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Bone Carver 2: First Meeting

"What is bred in the bone will never come out of the flesh.”

 - Bidplay 
 



There is a Shack of Bones. And I am within it. I am sitting at an ancient wooden table, its surface scarred over with a myriad of deep black cuts. Something seems to be written there but it is occult to me, hieroglyphic forms just bordering upon my sensibilities, symbols just beyond my comprehension.

My thoughts are returning to me, no longer fighting the horror of where I am. The screams and cries that for so long sat just outside the door directing their pain and agony to me; these sounds have been replaced. Now there is only the hush and sigh, slip and slide, the shivering scrape of the Bone Carver working the Bones with his blade. 

He sits across from me dressed in funereal rags, a threadbare longcoat, a tall black hat, broken and holy, and a pipe that looks to have been carved entirely out of Bone. Beneath the longcoat, strange movements, less than flesh, more than bone. The hat keeps his face, what there is of his face, veiled in shadow. The pipe burns sweet like opium, smoke clouding the mystery of the space between us. He is skeletal and black, with no reflection. 

I sit here at this table, utterly content to merely watch him carve the Meat from each fresh Bone. Grace against the edge slipping in, sliding, the Meat opening like a curtain, falling away. The bright of the Bone shining, glimmering, radiant. 

When he finishes with each Bone, he sets it upon the table between us, immaculate, pure, white, simple. A translucent gemlike surface, so real as to almost absorb the world that wraps around its gleaming surface,  to swallow it and sink into unfathomable depths. So beautiful as to still the senses with an instant and overwhelming transcendence. The Bone Carver sets this, this barely believable Bone, upon the table before me as if it were not a thing at all. 

He then reaches back casually into the darkness of the Shack behind him, into the pile of Uncarved Bones there. After a moment of searching, his fingers reading over the character of each piece with divining touch, he grabs another Bone. There is a laughter as he holds it forth and begins to carve it clean. 

When ten Bones sit between us, the Bone Carver places his knife beside them and lifts his gaze to look at me. And that vision penetrates me, sinking to the bottom of my being. He holds me like this until all of my fear, my doubt, seeps away. Like that: waves soaking into sand. 
Then he reaches back again and heaves forth a massive slab of Meat, the Bone within it buried deep. Its surface is gray and running with rotted vein. I cannot figure at all what sort of Bone it is, nor from what manner of beast it came. The Bone Carver holds it out towards me,  over the table. His black hand tightens until a fiery blood drips, then streams out, pooling upon the table, settling into the cuts and scars, winding through them as if they were a labyrinth.
I watch amazed as the blood flows. The Bone Carver keeps tightening his grip until the last drop has been wrenched out of the quivering Meat, until all of the marks upon the table are full, shimmering with blood.

He sets the Bone down gently next to the ten, sits back in his chair, relights his pipe. And there, in the flare of the match's flame, I see his features full. And then, I remember, and stunned of a sudden, I recognize him.

The match dies, his face fades back into the dark. But I can sense his gaze still upon me. I want to say something. But I have no words. Finally, he speaks, slowly, his voice full of laughter and pain:

Ah spek yoo be comn bak rown sumday. An ah figurs ta juss wait on tills you did. Das shor rite. An shornuff, lookee here who be sittn rite cross frum me, here in dis ole Shak o Bonz. Ah declar, bin mite lone times. Lone timesago, wassnit? Yoo an me dun sum fine fishn in dose dayz, mite fine. An ah knowd dat yood be comn bak rown do sum mo, spin sum mo time wit me down at Boathows. Ah be, ah mos certanlee knowd dis. Now lookitchoo: aint yoo uh mess? 

And his face shifted before me, and the world was full of sun. And I remembered his hand holding mine when I was young boy, wretched with innocence. I remembered him showing me how to make a fishing pole out of bamboo; how to twine the line; how to turn the hook, where to place the floater and sinker; and what to use for bait. All of this for one thing only, God, that I could remember: to catch the Big One. Goddamn, even then....

I now recognized the table before me as the old Cutting Board from the Lake. And I could read the blood-filled letters there: The story of my life. Back there at the Boathouse with him. He was showing me how to clean a fish; how to hold it, scale it, gut it, how to separate the Meat from the Bone. I had it all in my hands so long ago. But I got lost. Lost in the world. But he even showed me that: what to do when the Meat and Bone got all messed together.
The Bone Carver studied me as I remembered all of this, sitting back in his chair, curling the smoke slowly out of his pipe. I had forgotten him, everything he had taught me. But he had never forgotten me. How long, I wondered, had he been waiting here in this desolate town of my memory?

What had been lost in my forgetting? 

I told him: 

I forgot to remember. You told me.

And then he burst out with such a laughter that it made me jump out of my chair. He slapped the table so hard that all of the figured blood leapt out of the scars and cuts and hung between us like a testament of fire. He laughed so hard that my hair stood on end And my skin trembled to slip off my meat and run. His laughter was shaking my soul. Almost unbearably. Then, he stopped and said:

Yes saah ree, yoo mos certanlee did fogets. But yoo knows dat ah izuh mos fogivn soul. Ah shorenuff awl wayz fogivs whad yoo mite fogets.  But mos portant thin herenow iz dat yoo has cum bak rown to da Bon.

He then slid his knife over to me and nodded for me to pick it up. I took it heavy in my hand, my fingers sinking deep into the handle.

Then he pushed the Uncarved Bone over the table towards me and said: 

Time see iffun yoo stil memburs howta cuts da Meet way frum da Bon.

I reached out to take the knife in my hand, holding it with all my strength, like he once showed me. Then I closed my eyes and let it all go, taking the edge into me. I set my hand upon the Meat, not at all surprised that it was warm and alive, and pushed the knife against the moist surface, letting it hush through, letting it slip down and slide to the Bone.
As I began to make the Bone sing, as I began to scrape the Meat away, I could hear something horrible and violent begin to scream.

The Bone Carver watched me closely, without passion, as he once did so long ago.




 



This work is licensed by S. Casey, Bonesy Jones & L.B.D.L. under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.



***


"What is bred in the bone will never come out of the flesh." 

- Bidplay 


There is a Shack of Bones. And I am within it. I am sitting at an ancient wooden table, its surface scarred over with a myriad of deep black cuts. Something seems to be written there but it is occult to me, hieroglyphic forms just bordering upon my sensibilities, symbols just beyond my comprehension.


My thoughts are returning to me, no longer fighting the horror of where I am. The screams and cries that for so long sat just outside the door directing their pain and agony to me; these sounds have been replaced. Now there is only the hush and sigh, slip and slide, the shivering scrape of the Bone Carver working the Bones with his blade.


He sits across from me dressed in funereal rags, a threadbare longcoat, a tall black hat, broken and holy, and a pipe that looks to have been carved entirely out of Bone. Beneath the longcoat, strange movements, less than flesh, more than bone. The hat keeps his face, what there is of his face, veiled in shadow. The pipe burns sweet like opium, smoke clouding the mystery of the space between us. He is skeletal and black, with no reflection.


I sit here at this table, utterly content to merely watch him carve the Meat from each fresh Bone. Grace against the edge slipping in, sliding, the Meat opening like a curtain, falling away. The bright of the Bone shining, glimmering, radiant.


When he finishes with each Bone, he sets it upon the table between us, immaculate, pure, white, simple. A translucent gemlike surface, so real as to almost absorb the world that wraps around its gleaming surface,  to swallow it and sink into unfathomable depths. So beautiful as to still the senses with an instant and overwhelming transcendence. The Bone Carver sets this, this barely believable Bone, upon the table before me as if it were not a thing at all.


He then reaches back casually into the darkness of the Shack behind him, into the pile of Uncarved Bones there. After a moment of searching, his fingers reading over the character of each piece with divining touch, he grabs another Bone. There is a laughter as he holds it forth and begins to carve it clean.


When ten Bones sit between us, the Bone Carver places his knife beside them and lifts his gaze to look at me. And that vision penetrates me, sinking to the bottom of my being. He holds me like this until all of my fear, my doubt, seeps away. Like that: waves soaking into sand.

Then he reaches back again and heaves forth a massive slab of Meat, the Bone within it buried deep. Its surface is gray and running with rotted vein. I cannot figure at all what sort of Bone it is, nor from what manner of beast it came. The Bone Carver holds it out towards me,  over the table. His black hand tightens until a fiery blood drips, then streams out, pooling upon the table, settling into the cuts and scars, winding through them as if they were a labyrinth.

I watch amazed as the blood flows. The Bone Carver keeps tightening his grip until the last drop has been wrenched out of the quivering Meat, until all of the marks upon the table are full, shimmering with blood.

He sets the Bone down gently next to the ten, sits back in his chair, relights his pipe. And there, in the flare of the match's flame, I see his features full. And then, I remember, and stunned of a sudden, I recognize him.


The match dies, his face fades back into the dark. But I can sense his gaze still upon me. I want to say something. But I have no words. Finally, he speaks, slowly, his voice full of laughter and pain:

- Ah spek yoo be comn bak rown sumday. An ah figurs ta juss wait on tills you did. Das shor rite. An shornuff, lookee here who be sittn rite cross frum me, here in dis ole Shak o Bonz. Ah declar, bin mite lone times. Lone timesago, wassnit? Yoo an me dun sum fine fishn in dose dayz, mite fine. An ah knowd dat yood be comn bak rown do sum mo, spin sum mo time wit me down at Boathows. Ah be, ah mos certanlee knowd dis. Now lookitchoo: aint yoo uh mess? 


And his face shifted before me, and the world was full of sun. And I remembered his hand holding mine when I was young boy, wretched with innocence. I remembered him showing me how to make a fishing pole out of bamboo; how to twine the line; how to turn the hook, where to place the floater and sinker; and what to use for bait. All of this for one thing only, God, that I could remember: to catch the Big One. Goddamn, even then....


I now recognized the table before me as the old Cutting Board from the Lake. And I could read the blood-filled letters there: The story of my life. Back there at the Boathouse with him. He was showing me how to clean a fish; how to hold it, scale it, gut it, how to separate the Meat from the Bone. I had it all in my hands so long ago. But I got lost. Lost in the world. But he even showed me that: what to do when the Meat and Bone got all messed together.


The Bone Carver studied me as I remembered all of this, sitting back in his chair, curling the smoke slowly out of his pipe. I had forgotten him, everything he had taught me. But he had never forgotten me. How long, I wondered, had he been waiting here in this desolate town of my memory?


What had been lost in my forgetting? 

I told him: 

- I forgot to remember. You told me.

And then he burst out with such a laughter that it made me jump out of my chair. He slapped the table so hard that all of the figured blood leapt out of the scars and cuts and hung between us like a testament of fire. He laughed so hard that my hair stood on end And my skin trembled to slip off my meat and run. His laughter was shaking my soul. Almost unbearably. Then, he stopped and said:

Yes saah ree, yoo mos certanlee did fogets. But yoo knows dat ah izuh mos fogivn soul. Ah shorenuff awl wayz fogivs whad yoo mite fogets.  But mos portant thin herenow iz dat yoo has cum bak rown to da Bon.


He then slid his knife over to me and nodded for me to pick it up. I took it heavy in my hand, my fingers sinking deep into the handle.

Then he pushed the Uncarved Bone over the table towards me and said: 

- Time see iffun yoo stil memburs howta cuts da Meet way frum da Bon.

I reached out to take the knife in my hand, holding it with all my strength, like he once showed me. Then I closed my eyes and let it all go, taking the edge into me. I set my hand upon the Meat, not at all surprised that it was warm and alive, and pushed the knife against the moist surface, letting it hush through, letting it slip down and slide to the Bone.



As I began to make the Bone sing, as I began to scrape the Meat away, I could hear something horrible and violent begin to scream.

The Bone Carver watched me closely, without passion, as he once did so long ago.