Saturday, 22 June 2013

Cross your heart (hope to die)

Prologue


The language, you see, isn't important. It's the sentiment. Or scent-he-meant, as my maker liked to quip.

It never ceased to amuse him, God bless his tortured soul, whichever dimension it was dispatched to.

Those gurgling screams and greedy, gobbling flames of damnation that silenced them.

How the blaze crackled and spat in fury, claiming back that 'gift' which an abomination of Nature has bestowed upon our kind.  For we chosen few, that Trojan Horse has rendered Heaven and Hell places that shall remain as much folklore unto us as we are to you.

My maker's twisting, clawing silhouette is burnt onto my retina, the roar of the inferno that consumed his immortal soul shall haunt me until the day I… for a very long time.

Was it I who'd built the pyre around his shallow grave in some trance-like pre-dusk hypnosis? I sincerely do not recall. Moreover, it matters not; the deed is did, the demon dead.

But enough of the then and the gruesome echoes from the gateway to the underworld that still resonate around what remains of my mind.

It's this moment we live – or die – for. Just remember that, won't you, the next time you 'wished you were dead…'?

Paris


The city of lovers. No wonder Lestat is so enamoured with its finery and gay abandon.

From atop its Tower (and I mean its very pinnacle, not the crow's nest of a gallery that limits public ascent), even we who can pierce the clouds appreciate the awe that must humble you humans as Paris rolls out at points of the compass, neatly segregating this sprawling metropolis.

The Seine idles by, its lighted ferries twinkling, transporting tourists around The Isle, beneath its bridges and past imposing landmarks that hold their breath, scared that the countless tales of wickedness from centuries past will flood the riverbanks should they begin to flow.

The ferry passes by, the buildings sigh and France's secrets are safe for a short while longer. For that, we remain thankful.

But make no mistake, guilt hath no part to play in our existence, not now.

Our purpose is to release those citizens from the shackles of pain who are too weak to face life's tribulations, the heartache it serves up in a never-ending banquet of love's labours lost and who crave for their corporeal existence to be truncated swiftly and mercifully.

We are their angels and archangels. We fly unto them upon the ravenous wings of night itself.

One look into our eyes and the weak, the lovelorn and the destitute know that their prayer has been answered, whether their plea was issued with sincerity or not.

skull on fire
For to countenance our being, see us for what we are, for whom we really are, bears sentence more cruel than any revolutionary guillotine.

In that fleeting second of recognition, you are bound, tried and judged.

Before the opportunity to renounce your mortal sins presents itself, your final prayer has been answered.

That gift of life which Mother Nature crafted into your heart, mind and soul is prematurely released back into Her keep, though she thanks us not.

No, that's just one more reason She hates us for who and what we are and 'tis the reason we are sentenced to the night.

But there are far worse reasons why we shall never be kissed by either the sun's life-giving rays or Her blessing.

For at the moment we stared death in the face, we neither crumbled nor complied, but challenged the Hell behind those eyes.

Yes, we once suffered the cruel rejection of love, as have those pitiful souls whose angels of mercy we become; yet we survived the kiss of the vampire.

Our hatred of love itself for the pain it made us unwillingly feel and the desire for revenge against the humans who could be so cruel as to inflict it deflected death, bent it to our will and serves to keep us in this neither land.

Ours is a place between worlds, through which only few beings in all of God's Kingdom have right of passage.

Ours is a haven where Mother Nature cannot touch us; a land where the sun's rays are not welcome, for only death prospers here; a realm that mortals know exists but, for the sake of their sanity, prefer not to acknowledge.

If you stick around, I'll take you on a journey into Slippage.  But be warned, I cannot guarantee that you will return here with either your mind, your body or your soul intact.

Powers, thoughts and temperaments exist within our world that would have the most evil of humans cowering for their mother in puddles of their own excretion.

All manner of creatures try to escape its boundaries into the many worlds beyond; only a few have the intellect to do so without getting obliterated.  Trust me when I say it's a good thing for the human race that this remains so.

So are you up for it, this journey?  Really?  Only your fullest commitment can possibly save you, should you accept my hand.  It is from Slippage that you think your senses pick up on:

  • That ghost of a shadow you see at the very edge of your peripheral vision

  • That glare you feel burning into your back, cast by an empty room

  • That impossible creak-creak-creak edging up the stairwell at twilight

  • That floating gossamer strand tickling across your cheek at sunset

  • That tapping branch on the window pane on a still, silent summer's eve

And none of it was me, Precious, I cross your heart and hope to die…

…but let me just leave you with this extract while you make up your mind, which personifies our motivation more closely than you know. A UK number one, no less, from thirty years ago. A prophecy realised?

Until next time then, Precious, when I return to see if you have found your reservoir of resolve.  Don't take too long; I may be back sooner than you think…
"What I want to say - but my words just fail

Is that I need it so I can't help myself
Like a hungry child, I just help myself
And when I'm all full up I go out to play

But I don't mean to bleed you dry
Or take you over for the rest of your life
It's just that I need something solid in mine

Lonely as the moors on a winter's morning
Quiet as the sea on a good calm night
In your tranquil shadow I try and follow

I hear your distant shoe clicks to the midnight beat
I feel trapped in sorrow in this imagery
But that's how I am and why I need you so"

© words/music Paul Weller. Precious, The Jam, The Gift, 1982.

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