Tuesday, February 7, 2012

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand

 As I sat in my hospital bed, I thought about what the Mother of Snakes had told me. It had been the truth. All of it.

My father had been a bagman for the mob. He didn't kill people, but he cleaned up after those who did. He buried the bodies. And one night, when my mother was away, he couldn't leave me alone in the house, so he took me with him. And he told me not to look, but I did.

The FBI is outside the room now. I told them I would make a deal with them. Tell them everything I know. All they had to do was provide me with a laptop and internet connection and I would make a full confessions and give up all my contacts.

I'm not. I'm mean, I won't squelch on a deal, but I'll be dead before they ask me anything.

You see, there's a mirror in this room, too. And I don't think the Mother of Snakes liked me shooting her. But I had to.

No women, no children, no good people. That was my rule. Just kill bad people, just for money. Because I knew if I killed for myself, I would like it too much. I didn't want to be like my dad.

Especially after I took so much time to kill him.

I can see Stheno now. She looking at me through the mirror. I can see her fangs. She looks slightly less beautiful with them out.

I'm going to die. But I'm okay with that. I haven't killed anybody that didn't deserve it. And I have some good memories to rely on. I can remember my mother, the sad look on her face disappearing as she read to me.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Empty your heart of its mortal dream

 I sat on my bed, unable to dream, unable to think about anything except Stheno. I had gone to DeSelby's to die, but instead I had been given a message. Go see her. Whoever or whatever she was. In the space between mirrors.

There was a slight problem with that: I had no idea how to get to the "space between mirrors." Stheno obviously could, but me? No clue. What was I supposed to do?

It was then that I had an idea. It was probably a stupid idea, but it was better than trying to sleep again and dream about dead friends.

I went to the store and bought two full length mirrors, then brought them back to my motel. I set them up next to one another, each one mirroring the other, creating an infinite loop. Snakes represented infinity, right? Well, that's what I had read.

I stepped in between the two mirrors and waited for something to happen. Nothing did. I felt supremely stupid. I looked at the multitude of mes in the mirror and suddenly I saw that one of them was moving, yet I was standing still. The other me leaned forward and waved. I waved back, echoing him. He motioned for me to start walking.

I stepped outside the mirrors, but as I did, I realized that I wasn't in my motel anymore. I was in a gray room. There were still the two mirrors, but they were in the center of a room I had never seen before. A room I was now in.

There was a door to the side, so I walked over and opened it. The sun was so bright and blinding outside that I closed the door as quick as I could. Before I did, I saw a vast desert.

"Did you see?" a voice asked. I looked around, but couldn't find where it came from. "Did you see my desert? I have carefully cultivated it, made it ready, made it suitable for my purposes. You don't like deserts, do you, Boyd Walker?"

"Who are you?" I asked.

"You're father took you to a desert once," the voice said. It sounded feminine, that was all I knew. "He told you to stay in the truck and not look as he buried a body, but you did. You looked. Like Lot's wife, you looked back and saw something terrible."

I could see a shadow now, a shadow where the voice was coming from. It looked like a snake, but then it didn't, it looked like a woman. "What do you fear, Boyd Walker?" it asked.

I slipped my hand in my pocket and gripped my gun. "Not much," I said.

"No, not much," the voice said. "But what you fear is what you deny. You kill people, do you not?"

"Bad people," I said. "No woman, no children."

"And that makes it good?" the voice said. "That makes it right? Just because you do not heed your darker impulses?"

"What?" I said. "What are you talking about?"

"Why you kill," the voice said. "Why you fight. You are afraid of what you would become. You are afraid of being cold blooded, Boyd Walker. But you are. You cannot deny yourself. You are one of my children."

The shadow finally came into the light and it looked like a woman, but her skin was covered in scales, beautiful shining scales. "And I am the Mother of Snakes," she said.

I took out my gun and shot as many times as I could. Blood burst from her chest and I ran, I ran back to the mirrors and as I looked in them, they shattered around me, they cut my clothes and my skin, but I closed my eyes and ran and when I opened them I was back in my motel.

I was covered in cuts and was bleeding profusely. The wound in my shoulder had reopened, too. I needed to get to a hospital.

I dropped my gun on the floor and left my room.

A man awaits his end dreading and hoping all

I don't really know where to start next. After the incident with Madam Morrigan, I changed motels, but I never really felt safe. I would stand in front of the covered mirror and dare myself to just uncover it, to look at my sorry reflection, to just get it over with. But then I would remember what happened to poor Frankie and I would go back and lie down and try not to dream about him.

It didn't work. I had dreams all that week with him and other people from my life. They all had the same holes in their head with snakes slithering through. I would always wake up covered in sweat, then walk to the bathroom to wash my face and avoid looking in the mirror.

By the time a week had passed, I was at the end of my rope. Was I going to hide for the rest of my life? No. No, definitely not. But if I was going to die, I was going to die my way. I loaded my gun and then drove to DeSelby's.

The bar was nearly empty, but that was pretty much normal for a weekday. Except I could see the bartender sleeping. And there was Caleb, too, at his normal table, fast asleep. Every single patron in the bar was asleep.

I looked in the mirror behind the bar and saw her. She looked so beautiful, her hair as red as the setting sun. "Hello, Boyd Walker," she said from behind me and I turned and there was she, outside the mirror, in real life. "Ask your questions."

I looked at her. She wasn't biting me. At least that was good. "Why is everybody asleep?" I asked.

"They were tired," the woman said. "We needed to speak alone. I could have killed them all if you wish. Do you?"

"No," I said quickly. "Who are you?"

"My previous name is unimportant," she said. "The name She gave me was Stheno."

"The eldest of the Gorgons," I said. "I've done some reading."

Stheno smiled. "Yes, I was the first to be called by Her. I was scared. I did the things you have done. I hid. I ran. But eventually, She found me and She made me see. She made me see that what I was was not something to run from. Not something to fear."

"What you were?"

"I was the same thing you are." Stheno leaned forward and whispered into my ear. "Cold blooded." I backed away. "And now I serve Her. You will, too, when you see Her."

"Or what?" I asked. "Or she'll kill me? Turn me to stone?"

Stheno laughed and even her laugh sounded beautiful. "She'll meet you in the space between mirrors, Boyd Walker. She has been waiting for you. She is ready. Go to Her."

I turned and ran out the door.