A life lived apart. Drowned in scripture, the language of the chosen people. Days spent, empty of mind. Fallen into mysticism, the wonders and glories behind the eyes. They made of him a false idol, a vessel for His miracles. Perhaps he came to believe it.
How to capture a thing in a word? Not just the shape and the sound but the spirit, the idea, the concept, the breath all together. Hands used to paper worked in clay, etching letters into the head. Stood back to observe his creation. A crude attempt at something beyond artistry. So poor it mocked His creation. Then it moved.
The clay cracked. The breath was in it, and came out in a terrible cry. Such unbidden pain, his heart broke at the sound. His hand and voice was moved by mercy as well as shame.
It struggled as it was unmade.
Gasped, short of breath, ruddy faced, he let his robe drop. The final ingredient caught in the vessel he had prepared, the last dribble sticky between his fingers. Deposited in the warm flesh, torn from the virgin mare. Now his labors were truly begun.
Forty days and long nights of fearful vigil. Every day he had scanned the words until they impressed themselves on his very soul. He dared not see the sacred mystery, but he could see the signs, the way the sac of flesh grew. Unseen, he loved it, and felt the stirring pride at what his art had wrought, as a prima gravida would look upon her own swollen form.
When the time was come, he took up the knife.
It slid, transparent and lusterless, from the cage of flesh, so small he could cup it in his hand. An empty thing, clear as fine glass. He brought forth the bladder and saw the color come to its flesh as the blood flowed. He watched with worry at the features he could discern in it, the shape of its brow and limbs, the gash of a mouth.
The book said it would take another forty weeks, but he could not stand what it would become. So he placed it in a jar of strong wine, beside the others, before it could know him. Reflected on his mistakes, every little variation of the formula. Then took himself in hand to try again.
There was a craft to surgery, the cutting and sewing of flesh. The schools valued keen eyes, long nimble fingers, a steady hand. He worked in flesh, patient but hurried, before the rot set in. Buoyed by the single idea, like a new river diverted into an old channel.
Frog legs twitched under galvanic currents; he had seen more daring and macabre experiments with criminals and hanged men. Old white beards nodded as heads spasmed and eyes fluttered, ignored the scorching sizzle and smell of burnt pork, brine, and ozone.
Then came the reagents. The lightning. The flicker of eyelids he had sewn on himself, the pale yellow orbs focusing in the light.
The joy was fleeting. The blood and screams lasted much longer. He saw himself in the spiderweb cracks of the broken mirror, felt those dark words as he stood over her broken body. Of all the things he had given to it, those words were not among them, were they?
Her body was laid out on the table, the damage repaired as best his skill could mend; silk stitches for his darling, a fine line of them just below the scalp, running to the collarbone, the contacts there. It thundered out, the air greasy. So he waited, in the dark, with the pistol. They were bound together in that, he knew. Neither could escape it, ‘til one or both were dead.
She waited for him, Soror Diana. The chamber was edged in silver, the metal and color of the moon. Its sigils were painted and carved on the walls, the circles drawn to contain and concentrate those radiations, and a single shaft of pure moonlight illuminated the altar of conception. Under his gaze she parted her legs, and then under his direction reached down to part herself and let that light penetrate to her most lightless depth.
Then he dropped his robe and approached the altar.
He knew she was receptive to his will, a hollow actor for this proceedings. The power rose along his spine, chakras vibrating as he concentrated, ignoring the dull slap of sweaty flesh, holding the thought before him as he strove onwards towards the moment of release. To direct that fountaining of power to his purpose.
In the aftermath, he lit a cigarette with a shaking hand. He had known them since puberty, the magical children that came from his emission. Creative energy misspent, diverted by his onanism, yet not lost, never lost. Now he knew he would harness such a thing made flesh, a monstrous hybrid with terrible powers. The fitting antichrist...and heir.
“Every thought has a shape.” The dying man mumbled.
The fire in the cave only took the edge off the cold, and he looked out at the storm. If it broke by morning, they could escape. He looked down at his charge, the tattered orange and red robes, the head still shaven, but his ribs flexed as he breathed, and there was a gurgle behind his voice.
“It is not a reflection of us; that is the first mistake. We look for the shadow on the cave, turning out back to the light.”
I scooted closer, trying to catch his words, feeding another scroll into the fire. The cave was littered with them, an old cache that had attracted them both.
“I thought I gave it form, but I only revealed what was there. It knew me from the first,” he coughed, a phlegmy, protracted affair that ended with bloody bubbles. “It was not until later I learned how far it had wandered. I had rejoiced as it grew, thought it was…part of me. Then I felt the knife on the rope, saw it turn its face from me to hide the bloody lips, heard the wails in the village, smelt the fire…and I could not recall its face…”
He shushed him to silence, and fed the fire. The night and the storm was long; his sleep fitful.
“I know you now. I see the chain of karma that binds us…back to the beginning. There the crime, repeated, over and over, lifetimes of suffering. Perhaps next time,” he sighed. “We will get it right."
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