|He remembered. The rain on his grazed face stung, but the pain was welcome. He'd be safe here, for a while. Until they came back, and he would have to move on. Until he saw the faces in the wind, until the voices returned. Until they came back and he would have to move on. Until they came back he'd be safe. Huddled at the angel's feet he waited. He needed to sleep, to eat. He had done neither for longer than he remembered. He was no longer alive, but he could not truly die. Instead he remembered.|
|The room was crowded, old and evil-smelling, a parody of what it sought to emulate. He wondered at the others here who did not see it, turned their faces to their friends and did not see the dark around them. He did not want be here, knocked back his drink and stood. And saw her. Black dress, raven hair, pale skin. A witch or a vampire. And in her eyes the knowledge.|
|The angel watched sightless. All graveyards had guardians to protect the buried in their hells. Perhaps she would protect him in his. Turning his face from the angel, he knelt among the dead and laughed. If he had known then....For all his secrets, all his power, he had not truly known anything. Now he did, and still was damned.|
As he knew her, she knew him. They left together, to his house. Nothing was
said. Nothing needed saying. She thought he could be broken. He thought she
could be slain.|
Until she crossed to the light. Turned out the lights, but he could see her, his senses sharp and inhuman. A whisper of danger in his mind went unheeded. And she turned to him, and in her eyes the Darkness. He could not move. His secrets were nothing. "My name is Layl." And the world went black.
He screamed a word, a name and light flared. Whimpering his commands he directed that he had brought here to the witch. When the light dimmed to moonlight, the priestess-witch was dead. It was only then he remembered that power had a price.
His eyes open he could see, but as he watched the dark came closer. He could see the faces, the voices, the truth. He shut his eyes. He could still see. Dressing quickly he left the flat. Two streets away he stopped, safe.
Safe. His laughter took a bitter edge. He had sought knowledge. It would destroy
him. The fate of a hero, to be that he despised. The wind whispered something,
almost understood and he turned his head as if to hear, as if to deny what he
He saw the world becoming ethereal and tried to stand. He could not. Well enough. This time he would not run. He had run too long. He had sought knowledge. To wait, to become part of the otherness he saw, perhaps then he would understand...His sight showed him strangeness, a world he did not know of wraiths and shadows and demons, and they were everywhere. Everything. He ran from the graveyard.
The rain ran down the angel's face like tears, dripped from her sword like blood. All graveyards have their guardians, to drive the devils from the dead.
copyright A.Whetton 1997.