In a coma, Jess Walker dreams of the earths future in a post nuclear adventure. Chap 1
THE UNDERGROUND MESSIAH
Jef Jerec Velez
Hidden from all in the vertical cliffs high above a distant jungle, the green earth dragon awakens from its sleep, an imbalance has occurred. Dormant for ions, and now awake his final quest now begins. Through the black clay and sedimentary stone, the plate sized scales creep through the darkness, his emerald-sapphire eyes see perfectly in the pitch-blackness. Upon reaching the interior cavern, he jumps, spreading his massive reptilian bat wings, gliding inside a magnificent cavern, hitting and breaking inflorescent stalactites that have been growing ever so slowly for millennium. The echoes from the wind drafts rush through the cavern creating howls like the screams of the dying.
Outside above the trees high above on the cliff face, he emerges from an ancient crevice, his armored green scales glisten vibrantly in the morning sun as he perches and surveys the forest surroundings. His long forked tongue tasting the air, he opens his wings and lurches forward, catching a thermal, he rises. In the distance he senses trouble and then…
Jess Walker, a young man in his twenties puts down his pencil next to his unfinished drawing of the green dragon. He stands and slowly backs away from his kitchen table where he often works when the nightmares visit. Stretching his head from side to side, Jess heads towards the front door through his studio beach apartment. His left hand rises slowly to push open the front door. The children playing in the city park across the street, their laugher sings of childhood. He picks up the newspaper. The headline reads,
“NUCLEAR DEVELOPMENT STIRS DEBATE AMONG WORLD LEADERS”
After quickly reading the article, he looks at his plants, touching them for a moment he remembers why he moved here, the cool salty air; the community of small beach town but close to LA, and most importantly, it was a chance to get over the break up of him and Cerese. She chose not to move to California with him. It was all planned and she backed out the last week. At least he will see his friends and family soon enough at winter break.
Inside Jess’s apartment, he has indoor plants everywhere, along the walls, under the windows and on each side to his blue futon that faces the door. He picks up his coffee cup from the wooden coffee table and with an underhand throw; the newspaper glides to the futon that’s still unmade. A nightmare woke him up at 4 am and he had been drawing since. A quick stretch before he picks up the black leather dance shoes from under the coffee table and puts them into his large over-the-shoulder dance bag along with a clean pair of sweats and a water bottle from his fridge. It was Cerese who got him interested in Dance. She made him watch that TV show and once he found out how actually hard it was, he was hooked. It was an added bonus that she was beautiful and strong.
On the Grand Lawn at Jess’s junior college, some students were protesting against the nuclear development talks that were happening; going around them Jess makes his way to his first class. It is when Jess exited his dance class that is directly across from Grand Lawn that he realized that he didn’t deal with politics much so he sidesteps through the protesters but somewhat entranced by so many enraged faces. It was painful to be around and he wished he had gone around the crowd like he did this morning. However on his way home he felt the air change so he hurried home. The gentle breeze was beginning to blow the whip caps off the after-noon autumn surf and the sky was beginning to cloud over for the first fall storm. This meant the waves would be big and Jess thought he could catch a few waves before the storm kicks in. After a dozen rides and about two dozen wipes outs he came home and put some of his plants outside to catch the rain. Turning on a classical music station he plops down his futon He checks his phone for any messages, none. He thinks about his move out here to the West and leaving his old girlfriend behind.
After a few hours of video games he shuts off his console and fades to sleep. Jess’s nightmares have been bothersome lately but he couldn’t remember anything after waking. Tonight, however Jess remembers every detail. He was floating above a city; it was destroyed beyond anything he could imagine. Charred broken concrete, dagger-sharp shards of shattered glass and twisted graceless rebar everywhere. All of the buildings are toppled; all the roads are buried under the collapsed buildings. There are no trees and the sky is orange-red and shaded with a burning haze. Floating above the devastation and faster and faster he begins to fly. He feels the wind on his face and then hotter and hotter his skin starts to burn off his body. Jess jerks violently, and is he is wide-awake in a cold sweat. The rain has begun outside and the tree branches and starting to bang against the roof.
He staggers from the futon knocking the lamp over; it shatters on the tile floor. He makes his way to the kitchen and turns on the lights. The fluorescents blind him as leans to sit at the drawing table in the corner. Staring at the dragon drawing he was working on earlier he tries to gather its strength, its fearless stance and its undisputed power. With a deep sigh, he is calm yet in no mood to try and sleep again. Moving the dragon drawing to the side, he takes out a new sheet of paper, and begins to sketch. Starting with the background, he shades the entire paper dark. In the middle, he draws a series of tall cylinders with vertical lines down the sides. Projecting up the sides of the cylinders he draws sharp-thorn like structures, like an upside-down rose stem. He draws turrets with no windows at the top; surrounded by a moat of jagged rocks and rubble. He then scribbles what she thinks is a senseless word in the bottom right corner, “NAYEDAR.” Closing his eyes, he sees a stone archway followed by a corridor that leads into darkness. He tries to focus and look further down the long hall. As his sights get clearer, he notices that the sides of the hall are filled with doors, doors that are closed. He reaches for one of the handles in the middle of the door when outside an intense cracking of thunder wakes his sleep. Still holding the pencil, he puts it down and closes the windows.
The tree branch starts brazing the front windows with more force and intensity. Jess turns and looks at the framed picture of his old girlfriend on the coffee table. Next to the frame is a large white candle. He stares at it and watches the wick self-ignite. Not realizing he has fallen asleep, he watches the flame as it begins to twist and grow. The flame grows and changes colors then the red flame splits in two. They become waxy and begin to slow and thicken. The hues change from reds and yellows, to blues and grays. All of a sudden the flames stop and it is Jess’s moving in party three months earlier. Jess and Cerese from the framed photo are slow dancing. He slowly takes her hand, kisses it gently and leads her out her front door. They walk through the shadows of apartment complexes and onto the sandy beach. The air is warm, almost muggy. Just above the shoreline, they pause and Jess points to the vibrant full moon. The gentle lulling sound of the waves and the music from the party inspires them to continue slow dancing. The song stops and she whispers in Jess’s ear, “I’m moving here next semester.” He is so happy that Cerese has changed her mind. She kissed him passionately.
Their bodies slam to the sand in a lustful embrace. Quickly, Jess sits up and pulls off his shirt, lying back down on top of her; he bites the nape of her neck. She arches as he grabs a strong hold of her blouse and rips it from her unyielding body. Her legs rise and wrap around his waist to pull him tighter to her now writhing hips. Jess reaches down, and hikes her skirt higher gasping.
On the distant horizon, there is a bright flash, followed by a gigantic mushroom cloud, the ground begins to shake followed by a colossal roar that rips into Jess’s soul. Enormous flames begin to devour the ocean racing exceptionally fast. Cerese screams for her life and Jess wakes up in a gasp her frightened shrill still ringing in his ears. Catching his breath and wiping the sweat back into his hair he gets up, turns the kitchen light on and staggers into his small bathroom. In the mirror above the sink he studies her tear-stained blood-shot eyes. Although the rain has stopped, lighting is still flashing in the sky followed by loud thunder. “That must be what I heard,” he thought. Another flash breaks his thought, a quick second later an ear-piercing crack followed by a huge crash that shakes the apartment. He heads for the door and goes outside onto the patio to investigate. The wind is whipping his hair into his eyes but he sees a tree branch has fallen and is caught on an electrical wire. Without thinking, he leans over the railing to pull the branch out and away from falling further and breaking his window when another bright lightning flash lights up the sky. Blinded for a second, he grabs the branch and the wire. The wire breaks as Jess falls over the railing to the ground hitting his head on a stone in the planter below. His blood trickles out and mixes with the mud and soil.