My brother, John Alfred Mapstone IV, wrote this piece a few months before he died. He desperately wanted it shared but didn’t know about blogging and relied on the clunky interface of google docs and Facebook sharing to post it. I am sharing it in accordance with his wishes. He told me this was a true tale and he reinforces that notion at the end of the tale. Thank you for reading.
The fucking Creek is alive!
The frantic man moved about the blackberry thorns, both intrigued by the voices coming from within them, and down below the steep hill, where the Bear Creek rushes. Some of the voices would speak in sinister sounds.
“Bout time you figured out the way home boy. You never was a good Daddy! How can you live with yourself? You lost them all on your own!”
These very words sunk into the heart of the lunatic because pure shame and regret surged through his blood like fire, a blaze soon rising to inferno. He suppressed those words. However, on this night the sun dimmed and the already cold rain began to chill even deeper. The man, lets call him “John” began to follow the voices from his past straight through the sharp thorns toward the Creek. A soft Motherly word came from the foliage along the dirty Creek edge.
“Remember!” He scaled across the top of the overturned blackberry bushes and the many holes created by their intertwining weaves.
“Oh!” John remembered. It was not to long before all of this thorny mess that he had not only lost his family, but surely himself. The guilt of giving up so easy on his family had spun him completely out of control. Now the only thing to save him from losing his own mind are the birds showing him the way home. Their songs sang his name – their melody a soft enchanting sway of allure.
“This way, poor man! This way” The Creek arose and fell as if taking large breaths from the earth while clanking rocks together below. Something did not feel right! A spite began to form in John’s core, a vicious bile at the base of his stomach and throat.
The Creek then spoke with the power of rushing water. “You promised. My Son!”
John’s heart sank for he knew the promise to which the Creek referred – a promise to himself, his son and daughter, and his God. Yet now the ultimate betrayal has created a suicidal shame – a bondage that only his God could release him from. On this night John did not see the potential everyone else saw in him, rather he saw the misdeeds and the broken promises that the whole world around him remembered – the very things that had slowly drawn him to the Creek, drawing him home.
Finally he spoke aloud, and when he did, it came from deep within his gut, growling with pity, shouting with anger, “You! You know I am human, Father! Are my sins not forgiven? Yet here you have me following your words, doing your bidding and yet you still condemn me!”
His tears were comfortingly warm, so John allowed them to fall; but such release created a phlegm that had to be spit out into the rushing Creek below his feet, a reminder of how close to death he truly was.
The foliage spoke in the voice of his Brother, “Its time John. Come home!” John turned to the direction of his voice but thought that surely no one in their right mind would be on the Creek’s edge in this chilly Oregon rain.
“What the fuck do you mean?” John yelled with bitterness and spite!
Once again the birds showed him the way, singing their songs of approval and grace. Once again the Creek began to breathe. From the creek’s edge the following words came. “Just fucking jump already! You’ll be doing them a favor! Trust me!”
John snapped his neck around to the source of the cocky voice, “Who fucking said that?”
I want you to realize Reader, these voices are clear as the sounds of distant planes or traffic on the 5, only a hundred yards away. I say lunatic, but John has only recently begun to hear these voices around him, a perfect example of the power of sin.
Then, what he thought would never happen happened. The voice of his daughter’s Mother manifested, a voice he thought he would never hear again. He balanced there, hands bloody from holding on to tightly to the thorns surrounding him. “Just go home John, its one fucking step! Faith wont miss you. She didn’t even care about you!”
This is the worse thing John could hear in his shame. The power of her words – her serious demeanor – replayed again and again as he struggled to come to terms with their convicting snare. Franticly John moved about – the loose thorns ripped away at his pants and face. The cuts, thin and razor sharp, as only those who have experienced their burning tares could relate. He soon found himself, literally, dangling upon the edge of over growth about 6 feet from the rising Creek.
That sinister voice returned, “You did promise John, now step in, its the only way.” The thing snickered from all sides.
“OK you’re right! You’re right! I fucked up! I gave up! I let them down!” The promise was made only days ago – a promise made to God, a promise to never return to his addiction, for it was the very thing that started this whole mess. That promise, too, was broken just like the fragile construction of a home and family he crushed with the weight of lies and betrayal. No wonder John was so lost, so lonely, so afraid.
He took a step forward and the over growth gave way as his foot slipped a little into the weave. His palm suddenly ripped open while rain and blood ran effortlessly down the spiky stems.
“Ah!” of course you must have already heard the desperate wail in your head, the shriek of disapproval.
“Not yet!” his grip tightened regardless of the pain. “How do I know you’re real? ” he waited silently, inch by inch sliding further into the weave of blackberry bushes, now 5 feet from the rushing Creek below.
“Because you know the truth! You know we exist human. Now jump! Do them all a favor” the cocky one spoke again.
”Is it time to go home now, Father?” And silence.
Just before the quick/sharp reply from the rushing Creek below, “Yes!”
This was all John needed to know before committing himself to the Creek, but just before his plunge he could see, in the breaking clouds above, just for a moment, the propellers of a small white drone hovering in the distance.
“No fucking way!” he thought, taking a closer look. Just before he could see, the clouds collided and created a shower of massive and cold drops of rain upon him.
“Just jump already!”
“You fucked up!”
“No one wants you, ya piece of shit!”
John can not control his legs from shaking as they try so hard to balance there, and the pain all over his cut up body proves to annoy him as well.
“You’re right I said, but…” he tried to argue with the voice, only, he could not seem to muster the energy. “Just wait…” He began to cry, “I didn’t mean to hurt them Father, I didn’t mean to leave them alone, I cant do this any longer. Just take me home.”
The birds, oh those wonderful birds began again and John fell to their direction straight into the rushing current and rising girth from the falling rain. The cold chill and shock of refusing neurons sent a paralyzing jolt from his toes to his already frozen fingers. He went under, but only for a moment before smashing into the first boulder on the Creek bed. This first one struck him in the side and the feeling of his ribs inverting took his breathe completely away. Unable to fight against the currents John was pushed violently into an assault of rocks within the Creek and a series of random drops that pulled him in further down the cold deep.
“But this can not be the way home? This cannot be where I belong!” John thought, starting to fight for his life, every sluggish effort denied by the fast moving waters.
“But it’s home!” he was reminded of the place away from the judgmental humans, the fake believers of Christ who say they understand and do not, the power of addiction, and lets not forget – the promises made and all of them broken. Just as the crushing bones beneath his frozen skin were snapped like twigs, one of John’s hands caught on something. It was a boulder on the Creek’s edge. With all his might, he hung on to it for dear life and began the struggle to pull himself to safety.
Well we really can’t call it safety Reader, because the temperature dropped to 20° in the last 5 minutes he had been slashing at the Creeks reckless currents.
Now he laid in the frozen air with a wet body – a major no-no in any survival situation. Suddenly the uncontrollable urge to move himself for warmth forced him into a constant shiver. He could feel his body freeze as the air around him entered his lungs nearly freeze burning the liquid in his throat.
“Ah uh ah yah! ” he tried to fight the cold. “No!” the movement and bit of anger helped, but it only served as a reminder of the warmth he could have and the current situation which was going to kill him.
“He’s dying of hypothermia!” a voice across the Creek called out, also drawing John’s attention to the huge house there, where he and his daughter played on a swing hanging from a tree in its front yard.
“Faith,” he reached out. Surprisingly a smile formed on his face, but it lasted only a moment in this cold, for his facial creases were suddenly stretched. Now, bright before him, the lights of a back lit projector played a montage of past or future lives. Some laughter filled the air, others showed torment and grief, all full of overwhelming emotion as the scenes shifted from one worldly trouble to the next. Open wider than they have ever opened, John’s eyes began to burn as the tears froze upon his cheeks.
“Father! Take me home! None of these lives I can live. My choices the reason for my pain, the reason for my desperation, my loss. I am nothing alone!” The clouds opened up before the bright full moon, and from it a catwalk of a glowing ray of white light. As John’s eyes focused, the image of Jesus ‘dragging’ the cross manifested from the moon as if a doorway for our savior upon the catwalk to John’s heart. Four laborious steps were taken before Jesus lifted his thorn-crowned head and two doves protruded from his nailed palms. Both flapped their wings in fury as they flew directly toward the fascinated blue eyes of John, but with the vision so real the birds frightened John. As he flinched back a bright light blinded him for a moment. He was suddenly filled with peace and calm, the illumination warm and inviting. The all knowing thought of release and majestic serenity overtook him.
“Father! Is it time to go home?” And not in words, but just knowing, the light filled him with the answer and he knew what he must do. The Creek became calm, its rage-filled breaths suppressed, as a series of dancing lights enticed John to the soothing sensation of the sound of water in front of him versus the freezing skin upon his body and the thoughts of certain death.
“I’m coming home Father!” John began to move forward, but couldn’t, the pain in his body too great and the overwhelming cold slowly taking over his blood and core. Right there on the side of Bear Creek he was giving up on the world he once fought to dwell. The many lights began to consume him. The warmth of their glow caressed, the sway of their dance enchanted, and he began to fall asleep.
Just before death took his hand, the sinister voice had one more thing to say “S-suffer man! S-suffer!”
“What? S-s-s-suffer? Y-you s-say, suffer? ” the stutter almost needed for hope, the rage against this cocky voice like the inferno John awaited. “Fuck you! You fucking suffer!” a few deep roaring breaths. “Fuck you Motherfucker!”
“You promised him boy! Don’t you forget” the slithering words rolled off its unseen tongue.
John spat from a mouth full of bile “Are you not man? Because i made no promise to you! Nor this fucking world, I made my promise to God! You! You sound like man!” The words enraged him, allowing him to move a shoulder and lash out in the direction of the demonic voice. “You are man!” The lights continued their dance toward the once again breathing Creek.
“You can come home Son! But you must come to me!” the calming voice of Bear Creek gave John the sweet choice, the intriguing option of free will. Then, by the rage of a thousand misdeeds John did the one thing he promised himself he would never do – he pleaded his case once again to God!
I would tell you what truly happened after this Reader, but you would take this as another MAPSTONE Tale, you would miss the fact that this story is true, an experience i will never forget, a struggle between good and evil, self and sorcery. An event that now defines my vision of Christ and God, a product of mental illness, or for the life changing, redefining moment that would alter my life, my perception.. Forever. Right there on Bear Creek, Medford Oregon. I can not remember the actual conversation with God Reader. However, i do recall the decision to stay here on Earth. I recently wonder why? But it isn’t until i look in the eyes of someone close and see that they too are human and they too have just as much grief as I, that i realize we are all in this together.
Right there in front of me – a fire blanket (i would use to warm) and a single boot (i would use for a pillow). Although I would make it through the night, the next day, and the days there after would determine the man I would become. It is not this part of my own story Reader, that makes this a true Kaleidescope Tale, rather what happens next in Act 2. So. Please? Let me know if you would read the conclusion. And share if you will. I promise, you will not be disappointed.