Here’s a little fanfic (AU/OC, however fandom would describe it these days) just to flex a little my writing mental muscles. I’m itching to expand it a little, but time will tell I guess.
Hope you enjoy it! And if you haven’t read The Wicked + The Divine, you should. Believe me, it’s awesome.
September 7th 2014
As we fall into sequence
and we’re eating our young
remain silent and still for modesty
When the splints have been broken
and they can’t help you now
do you pray with your eyes closed naturally
A little prayer, more like a mantra to help me focus a bit.
Breathe. In and out. Take it deep, relax, just let it all flow.
Follow me into nowhere
Woven with the utmost care
I took the deck of cards with one hand and started shuffling and mixing them up, over and over for what must’ve been about a couple minutes. Letting the vibe stick to and pool within them, letting it flow through each and every Arcanum; all so I could leave them back at the table. Taking a deep breath once again, I pulled up the cards and distributed them in three little mounds, as always.
Left. Center. Right.
And then I exhaled, nodding as I passed my hand swiftly above the card mounds. Waiting to see which one would call up to me.
And then I felt it.
When it’s cold outside
Don’t hold me
When I choose to rest my eyes
Don’t coax me
When it’s cold outside
Don’t hold me
When I choose to rest my eyes
Don’t coax me
That was the one I had to use. As if I’d stung my hand just as it passed over it; that’s how it made me notice it. And just like that, I took the other two aside and unfolded the cards on the table, like spreading a fan. Judging, once again waiting to feel which would call to me; which happened quite a bit faster than before.
I touched the card right in the middle of the line, grabbed it between my fingers and swiftly help it up to my face, before turning it around to see…
Confusion. Fear. Sorrow. Madness. Meh…
Have they cleansed you with chloride
and scrubbed behind the knees
Has your body been hollowed by the breeze
Just as I expected to get, but oh well. I picked up the cards and reunited them all in one deck again, which I guarded in their little silky bag and stuffed in my backpack before pulling out my earbuds and looked around for the waitress. I called her with a little “check please” sign and already had the money out when she got to me, so I stood up and gave it to her, before holstering my pack over my shoulder, pulling my hoodie over my face and putting my buds back on my ears, ready to go out from the coffee.
I wasn’t really shocked to see the Moon come up in my reading.
It wasn’t a very good day, after all.
I’d even cite Bukowski, but I like to consider myself far less pretentious than the alarming number of poseurs characterized for doing it in these situations; so I’d rather abstain myself from it. Still, ‘twas a bad day. A very bad day. Which was sad, because, it was a rainy day, and I absolutely adore rainy days; but still, not even walking down the downpour cheered me up, even if I tried imagining it was “cleansing me of my negativity” or whathaveyou, letting the bad things flow with the water and let go. I didn’t really know if it helped, but meh.
I had it coming, after all.
I shouldn’t have visited him. I shouldn’t have gone to his job; no matter how much I missed him, no matter how long I had gone without seeing him, I shouldn’t have gone. It was a bad idea.
And bad ideas breed bad days.
It’s not because of him. Of course it’s not because of him; he was as charming and lovely and jovial as always, and treated me the best. We talked, we laughed, we joked around; and as always he made me feel like everything was fine. Like everything was perfect, just as he always did.
It was all because of me. Because, when the time to go crept its ugly head around, I didn’t know how to hug him without making him uncomfortable, how to hold him without betraying myself to the instinct of reaching out for his lips.
And he noticed it.
And it was awkward for him.
I know it was, even if he denied it, I know it was.
Such a long time since we broke up and I still hadn’t learnt my lesson.
Such a long time since he was seeing somebody else and I still let it eat me up inside.
Just as I always did.
Per saecula saeculorum.
I’m a sweet
Little love maker
To make my words better
It was getting late. I looked at my watch and it already marked 6:00pm; and going around the streets this late wasn’t really very safe. Not in this city, not in this country, and the rain certainly didn’t help, as much as I liked it.
So I tried to speed up a bit, and look around for any cab or bus or anything, but nothing came up. I was arriving at the stop right in the intersection between the Lara and Los Leones Avenue, a crossroad right in the east of Barquisimeto, and yet there was nothing. Not even people, really, which was kinda odd; there were always people in the streets, hurrying it up trying to get to safety or something. I didn’t quite know if this loneliness soothed me or disturbed me, but I decided to relegate that to the back of my mind for the time being.
Not so present now
For your constant fun
And then I saw something moving next to me. A shadow. I tried to keep my composure, hide my shock, keep myself moving, try to act as unfazed as possible, check if my legs still worked well and run like hell; all in the span of 5 seconds. At least until I noticed it was just a person.
An old lady, to be more precise.
And old lady dressed in black, with a long gauzy veil covering her face, only barely clouding her stern features and her violet eyes and her skin like dust.
I’ve got time, but you’re tired of waiting
You only want me in open spaces
Come fill your gaps with people
I know no one
I gave out a little sigh as I tried to figure out how to get my heart back in my chest after the jump it had done a moment ago. I looked again and she was still there, and I really didn’t know if I was expecting for her to talk to me or scream bloody murder or disappear or whatever. A few cars roamed the streets now, but there was still no sign of the bus or even cabs.
At least there were a few more pedestrians walking around us now. But they all paid particular attention to the old woman, which only confirmed that I hadn’t imagined her.
And that didn’t make me feel any calmer.
The longest minutes in my entire life passed while I was stuck in that situation, and the only thing that distracted me from that whole ordeal was FKA Twigs’ music thumping in my ears, reminding me that time was actually moving forward.
So I tried to ignore the more uncomfortable bits and limit myself to wait for the bloody public transport service while it didn’t come, leaving me here in the middle of the city with a woman who looked like she stepped right out of Alan Wake.
How does it feel to have me thinking about you?
Or at least, that’s what I hoped to do, before I noticed the old lady looking at me with a keen interest.
Especially because of the stark seriousness of her gaze. And because I swear those eyes, those purple eyes looking at me from underneath her wet mourning veil, softly glowed.
And then I saw her mouthing something and I don’t know what the hell inspired me to take off my earbuds.
-The abyss’ call. That’s its name, if I remember correctly.
So lonely trying to be yours
What a forsaken cause
So lonely trying to be yours
When you’re looking for so much more
To be yours
To be yours…
She spoke in the tired, sepulchral tone of someone who carried millennia of living in her shoulders.
-Just as you gaze into the abyss, you can feel, even if for the smallest of moments, the impulse to throw yourself into it. Before rationality imposes itself again, one can feel it’s calling, though we never do answer it. And we are always left with in doubt, isn’t it?
I nodded. I didn’t know what scared me the most: what she was saying, or that I understood it perfectly.
-What if I told you, that you can find out what it feels like?
I didn’t waste one second to spit back.
-That you’re tacitly telling me to throw myself down a cliff.
-and if I told you that it’s possible, would you take that chance?
-…frankly, I don’t know.
-It is much better that way. To take a leap of faith…
And before I could really understand what the old lady’s words meant, I saw her eyes glowing a lot more intensely than before. Not just her eyes: her entire being was engulfed in a flash of pearly light, so strong that I swear for a moment I was left blind.
And in that moment, in that moment everything came crumbling down, and I fell down into the void, as her words echoed in my ears:
-You’re of the Pantheon.
Screams. Screams? I screamed. I think I screamed. Or laughed. Or wept. I don’t know. I just know there was screaming around me. Screams and moans and wails of pleasure and sighs and whispers and teeth chattering with cold and fear and canticles sung in the middle of the forest and the cries of newborns and…
-You will be loved. You will be hated. You will be brilliant. In two years you will be dead.
Touches and slashes and scratches and caresses. I saw worlds I never lived in-or did I?-distant and far away places, lost to time. I saw temples and meadows in forests and throne rooms. I saw statues and paintings and mosaics and stained glass. I saw entire eras unfolding before me, colliding with my sense of reality until I became smithereens, until something within me broke.
And something within me reached out.
Like a bird scratching with its beak at the insides of its egg and flapping its wings until it broke.
And for a moment, just for one moment, I was no more. And I existed in everything and everyone at the same time. And in that moment called infinity, in that small instant, I screamed like a newborn, as if coming out of the Earth itself.
-You’re Queen of the Night.
And I flapped my wings, once and again. I flapped them with determination and longing, and I felt the soft feathers rubbing against my skin, and I felt my claws growing strong like steel.
-You’re the Owl haunting at night.
And I heard, so far and yet so close, chants and praises in my name. They worshipped me. They venerated me. I was their everything. In my honor they carried out rites, in my honor they dropped to their knees.
I was their God.
Their Goddess, actually.
I flapped again, and I halted my fall, slowly, bit by bit, until instead of descending I was going up. I felt the abyss calling up to me, but it wasn’t coming from the depths anymore, but from the sky.
And so, I flew.
-Mistress of the Witches and Mother of Abominations.
And with the wind humming in my ears and the night’s chill draping me like a mantle, I rose up to the highest heavens, crowned as I was by clouds and stars. And I shone. I shone with silver light, I shone and illuminated everything around me
I was the Moon.
I was the Queen of the Night.
-The First Wife. The First Rebel. The First.
And so I opened my eyes and fell back to reality, to at world where it wasn’t raining anymore, where the clouds suddenly parted and the full Moon shone over me like a reflector, just in time for me to hear the last words spoken by the old lady.
-We meet again, Lilith. I’ve missed you.
Ananke. That was her name. Ananke.
And it was true. I was a God.
Or rather, a Goddess.
I meowed with a little curiosity. There were so many things pounding inside of me. Confusion, yes; madness, yes; sorrows that I couldn’t quite identify as mine or someone else’s. Energy. Something throbbing strongly within my being and fighting to get out, to pour, to flow in streams… but that I held back for some reason.
And then I noticed. The other walkers; some where still there. Witnessing everything. Surprised. Shocked.
And it was then that I pulled my head up, opened my mouth and let that… thing come out. Voices speaking in dead tongues along with lights both pale and silver and birds flittering here and there surged from within me in a spring, a geyser, an eruption, a tsunami that carried away everyone present, on foot and in their cars and the buses and the establishments. I knew everyone noticed it.
I don’t know for how long I did it, but I eventually ceased my singing. My screeching. And in just as much time many of them fled, cars pulling away from their channels, some losing control only to regain it just in time while others scratched each others I the softest ways possible. I dunno how there weren’t any major accidents.
A miracle, I guess. It was a miracle.
And then there were those that stayed. Some down to their knees, crying or moaning; others fighting with their peers over the slightest of reasons and at least two men furiously masturbating for everyone to see.
It was chaos.
It was madness.
Mine, all mine, all mine.
I came down from my high solely because I heard the ancient one… I mean, Ananke drawing near.
-Letting yourself go, as usual.
I turned my head to see her, and noticed her face was serene despite all that happened around us. I tilted a little as I looked intently at her, at least until I felt I hadn’t blinked in a few too many seconds.
-How do you feel?-she asked me, and her voice softened, taking on the tone of a grandmother speaking to the grandchild she hadn’t seen in a long while.
An old friend, she was. Or maybe an old enemy. Was there any difference between the two?
-Who else has Returned?
-Only you, so far. You’re the First, as always when you manifest.
-Ah, yes… the opening act… that’s how they call it I guess, isn’t it?
I looked at her intently once more. I could taste something, in the air, within me, but I didn’t quite understand what it was yet.
-Do not disdain your roll at the Recurrence. The first one to return always paves the way for the others, and helps to remind the faithful as to why they keep their hopes aflame. That’s why it brings me joy to see you…
-Don’t try to sweeten me with your words, Ananke. We both… we both know the veil on your face is no match for the one covering your intentions.
She kept quiet for a moment. Her expression changed; but it retained that same serene contemplation from before. Only with a scant hint of haughtiness.
Haughtiness I hadn’t seen in a long, long while.
Since the Neolithic, maybe. Or perhaps earlier. I just have a flair for the dramatic.
-How much do you remember?
-Nothing. Not for now. You know how the Great Void is…but I do feel you’re not to be trusted.
-Neither are you. Or anyone, for that matter: a lesson you keep soliloquizing about…
She would’ve continued talking, but I diverted my attentions to a nearby puddle, illuminated by the moonlight. I instinctively snapped my fingers and the water cleared and calmed, and I could see myself reflected upon it.
Lilith reflected upon it.
My clothes had changed. My body had changed. No longer was I just a pudgy young man wearing black, with a disheveled beard and glasses and sad eyes. Where there was before a gigantic hoodie, now I had a blood red sleeveless vest covered in dangling chains and amulets, black leather boots similarly covered and ripped black jeans; where I was fat before… well, ok, I was still chubby, but I could notice a bit more muscle underneath, calling attention to notorious pecs and bulging arms and tense legs; my face hadn’t changed its features but my beard was more neatly styled, and both it and my hair were now reddish copper.
I was a man. A strong man. A strong man incarnating something… different.
Something dangerous, even.
I was a man and I was a Goddess.
And that amused me.
-As always, you loose yourself in your vanity-I felt it less chiding and more mocking, if you ask me.
-Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
-That verse speaks of the meaninglessness of everything, rather than vainglory, as is your case.
I closed my eyes and when I opened them up again, I saw them in the puddle, glowing in silver light. A couple of brilliant orbs, made in the likeness of the very beacon shining over me right now… at which point I sighed and looked up to see it. To see the Moon in all its splendor. That same Moon that was now reflected into me. That was a part of me.
-What does fate hold for me, Ananke?
-Certainly, whatever is it that you so converge. You’ve always been that way. Indomitable.
I smiled despite myself, and I raised my arms in a sign, as if they were wings.
Not because they were, it was just a reflex. I still hadn’t gotten used to it.
To let my wings out. To spread them as I should.
-What does fate hold for me? …whatever I want.
-I recommend moderation, Lilith. Remember your excesses tend to take the best of you.
–Au contraire. My excesses are the best of me. And this place certainly needs… excess.
And on that final note I looked at her for the last time before taking up flight and going, leaving behind that old lady and a handful of worshippers as I opened my mouth once again, to screech, to sing. To let it be heard in every nook and cranny and have it echo all over the world.
The Queen of the Night had descended once again.
And as expected, I wouldn’t be the only one to come back. No, I wouldn’t. But I would be me.
And that was enough to amuse me while it lasted…
Once again, I return.
She will always be a broken girl
September 7th 2014