All entries for Wednesday 13 January 2010
January 13, 2010
Bushy beard that lures (and only his) out from a face that abounded, surrounded by, lied. It's that way.
He now stalked the streets and lanes. The desire was to walk; he thought it an excellent confidence booster. Though is shouldn't be. He would dream, of seeing it gathered, hacked off in clumps. He would wake and query, no it's still there, it's still in place. He feared that he'd cut it off if he got drunk, so he feared drinking alcohol, but events were out of control. Most didn't find it too hard but he liked to drink alone and so it returned to him, stealing over the light. He was helpless, he wanted to cut it off. No he didn't want that at all.
He grew a beard. It was a large, bushy beard that obscured most of his features but his beetle bug eyes peeped out still even though nearly everything else was covered with hair. Good. He wanted that. He felt safer when he had it, no longer felt the urge to walk in the shadows. He treasured the disguise: a real confidence booster. It did itch though and at night he thought about shaving it off and allowing it to gather around his feet in clumps. He had to quickly check it was still there, he might have shaved it off.
He avoided seeing the social question of its presence. Anyway he didn't care and had never cared. Too many memories, too much darkness. He didn't want that feeling, he didn't.
We know that you no longer sleep. War has come to our lands and we hear you wake within our heads and hearts. We welcome you “Come, lead us into battle.” we say. “Fly to us down the long, yellow, mountain road. We are waiting for you by the dry red stone that will run with new sacrifices, and we make the night full of our fires. They burn red and yellow in the darkness, while above us the eye of the Dog Star, white and black, gazes down on us.”
Our people have named you the Battle Crow; you can be a bird with many black feathers, wings and tail but you are a woman with a fierce beauty and a lust for blood. You are the Morrigan, a goddess of war made from three and we offer you an egg of blood. You sleep when the land is peaceful, when the earth is green and good, but we now walk an earth that is black and full of smoke. Therefore we call upon you to aid us in our plight.
We lie round the red fire; breathe in the smoke, drink water laced with ashes, and burn from both the fires without and within. We all hear you say this: kill. We know with sorrow what we must do.
We give you a pig; and its blood wets the dry red stone making it the egg upon which you can feast. Ashes are cloud the water and the smoke obscures the sun above us, making twilight eternal. The red fire that we lie round burns the fat. We eat the meat, skin and bone. Blood and smoke: we see red and black. We look for you but no word comes…we realise that this is not enough.
So we give you a man who is also made of meat, blood and bone. We say your name as we bite his liver. We kill the man who once stood beside us, who had to offer himself to your mercy.
All around us we have seen trees die, the green leaves and seeds all dry and dead, dry and cold. Their roots and bark turning black…you killed the trees. I know this. I whose heart you know is made of stone. But it is a sign that the sacrifice was good.
You are a queen of terror, a woman who has red and yellow eyes, long black fingernails and a dry tongue. You do not know clean water, green earth and white clouds…You eat stars, sand, and ashes. You have to drink black water, bite black earth that burns with fires, and swim in black clouds of smoke. You are a fish of black clouds, a swimmer of black rain. We all know you and drink the pig’s blood, eat the meat.
Night falls again. I hear your call and I am cold after leaving the fires. I am walking up the long yellow mountain road to you and I give you the skin of the man and my heart. I lie with you and know your warmth, full burn. You give me a vision. I see the yellow mountain walk and the black trees stand as the red fires of man sleep. The moon is full and round and the stars are cold and white.
You say to me, “This blood and skin are good. I will give you a tooth from my mouth. On the battlefield raise it above your head and I will fly to you, and invoke the great mages.”
I hold the gift in my hands and I see that the white tooth is a moon; cold and round. The moon tooth that once bit the earth now lies in my hand. The tooth is good.
I walk back down the yellow mountain road, and sit with my men around the fire. I say you gave the tooth. We know new goodness, but now we will not bite the bones. The man we once loved lies dead. We know that you are not good, you are the killing night.
We stand and all walk down the long mountain road to the field. The long road we walk to our deaths. The road we walk to kill; man, woman, dog and bird. The tooth we hold aloft and the mages answer your call. We know great victory on the field that day.
The fires die. The sun is not dead, not eaten. The trees stand and many know greenness and goodness. Earth is green and good. We all killed. We all died. We all now sleep and know you: the Night Bird, the Phantom Queen, and the Battle Crow.
I hate them. Do you understand me? Nothing about them is redeemable in my eyes. I hate their smell, their looks, their viciousness and blighted beauty; I hate their hunger, their violence and their laughter…I hate what they do it the ones I love, the madness they inspire and the monsters they create: I hate them!
Alex had been hunting them for years along the borders of the township. He had been trying to keep us all safe; to keep the promise he made to the people. But something had gone wrong tonight. He had been left to struggle alone and vastly outnumbered. He had lived up to his name though and to his lineage: he was dying with dignity.
His men managed, somehow, to recover him. They dragged him in and slung him onto my table, sweeping the pots and ceramics off the surface with their brutal arms. The crockery smashed on the stone floor and their shattered fragments scoured the surfaces and rattled into the corners, hitting the boards. The flowers I had lovingly grown were crushed beneath their boots and the purple and pink peonies bled their petals among the smashed plates. The blue cloth I’d laid on the table began to stain crimson as the blood smothered it.
I watched the crimson spread over the blue; it was turning a once calm sea into a cursed lagoon.
I reached for Alex but his arm lashed out and knocked me across the room. I lay stunned in the wreckage of crockery, my face and hands were cut from some of the sharper shards. I had hit the wall hard and both my head and body ached, I knew I would have bruises. I put pressure on the worst cut, and tied it up efficiently with a handkerchief; but otherwise I ignored the wounds.
His companions laughed at the action. They clapped him on the shoulder and laughed again as he lashed out at them too.
Alex growled and moaned in his delirium. He had little idea that he was now safe, I guess he thought we were the monsters. Or perhaps he knew exactly where he was, and hated us all, maybe he felt betrayed by all of us.
I sat up and I licked some of the blood off my fingers. My dress was rumpled and torn from the violence; I attempted to straighten it out and the light fabric drifted easily beneath my hands as I stood and dusted myself down.
I forgave him for the slight. Besides, in this world, violence was nothing new.
I heard a man's voice from outside in the corridor ask sharply "Where is he?" I didn't recognise the voice, but he sounded authoriative and stern.
A doctor (or surgeon, or charlatan or wizard) made his way quickly into the room. His bag of instruments was clutched in his arms. He hurried over to Alex and attempted to assess his condition but he got almost the same treatment as me. The doctor was swift and had fast reflexes though, and after the first glancing blow he managed to easily dodge the flailing limbs. In the end though when the doctor wanted a closer look the men had to hold Alex down. He was still violently defensive and appeared to have little awareness of what was happening.
Blood ran freely from his wounds, and I watched intently as it dripped over the edge of the table and onto the floor; some of it hitting the peonies.
The doctor had him stripped.
I saw the deep cuts and slashes. I saw the wounds (his bones too), and I stared at the contrast of red and white. His skin seemed so pale compared to the rose red of his insides.
The doctor's neat stitches closed him up and the bandages shrouded his figure, like winding cloths. My table cloth contiued to drink up the blood. But we all knew the wounds were too deep and terrible; his bones had shattered and skewered his organs. He was destroyed on the inside even if he appeared fixed on the outside.
I held his hand as he slept and I prayed that Morpheus would grant him a wonderful abyss. Alex had always loved the darkness, the quiet of night and close physical warmth. He would lie curled up, deep within the bed, below the covers, like a babe in the womb.
He stopped breathing just before dawn, as Aurora rose from her own slumber and opened the gates for Apollo's chariot to enter the sky.
I had to make sure he wouldn't Rise. If I didn't do it then one of his men would have to, and I couldn't bear the idea of it. I beheaded him (quickly and easily) with my cleaver, and then removed his heart. I wanted it to be buried with me when my time came. My dress was covered with stains, and I knew they wouldn't come out in the wash.