Bone Carver 8: The Bone's Sweet Song

Bone Carver VIII
Bone’s Sweet Song

Bone’s Sweet Song

Life’s nonsense pierces us with strange relation. -  Wallace Stevens

Night bright with stars. No wind. Everything reflected in the Lake’s surface. Across the waters to the east, a distant bell sounding amidst the cries of the frogs and insects.

I took it all in as I held attention to the fishing pole in my hands. The line. The floater. The hook down deep suspended and the [-----] worm impaled upon it’s point. I was all of this and I was this reflected.

Opposite me on the Raft of Bones was the Bone Carver. Present within everything that I was aware of, but infolded within himself. 

My gaze was centered on the signal of the floater as it rested in the reflected field of stars. Waiting for it to tremble in its orbit, to shiver and sink into the depths of the Universe. 

My attention was fixed only on the present moment, knowing that in the next one the Big One would be on my hook. If I wavered for only an instant, it would be in that instant that the floater would disappear and I would lose my chance to set the hook. This time became all time and I waited, as it were, outside. 

Again, the distant bell from the dark of the woods on the other side of the Lake, urging me away. Images of the Ox roaming threatened my singular focus. 

At that instant: the pole was shocked out of my hands. I saw it in the air, splashing and then sinking under the water. 

I dove in after it.

And caught it with an excruciating pain in my chest. But I didn’t let go. I felt the pain crack through my spine and seer up through my neck into my head.

The pole slipped away.

I began to jerk and spasm as this horror tore slowly into my brain. I heard a soft crack and saw shining metal point  emerge from between my eyes.

Then I was lifted from the water. The silver point jolted further through me to reveal a jagged barb.

And I knew that somehow I had been caught. I tore up through the surface and spun slowly around, taking in all of the Lake until I came around to the smiling face of the Bone Carver.

He was laughing at me. His face lifted to the stars, shining like a skull.

The scream poured helplessly from my head as he tossed me down upon the raft. My body began to jerk against my will and slam my head against the bottom of the raft. Everything faded.

When I came to, I was in the Boathouse, hanging above the Bone Carver’s table in the Cleaning Room. I tried to call out in ragged croaks.

He appeared from the Tackle Room with a large knife. And began to carve the flesh away from my bones, slowly and easily, while he whistled a repeating melody to himself.

I prayed to lost consciousness again. The pain washed over me again and again in dark waves. But I was supremely aware. I tried to speak but I had no more language. All I could do was to watch in agony was I was methodically stripped of all my flesh.

The horror gradually gave way to wonder as I entered into a realm beyond pain. When almost all of the flesh had been removed from my bones, I realized with something like laughter that I was still alive. And I actually did laugh. 

The Bone Carver then lifted me up and slid me off the hook, Held me standing before him with one hand. And with the other, by a few knowing cuts, he slipped my face of my skull. He set me down. 

I stood there before him as a wobbly skeleton, my bare bones clacking awkwardly against each other. I looked down around my feet to the quivering pile of meat that I once was. 

- Looks like you done caught a Big One there. 

And I understood. Stepping back, I felt a lightness of being. More laughter, impossible laughter, came from deep within my skull.

I began to dance. And the Bone Carver danced with me. All through the Boathouse, spinning and leaping across all the rafts and boats there, moving in harmony to the sublime sounds of the Bone’s Sweet Song.

The tongue has no bone.
- Seung Sahn.