It's a funny thing when one gets lost on their daily commute. I have an excuse, though, for it was late at night and those infernal white crystals were being spit at me from the heavens, quieting the earth, my car wheels crunching over their accumulations upon the road, the world weighed down as I drove back home. I arrived at an intersection which was blocked and I followed the detour sign. But soon the signs were gone and I found myself in a desolate industrial park.
Still not thinking much of it, I turned, heading in the direction of city lights. But the road twisted and curved and and soon I found myself in a depression, the ground rising up steeply the dark underbellies of overpasses hiding cackling and strange movements that had me locking all my doors.
I stopped at a dead end filled with tents pitched and fires blazing. Instead of backing out, I stopped. There were quite a few people milling about, but now there was a frantic energy as they started to move in a specific direction.
I did turn my car around, but only to prepare for a potential escape. I followed the crowd. Into a tunnel we went, the smell of wet cement hanging strong in the air and mixing in with the smoke. On the sides were couple and groups whispering to each other; some had glowing eyeballs and all stared at me as I walked past. I could feel that I was a foreign element here. I just couldn't tell if they were going to eliminate me or not. Nevertheless, heart pounding, I walked through their hostility, that cold air, and the marijuana smoke and dirty skin aroma now dominating my olfactory senses.
I finally came to a hall where everyone was gathered around centered stage. A man and a woman, both with Medusa-hair, introduced a story, then melted into the crowd. A cubic screen dropped from the ceiling and soon a moving picture sputtered on. I leaned in to the silk-screen of a tattooed girl next to me and asked what this was. movie festival night, Spokane's own grassroots one apparently.
The first short was a few minutes long, shoddily made, but with enough tension to pull me in before it was cut short: a dreaded boy looks over Spokane's riverfront. People mill about. The boy sees an object of his affection, he makes to go after her. The movie stops to the sound of a gunshot.
The next two were no better and I thought about leaving; the glances from those around me were turning overtly hostile. Nevertheless, I waited for one more.
This one started out with a boy in a small town. The boy runs about, pulls off pranks. The older people like him so they don't say or do much besides smile at him. In general the boy does as he's told, so there's no real friction. At one point he comes to a tree and asks a passing adult why no one seems to eat the fruit off it. Poisoned, is the reply. The boy walks on.
He grows, the boy, and a young man now, he overhears some adults talking about the tree, arguing that the tree isn't poisonous, but only kills the spirit in all and the village, as per the last time, is forced to cleanse itself for it poisons the entire village. The old man arguing against the other adults, on the side of it not being actually poisonous, is mocked. The next day the young man asks his parents about the tree and they tell him never to mention it again.
His curiosity piqued, he walks to the tree late at night and eats its fruit. Nothing happens. Soon a famine descends upon the land and the village is at a loss for a reason. Soon a finger points at the young man.
Before a court he's dragged and he admits to the fruit eating, but lays no claim to the famine. They say it was the fruit that caused the famine. He states it's a myth. They ask how he could know. He couldn't he admitted. And so he says that it isn't the fruit but them. Of course blaming the village is a sign of a broken spirit and so the he stood guilty on all counts and was bled dry to cleanse their poison. End of movie.
At this point I could feel my heart beating fast in my chest, though I wasn't exactly sure why the movie had affected me so. I looked up and noticed that almost everyone was staring at me, moving towards me.
I ran, heart in mouth. Yells and projectiles flew my way, but I made it to my car unscathed. Soon I was driving back to freedom and the normalcy of well-lit streets. but that movie, that movie festival, it still sticks with me.
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