Seeded Ganja Faeries
Images – Author’s
Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 16
“Not art - the Art,” she emphasises in a mysterious tone. The Lady Racheal’s attention returns to the clay bust as she slaps a damp flap of terracotta onto the sculpture’s half-formed forehead. “All forms of art are glowing stepping stones on the
“The yellow brick road?” Arne interjects with a smile as the Centraxian High Priestess presses her fingertips into the sculpted facsimile of his brow. Her gaze hardens at his interruption. “All right, okay,” the young martial artist remonstrates when the sapphire lasers of her sight flash in his direction. “I know what you mean; every act is a step on the path to enlightenment.”
“Only conscious acts of creation can be considered art.” Veritas speaks out of the corner of his mouth and his head bobs and tilts as he watches the priestess work; a veritable caricature of an old-time gangster. The middle aged man smirks sidewise at the teenage martial artist while his eyes follow the deft movements of the priestess’s fingers. “Although it must be admitted,” he continues in a plumy tenor, “that bad actors can create works of accidental genius, and the highest art can be found in the unlikeliest of places – even in acts of war.”
His rotund belly scrapes against the worktable as he circles the corner of Arne’s chamber, keeping his eyes on the Lady Racheal all the while. The portly mage had arrived without warning, joining the small afternoon party to celebrate Arne’s acquisition of a new room within the Centraxian compound. Prince Ram’yana converses with the Cold Wanderer over a wooden board half filled by miniature black and white geoids, while Nathan and Lady Alcyone coo like young lovers on the balcony. The Lord Kha-Aan has already taken his leave, returning to Fnord Fortress with Duchess Devorah and a small entourage of followers.
“How about acts of recreation?” Arne asks, returning the older man’s smirk along with a sputtering cigar-sized joint. “Can they be art?”
“The Art is all,” the Lady Racheal insists, capitalising the concept with an emphatic nod. The rising volume of her voice surfs across a booming wave of traffic noise pouring through the open French doors like a roaring bombora. “Art is far more immediate than philosophical notions or nebulous concepts; enlightenment’s always here and now, alive and kicking.” The High Priestess’s fingertips squeeze the clay, forming thick brow ridges above a pair of unfinished hollow sockets and the blunt bump of an unformed nose. Her mouth curls into a smile that widens as she molds the soft substance more swiftly, shaping the clay into a doppelganger of Arne Stook; the lad peers at his image with dilated pupils that signal the heightened state of hallucination-fringed awareness.
“True illumination is expressed in every living moment - with unique style and individualistic panache. Stop moving around so much,” she commands when Arne takes another toke on the joint as it passes en route to the balcony. Her expression softens when she glances at the abashed features of the crestfallen younger teen. “And save some for me,” she suggests in a lighter tone. Bluish fumes waft into the second storey chamber along with a constant metallic rumble from the streaming traffic below, rolling from the
The large bedchamber represents a step upward in the tribal pecking order for the teenage martial monk; Arne’s last chamber had been a spare dirt dweller’s brick pit beneath the floorboards of the block’s central three storey house. The dwelling next door had recently developed a similarly undistinguished brick lined basement into a well patronised café and local meeting point within the enclosed utopia of the squatter’s walled caravanserai - a notorious block of conjoined buildings widely known as ‘The Compound’.
Arne’s old burrow had become too boisterous for a relaxing night’s sleep, and he decided to take advantage of the suddenly vacated emptiness of the upstairs chamber, before anyone else could claim the space freed by the Cold Wanderer’s unexpected departure. Many of the communal dwelling’s denizens had shifted and shuffled around after the hasty exit of Prince Ram’yana and the Lady Racheal from the urban Centraxian base, and Arne had moved swiftly to ensure he didn’t miss out in the catch-as-catch-can game of musical rooms.
Veritas places a chubby hand on Racheal’s shoulder; his long nails catch in her sun-bleached hair, rooted in plump pink fingers scrubbed smoothly clean as a corpulent set of pork sausages. “Don’t exhale into the vessel accidentally,” he advises her. “The Ruach must only enter when the manikin is complete.”
“I wasn’t about to give him the kiss of life,” Racheal replies; “not yet.” The orbs of her eyes sidle toward the squat mage through a concealing veil of lashes. “He’ll be ready for an infusion of the Holy Spirit when the time’s ripe,” Veritas suggests, placing his other hand on Arne’s back when the lad frowns with a quizzical look. He squeezes both their shoulders in a gesture of benediction. “All will be illuminated in time.”
“Illumination…” Racheal continues to assemble slabs of clay into a semblance of Arne’s handsome visage as she contends with the continual distractions of their esteemed visitor’s converse and the younger lad’s incessant squirming. “Now there’s a thing, to be sure,” she says. “Everything is made of light, but the Art is hands on – it requires more than mere trance-end-mental meditation.”
“Ah, but meditation is the very first step toward enlightenment…” Veritas kneads Arne’s shoulder while his other hand bestows a passing pat on Racheal’s derriere; his fingers hover near her spine as he caresses the weave of her handmade dress. “One must work with a clean canvas, my dear – it’s like having a fresh rebirth; wouldn’t you agree?” he asks the boy with a hazel-eyed squint.
“Stop toying with the boy!” Veritas’ hand drops from Arne’s shoulder when the Lady Alcyone yells over the din of a passing truck. Nathan leans toward her conspiratorially, yet his Welsh brogue is loud enough to be heard by all; “Hadn’t ye heard? He makes a fine toy boy!”
“Allow me to be the judge of that!” Nathan the Marcon turns toward the intruding voice, reflexively ready to cross tongues with whosoever has proven foolish enough to challenge the word of the opinionated Centraxian Justice. Rendel’s tall figure passes through the open doorway with a purposeful stride and the Locksmith slips out of his flamboyant wake, kneeling beside the go board to examine the state of play. “Oh, it’s you,” the Marcon’s flat statement is delivered in a definitively unimpressed tone. “I s’pose you ought to know, after all…”
“Ah!” the playwright exclaims, holding a bottle of Rosé aloft as tribe members and visitors nod their greetings; “I may have to send out for more wine…” Prince Ram’yana hunches over the go board and avoids the other man’s gaze when it sweeps across the colourful surfaces of the happy little throng. “A meeting of the clan? I don’t want to intrude if…”
“Just an informal party,” Arne Stook replies from his throne-like chair. The Lady Racheal has already reprimanded him thrice for fidgeting during his sitting; he doesn’t move his head, observing Rendel’s reflection in a corner mirror as his visitor passes the bottle to the Locksmith. The universally useful technician produces a keyring attached to a corkscrew and commences liberating the libation, while his mentor pulls another bottle from a string tote bag and places it on Racheal’s workbench. He bends in a slight bow and gives the priestess a peck on the cheek - nodding to Veritas through her bouncy blonde mane - and nestles the green ovaloid flask against the plywood square where the half-formed bust slouches like a molten golem rising from a muddy quagmire.
“Let me guess,” Rendel suggests, inclining his head toward the young priestess. “The Swamp Thing?” She pointedly ignores his presence while she continues speaking to Arne, pinching the corners of his ersatz lips into a semblance of a smile. “All true art is a form of visualisation practice,” she explains; “whichever senses one may be using or reproducing; a way to learn how to focus one’s mind around three dimensional forms - and to form the ultimate creation itself, manifest from mindstuff, though magic and concentration…”
Rendel interrupts her disquisition when she pauses for breath. “I didn’t think you’d be here,” he says while he bends toward the clay bust - and squints at the priestess’s ample silk-sheathed bosom through the sides of his black-framed glasses. “I thought you had your own place now – another squat, I heard?” He staggers slightly as her breasts shift beneath the sheer material of her duck-blue dress; it’s obvious the Rosé won’t be his first tipple of the day, and the afternoon has barely begun.
“The Lady Racheal is the Centraxian High Priestess,” Arne informs his friend with an annoyed tone and reproachful expression, “and even if she wasn’t my personal guest the priestess is always welcome to treat the tribal stronghold as her own personal manse.” The heat in the chamber grows even more stifling; the atmosphere darkens as a towering thunderhead passes between the inner suburban compound and the glaring summer sun. Rendel’s eyes flash between bust and bust. “Nice work…” he murmurs as Veritas exits through the French doors, staring at the gloomy sky.
“If you can get it,” Racheal replies without meeting his eyes. The sculptress begins fashioning a circular disk at the throat of the clay model, hanging in the same position as Arne’s silver talismanic seal. She continues her short dissertation. “Molding clay is really no different from painting, but both forms of art develop different aspects of visualisation.” She squeezes the bridge of his doppelganger’s nose. “And visualisation is a precursor to projection,” she adds.
“Speaking of which,” the Locksmith says to the prince, “J.J. told me to tell you one of the sixteen mill projectors is broken.” The Marcon leans toward Veritas and growls incoherently, momentarily distracting the rest of the party before Ram’yana can summon a frown. “Bullshit,” he grumbles, watching the older men’s wordless altercation from the corners of his semi-epicanthic eyes. “I fixed the gate only last night - I’ll bet no-one’s really checked it since.”
Racheal speaks over their chit-chat; “Projection can take many forms, from clairvoyance to full-blown visible manifestation, ultimately leading to telekinesis or teleportation. Astral traveling and dream communication are just the first steps...” The young witch strokes a long blonde strand from her eye with the back of her wrist, and Rendel reaches forth to tuck it behind her ear. “You can manifest in my dreams any time you like,” he says with a smirk. Half a dozen sets of eyes swivel toward the point where his fingers touch the sacred personage of the tribal High Priestess while the Cold Wanderer finally makes his move.
“It’s a ko,” the logician remarks to the Locksmith, who hands the bottle to Rendel and squats down by the board to observe the game more closely. “A kind of stalemate; one of the only real rules in go. In this situation Ram can’t take this piece – or this space - back on his next move, and if either of us leaves the disputed area alone for a single turn the other player will surround it – and take it – unless they’re distracted by something going on somewhere else on the board.”
“I’m glad you’ve come prepared to party, man,” Arne interjects as he reaches for another wood-handled corkscrew and passes it to Rendel. “But we were preparing to open those.” He nods toward a clutch of tall green bottles in a crate by the fireplace. “You can do the honours, good fellow.” Antiquated tribal argot is optional in the presence of guests of the court; Arne’s diction has improved remarkably during his tenure in the various Centraxian realms and structures, and his speech always becomes particular concise and well-mannered in the presence of the High Priestess.
Rendel’s eyes remain on her immobile face as he passes the opened bottle back to the Locksmith. He swivels the cork beneath her nose before placing it on the cluttered workbench, and extends a long stripy shirtsleeve to retrieve another bottle from the crate. He keeps peering at her as he inserts the screw into the cork; Racheal continues to ignore him. “It’s fortunate you’re here,” he says. “I have something I need to discuss with you.” He pulls the cork and looks around the room. “Any glasses – or cups?”
“In the kitchen,” Arne replies. “It isn’t too festy right now – they’ve just been washed up.”
“And I supposed they just did it themselves?” The Marcon laughs as he steps into the room, leaving Veritas in concentrated converse with Alcyone. “So you’re the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, are ye?” he demands of the young monk. “Just flick yer fingers and up they all jump, ready t’do yer dirty work for yer?” He holds a pair of recently drained glasses toward Rendel; a dark bubbly slurry swivels around the thick bases as he twirls the glasses before the tipsy trainee entrepreneur. “There yer go,” he says, “ye can start with mine – and the fair Lady Alcyone’s. Go on - a little stout won’t hurt.”
Rendel hands him the bottle and leans over the prince’s shoulder while Nathan juggles the trio of glass vessels toward the balcony. “Perhaps you can help me with the cups,” he suggests. “I’m sure the Cold Wanderer won’t cheat while you’re gone.” He steps around the players and makes for the door before Ram’yana can reply. Wanderer cocks an eyebrow and flicks his head toward the doorway; the prince nods and his crossed legs cantilever him upward in a rotating spiral as he rises to his bare feet.
“Get us some whiskey while yer there!” The Marcon calls after him as he steps through onto the balcony. “An’ find a harlot fer yer friend!” His snorts of laughter rankle at the rattled young prince as Ram’yana suppresses a blinding black tide of outraged jealousy; he attempts to quiet his bustling mind and pounding heart while snide chortles pursue him into the kitchen.
“Oh come on,” the smiling seducer insists when Ram’yana raises the subject that’s been eating at him since he left the playwright’s apartment. “Of course I fucked her while she was asleep; she did the same to me, too – or for me, rather!” Rendel fusses around the small room, tidying up the chaotic communal kitchen in a classic display of displacement behaviour. “Don’t be so dramatic – it was all entirely innocent.”
“Innocent?” The word emerges as a guffaw of disbelief. “Racheal may have been – but she wasn’t exactly asleep,” the shaman prince objects. “Ye made sure she was totally drunk, and even dosed her up on mandies – ye know full well that she’s had problems with barbs - and gave her those damned psych drugs as well. Ye don’t really consider drugging us both and fucking Racheal while she was comatose to be an innocent and ethical act, surely?”
The Locksmith doffs his cap as he passes the open doorway and the prince pitches his voice lower, alerted to the likelihood of wider interest in their supposedly covert conversation. Rendel squares his shoulders as he turns to face the young Centraxian Hierophant. They’re less than an arm’s length apart in the narrow kitchen, and the younger mage’s glare is as inescapable as his inquisition in the confined space.
“I didn’t drug anyone!” Rendel objects in a loudly whispered hiss. “I seem to recall you took those same pills yourself, quite freely – and so did Racheal. You weren’t there when she asked me for them, so I can’t expect you to believe me. I never even told her I had them; why not ask your little wifie?” He refers to the priestess in a surprisingly bitchy tone, and Ram’yana tries to keep his mind on the issue at hand while a surge of anger tightens his musculature. He twists on the spot and adjusts his spine with a woody glissando of loud cracking pops while he glares at the smirking playwright.
“Well look at that,” Rendel says with an expression that mirrors his condescending voice. “The little prince thinks he’s in love. Don’t worry, kid; all obsessions pass, all hearts wind up broken – and I assure you, all lovers are replaceable.” Ram’s brows almost meet in the furrow that forms over the high bridge of his nose. His eyes blaze as he parries the thrust. “Thine attitude toward thy lovers is obvious, after the way ye treated Li Po whence thou wert done with him…”
“Now, now; I’m not the only one guilty of that, after all.” Rendel inclines his head and sneers at the prince, peering into his eyes over the frames of his glasses as he reaches into his pocket and withdraws a pack of cigarettes. “But it’s only to be expected. I meet a new pretty oriental boy every week – usually more often than that, actually – and if one is to avail oneself of their silky young bods one has to remain free and available. They’re all at least as interesting as Li Po – for a day or two, or sometimes a little longer.” He automatically offers a smoke to Ram’yana and inserts his own into a long cigarette holder when the shaman refuses his offer with an obdurate frown.
“How canst thou speak of him like that, after everything ye’ve both been through?” The prince casts his sight downward and examines the cracked patterns webbing the linoleum floor tiles; his feet are bare, whilst the playwright’s are clad in retro-chic hand stitched leather spats. “Ye wert with him for over a year, and hast had no other real relationship since.” He raises his gaze to the other man’s eyes, twinkling through a blue plume of smoke. “Li Po is unique… as is the Lady Racheal…”
“Of course they are! They’re all unique! And you love her, naturally; you’ve been fucking her for almost two years straight, after all. Don’t get me wrong – she’s probably the best female fuck I’ve ever had and I’m quite certain she loves you just as much as you love her, for what it’s worth.” He ashes the ciggie on the floor with an idle flick of a finger. “You’re really both quite heroic to stick together for so long. But take it from me, everyone gets bored – and boring – sooner or later. What was it that Emerson said?” He takes a long last drag on the filtered cigarette before removing it from the ivory-tipped holder. When he stubs it out on the windowsill Ram’yana notes that more than half the ciggie remains unsmoked. “Something about all heroes becoming bores in the end? Besides,” Rendel adds, “I’ve always felt it was hypocritical of the Group to forbid so-called drugs but still allow you neophytes to drink alcohol – though I didn’t know the Dawn of Ra allowed its neophytes to take downers.”
Ram’yana nibbles the distracting bait. “I’m well into my pre-initiation now, and only required to forego strong hallucinogens and drugs that vibrate the aura. Don’t change the subject.” His voice is a low growl as he spits out the barbed hook. “Stick to the point,” he says as he lifts a steak knife and pierces a green-skinned Granny Smith apple with its serrated tip. “Do you feel like sharing some of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge?” the shaman inquires as he separates the apple into two equal hemispheres; he stabs one half and proffers it to the other man on the glittering knifepoint. Rendel removes the apple gingerly and nibbles at the skin of the fruit while his eyes roam the elaborately decayed water stains on the highly detailed decorative plasterwork of the crumbling ceiling. “Oh really, Ram’yana,” he says with a ham-fisted theatrical sigh. “What do you expect? We were all so out of it, and you know only too well how enticing your fine young lady can be on an errant night…”
The prince remains decidedly unmollified. He fumes in a steambath of suppressed fury. “Thou hast no right to claim the status of a knight errant,” he says with a growl of warning. “Ye took the lady while she was unconscious!” His voice is a low rumble that barely reaches the entrepreneur over the uproarious laughter emerging from Arne’s chamber.
“Look,” Rendel confides as he levels a gunsight stare through his protective screens of black-framed curved glass. “Unlike Racheal - and a tiny handful of all the other interesting and interested females of the species I’ve known - most women are little different whether they’re awake or asleep. They just lay there and take it while they think of
“Besides,” he says, changing tack as he stares into the courtyard through the window, “in my experience, when you’ve become intimate with someone for a while it’s natural for you both to begin to take certain liberties with each other – or hadn’t you noticed?” He takes a bite of the apple and Ram’yana does the same, as he bites back a bitter reply before it leaves his tongue: Is he telling me that Rache has fucked him before? the prince wonders as the core of his chest implodes into a silent hollow chasm.
“’Tis not a healthy habit to get into,” he declares instead as his mind spins around an empty fulcrum of pointless possessiveness. “Necromancy could all too easily become an addiction,” he murmurs as he attempts to maintain his composure. “How canst lovers make love unless they’re both fully engaged and involved? Waking her with a soft kiss or a nice hard cock is one thing, but if she’s obviously unconscious…”
“How romantic,” Rendel replies. “So you’d prefer masturbation to coming inside your pretty little woman, would you? I think not. Look,” he says, leaning toward the prince and speaking in a conspiratorial whisper, “they’re always asleep anyway - not your pretty little dolly bird, of course,” he hastily adds, “she’s terribly bright - but most so-called normal humans are little better than livestock at the best of times. It makes little difference if you fuck them while they’re unawares – or while they’re allegedly awake, for that matter. Surely you know whereof I speak, young magician?” He places a companionable hand on Ram’s shoulder while a distant rumble of thunder presages the storm’s impending onset.
“But that’s precisely the attitude of all the old tyrant kings and emperors,” the prince objects. “They had to maintain a self-obsessed perspective to keep screwing the people over – in every conceivable way. That route leads away from loving union and propels one toward bondage and torture – it’s a misogynistic path to mundane power that’s no more edifying or uplifting than a sadist hypnotising helpless kittens.” He swallows the star-shaped split core of the apple while Rendel’s watery eyes roll behind his glass visor. “You remind me of Descartes!” Ram’yana concludes. “Treating people as expendable puppets is the most odiously obvious power trip of all...”
“Precisely!” Rendel’s features are suffused with a mixture of earnest fervour and obdurate recalcitrance. “It’s all a matter of power; the strongest prevail in a survival of the fittest. Come, come – be honest now – would you rather be the royal fucker or the one who’s being royally fucked?” He smirks at the angry young man while his arm steals around Ram’s shoulder. “You know how it’s always been; the gods only wish to consort with the freshest and tastiest morsels, er, mortals – and usually cast them aside when they’ve satisfied their passing urge. If mortals are very lucky they’re impregnated with divinity itself, or otherwise blessed with the god’s divine effulgence. It’s in their best interests, and they know it; opening oneself to the deity is a high calling and inspiring duty – it improves the quality of the human herd.”
Ram’yana takes a deep breath and releases a deeper sigh as he stares out the window. Despite the obviously intentional shock value inherent in the raconteur’s ramblings, the provocative words fail to distract the shaman from the main game. “Real Tantric union only happens if you’re both totally into the moment,” he says, willfully relaxing his tightly clenched jaw. “When you’ve known genuine bliss in a soul mate’s true love, anything less ennobling is a pointless waste of time.”
“Oh I don’t know,” Rendel replies. “Sex can always be fun.” Ram grits his teeth as Rendel begins massaging his shoulder. The shaman knows he’s unlikely to pierce the thickly confected amoral wadding of the self-focused entrepreneur’s emotionless armor, but continues nonetheless; “If you’re an open vessel the gods pour in, and you ride the tide of their ‘divine effulgence’ as you partake of the universal blessing of immortality. Really loving someone – and really making love - is a very different form of divine possession than the one you propose; not possessive or self-serving at all…” He stops, stricken with a guilty sense of hypocrisy as Rendel’s impervious and recondite grin recalls their recent tryst – and its devastating aftermath - to his attention in a fast-forward rush of lividly relived imagery.
When he remembers the sensation of their masculine bodies both coiled around and inside the arousing perfection of his beautiful wayward bride, the prince shrugs the intractable jealousy he feels toward the other man from his shoulders, along with Rendel’s spidery hand. Their shared knowledge of the Lady Racheal’s most intimate charms is undeniable, and the memory of their ménage fills the prince with a confusing cavalcade of emotions. “This isn’t what I want to discuss with ye…” he begins, but the rest of his sentence sputters out before it can flare from his lips.
A pair of sparrows alights on the windowsill and their beady eyes survey the disputatious primates for a fleeting moment, chattering at their hulking shapes through cracked planes of fused silicon. After a flurry of preparatory tail-wagging they flitter off toward more entertaining sights and more enterprising feasts. A persistent concern seethes within the hollow space in Ram’s ribcage, swelling into an insuppressible pressure. He follows the flight of the tiny brown birds and words hiss from his lips as he turns to face the other man’s winking regard. “That guy in the photo on the desk in thy room – he burst in on us while you were in the bath…”
“Which guy? Dean, you mean? How embarrassing,” Rendel’s laugh is a dismissive chortle. “Didn’t he knock before entering?”
“No,” Ram’yana replies as he attempts to retain his composure. “And he was wearing a uniform.”
“How charming,” Rendel says with an infuriatingly snide twist of his mouth. “Decked out as one of the Village People - or a sailor, perchance?” Ram’yana’s reply threatens to burst forth with all the barely suppressed force of his anger. He restrains his outburst just enough that his words don’t spill into the rest of the squat, and Rendel is silenced by his impassioned tone and stony glare; “Thy friend is a cop; he threatened to bust us!” The playwright is uncharacteristically speechless for a memorably enduring interval. Ram’yana savours the rarity before plunging on; “And then he…”
“No way! I had no idea he was a cop.” Rendel appears genuinely surprised as he leans against the windowsill; most of the tipsy pinkness drains from his stunned face. “Are you sure we’re talking about the same person?” Ram’s eyes close as he recalls the features of the heavily built uniformed man. “I’m certain he’s the one in the photo,” he replies with accusatory conviction. “The one in the frame by your bed.”
“Well that’s a surprise,” the entrepreneur says. “He does usually have the best weed and hash, I suppose…” He taps another cigarette from the pack, inserts it into the ivory holder and lights up with a dismissive flourish. “Who would’ve guessed? But I suppose it’s not unusual for a cop to break the law; hopefully he’s an honest illegal queer, and not some kind of ingenuous fag-hag spy.” He turns to the bench and flicks the barely smoked ciggie into the sink before assembling several glasses, rapidly forming them into a pillar and lifting the stack in both hands.
“I suppose we’ll need to open another bottle - or three, by now,” he says with a wink. “I’ll be back in a moment, and we’ll continue this fascinating tête-à-tête.” Before the disturbed young shaman can form a cogent reply, Rendel carries the stack of glasses into Arne’s room. He traipses into the hall while Ram’yana attempts to mold his turgid thoughts into a meaningful shape. They must be lovers… Homosexuality is an illegal - and jailable - offence, but it’s hardly unusual for legal niceties to come between a cop and their cut of the action, whatever particular form their corruption may take. Ram’yana seethes; he doesn’t know how to find a chink in the imperviously drunken man’s armor, and longs to penetrate Rendel’s swaggering cloak of indolent self regard.
He doesn’t seem to know and certainly doesn’t care that - Dean? - burst into his bedroom and… His thoughts flit to and fro like a sparrow desperately seeking escape from a bony cage. He might not know about it even if he had stayed in bed with us, the prince considers, instead of crashing out in the bath... he was pretty out of it, too… Ram sharpens the tip of the partially serrated knife on a well-used antique whetstone, turning the block over as his thoughts teeter from side to side. The again, if he was there he may even have joined in, rather than stopping it… His mind veers between the actions of Rendel’s friend and the more personal issue that stands unresolved between them both; two separate yet overlapping sets of deeply disturbing images unreel in his inner sight while steel grinds against carborundum in his tension-gnarled hands.
Rendel’s smiling face bursts into the kitchen and splits into a
Ram’yana examines the scenes that hovered ’tween the whetstone and his eyes, and the drug-blurred recollections slowly resolve into islands of order within a swimming sea of swirling possibility. He slowly becomes certain that the cop’s blue uniform had been bereft of the usual silver plaque which bore his identification number. “Damn!” the young mage exclaims. “He had no I.D. badge…”
“Curiouser and curiouser.” Rendel refills his emptied glass with tapwater and examines the liquid crystal in a beam of sunlight, which has somehow broken through the massing cloud cover to penetrate the squat’s untidy kitchen. “But once again, hardly unusual for a pig. Maybe he isn’t a cop after all, but a member of some Village People look-alike group.” A curving rainbow colours his cheek with spectral refractions. “Maybe I can use him at a fashion show… Did he say he was the fuzz, or did you just take it for granted?”
“Of course he was…” Ram’s flaring rebuttal is asphyxiated by a wave of doubt. He suddenly arrives at the awareness that he has no idea whether the stranger had actually identified himself to the vastly inebriated teens while they’d clung to each other in the stupour of their drugged afterglow. “He acted like a cop, and he threatened to bust us… I think… no, I’m sure… he said he was a constable…” He hesitates to describe the subsequent events - which had occurred while the playwright had slumbered in his bathtub - and the Locksmith’s return rescues the stunned mage from completing his revelations to his astute but gossipy friend. The Scientologist already has more than enough dry ammunition stocked in the basement of his brain to mightily alarm the young prince, and - far more disconcertingly - the cop had warned what would happen to both the young lovers if Ram’yana told anyone what had occurred.
In any case, Racheal had barely spoken of her experience, and although the prince has a fair idea of what had likely transpired while he was locked in Rendel’s bedroom, his mind instinctively recoils from the certitude of his unsettling knowledge. “Whiskey?” the Locksmith suggests through the doorframe. “Let’s discuss this some other time – when Racheal’s with us,” Rendel says over his shoulder as he pursues the Locksmith into Arne’s bedroom. Ram’yana stares into sunlight and slips into an uncomforting reverie, reliving the dire events that presaged their irritatingly inconclusive conversation while his blood races through his veins; a metronomic pulse pumping at the gate of his temple.
The prince fell to his knees and his forehead thudded against a hardwood panel. He turned his cheek to the cracked blue layer peeling from the door and heard the sound of the intruder’s voice. A deep boom of laughter sounded from somewhere within the apartment and he pressed his ear against the panel, but the subsequent slurry of distant words remained stubbornly indistinct. When he glanced around Rendel’s bedchamber his memory of the room’s layout was confirmed; there was no other exit, and the only window was a small barred circle of rippled green glass set high on a slick plaster wall. Racheal…
His fists pounded on the door, and he was swiftly overtaken by a giddy rush of dizziness; his head spun and the contents of his stomach threatened to spurt from his gullet. After an indeterminable period of dazed nausea he heard a repetitive noise that surely must be the sound of flesh being slapped, and he pressed his ear to the door once again. The shaman strained his attention through muted and distorted senses to hear what seemed to be low growling grunts, like the sounds emitted by a predatory beast feasting on its kill. He strained to hear anything more, but could only discern the rhythmic patter of slapping noises shifting into higher gear.
The thoroughly inebriated prince clawed at the brass knob and drew his legs back to kick at the door with all his enfeebled strength; he flew away from the portal when his unfeeling heels collided with the wood and his head banged against something just as hard - but the door held fast, locked or securely blocked shut. “Racheal!” Ram’s voice was a croak when he called out her name. He dragged benumbed legs back to the doorway and pounded on the door with the side of a floppy fist. He couldn’t feel his xtremities at all, and his movements were thoroughly discombobulated; while his mind hovered around his body and flapped about like an untethered cape, he cursed himself for his helpless incapacity and listened for the sound of his beloved’s voice through the impervious thickness of grainy dead lignum.
After an unendurable interval the primal-sounding poundings ended with the voluminous climax of a particularly loud cry; a boar-like roar vibrated Ram’s kneecaps as he knelt before the door. A heavy thump followed a few moments later, preceding the sounds of approaching footsteps; he heard an indistinct masculine baritone resound through the building, slowly resolving into the voice of the uniformed pig. Ram’s eyes wouldn’t focus as the uninflected voice intruded on his anguished sense of helplessness, booming through the door like a clap of doom;
“If either of you says anything to anyone I’ll make sure you regret you were ever born. I’ll take the drugs and we won’t mention any of this to anyone. That’s the deal – take it or leave it. And remember; I know where you both live, and I can visit you – or your girlfriend - any time I get the urge.” A scraping noise was followed by the sounds of steel-capped boots retreating from the hallway, and when the shaman reached up and twisted the ovaloid brass doorknob he fell forward as it swung open, landing flat on his face on the scuffed wooden floorboards. He could barely raise himself on trembling arms, and his legs hardly responded at all.
The besotted teenage mage crawled all the way through the twisting miasma of the hall to Rendel’s shadowy loungeroom, climbing halfway upright at the entryway and sliding against the mural-covered plaster wall as he rounded the corner – and saw his beautiful bride’s supine body lying on the floor in a naked tangled heap. “Rache…” For an endless horrible instant he couldn’t discern whether Racheal was breathing or not; when he saw a pale breast rise and her arched ribs expanded with a raggedly audible inhalation he threw his body onto the floor by her side. Her slender throat was covered with a series of wine-dark blotches and her eyes fluttered in time with her fragmented breath. “Rache…” his voice ripped into ragged tatters as he reached for her shoulder. Ram’s beloved was an ash-white puppet lying in a torpid heap of knotted limbs and severed strings.
Her sole response was a slight movement of her cracked pink lips; “Darlin’…” She mumbled the syllables through a ventriloquist’s immobile mouth while his nerveless fingers slid across her tear-stained cheek. “’T’sokay…” she slurred, “where… uh… mussa pass tout…” Dilated eyeballs swiveled in her wooden skull; when the priestess struggled to focus on her lover the twinned darknesses of massively enlarged pupils supplanted her sky-blessed irises. “Wha’…” Tears streamed as purpled lids cracked fully open, but Racheal’s breathing deepened and became more regular as she floated toward her man across a mirror-surfaced shallow sea of phantasmal forms and suggestive shapes. “Jus’ need t’ress awhile…”
She reached for her prince, but her grasp missed his face by a handspan and her knuckles rapped on the floorboards when her arm fell away. “S… so sorry…” she sniffled as Ram’s fingers entwined with hers; his limbs were totally numb, and he could barely feel her at all. “Let him come in…” she murmured, and his mind struggled in incomprehension while Racheal’s tongue salved her dehydrated lips and tasted salty teardrops that filled their wrinkled cracks. “I let him…” she insisted. The fingers of her free hand trailed along her side and slid across her breast, rising to the place where yellow-edged blotches mottled her neck; when they reached the naked skin of her throat the witch-girl’s eyes widened further.
Her leather collar had been torn or cut from a throat marked with dark purple bruises. Ram’s eyes snagged the tattered strip of dead metal-pierced skin, lying on the rug beside her naked hip. Racheal’s fingers stole to her side and she clasped the torn adornment of studded black leather to her breast. She rolled onto her side and curled into a foetal position on the rough patterned surface of Rendel’s Afghani rug. A soft golden wave settled across Ram’s flank as she lay her head down on the rock-hard pillow of his hipbone. “Jus’ need s’more sleep, ’s’all.”
A true story
Images – author’s
Further True Tales from the Prince of Centraxis -
Mandrake & the Magician – Adder Ladies and the Dawn of Ra Part 6 Watching the Watcher – Adder Ladies and the Dawn of Ra Part 7 Promises & Compromises - Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 8 The Invisible Great Divide - Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 9 Circles Within Circles - Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 10 Three Flaming Arrows - Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 11 Round Peg, Square Hole - Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 12 Monkey Business - Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 13
And see -
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The Prince of Centraxis - http://centraxis.blogspot.com
This material is published under Creative Commons Copyright – reproduction for non-profit use is permitted & encouraged, if you give attribution to the work & author - and please include a (preferably active) link to the original along with this notice. If you like what you see, please send a tiny donation or leave a comment! Thanks for reading this far…