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Authors: Robert Silverberg

Tags: #Fantasy

The Last Song of Orpheus (13 page)

BOOK: The Last Song of Orpheus
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But the Bacchantes themselves heard only the imagined voice of their god, who was Apollo also, but in the form of fiery Dionysus.

Hesione threw the first stone, which struck me in the forehead. The healer Carya threw the next; and then the air was thick with them, striking hard, knocking the breath from me.  I fell to my knees. They came rushing toward me, shrieking.

So it was about to happen, the thing I had seen so many times in my memories of the future, the thing that had happened before and would happen again, and again and again.  Well, so be it. It had been decreed. The stones battered me, but I did not stop playing. In another instant the women were swarming around me like hungry beasts. Their deafening shrieks assailed my ears. I felt the blows of their ivy-wrapped staffs. In a moment they would rake my skin with their nails and seize my arms and tear at my flesh.

But I held tight to my lyre and continued to play. I am Orpheus, Apollo’s son, and the gods had placed me here for this. So, calling on all the strength that remained to me, I played and I sang.  By grace of Apollo, I played and I sang.  I would not cease my song until the end. I knew that the time was coming once again for me to die; but it was not here yet, and, until that time had come, I would not cease my song.

BOOK: The Last Song of Orpheus
10.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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