Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Valentine (a week late)

So monkey 0 has tempted me out of semi-retirement with another scratch fiction topic. "Love" is just way too broad, so I'll consider the tag to be "St. Valentine."

Her eyes were wet with love, ankle-deep in tears, staring at her beloved, mouthing the words with him, her hands in his, while he swallowed against his drying mouth, wavering on his knees, holding onto her like she was all that kept him stuck to earth.

Valentine stood over them, pronounced them married, watched the boy close his eyes, his new wife bend her face to their hands, their fingers, woven together, washed in her tears. He'd seen this thing, this strange ecstacy in a hundred different couples, he knew it now before they had to speak, clinging to the shadow of his doorway in the night, the emporer's men ready to turn in anyone suspected; they were single men, the rest of the world should suffer with them.

The emporer may have been right; single men didn't show the weakness he saw in those kneeling before him, the vulnerability, let anything happen to the woman at his side and this man would be laid open, at the mercy of any wandering dog. But Valentine wondered at another kind of strength, the kind that demanded this defiance of Claudius and his enforcers, it matched his own love of God almost, but different, as if God answered back when His name was called, God calling His children with the same heat, the same longing as they call to Him.

So. That was it, then, what these people had, their heat leaping up under Valentine's cold hand. They saw God in each other.

It was almost no loss, then, to Valentine, his life never belonged to him, never belonged to earth anyway. When God called him - roughly, called him in the form of Claudius' brutes - he answered, calmly. Calmly he laid his hand against the stone of his cell, cold answering the cold of his hand. He was almost home, he wouldn't miss the world, much. The sharpening of the axe on stone, singing metal, was just the crowing of the cock, waking him from the dream of life.

The girl, then, wandering into his cell, hair matted, eyes milked over, head at a strange angle, stumbling in, just another lost soul, another girl looking for a hand to guide her, a Hand, and Valentine saw the last gift he could offer, to bring this child to God, he could take her hand and teach her prayer.

Valentine reached for the girl's hand, and something shifted in the air of the cell. He touched her, a voice coming from deep inside her, from inside the earth itself, the white slid off her eyes and they rolled in her head, terrified, her mouth open and Valentine felt her voice reach into him, vibrating through his bones, he saw through her eyes, a mad jumble of colors and shapes, and pulled her close, he could feel chaos moving through her, tearing into him, he held her closer, closing all the sounds and rushing lights down to one thing: his heart, beating in his chest.

Valentine knew, in those moments he held her against him, her limbs winding through his, his hands hot on her back, breath fierce and alive for the first time, he knew that tomorrow, when the axe came cold and bright into his neck, this is what he would remember.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Billy takes a break

As you may or may not have noticed, I've been posting pretty lightly recently. I just realized it's been almost a year since I started this whole bloggy thing. I've loved it, and I love it still - something I owe entirely to the kind and attractive readers who come here on a regular basis.

All that said, I need a wee break. Life in the meat-based world is making claims on my attention, and I just don't seem to have the juice to keep up a regular posting schedule. Don't worry, I'm not abandoning this blog entirely; I plan to post on a much lighter schedule for the next month or so, after which I hope to be back and more Chemical than ever.