Friday, March 5, 2010

excerpt from I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

(Robert Neville's wife, Virginia, has recently died - a victim of the plague. By law, all corpses must immediately be transported to a pit of fire and burned. Fire is the only way known to destroy the bacteria and prevent the spread of the plague. Neville has vowed not to burn his wife's body. He secretly buries her in a overgrown lot near their home...)

Kym Hepworth / detail, Sweet Dreams Mr. Poe /mixed media / 21 x 27 ½ x 2 in. / 2006

"He lay fully clothed on his bed, staring at the black ceiling. He was half drunk and the darkness spun with fireflies.

His right arm faltered out for the table. His hand brushed the bottle over and he jerked out clawing fingers too late. Then he relaxed and lay there in the still of the night, listening to the whiskey gurgle out of the bottle mouth and spread across the floor.

His unkempt hair rustled on the pillow as he looked toward the clock. Two in the morning. Two days since he'd buried her. Two eyes looking at the clock, two ears picking up the hum of its electric chronology, two lips pressed together, two hands lying on the bed.
Kym Hepworth, two lips pressed together

He tried to rid himself of the concept, but everything in the world seemed suddenly to have dropped into a pit of duality, victim to a system of twos. Two people dead, two beds in the room, two windows, two bureaus, two rugs, two hearts that . . .

Kym Hepworth, two hearts that . . .

His chest filled with night air, held, then pushed it out and sank abruptly. Two days, two hands, two eyes, two legs, two feet . . .

Kym Hepworth, two eyes

He sat up and dropped his legs over the edge of the bed. His feet landed in the puddle of whiskey and he felt it soaking through his socks. A cold breeze was rattling the window blinds.

He stared at the blackness. What's left? he asked himself. What's left, anyway?

Wearily he stood up and stumbled into the bathroom, leaving wet tracks behind him. He threw water into his face and fumbled for a towel.

Kym Hepworth, leaving wet tracks behind him

What's left? What's . . .

He stood suddenly rigid in the cold blackness.

Someone was turning the knob on the front door.

Kym Hepworth, someone was turning the knob

He felt a chill move up the back of his neck and his scalp began prickling. It's Ben, he heard his mind offering. He's come for the car keys.

The towel slipped from his fingers and he heard it swish down onto the tiles. His body twitched.

A fist thudded against the door; strengthless, as if it had fallen against the wood.

He moved into the living room slowly, his heartbeat thudding heavily.

The door rattled as another fist thudded against it weakly. He felt himself twitch at the sound. What's the matter? he thought. The door is open. From the open window a cold breeze blew across his face. The darkness drew him to the door.

Kym Hepworth, the door is open

"Who . . ." he murmured, unable to go on.

His hand recoiled from the doorknob as it turned under his fingers. With one step, he backed into the wall and stood there breathing harshly, his widened eyes staring.

Kym Hepworth, his widened eyes staring

Nothing happened. He stood there holding himself rigidly.

Then his breath was snuffed. Someone was mumbling on the porch, muttering words he couldn't hear. He braced himself; then, with a lunge, he jerked open the door and let the moonlight in.

Kym Hepworth, he let the moonlight in

He couldn't even scream. He just stood rooted to the spot, staring dumbly at Virginia.

"Rob . . . ert," she said."
(excerpt from the novel, I Am Legend, written by Richard Matheson, published by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc., New York, NY © 1995)

Spoon - I Summon You

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