Academic journal article Chicago Review

Crayfish

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Crayfish

Article excerpt

The fish were dead already. The water had disappeared. The sky had burned itself a mirror in which it had been reflected for the last month. The bright, wan fire had reached the stones. It looked like a road made of white bones, something like that. The way wound across a ruddy-colored meadow, deep and absurdly convoluted, filled with the buzzing of flies. The willow-green and ink-black insects had the hardness of metal, the mobility and gleam of mercury. Everything else - the air, the woods on the hillside, the buzzard circling around the sun- was motionless.

We walked up the creek. The rounded rocks gave out a wooden thud when they were kicked. The short sound started up, rose into the air, and immediately ceased. A dozen or so alders grew in a bend by the crag. In the place where the current had once dropped down a series of steps, there was silence. The puddles had the color of dirty bottle glass. Kamil said a beer would be good, and I answered that it'd be better to wait till evening, because it was pointless to drink and drink like that.

Then we saw them. Just the eyes. The round brown beads still retained their shine. The rest of their bodies had already come to resemble minerals. Their exoskeletons were covered with drying mud. They moved sluggishly, they didn't so much as try to get away. They simply retreated among the rocks, pulling their pincers behind them. A low scraping noise could be heard. They moved like weakened mechanisms, like wound-up toys about to fall still. Some were already motionless, like the rest of the river.

We went home. We took a child's pink toy pail. An open Gazik jeep drove down the road. The firefighters wore dark glasses and were naked to the waist. "A patrol," I said. …

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