Shantih Journal 3.1 - Page 111

weak and ragged. His mother? Olga? No, he gradually recognized it as Carla’s, asking if he could hear her, was he all right, they were calling an ambulance. ​ lowly, his friends’ faces appeared, intent yet passive. The construction foreman, S Joe was his name, was on a cell phone. There was no battle here. ​ ndrew stood looking at small waves rippling, pulling in seaweed and bits of A debris. He was trying to take deep breaths, to slow his heartbeat, but each breath turned to shuddering, like a car engine that wouldn’t start. It had felt really good to shoot that ball out, to stop what was happening: the little group of old people, looking like they were about to be mowed down any second by those men with their big machines. And his grandfather there, trying to stand up to that fat guy but clearly failing, shrinking back. Andrew had felt like shouting nasty things at them, but instead he’d put all that force into the kick, not sure which of the two plaid-shirted men the ball would hit. Now he was terrified, and he wanted to get away. His thoughts kept returning, as they’d had all morning, to a crazy dream he’d had, just before he woke up. Horseshoe crabs, hundreds of them, coming out of the bay with their telsons pointing forward, like an invading army. He had turned to run, but his feet kept sinking into the sand, and the beach grew wider as he tried to move. And then the crabs began to spread out, hundreds of them, through the yards of the little colony bungalows toward the frames and walls of the new houses. They swarmed over the houses, which began to collapse. And a few of the armored spiders began aiming straight at him, their weird little eyes focused on him, even as he was shouting at them that their eyes were in the wrong place, that the telson was their tail. They weren’t listening, but kept advancing. They were a powerful force, but were they coming to help or harm? He turned and ran, through thickets that caught his feet, and branches that hit his face, through the woods, which went on and on, like an ancient forest. He moved deeper into thickening trees and brush until he could not see where he was going. Late in the afternoon, after the EMS crew examined him and he refused to be 111