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What Happened Next?
What Happened Next?
Druidic
Published by Druidic
10-14-2017
What Happened Next?

"Some revelations invite the willful Destruction of the soul.."

--Samuel Erqhart Xavior,
"The Highway of the Toad"



There were certain nights, troubled nights, long and restive nights of wild weather and vague promise, of returning faces long forgotten, faces extinguished by Time and bitterness, faces almost unrecognizable to him now. How these nights tormented Martin's soul! How they lured it and ensnared it, maddening him and driving him out at last into the cold gusty streets without even time or thought to procure hat or cloak...

In the street the first drops of rain would shock him like a physical blow, only softened by the night's embrace. His ears would always strain for the rush of the wind, in low secretive whisper or keening banshee howl; for In his madness he thought it his guide and would follow it, follow it past crumbling homes, down ill-lit streets--streets now inexplicably unfamiliar, palest ghosts of a dimly remembered reality--and through back alleys that seemed darker than the honest blackness of night would allow. When on the street or sometimes moving in narrow clotted passageways between rotting buildings, he would occasionally, inevitably, encounter the rare solitary passerby lashed onward by the storm--this storm which swelled and calmed so mysteriously--and glimpse the flash of a face in either the torrent or sinister calm, and would feel himself confronted with a strangeness and a mystery; a bleak word in the Book of Life he could not decipher. His heart would then beat faster, racing with a terrible dread and a terrible longing.

On one particular night he paused on the old stone bridge arching over the river that ran blackly through his town. The rain had lessened, the wind was a mere murmur and the clouds momentarily had parted, all allowing him to gaze without distraction upon the amber moon's shimmering face in the silent water below. He seemed mesmerized by the reflection like a man on the brink of an undreamed revelation. His gaze was so intent he did not heed the soft sound of rapidly approaching footfalls. He was fully unaware of the newcomer until a massive bulk moved close beside him: the bulk of a man so grotesque, so absurdly large Martin could imagine him groaning with the least physical demand put upon that enormous frame. Yet the impression Martin received wasn't one of weakness or impotence but rather a sinister, even a hideous, strength. His face (which Martin felt must be unpleasant) was lost in the shadow of a ridiculous top hat of antique style. Martin, startled from his reverie, gave no word or gesture of greeting to the stranger but simply watched in tense silence as the man's huge form leaned laboriously forward on the stone parapet, peering into the alluring blackness below.

"A fine night for bad weather," the man said with barbarous pronunciation; a barely concealed amusement in his tone. "A memorable night, sir, wouldn't you say? Oh, surely you must agree..."

He laughed softly, deeply, almost a croaking sound, and his ponderous body seemed to tremble with a secret delight.

Martin could only respond with cautious, perhaps incoherent, words.

After some moments the stranger seemed to slowly regain his composure. His bloated bulk had stopped its obscene shivering and his gaze had turned directly to appraise the younger man; and when at last he spoke his voice seemed deeper, black as the flowing waters beneath.

"Well, you are there...and I am here...and all is Proper and Lawful...so, I must ask you, sir...must ask...what happens next?"


All Hallows

Worms of Autumn,
burnt orange moon,
Dark Winter's threshold.

On this night of nights
old faces may return
unaltered, unmade
by Time
or the corruption
of failing memory.

On this night of nights
all things may be possible
and thoughts may rise,
gliding, whispering like leaves
things made brittle by time;

or like stealthy bats
flitting, twining noiselessly
over moon-gilded waters
where spectral winds ripple
the dark lakes
of drowned memory

On this night of nights
the dead will return
and we the living
will welcome them--

we, the living, who stand
on their threshold.
6 Thanks From:
DarkView (10-14-2017), jonpi (10-14-2017), Kevin (4 Weeks Ago), miguel1984 (10-14-2017), Mr. Veech (10-15-2017), Zaharoff (10-15-2017)
 

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