Mud City Press

THE OPEN SECRET

by Dan Armstrong

Hear that? That faint siren in the distance. They are coming for me. Yes, certain as dawn tomorrow, they are coming for me. A hot. Inescapable. Pre-destiny.

I know too much. That's it. The whole damn thing. I just know too much. Not such a great quantity, mind you, just a critical fact. And I can't let go of it. I've been screaming it out my window all night. My neighbors must think me drunk or mad, shouting at passersby while others try to sleep. Shouting at passing cars. Shouting at dogs in the street. Someone must have called me in. Complaining of my vulgar reverence in the middle of the night.

You see, something else, some larger conceiving thing is dwelling in my mind, most likely in all minds. I am not certain if those of the sirens are trying to hide this or if they simply don't know. One way or another, they are after me for daring to announce it, daring to scream it out loud.

Worst of all, I can't help it. And I am afraid. Because the idea is so unsettling. Even now, reality shifts about me like headlights moving through the night. I try to assess this thing within me, but it does no good. It's too big. There is nowhere to start, nowhere to end. It just pours out whenever I speak. And to anyone I might inform? I get a shaking head or sad, suspicious eyes. But I cannot deny what I feel so strongly. So I will doubt everything else until I can reconcile with this thing within me. The starry sky seems a lie; all history a cheap novel; geometry a slick magician's inverse; compared to this knowledge, this living truth that I feel. That I know.

And I'm scared and confused. Scared of what I know and confused by what to do with it, other than to shout it out!

But the siren is growing louder now, and I can see the whirling blue lights reflecting off the buildings many blocks away. They are coming for me. I'm not sure what they will do with me, but I don't what to find out. But where I could go? What could I do? Other than broadcast this truth.

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