The mud puddle had appeared by the crab apple orchard in the morning, right before the farmer had gone to church. By the time he’d returned, it was nearly twenty feet wide and some of his trees had been pulled below.
He didn’t dare get too close to it. The beetle brown water churned like the Devil himself was rising from its depths and he felt light-headed even when he was a good distance away.
By the afternoon, it had grown wider and now threatened his barn.
If he didn’t do something, it’d overtake it soon and then it was only a sinner’s length from his house.
He picked up some good-sized boulders from the pile in his field and carried it over with his John Deere and dropped them in. They dropped in with barely a ripple, so he grabbed some more and they disappeared too. The futility of the whole endeavour stung, so he slunk away and holed up in his home, to passages of Nehemiah before falling asleep.
The next morning, his barn and tractor were gone and the mud hole was at the steps of his home. His cattle had disappeared, but he wasn’t sure if they’d run off in fear or if they’d gotten too close and slipped below. He didn’t wish to stay around and find out.
He went inside, grabbed a sack and shoved all the food he could and packed a trunk full of clothes and personal belongings and pulled it out the back door. By the time he went to grab his shotgun, the front porch ripped off and was sucked down.
He sat in the dirt of his driveway for the next half hour watching all that he’d worked for across the years slip into the depths and that’s when he heard the singing.
The came from the mud., like the deep voices he’d heard on the radio singing opera, but they sounded garbled and the words were indecipherable. Like a wild animal letting out a melodic cry as it drowned.
They made him angry. Not at their sound or the hole or how he lost all his belongings. He was angry at the world.
At his neighbours that surrounded him who still had a house and a barn, and the minister whose church stood safely on the hill. They thought they were safe and distant and high from harm, but the farmer knew better.
But he had the power to make things right. To make things equal and all he had to do was sing with the rest of the voices.
He felt the song rise in his throat and could barely stand before it burst forth. He sang louder and more passionately than any time he had in church and hesang until his lungs ached and his eyes wept with tears. He sang to the heavens and to the depths of the earth and he wandered forth to meet the others in song.
It was only when the mud ran into his mouth that he realized his mistake. He’d fallen for its siren song, but by then he didn’t care, because he understood their words, and his voice intertwined with their, and they sang as one.
And now they could share their song with other. His neighbours, then the church and its congregation. And then the world.
Thank you so much for reading.
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