with his tongue he let us know that there was an unnatural anomaly of the wind in that region which made it razor sharp and pointed certain times of year in certain places. In particular, that flat hill we moaned on would have been wonderfully useful for the local permaculturalists, but the danger of standing or sitting there any late afternoon in the middle of August or any early afternoon at the start of October was the reason why the earth hadn’t been tilled. I thanked this good man for his explanation, but I didn’t believe him, even if we still were in June.
        Tonia finally interrupted our restless immobility.
        “What are we doing? Why haven’t we reached Estonia?”
        The others looked at each other, bewildered.
        “Why aren’t we moving?”
        Whatever hidden force had made her question our circumstances, it doesn’t matter, but the clock was set back in motion. Jessica began to hop about around us against the hands of time, and our campfire burst forth, searing the hairs on Ned’s chin. The blow which had maimed us retreated and our bodies were reconstituted. We fled backwards to the sea. That earth was tilled not long after and the farmers who worked there were cut in half and more pieces. There’s was a predicament with no beginning or end. This was October. No food for humans would grow there.