RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Wednesday, June 15

45s on 33 – #83: “Sweet Child O’ Mine”

As Rey-Rey and me was yelling back and forth with these characters, well mostly one main guy who seemed to shout back, it became clear they probably maybe were actual runaway slaves from a couple hundred years ago. This was according to my time, not their’s, because we eventually all got close enough to see each other, me and Rey-Rey and five of them, all men, all strange looking. The one who was talking was adamant, “I ain’t goin’ back. Don’t care who y’all is. We done been here for years, got my boy here beside me, he got his own now too. We done been free long enough ain’t no use in taking us back. Now you git. Tell them people we ain’t gonna haul no more stone for nobody.”

The man next to him he referred to as his boy looked to be older than him. Rey-Rey had done all the talking up to this point, somewhat belligerently at times, so I stepped in.

“That’s your boy?”

“Yeah, that’s my son.” Again, his son looked older than him.

“He leave with you when you left?”

“Nah, man. He was born down here, in these caves. He done had a whole free life down here in the dark. Now we ain’t going back out there to the light, to be made to work like animals. We ain’t no damn animals.”

I am the thinker, the cerebral part of the tag team of Rey-Rey and me, so I was already contemplating through why was this man’s son older looking than him. We knew this was some sort of space-time tunnel system, and other experiences would suggest the runaway slave man’s time might have frozen while he was in the tunnels. That has seemed to be what goes on. But what if he had a kid down here? The kid would have had to incubate in a mother’s belly, and then be born. Did the mother age? Or just carry to term a child? And if this child was born down here, decades, perhaps a century ago even, was he aging? What made him age, but not his father?

Rey-Rey was not the cerebral half of our tag team though. “Your boy looks like he could be your grandpa. He looks old as fuck,” and bellow laughed which reverberated around the dark cavern halls.

The first man jumped forward grabbing Rey-Rey. “Don’t you talk like that. That sweet child o’ mine done been born free down here, and we gon’ stay down here and stay free.”

It was about this time deep in the distance I saw the first faint lights of what I can best describe as a red-green light, even though red and green are not together on our known color spectrum. But I don’t know any other way to put it. It glowed faint in the distance, like a sunspot, but started growing brighter, and I guess closer, but you couldn’t really focus on it to be sure. One of the other five men towards the back said, “Railroad time! Here he come. Here come Railroad Time.”

The lead man from their collective let go of Rey-Rey and relaxed. “Railroad Time comin’. He gon’ run y’all off, like he always do when y’all folk come trying to take us back.” The red-green light grew brighter until it filled the direction it came from, and in the middle of it was a wiry-haired sledgehammer of a black man wearing steampunk looking clothes. He moved closer but his legs didn’t really move, and it seemed almost like Rey-Rey and me were lulled into paralysis by this spirit’s presence, until he was right before us. I tried to stare, but like beta dog next to alpha, I couldn’t really keep my eyes pointed at him, regardless of my conscious will. It seemed as if one eye had a red sheen and the other green though. He scanned my soul quickly, then scanned Rey-Rey’s longer, focused those psychic laser beam eyeball orbs on Rey-Rey’s, and said, “What the fuck y’all want?”

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