Zac Lovelace in the flesh.
All I have is by grace — God’s giving, loving Spirit.
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”
“The most important part is the eyes.” Mitchell said, leaning close to the static, lifeless cat. He stood up straight, “That’s what he’d say anyway. I can still hear him saying it.”
He curled his head around to see his wife, Georgia, carefully stepping around the room. The two had wandered into the den, every inch of wall space covered by a mummified animal.
Georgia held her purse tight to her stomach and stared deeply into the eyes of a mounted Jackalope.
"I can’t understand why someone would want some dead thing as a decoration.”
“They aren’t dead.” He said, completely turning to face her. His left hand, firmly hidden in his coat pocket, thumbed his silver ring.
Georgia dropped her arms to her side and pushed out a hard laugh,“Honey, I think they’re about the best definition of dead: shot, skinned and pinned.” She gestured a finger gun at a Jackalope.
He shrugged and kept his eyes on the wall of dead animals. “Death isn’t about being gone forever, not thinking; it’s about not having anything else to say.”
“Martin told you that?”
Mitchell lifted a squirrel from his perch on the wall, petting him smoothly as if he were alive. His wife turns, waiting for his answer. He makes the squirrel dance, bobbing back and forth crudely.
“You got yourself a friend there?” She jabbed. “Put him back. Mitch — “
Smiling, he paraded the squirrel over to her. It nibbled at her neck rabidly. He chirped for its dead vocal chords.
“Oh my God! Get that thing off of me!” She commanded, her eyebrows pinched.
She reeled back a step to avoid the squirrel’s pursuit. Her husband chuckled, now to himself, admiring the little creature.
He answers her calmly, memory still fresh, “He’d say that if there wasn’t anymore stories left to tell about you, then you’d be dead.”
"I can feel him here."
"What do you mean?"
"In all of these — things."
"What about them?"
She picked up a baby chicken by the nape of its neck. “If death isn’t when your story ends — I don’t know — he must have wanted people talking about him for a long time.”
Quietly, he slid the rodent back on the wall, “The eyes are the most important part because that’s where you look first, it tells you everything about them. Even people.”
Georgia turned around and locked eyes with him. They were cold and metallic but despite that, the warmth in his face drew her near.
"Did you ever help him?"
"He’d make me skin them."
Gently, she pulled away.
"Squirrels are the easiest," he said, tracing his fingers along the wall, "all you have to do is pull. Birds on the other hand — all those feathers — "
There was something child-like about him, but this same thing made him seem all the more unsettling.
They wandered into the parlor. Sunlight stuck behind the drawn curtain kept the room feeling mossy and damp.
Along the wall opposite the window are framed cases of insects. The centerpiece of the display was an enormous moth, his wings mosaic and proud. From behind, Mitchell rested his cheek on the top of her head, the moth a magnet to his eyes.
“An honest to God liar.” He murmured.
“What?” She asked.
“It’s what he used to tell people… if they asked if he was any good.”
"God, I’d say he was — look at these."
In his memory, he could hear a voice, he was young and it was old and the voice told him to always have a good lie to tell. The moth’s giant yellow eyes on his wings did not blink but became deeper like fine quicksand. A flush of brown surged in the center of its scaled wings.
Georgia sauntered away but he couldn’t take his eyes off of the great insect, its stare too magnetic.
That’s when the lie escaped from his mouth. It wasn’t the first time he had lied this lie, but it certainly felt as such.
“I love you.”
Back then, the visions… most of the time I was convinced that I’d lost it.
But there were other times I thought I was mainlining the secret truth of the universe.