Friday, 24 April 2009
Monday, 20 April 2009
Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 18
“Tulpas?” The adept’s voice wavered as he held his neatly bearded jaw in an outstretched palm. “You’d best ask Alion. She’s the expert on that topic and I’m afraid I can barely talk.” Kimba had recently fallen from the middle heavens, a modern Icarus crashing to a spiralling landing, smashing face-first onto a sandy beach while attempting to land a damaged hang glider. Yet the respected alchemist far more closely resembled Daedalus (the legendary ill-fated aeronaut’s father) in nature, demeanour and technical ability.
With white-hot needlepoints of dying nerves occluding the experienced magician’s senses, it swiftly became obvious that this wasn’t the best moment for Kimba’s command of arcane knowledge to shine. “If you see her,” he mumbled while his tongue explored the fractured inner structures of his mouth, “ask her if she has any aconite – I could do with some.”
Intermittent sheets of rain beat down on the grey, slate tiled roof of the yellow sandstone manse. Roiling dark waters of the
“He’s lucky to be alive,” Dai observed, loosing a lank shank of hair from a shadowy hood with a vulpine shake of his bone-white locks. The computer programmer’s bushy blonde beard and generally hirsute appearance conspired to induce a close resemblance to a pale lanky lion or wolfhound; Dai’s near-albino colouration perfectly matched that of his canine familiar, an arctic-white Samoyed. His fashionable penchant for fringed clothes and leather tassels served to accentuate the tall man’s similarity to a hirsute wolf. “It’s a miracle he was able to land in one piece at all; well, almost - just a few pieces.”
Kimba had cracked all the teeth on one side of his lower jaw, and despite the manifold healing techniques practiced by the Dawn of Ra, the adept’s broken teeth had proven an unusually intractable problem requiring an uncommonly drastic solution. Aconite tincture is a deadly poison, but a carefully applied drop or two can kill an unbearably painful tooth stone dead. It can also do the same to any incautious patient who self-administers a little too much of the tarry black brew. It was – then as now - a difficult substance to obtain, but certain members of the Group had far-flung connexions to suppliers of various arcane products and unusual produce.
“Tulpa?” the Lady Ringell inquired. “Didst I hear anyone mention a tulpa?” She glanced at Arne Stook, who nodded in faintly embarrassed affirmative. Mottled with hexagonal patterns cast by a star-pierced copper lampshade, the teenage magician’s ears turned such a bright shade of pink that his discomfiture was obvious even in the dim light. “Is that a mea culpa?” she asked her current and recurrent young lover. “I’m afraid so,” Arne confessed with affectionate grin; Prince Ram’yana puzzled over his comrade’s unusually reticent reaction.
“Hast thou been mucking around with thought-forms again?” she asked in goggle-eyed surprise, “even after all I’ve told thee? Male or female - human or otherwise? I didn’t know ye wert still into such things –literally getting into thy manifestations now, hmm?” The Lady Ringell, Fifi L’Amoure, mirrored Arne’s grin with a feline smile. “Not I,” he assured her. “But some strange manifestations have been getting out and about of late…”
“Ah, but that doesn’t mean they’re tulpas,” Fifi declared. “They could just as easily be homunculi, or even gods or goddesses in another guise.” Her fingers entwined with Arne’s long golden hair as she stood behind him on the veranda. “Speaking of which, who’s taking you all for tonight’s Pan Ritual?” The ever-inquisitive initiate addressed the wider ring of neophytes as they settled into their nest of large cushions beneath the shadowy wing of the eave. “Is it going to be Ratty?”
“It most assuredly is,” Dai intoned in a partially melded Pommy-Oz accent. “He’s doing the macrocosmic invocation as we speak. Slewie or Jai will inform us when the time to don our cloaks arrives. They have the ritual timed to the moon’s entry into the tenth house during the hour of Saturn…”
“And the hour of that elder timekeeper-God approaches,” Gladryn announced, illumining their circle with the glow of a tall beeswax candle. “Chronos approaches…” His silver seal shone like a polished mirror in the bright yellow candlelight, casting a circular reflection that danced around the hollow curving interior of the bull-nosed veranda.
“You lucky bunch!” Fifi giggled and leered at the circle as she rubbed her palms above Arne’s head. “Ratty’s bound to put an interesting spin on the usual proceedings. Thou hast already performed the standard Pan ritual, I believe – in the temple I mean, not at a Tiphareth weekend?” The half dozen surviving graduates from the once burgeoning class of neophytes nodded in unison. “Then he’s bound to show you a jolly good time!” She turned to the prince; “Tell me, Ram’yana – whatever has become of our dear Lady Racheal?”
“The priestess is upstairs with T’Ruth and Stardew, and a few other initiates,” Arne cut in before the Centraxian tribal hierophant could reply. “Oh, really?” The corners of Fifi’s smile descended into a frowning pout as she squinted at her lover. “Has the High Priestess decided to rejoin thy pre-initiate group?” She turned from the teenage martial artist to examine the slightly older shaman prince - whose virginity she had taken three years earlier – and Ram’yana shook his head so slightly that the waves of his long dark mane were barely perturbed. The perspicacious Centraxian Empress and Initiate of the Dawn of Ra divined the situation in a canny trice. “She’s not coming for the ritual? ’Tis a pity; she’ll not witness Ratty evoking Great God Pan - an experience she really oughtn’t to miss.”
“Vat do you mean, an evocation?” A touch of venom in Jomana’s clipped Germanic syllables barely indicated the true level of her outrage. “Not an inwocation?” She frowned at the Lady Ringell, who bestowed an indulgent grin upon the slightly older neophyte. “And how can Racheal rejoin de Group after missing so much of de Verk?”
“’Tis not the best time for her,” Ram’yana replied in defence of his ladylove as he swept a wave of chestnut hair from his emerald eyes. “She has more pressing concerns.” Fifi’s gaze slid to the prince. “Then what’s all this talk of tulpas?” the Centraxian Empress demanded. “Have those refugee Tibetan lamas been up to their old tricks again?”
“No,” Arne replied, stroking the whiteness of her inner forearm with an oversized thumb. “Just a possibility that came up in conversation.” Fifi leaned down to bestow a lingering kiss on the lad while the circle variously averted gazes or watched the couple snog, unabashed interest shining in their eyes.
“Nussing happens by accident.” Jomana’s brusque declaration cut through the lovers’ mutually fascinated regard as the immigrant mage rocked back and forth on her bony haunches. The russet-eyed witch had prepared for their evening’s ritual prematurely; already skyclad beneath a silver-trimmed deep purple cloak, her eyes burned in anticipation within the shadows of a matching hood that completely covered her short thatch of jet-black hair. “You must haf been thinking about it for a reason. So what are these ‘tulpas’, anyway? Spectres? Spooks?”
“A tulpa is a manifest thought-form,” the prince explained, recrossing his legs on the hard wooden boards while rain drummed down onto the rolled scroll of corrugated iron suspended above their heads. “They can be raised by a circle or by a particularly adept solo magician, well trained in the Arts of visualisation and projection…”
“Either way,” Kimba’s voice interjected, “a skilled wizard, priestess or priest is required, to focus the image and imbue it with their recirculating energies – or the energy flow of their group…” He emerged from the house with a bowl of steaming skullcap and valerian tea cradled within prayerfully arranged palms. The mage, sage and talented alchemist lowered himself into full lotus with an elegant motion, tucking his feet up onto his lap as their impromptu discussion shifted into a basic tutorial:
“The adept must visualise the desired image as clearly and dimensionally as possible. One-pointed desire - concentrated will - is the key to unlocking a specific sutra’s or yantra’s attributes and pass it into the form of the Tulpa. The real trick is to shift a portion of one’s consciousness into the simulacrum to maintain contact; sublime focus is required to project a thought form into the collective dream of the world, without instantly losing control of one’s newborn creation.”
Kimba spoke with eyes fixed on the phosphorescent urban sky while the fingers of one hand danced before his slim ribcage in serpentine motions. His eyes closed as he swallowed a sip of the palliative herbal tea. “A specific sutra and mudra are the keys that turn the lock of the imagined image, and send it flying to its target like a divine arrow – but all such abilities begin with meditation.”
“So they’re used as weapons?” Arne asked, “Or as vengeful spirits, or spies?” Fifi frowned in his direction as she smoothed creases from her long velvet gown. “All, or none, or other things entirely,” the adept replied through gritted teeth as his pale blue eyes opened onto the dark mountains of gathering cumuli. “The tulpa is fashioned to accomplish whatever the wizard requires, much like familiars or homunculi – but they can be improperly formed and act in misdirected ways; particularly if one’s mind isn’t crystal clear.”
Kimba’s gaze dropped to survey the neophytes’ faces as he sipped a little more tea. He sloshed the warm brew round his broken mouth before continuing; “A group of adepts working together can achieve a more uniformly satisfactory result, if their wills can mesh effectively to create the same overlapping image, or a pattern that merges into a coherent semi-living whole.” He glanced at Arne, smiling at the young monk. “It’s hard to keep thought forms together at first; they simply fade away or fall apart if your concentration lapses. Sometimes they even develop individual wills of their own, and manage to sustain themselves despite being dispelled by their creators; some have been known to persist long after outliving the person who’s conjured them into being.”
He paused for a while to suck air past the ravaged sieve of his teeth and swilled the strong bitter tea around his mouth before swallowing. Prince Ram’yana suffered his own agonies from shattered dentition, and winced in sympathy when Kimba’s eyes squeezed shut against a swelling wave of pain. “Self-willed Tulpas can sometimes become mischievous or malevolent, or just as likely be entirely disinterested in human beings.”
Kimba paused for another swill while a gust of wind splattered the group with an invigorating spray. “They’re the handiwork of magicians,” he continued when the sharp bite of internal lightning that raged through his flaring nerves had subsided; “not usually the spawn of lamas or others seeking enlightenment – and their conjuration is a technique that commonly binds the seeker to the lower realms, as with all misuse or overuse of Siddhi powers to achieve material ends.”
“Like golems?” Arne inquired with a guilelessly intent expression. Kimba eyed him carefully. “Just so,” the erudite scholar agreed as Miriam emerged from the house and began to massage his shoulders. “But we’re all golems at heart; creations of dreaming divinity and creatures of habit, co-created living clay moulded by and imbued with each other’s expectations.” His voice dropped to a murmur while the black-haired junior magician worked knots from his neck; “as well as self-created eternal beings with a curious penchant for immortal forgetfulness…”
“It’s a little bit like the Indian Rope Trick,” Gladryn supplied. “Exactly!” Kimba confirmed the longstanding neophyte’s suggestion with a rapid series of nods that suddenly terminated in a pained-looking wince. Miriam placed her palms an inch from the stubble on the sides of his face and a flow of energy passed through Kimba’s jaw; Ram’yana observed a pale blue-green balm of etheric light spread from her palms, immediately relieving the worst of the Adept’s agony. His dissertation recommenced; “The swami or illusionist holds the desired image in his pineal body, charging it with the focused expectancy of the audience or gathering while he attunes to the field of their collective energy. Then he projects the illusion into the outer world, via the viewers’ pineal centres…”
“How?” Jomana leaned forward and grasped the cloak more tautly around her knobbly knees as a gusty breeze lofted the other neophytes’ uniformly long hair. Harbourside trees swayed and bowed before the majestic storm sweeping in from the sea as waves broke against the sandstone courtyard at the rear of the magic group’s urban headquarters. Kimba leaned toward the neophyte’s insistently intense stare and his voice dropped in pitch until the rest of the small circle hunkered forward in mimicking postures.
“The adept resonates the crystal of his pineal chakra with theirs,” Kimba tells them as he stares into the central core of awareness behind Jomana’s eyes, “and it carries his projection into their resonant vessels; they see what he sees, projected as a carefully crafted and maintained three dimensional reality that appears in the spaces between them…” Ram’yana found that he was seeing Jomana’s dazzled stare through Kimba’s eyes, overlain upon the same scene seen in profile.
“And he climbs up the rope and disappears into thin air! How splendid” Fifi squealed. Her loud clap dispelled the connexion that held the circle enthralled and suffused within the focused perspective of the Adept of the Dawn of Ra. Kimba glanced at the initiate as Miriam recommenced her massage.
“The real keys to the art are meditation and the practice of one-pointed awareness…” Kimba was about to continue when Fifi L’Amoure interrupted him again. “Sorry to put a raincheck on this fascinating discussion,” she began in apology, “but speaking of snake charmers and rope climbers, it’s time for you all to go and see Ratty, who’ll reacquaint you with the Great God Pan; Jai’s waving from the portal, and he looks a little annoyed, so you’d best hurry up. Io Pan!” she cried, and the neophytes all echoed her invocation in a ragged but effusive chorus.
Kimba stood with a cantilevering swivel and stared up into the fractious sky. “Practice with clouds,” he suggested to the circle as they followed him to their feet. “They’re easy to form or dispel.” The neophytes began to strip off their street clothes and swiftly donned their hand-made ritual cloaks. “And beware summoning incubi or succubi, or similar symbiotes or parasites – they can sometimes be attracted to inhabit the forms you create.” Storm clouds tumbled above the mirroring skirl of billowing waters, which swirled through the earth a scant three fathoms below the sea-hollowed sandstone foundations of the Dawn of Ra’s suburban temple.
“Sometimes,” Kimba was saying to Fifi L’Amoure as the neophytes made a short dash through the rain to the pillared entrance of the temple, “the tulpa appears as a swirling ball of light, or a spinning disk or discus; they’ve even been known to appear as metallic objects replete with crews of little green men, or bug-eyed monsters. Some can become whatever they wish – or whatever we wish them to be; and the ones that escape their creators are particularly free-willed and polymorphic in form and intent…”
“Just like humans,” the Lady Ringell remarked.
“There is only one liege of the Centrax; the Lord Kha-Aan. The Emperor is the manifestation of heat, the ‘
“There is only one Hierophant; the shaman Ram’yana. He is a vast hollow, the ‘Unque’ or ‘Unkue’ – the nahual.” The shamanic Lord’s Deathwatch and trainee mage can divine nothing from his intended bride’s inscrutable expression as her hand swirls across the page of the journal. “There was only one High Priestess,” she continues. “Racheal; ‘Vala’, or angelic power.”
“Figures,” the Cold Wanderer says in a snide aside to the shaman, who mouths an interruption of his own; “Was?” asks Ram’yana, and Racheal ignores them both as her voice keeps slow pace with the spiralling weave of her quill. “There is only one Empress,” she says, “the Lady Ringell; ‘Vilya’, or air and sky…”
Like others of her tribe, the Lady Ringell known as Fifi L’Amoure has decided to use her ‘secret’ Centraxian name for all daily purposes, officious or otherwise. She beams at the priestess’s use of her chosen nomenclature as Racheal inscribes the roles of the tribe members into the journal – warrior, priestess, poet, empress, hunter, scribe, monk, fool, adventurer and a host of others are described, names and roles recorded alongside their respective symbols and personal runes in the tribal tome.
By the time Racheal has completed her roster of Centraxian identities and archetypes, the night’s ongoing party in Ram’s apartment has waxed into a risibly loud celebration. Wine flows freely alongside stronger draughts of port, alcoholic ginger ale and treacle-like blackberry wine – favoured insipid tipples among the nationwide horde of famished students and impoverished artists. Racheal hands the book to her prince and crosses her bare legs as she sits back on the deeply upholstered lounge. Her eyes brim with salt water; an unrelieved pressure swells from her heart whilst she stares into Ram’s emerald eyes.
Her gaze is focused on something, someone or somewhere beyond the gaily painted brick walls that enclose the Centraxian enclave. Her lips move slowly and words trickle forth, almost inaudible beneath the rambunctious music emanating from a handful of musos jamming on the glass-lined sunroom balcony. The concentrated focus of Racheal’s unspoken angst cleaves into the hallowed void of Ram’s awareness, distracting him from recollections of the previous night’s vivid experiences in the temple and manse of the Dawn of Ra.
“I’ll be your baby blue gremlin,” the tribal oracle murmurs, amending the song of the jammers with inscrutable lyrics as her aquamarine irises expand and contract; “But I’ll be in someone else, and it won’t be tonight…” Racheal shudders with a sudden start and a torrent of blonde waves washes around her shoulders as she shakes a blurring vision from her mind. “Congratulations, Lord Ram’yana,” she says as their fingers entwine on her kneecap. Awaiting further elucidation, her lover wraps his hand around hers and caresses the priestess’s thigh with her open palm. She’ll tell me when she ready, he decides, or I’ll find out when the time is ripe. He raises the uppermost question lurking in the copious files of his unrelieved curiosity. “‘Was’?”
“’T’will be a was,” she declares with a fleeting smile; “When the time of another Wiccan witch arrives, to fill my place in the tribe – and in thine heart.” An end to their enduring relationship has become a recurring theme in his lady’s private discourse. As Ram’s eyes drift down to the scarf which adorns her bruised neck he feels a cool breeze of change arriving, a new dawn whose impending brightness quickens his blood with expectation; a faint gloaming that shines on the cloudswept horizon of their brazenly bold young lives. “’Tis not I who seeks new ends and old beginnings,” he assures his bride with a gentle squeeze of his elongated pianist’s fingers.
Lord Fang the Astral Lodger curls around a half drained flagon of port on the dusty floor, lying half atop the High Priestess’ toes. His contorted lips mutter tangled lines of indecipherable poetry, mingled with codified quotations of alchemical terms and sprinkled with fragments of kabalistic spells. The drunken philosopher’s posture reminds the prince of the first night he spent with his new ladylove – curled up at Racheal’s feet as she slept in the most comfortable chair, in his bedchamber at the previous Centraxian stronghold. His eyes meet Racheal’s as their hands caress her thigh, shifting along her fine blond downiness with a harmonised will of their own. “Be careful what ye wish for…”
“I see it inside thee,” she tells him, “in us! In the things that are happening – that we’re causing to happen, to drive us apart because we must… because we can’t bear to part, can’t bear to split of our own free will…” Racheal’s gaze blazes with enduring longing as she speaks the unendurable words that have become a recurrent refrain; “Nothing matters.”
The utterance is scarcely reassuring. The prince watches his lady’s legs unfold and her feet descend to rest upon the stained blue-grey fuzz of Cardinal Fang’s East German army coat; “Yod, hey hey hey?” he sniggers into the bottle; “Vau, hey hey hey?”
“We’re not the ones doing it,” Ram’yana tells his beloved with needy entreaty as their hands slide beneath the hem of her skirt. Each time she raises the spectre of an end to their relationship a cloud of nervous anxiety envelopes the prince. “Not the only ones,” he hurriedly amends while Racheal’s toes dig into Fang’s ribs. “Love conquers all, and we can still choose otherwise…” Her hair tosses from side to side in unspoken negation as he draws breath to continue. “I…”
“Oh Danny Boy, the pipes the pipes are calling…” A sweet feminine voice presages a glassware bong that appears unexpectedly between the lovers. Racheal’s hand slips from Ram’s to receive it just as their fingertips reach the heat of her mons. She accepts the offering from young Princess Moonshine with a sigh of heartfelt relief while his fingers remain hidden in the folds of her skirt, bathed in the heat of her sultriness. “Jai said to tell you it was treated hash,” the beaming pink-eyed girl informs the prince, “so you can have some, too.” She drops a wooden bowl into Ram’s lap before reaching down toward the flagon of port at their feet; a tug-of-war ensues, one that Cardinal Fang is certain to win - until Racheal’s toes immobilise the squirming drunkard with a flurry of well-placed tickles.
Moonshine struggles to hold the immense bottle aloft in her wee painted hands. She manages only a mouthful or two before the thick woollen coat surges from the floor and the bundle of Lord Fang reaches its full ragged height. The philosopher retrieves the half-emptied vessel of his inspiration with barely a glance at the fetching young girl. He drops to the floor with a heavy thud and leans back between Racheal’s legs, laying his head in her lap. He raises the flagon to beard-fringed lips while the rheumy grey shutters of his eyes roll closed. Ram’yana ignites the brass cone for the priestess and smoky bubbles form in the stained water inside the glass orb as fragrant resin pours down her open throat.
Ram’yana takes advantage of the brief lull to ask two of many questions that linger on the tips of his prefrontal lobes; “Where didst thou go when ye left Rendel’s – and how couldst even walk?” Moonshine grins through a cloud of smoke. “Is he that good a lover?” she giggles. Racheal coughs a fogbank of smoke into their faces before mumbling a reply that equally suits either question, or both: “Don’t remember.” Her answer is thoroughly plausible under the circumstances, but the young woman’s body language informs her lover that the truth is doubtless more complex. She clamps her knees around the sides of the astral lodger’s throat. “Are you coming up the mountain?” she asks as his eyes wobble open.
As he watches his lover press her legs athwart the other man’s face, Ram’yana can only marvel at her powers of recovery; despite occasional bouts of distraught emotional revelation, her resilience in the face of recent events has proven remarkable. Mayhap her group healing session while we were in the temple has turned the trick… he surmises. …Or the unexpected thrill that came after…
The astral lodger rubs his sandpaper cheeks against the silken tissues of Racheal’s inner thighs while Ram’yana caresses her hipbone. She passes him the bong, and he idly wonders where Cardinal Fang’s usual paramour could be. As he thinks of Lady Jane the prince experiences a guilty twinge; not at the memory of their occasional discrete trysting when Fang and Racheal had been elsewhere engaged, but at the pang of jealousy he feels when Racheal’s fingers stroll through the slightly older man’s dark greasy locks.
Ram’yana mulls crumbled hashish into grainy leaves of ready-rubbed tobacco, melding the substances together as Racheal inverts the flagon and drinks deep of the sweet viscous fluid. He sees the cardinal’s hands rise to fall upon her knees, tilting his head back to watch the red fluid bubble and swirl in the vessel while it pours down her throat. Fang obviously awaits the flagon’s safe return as he kneads the priestess’s knees with an air of anxious expectancy. “Don’t worry,” she says as she wipes her lips with the back of a wrist and hefts the wide lens of the bottle’s base above his expectant eyes. “There’s plenty here for the three of us to share.”
“Four,” Moonshine insists as she returns from the small group of jamming musicians on the balcony, bearing a bowl of grapes to the reclining huddle of tribal magicians. Always a precociously mature young beauty, the princess has become a gloriously scented and adorable flower as she approaches her majority, ready to blossom open at the slightest light touch of approval from her elder peers in the court. “The four of us can all share, if you like,” she says with a lopsided tipsy grin that swerves between the smiles of the other Centraxians.
“Let’s do that very thing,” Racheal agrees as she passes the flagon to the younger girl. “After last night we can hardly refuse an offer like that; and I owe thee one…” She peers into the uncomprehending eyes of the princess, and after a swift guzzle Moonshine returns the flagon to the cardinal’s grasping hands and pouting lips. “One never knows how long the party will last before it all comes to a crashing halt,” the priestess declares as she takes the girl’s hand. “Let’s seize the night,” she suggests with a wink.
“After all, World War Three could happen tomorrow,” Moonshine muses. She swivels her negligible weight onto one hip and the strap of her negligee slips from her shoulder; she wears a pair of tie-died tights beneath the skimpy black lace garment, with wide rips and holes arranged around strategic portions of her carefully exposed anatomy. “That, too,” the priestess agrees as their fingers entwine within a cloud of smoke exhaled by the onlooking prince.
“Mmph,” the cardinal mumbles as he falls back to the floor, rolling beneath the bare feet of the tribal high priestess while twelve-bar blues morph into tabla-driven flights of frenziedly competitive virtuosity. “You can’t always get what you want!” His sudden yell ignites slumbering emotions, a rift in the riffs that beget a disturbing montage of images. Barely suppressed recent memories cavort and disport in the pre-initiate prince’s inebriated mind.
He couldn’t move. He lay in a shroud of darkness and wondered where he was. The darkness was a slowly spinning vortex, and a purple light pounded behind his eyeballs in time with a throbbing pain that seared betwixt his temples. He couldn’t seem to move a muscle. He gradually came to realise why it was so very, very dark – his eyes were closed and he couldn’t manage the simple act of opening them.
A zombie rotting in my coffin, dreaming a wonderful life… The idea is always lurking, ready to pounce into the resurrected shaman’s mind at the least provocation: even now, more than a year after his ‘near-death experience’. His present circumstance is ideally suited to the nihilistic notion. The unsettling realisation that he cannot move his arms - nor even flex his fingers - is only slightly mitigated by an awareness of breath rising and falling through the distant tattered channel of his painfully parched throat. He concentrates upon the endlessly pumping bellows of his lungs and searches for a familiar stillness, the central core of stillness that resides somewhere within and beyond the spinning weave of the world.
His heart races in his breast and he feels the beginnings of a sharp agony pressing somewhere inside his left armpit. Before he has a chance to panic exhaustion overtakes him, lofting his cares away on a tide of dreams that fills the void where his senses end. He succumbs to an undertow that draws him down to submerged superluminal reefs where the sound of distant traffic morphs into waves rolling across the surface of an endless ocean, which swallows the sunken city of his conscious mind.
When next he awakes, he lies for a while in stuporous torpor, regretting the departure of the smiling blue-skinned woman who welcomed him into the submerged glades of her aquatic home with seductive entreaties and wise words of counsel. Her eyes and skin had been the same hues as Racheal’s, and her smile was the same half-coy, half-wise curl that made his heart soar with expectant acceptance whenever his paramour blessed him with her radiant smile. Racheal…
When at last he remembers what had happened before he closed his eyes – only for a few moments, he’d intended - Ram suspects he’s still lying on the floor of Rendel’s bedroom. He tries to open his mouth and call his lover’s name, but his lips merely part into the slightest gap while a quiet croak issues from the dry well of his throat. When one eye opens into a narrowed slit he sees unformed pools of light refracted through an unfocused grate; a vaguely crisscrossing veil he slowly comes to recognise as the overlapping weave of his eyelashes.
Ram’s other eye creaks halfway open and he attempts to focus on the blinding bare filament of an overhead light bulb. He can move neither arms nor legs - can’t even feel them, in fact. He lies on what seems to be a thin horsehair mattress and the simultaneous sounds of a honking horn and the squealing of overheated brake drums further affirm his whereabouts as sensation begins to push back the numb sense of deadness which envelopes his supine limbs. A faint blurry circle of greenish light confirms the suspicion that he’s lying on the floor in Rendel’s bedroom. Racheal… The compass of Ram’s soul spins in dizzy confusion as he attempts to reorient himself to the lodestone of his beloved’s presence.
And then he remembers, and his torpor is instantly consumed in a struggle to gain control of his unresponsive limbs. His body is so numb he can barely feel the clammy sheet beneath his back, and after a few minutes of sweating, grunting, desperate effort he manages to roll onto his side, breathing gasps just as stentorian and ragged as if he’s run a four minute mile. Racheal… This time the mermaid is already waiting for him. Her skin is the colour of asphyxiation, and the globular seashells of her necklace are the same mottled mauve of the incipient bruises on the neck of his absent beloved.
Yet although she resembles his witch-bride to an uncanny degree, Ram’yana can sense that the semblance is the result of a strange symbiosis. He watches the aquamarine woman smile with eyes as anciently wise as an immortal Blue Jinn, and sees the hint of a smile appear at this intuition. Bubbles explode from her mouth as her smile bursts into foaming gouts of laughter.
“Nothing matters!” she cries into his mind, and long pallid hair trails around her nude body as she twirls round and around on the spot. Her webbed fingers shift to form a Tiphareth mudra between the cyanic orbs of her breasts and the apparition resembles a prayerful devotee as she somersaults before him. A scintillating shimmer of small scales refracts rainbow sheen from her undulant surfaces, vaguely reptilian yet compellingly arousing to the captivated shaman prince. He drifts toward her; Racheal…
When next he wakes, Ram’s body sprawls halfway off the blanket and his head and shoulders are resting on the cool wooden floor. A faint blue-green glow transforms the barely perceived chamber, rendering the sparsely furnished bedroom into a semblance of vaguely threatening and unrecognisable shapes. Ram’s awareness slowly returns all the way home to the substance-soaked presence of his soporific flesh and blood. It takes an interminable time to roll onto his knees, and an hour or more later – as midmorning sunlight filters through thick translucent sheets of distorted viridian windowpanes – he finally struggles to his feet and leans against the cracked blue paint of the doorframe. It takes quite a while before he realises that the door stands wide open.
By the time he staggers through the hall and reaches the lounge room there’s no sign of Racheal or Rendel – or the cop who’d so rudely intruded on their inebriated tryst. What’s happened to her? Reflected daylight fills the mural-covered room, illuminating a zoological heraldry of gilded peacocks and silvery pheasants on a deep navy field. He calls his lover’s name in a crusty croak that reverberates and fades between the rooms of Rendel’s apartment; when he’s sure there’ll be no reply he falls to his knees on a large sequined cushion. Slowly regaining his senses and balance, he sees a torn scrap of silver-studded black leather half concealed beneath a rumpled rug. He drops to all fours to examine the collar’s torn seam. She wouldn’t take this off, surely… He lifts the studded scrap and examines it through the blurry waters of his vision.
Looks like it’s been ripped off… Tears well in Ram’s eyes as he attempts to struggle back to his feet. It takes more than an hour before he can find all his clothing, reassemble his possessions and manage to leave the ground floor apartment. He desperately craves a hot shower, but can’t bear to linger in the flat now that he’s certain his lady is gone. Where is she?
He follows the twisting compass of his heart along the unaccountably bright backstreets of Kings Cross, squinting at his feet all the while. It takes half an hour to traverse the first hundred yards, and every step is a battle to force his truculent slim mass through a thick sea of treacle. Curious eyes blink down at the longhaired hippy from an incongruously sited Cathaholic girl’s boarding school as he makes his way along the footpath.
He staggers from tree to tree, supporting his tattered self on cylindrical trunks of cool living water, pausing to draw wise pooling patience, nourishment and peace through his overheated flesh and sluggish blood. Each time he pauses and drinks of their calming presence, he regains another measure of strength for the next leg of his long journey home. Home… The notion of home has become a fluid one, inextricably intertwined with the presence of his beloved bride in Ram’s romantic mind. He can only imagine that Racheal has returned to her decrepit squat near the oldest university in the land, and decides to follow her there.
The journey is an interminable series of staggers between half-perceived bus trips. When he finally makes his way through the deadly obstacle course of Racheal’s circuitous entryway there’s no reply to his greeting cry. After negotiating the tightrope walk of broken floorboards that leads to her parachute-covered bedchamber, it quickly becomes obvious that the priestess is nowhere within the tumbledown chambers of the destitute building.
The prince stares at the carefully scribbled artwork of Rosaleen Norton for a long lonely time, peering at the mural through dusty columns of roof-piercing sunbeams; he stares at the painting while thoughts of Racheal race through his mind and barely sees the monochrome imagery of the goddess Aradia awaiting her demonic lover in a capacious queen-sized bed. When he sags onto the crusted ruin of Racheal’s half-burned couch he notices the dress that she was wearing when he saw her last, thrown into a pile of reject artwork on the floor beside her mattress.
A note lies atop her dress, written in tiny script by a familiar and fastidiously neat hand; “Everything is, and nothing matters. Waited as long as possible, hoping you were allright. Hoping you weren’t in jail. Or worse. See you tonight at Arne’s new bedroom party, my love.” A curlicue of spiralling runes forms a pair of smiling lips, in a codified message writ beneath a pair of watery blue watercolour eyes. A pair of translucent geometric teardrops hangs from the corner of each eye in liquefying hexagonal snowflake forms; Racheal’s silhouette reflected within the illusory depths of one eye and one teardrop, while Ram’s shape is outlined in the matching pair.
Her mention of Arne’s party tells the shaman what day it must be; the past thirty hours have somehow disappeared. Not much time… And tomorrow I have a job interview – and I have to see my new parole officer in the afternoon! His concerns are dispelled by the fresh conundrum of a loud banging on the nailed-fast front door of Racheal’s squat, completely concealed behind her wall-spanning hangings. “Hello!” A voice yells. “Police!”
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 -
(These sites have been frozen and cut off from this author by Today.com: More Images - http://imagine.today.com
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