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Authors: Storm Constantine

Tags: #angels, #fantasy, #short stories, #storm constantine

Thorn Boy and Other Dreams of Dark Desire (49 page)

BOOK: Thorn Boy and Other Dreams of Dark Desire
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Fairen kissed
him saying, ‘Never have I seen such beauty as you. You are a gypsy
raven! Say that you love me!’


You are
a silver wildcat,’ Filerion answered. ‘Yes, I love you.’

Whether
Ricardo Neathree guessed what was really going on, Filerion did not
know. He certainly never professed a desire to accompany the others
on their forest walks, but his eyes and smile were free of
innuendo. ‘I have had such a holiday here!’ he cried. ‘I feel
renewed. Thank you Filerion.’


Thank
you
,’ Filerion
said, with a smile.

He and Fairen
had not spoken of the future, but Filerion had no doubt that when
Ricardo returned to Celestia, he would return alone.

At the end of
the week, Ricardo said, ‘Tomorrow, I’ll have to get back to town.
But I’ll return one day for another refreshment, never fear!’

Filerion
smiled and squeezed Ricardo’s hand. ‘You cannot guess what pleasure
your visit has given me,’ he said.

When morning
came to the black walls and the black chimneys of Filerion’s house,
Fairen De’ath rose alone from the shared warmth of Filerion’s bed
and went to the open window. He could not see the wide road leading
south through the trees from there. And the air was cool, too fresh
for him. He shivered.

Filerion
awoke, smiling into the dawn sunlight, savouring the crisp,
perfumed air.


And now
I must go,’ Fairen De’ath said, without looking backwards. He
closed the window.


Go?’
Filerion felt the shining cocoon of happiness around him crack. He
felt blood must surely pour from the wound. ‘What do you mean?’ he
asked. ‘Only a week ago, you were begging me to let you stay
here!’

Fairen
shrugged awkwardly. ‘I know but...’ He looked around the room.

Filerion’s
shock expressed itself in anger. ‘You virtually forced me to love
you!’ he cried. ‘What is this talk of leaving so soon?’

Fairen still
stared southwards through the window. ‘It is not right,’ he said.
‘One day I shall have to return to Celestia and, when I do, I do
not want to have to hide from knowing eyes. If I stay here when
Ricardo leaves, he will know why. I realise now I do not want
that.’


Because
of what I was?’ Filerion asked bitterly. ‘Is that it? You don’t
want people to know you lived with a whore?’

Fairen De’ath
did not answer. He put his fingers on the window glass, long,
slender fingers.

Filerion’s
heart turned over. ‘Haven’t I pleased you?’ he asked softly. ‘You
said you loved me. You made me feel that too.’

Fairen shook
his head. ‘I know. You have pleased me, you have been wonderful and
I do... feel for you, but... We achieved the miracle, didn’t we? We
fulfilled my prophecy, and it was good. But now it is done. Such
affairs as this can only be brief.’

Filerion was
stunned. Fairen De’ath had broken his defences, every one. He felt
naked and wretched and helpless.


I’m
sorry,’ said Fairen De’ath.

By mid-day,
Ricardo Neathtree, still blissfully unaware of what had transpired,
oblivious to any dark atmosphere, set his horse once more upon the
path that led to the wide, dusty road, taking Fairen De’ath with
him.

Filerion
steeled himself and mouthed goodbyes, smiling; stood on his porch
and watched them go. Only once the leaves had hidden them
completely, did he allow himself to fall down upon the grass
outside the tall, black house and surrender to bitter, silent
grief.


What
have I done to deserve this?’ he raged inside, bewildered. ‘Why did
he do this to me? Why did I let him?’

Fairen De’ath
had destroyed his contentment. Filerion had not needed company, but
now Fairen had gone, after bestowing that brief, vicious gift of
lust and heat, Filerion felt he could not live with the weight of
solitude any longer. All the things that he most enjoyed seemed
blighted. Where was the delight in bathing in the forest streams if
he had to bathe alone? Where the delight in discovering the dens of
the wild creatures, spilling tumbling mounds of cubs and kittens in
the sunlight, if there was no one but the grey cat to show them to?
Was the sense of satisfaction in a job well done valid if it was
not shared? Could he live knowing he would not touch Fairen’s skin
again, nor hear his voice and bask in his radiant smile? A torment!
Unbearable! Filerion’s heart felt broken. He was sure it could
never heal. Not now. Not this time. Never. Everything was gone:
light, hope, happiness. He could not escape the past. He was a
whore. Used for sex. Simple as that. Even here. He did not want to
be this thing.

As the
afternoon sloped towards sunset, Filerion picked himself up off the
grass and went back into the tall, black house. With bowed posture,
he slowly mounted the steepest flight of stairs and ventured deep
into the shadowed corridor beyond them. This was the house’s most
secret place. Filerion went to door at the end of the passage and
turned the handle. Beyond lay a small room, brown with age, lit by
a single, dusty skylight. The room reeked of sadness, of betrayal,
and had been used before. It was completely empty, but for a slim,
silver dart hanging from a nail upon the wall. Filerion had only
been here once before, and that just to acknowledge what lay within
and why. The house had granted him permission then to see. It had
said to his heart, without words, ‘Remember this, but be wise’. It
had intimated the power of what lay within the room, its varied
uses. It explained something of why the house had been unoccupied,
but not everything.

Filerion felt
he had no choice now but for a certain course of action. He knew
what use to make of the slim, silver dart, kissed with poison.
Numb, he lifted it down from the wall, turning it in his hands. A
beautiful thing, smooth as satin. It felt good to the touch. And so
sharp! He raised his face to the evening sunlight coming in through
the roof light and held the point of the dart against his throat.
It was as cool as a sliver of ice. He knew it would take very
little effort on his part to ease it right into his flesh. Such is
the way of deadly things, he thought. So little effort. A piercing.
Then darkness. He took a deep breath, prepared to push the dart and
then...

Then, through
the dusty window, he saw the moon sailing high into a dark blue,
lustrous sky. He smelled the perfume of warm earth drifting in from
outside and heard the echoing calls of the night creatures, stirred
from rest, slithering forth into the pale light. Coming in through
the door behind him, the grey cat mewed for her supper and wound
her long tail around Filerion’s legs. If Segila sensed her master’s
distress, her own comfort was obviously more important.

The moment
cracked; cracked like ice. The dart felt cold and wicked in
Filerion’s hands. He dropped it, uttering a soft cry of
distaste.


Meow?’
said Segila.

Filerion
rubbed his face, smiled and bent down to caress the furry head.


You are
right,’ he said, and then to the room, ‘I
misunderstood.’

He bent down
and picked up the dart. Holding it loosely, carelessly, he spoke
six precise words of power over it and carried it downstairs.
Laying it carefully on the kitchen table, he gave meat to his cat,
went outside, threw corn to his hens and cabbage leaves to his
goat. Then he fetched the dart and held it up to the moonlight. The
silver glinted icily. A purposeful, condensed thing it was.
Filerion closed his eyes and threw the dart high, high into the
air.

Twisting,
turning, glittering, it seemed the dart would fall back to earth,
but then, with a strange shiver of a song, it paused and flew,
point first, southwards, above the trees. Filerion wiped his hands,
smiled into the moonlight and went back inside. He made himself a
fine supper of the food that Ricardo had brought him and then sat
down to read, smoking one of his favourite blends of herbal
cigarettes, Segila purring happily in his lap. After a while, he
shuddered, got up, removed the picture of Celestia from the wall
and put it outside. Tomorrow he would bathe in the clearest,
coldest stream he could find and it would all be gone from him.
Forever.

Outside, the
silver dart flew southwards, towards the city. It reverberated to
one, single, burning, inexorable sentiment. Filerion had breathed
six words into it. Six to make it live, to instil its one true
purpose. The room in the secret place of the tall, black house was
completely empty now. Nothing would ever come to fill it but the
silence of peace. Six words. All the hurt condensed. Six words.


Pierce
the heart of Fairen De’ath!’

Oblivious of
the fiery, white progress above it, the forest continued as always,
a surge of silence, and the tall, black house, as always, looked
after its own. It may be reached from three directions, that house,
but few who follow the paths will find it.

BOOK: Thorn Boy and Other Dreams of Dark Desire
8.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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