Like Grain in Wood

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Gay and Lesbian  |  House: Booksiesilk Classic Group

A Texas Hill Country boy of color. An orphan white boy with roots in the Slave Ranch, Texas Hill Country. Mid-twentieth-century beginnings for two destined beings, unintentionally enigmatic as they prove to be. Growing up as brothers, these two experience life in a richly familial way, only to be sundered by forces darkly pushing an agenda bent on evil pursuits.
Almost a decade of separate wanderings bring serendipitous re-crossing of tracks, and fulfillment of fates foreordained...

Table of Contents

Tumultuous Beginnings

Tumultuous beginnings

Like Grain in Wood
Part 1
Philander Phlox and the Phosgood off Ox

Chapter 1

“That’s not the head, Basil, it’s a damn hip,” Percy ruminated out loud. By intoning the deduction, the big man interjected warning flags into a scenario presently unfolding in a sturdy old barn beside the Guadalupe River. Rain pelted the rusty metal roof as a ripening thunderstorm announced arrival. Altuna, irascible old mamma cow, lowed mournfully in reply, forewarning of several things two men were just now figuring out. None of which foreboded any good.
The 5 AM farm report had advised of approaching volatile weather and a sharp crack of thunder proved the portent. Both men glanced outward through ajar double doors across the spacious gnarled shelter, then at one another, in expressions of vexation for the storm’s timing. Both were exceedingly aware of the nearby river’s history of hypocrisy; exhibitions of meandering jade tranquility utterly alien to the tumult of flash flooding the riverbed could ill-contain. Evidence of past furies were starkly apparent by numerous huge stumps marking extinct bald cypress behemoths lining banks of the hot-blooded waterway. Surviving brethren notwithstanding.
Harsh wavering glare from an overhead string of bare light bulbs illuminating the stall in which they toiled flickered dolefully, adding further cautionary to their predicament. Another contraction from the laboring cow arose in forceful demand. Instinct and experience informed both animal and attendants that breach presentation of the neonate augured poorly for successful delivery. She answered in the sole way known to her: heaving mightily in attempt to expel an impatient baby boy. Her helpers struggled to manually reposition the babe, their vaginally inserted arms fighting the muscularity fighting them.
Over ensuing minutes, the fetus was inched circularly, obstructive limbs limiting efforts by catching and lodging against an insistent uterine canal. Altuna could but insist on one thing and that was not in any way helpful to a common good working toward the desired end. Baby-to-be desperately wanted to remain sequestered in its warm broth of amniotic heaven while contrastingly begging to breathe, free of the safe confines preferred. Perceval inhaled a sympathetic breath as a tiny front left hoof slipped past the ringed muscle bordering the cow’s confused cervical sphincter.
Basil retracted a slimy forearm in response, giving a bit of leeway for an opposing front hoof to follow suit. “The dad-gum neck is bent all-way backards, Perce,” he grumbled, just as a piercing bolt of electrical energy lightninged its way to ground outside the entryway. Corresponding report of audible tangency rendered echoing air shocks, then earth tremors. A burgeoning deluge of angry rain next assailed the metal cover above them. The barrage drowned out plaintive bellows erupting from a fraught mother in her plainly excruciating perpetration of battling birthing modalities. Nature’s unforgiveness seemed bent on compounding her sufferings by vicarious tie to a maturing maelstrom.
Percy persisted in manipulative efforts to join baby’s neck to its now positioned front legs, yet forces fought him, in hindrance. His bicep cramped suddenly in complaint at the mother’s monstrous contractions. Basil watched his partner’s struggling efforts even as he saw past him, envisioning trickles of water seep through the old edifice’s sluiceways bottoming the walls protecting them. A harbinger.
Built over a hundred and thirty years earlier, circa 1830, the heartwood cypress structure had not been conceived and erected during a time when amortization schedules outweighed durability concerns. Rather, its mission had been one: to persevere. Proving that fact multiple times through more than a century of weather, the structure was perceived as immutably indestructible. From the rocks – more: boulders—securely founding the base and underlapping the joist system as hedge against Nature’s wiles; to immense posts—nay: whole cypress trunks—sculpted for bonding into bored cores of those sarsens; to solid zinc-galvanized iron connector braces throughout, the massive construction, indeed, bore distinction as only surviving riverside building following the five-hundred-year flood of seven years before. Its mettle and provenance endured. Attested.
Within moments, true to fickleness of the beloved and feared river, both men sensed onslaught of dreaded sounds: cascading waves betokening a wrathfully rising wall of deadly overflow. Light bulbs began popping in insistent umbrage of shorting electrical circuitry precipitously bombarded by its sworn enemy. Water. Antithetical forces left confines in darkened state over those seconds.
Blindly, now, Perceval redoubled efforts at rejoining over-extended neck with front limbs, his trust paramount in the old structure’s inviolability. The process gradually succeeded and the muscular elder animal-husbander heaved an unheard sigh of relief as baby’s muzzle poked a way into the wider world. Next, he extruded frontal appendages by grasping, then unbending, cartilaginous cannons and guiding them through the canal. In doing, the old veteran apprehended a membranous cover marking a true oddity. The old cow’s amniotic sac had not yet ruptured. Her water had not broken. While not uncommon for women, the situation arose only rarely in cattle. The man knew strange tidings when seen. Or, rather, felt, in this darkened scenario.
Sure enough, as another strike of lightning briefly pierced blackness, Perceval viewed a stranger sight yet: still enwrapped fetus’ visible feet almost seemed to be whole hooves. Not cloven, per usual. Perhaps it was a refraction effect, thought the rancher. He palpated them through tough chorionic membrane and viscous fluid, expecting split hooves, but was further baffled by verification of non-cloven, horse-like appendage tips.
Conjecture of this aberration prevented the man’s mind from focus on sudden emergence of an oncoming train. The proverbial description of… catastrophe. Basil’s screech of realization went unheeded, swallowed by an overwhelming blast of wind and sound. Deafening rush by a wall of water demanded attention. In the fraction of time allowing rationalization, two men, mother cow and emerging baby, all wondered at the phenomenon bashing their senses just as the barrage battered an immovable, aged fortress with inevitable force. A fifty-foot wall of ruthless water engulfed everything in its path. Coherence and worldly connections severed from reality all beings protected inside.
So, it would seem.

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2     Her eyes winked open.  She blinked to clear sleep-smudged bleariness.  Upon rubbing both, thing... Read Chapter

Chapter 3

Chapter 3   The trash quotient was mind-boggling.  And cool as a fool in a pool, thought seven-year-old Hercules Phosgo... Read Chapter