Sunday, January 30, 2011


Jonathon sat by the small sterno fire with the mole children. A few of the adults sat with them as well. He had been crying. He missed Sarah. He mourned for her and the others too. Were they gone? Were they gone for good. Who knew? He was in a tunnel far underground, one of the many built in the early days by an over ambitious subway system. It was semicompleted over one hundred years ago. Old tiled walls. Weak electric lights hanging in primative wire baskets. They never really put in the 'permanent' stuff, for work was called off when automobiles took over. Three subway lines proved enough. Now the weak illumination from the bulbs had burned out long, long ago. But the ancient wiring could still be made to leak out a spark or two of wattage. The mole people were adept at knotting up a bit of this and a bit of that, some copper wire, some, I don't know what you would call it (remember, Zebulon's soul stores the memories of many civilizations) and so they managed to milk a miniature ember-like glow out of the antique lines and into a collection of small bulbs scrounged from dollar stores and trash heaps. Water was slowly accumulated from forgotten, leaky pipes in venerable, old fire buckets originally used to hold sand back in the construction days. Mushrooms, pigeons and rats were raised for food. Life in the depths was possible. Some had never been to the surface in years. Some had never been there. Others went up occasionally to beg for coins or maybe pick a pocket or two, buy a delicacy in a bodega and scurry back down. You've seen them. They infest the shadowy places, seeming to overlap with the homeless (from whence they spring). But the mole people have somewhere to go. And with their purloined water, plus the dried cakes of soap found in abundance in a storage chamber meant to supply the partially finished restrooms, they manage to preserve a measure of cleanliness and dignity. Even the rats and fat, flightless pigeons are quite clean by now. Jonathon had sheltered with them before. Sarah too, if I am correct. He could, theoretically exist there indefinitely. But it was not his natural habitat. He needed the moonlight, the wind among the clouds and the stars to keep him company. True, his hosts kept him fed. They were adept at grabbing a deserving evil-doer or two , wrestling them back under the surface and serving them up to their guest. But it was not the existence for him. So he told the little ones stories, of Old Seville and England during the Restoration. And he taught them the true meaning of Ring Around The Rosy, a dancing game used by seventeenth century children to give them courage during the time of the Plague. And he cried. He cried for the plump, gurgling 'cherubs,' innocent too in their own way. And for the 'elves' and everyone else.....

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