Author: George Chambers
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
View: 5166First, the voice of my father. First, the rasping death rattle of his voice calling me. His voice everywhere, surrounding. Each way I turn, his voice equally there, calling my name. Boy, rattled the voice. Boy. I start in each direction to go to him, but I hear the voice everywhere so I stand still. Boy, says the voice, its rattle thinning, hollowing. A thick fogbank rolling in over the water, father's figure rising from it. Father's figure draped in blue, a blue gown, his face swollen and bruised. A smear of yellow on his chest, a badge of yellow pulsing in the blue fabric. I rush into the water, shouting his name. Father! Just as I am about to dive and swim to him, he holds up his hand, commanding me to stop. I stand waist-deep in the freezing water. Murder, he says. I am murder. Is he saying murder, or mother? I can't be sure. Boy, Father says. I am put to death. No, I shout. No! The figure continues to rise, to swell as a corpse might after days in the water. It points at me. Boy, it commands. Find the one. Punish. Father! I shout, as the figure loses its structure, collapses into the rolling fogbank. Above the whispering I hear one last word. Sign, the deathsound says. Sign.