'What?' I shout.-- Jennifer Percy, Demon Camp
'Nothing,' he says. He jogs back. 'Just wait.'
A long stream of prayers comes from his mouth. The streets are wide and sleek and black like rivers. A moaning rises from the distance. The wind is coming, coming down from across the agricultural fields sour with the smells of opossum and corn rot.
'What's happening?' I say.
I have the sensation that we're lying down, or that the world is moving and we're standing still. Bits of trash scrape the asphalt and gather by the tracks. A gathering of cups and soda cans swirls and rises like a tower.
One by one the streetlights darken.
I lean toward the dark.
'They're here.' He drums his hands on the table.
'The whole fucking army is here.' He reaches his arms above his head and opens them like a ballerina.
'What does that mean?'
He describes something from a war movie I've never seen, a movie where horses die and men are blown apart in trenches and the air is full of screaming.
A figure darts between bushes across the street.
'Wait,' he says. 'You see them, don't you? That's what I asked,' he says. 'That's what I prayed. I want you to see them. Just a little.'
'It's just a person,' I say.
'I can see you now in the spirit realm,' he says. 'I can see you right now. It's amazing. You now who you are? You're fucking Jon of Arc.' He talks like a general who's already imagined the slaughter and the victory.
'You need to hold my hand,' he says. 'The only way to defeat this army is to do it together. You can't do this alone. I can't either.'
His hand is there, calling to me, dark from the sun in Afghanistan.