Monday, October 13, 2014

Fiction: Where the Minotaur (A Babylonian Medley Story)

Out of the books must you be judged, and out of the books have they been judging you. Have they judged you?

They have.

Out of books that are a pale, forged book of life. You remember the hearing of your crimes, even if the memory of them is sometimes faded in this place. You remember, and you remember knowing you were not a monster.

Or were you? Did you do the things they said? Was it even wrong to do so?

You were a revolution once. A revolutionary, and a revolution. You and she and he together, and you made a movement and that was criminal. But the things you did, that you can scarcely remember... That you cannot remember. How far did you go? How firmly-planted had you made your feet, and would any man have tried you for your deeds?

You received a guided tour by an angel, who may be your father, who may be a Man Aside. Aside from all these things. Aside from you, and yet here you are, alone in Hell. The Island. The place they call Letois.

You are being judged from out of the books.

"Are you worthy?" they ask. And you... cannot say. You do not know. This place has taken such things away from you. An ancient prison, where you can feel the agony of ages past. Bleeding through from behind the walls, where the fungus grows. The only thing that holds at bay starvation. They feed you so little. They know of the fungus too.

But it triggers such horrendous hallucinations.

Hell. Gehenna.

They are taking you out of your cell. Dragging you out. You are screaming, someone is screaming, everyone is just noise, and they are peeling the skin from your bones as you say things. You cannot remember what you are saying.

You remember your father's photography. Photos taped to the walls, all over the walls. The walls. Sometimes you think you hear rats or skittering insects. Sometimes you think you feel them under your skin. Great big black rats, nesting in your heart and between your bones.

Is that the sound of wolves you hear, or is that the sound of men?

Horrendous for their reminders, not for their grotesquerie.

And so you make a sacrament of fungus, and there is this horrid, purifying (putrefying) sacramental vision. Fungus and filthy water, sticking to your throat, running down it like tar and oil.

Are you Prometheus? Are you Oroboros? You find scarabs now and then. You eat them. There is something holy and sacred in them and you wonder. Does your waste feed them, do you feed them, as they are feeding you?

Sometimes you find cockroaches. You eat them.

You are being judged from out of the books.

"Are you worthy?" they ask. And you... cannot say. You do not know.

There is steam and ash in every breath you take. It hurts to live, and you live to be hurt. Is that the sound of wolves you hear? For you see men, or things man-shaped, but they are wearing masks and cloaks and never speak.

Are you descending the prison steps or lowering into the underworld? The rags about you being torn from off your body as you go down. Step by step in seven steps, and they throw you in your cell naked, bleeding, and alone.

"John," you hear your father say. You ignore it. Your father is dead. And you are naked, bleeding, and alone.

You remember your father. Broken skin, broken sin. Broken body, broken spirit. He was not your father any longer.

You wonder if Hell recognizes something of your father in you, if Hell thinks that you are he, returned at last. The minotaur and its labyrinth are one, and you are to be a sacrifice thereunto.

It is very hot. It is very cold. The day comes. The night comes. Time departs. And day and night come and come again with nary traces behind them, no footsteps in the sand (oh God, oh God, but silly fool, thou fool, thou art in Hell, and that is the place where God is not).

You are being judged from out of the books.

"Are you worthy?" they ask. And you... cannot say. You do not know.

Instead you scream, or you try to scream (your throat is raw; you hear it anyway, but do not know if what you hear is real).

"Beloved. I was..." you say. "Beloved."

One day you are released. They tell you it has been seven years. They tell you that you are free. It is a return after long wanderings, a wolf-bitten nomad in Hell.

Hell will swallow you up as it did once before. To your father, to yourself.

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