I can't remember, now; where it began, who he or I was when we first met. Not that it likely means anything...past, present, future; delusions of perception, as I have learned, like distance, like absence. By any normal measure, he is far, far from me, now; further than any ocean, than any ship might span.
Yet, I feel him here, so close to me; as intimately as when we first lay together, when I first tasted his spit and blood.
He'd come, if I called; would burn whatever life he's accrued or constructed about himself...murder his lovers; his wives, his children, bring the towers and churches down around him. I've seen it; heard the music of it, a thousand times. Splintering glass and grinding stone, screams and flames and skies ripped open, spilling insanity...I've seen, fallen in love with him over and over and over, at the apocalypses he has made for me.
And yet, he always runs. Always. The most ancient game; one older than any that God or the Devil play, Heaven and Hell as ephemeral as anything else. We've seen those end, too; myriad celestial wars, the angels and demons clinging to one another in rapturous hatred, falling all around us; comets of blinding light, of pulsing darkness, mating, dissolving together to form wiser children.
I don't know where he learned it, why I consent to it. Perhaps because...there is nothing else; no more worlds to walk, no more pleasures or atrocities to taste, except those we make together. Maybe that's it...why it's so easy, for both of us, to break everything we dream, to shed love and self and go naked where there are no stars, where nothing has come to be.
This place...just another playground; one I watched cobbled together, from the first speck of grit to the last spire...everything; genesis and revelation, little more than a theatre for my distraction.
Beautiiful cities, once; states that very, very few of the humanities we have encountered aspire to. Most murder themselves or experience some extinction event before achieving such art, such Utopian splendour. Towers that spiral, like great sea-shells, seemingly formed from a similar substance, the nacreous lustre of their interior repeated on their outer surfaces, originally designed to capture the radiance of this world's stars and suns...diseased, now; fractured and seeping dust, the only light they snare fevered, pulsing scarlet; the hues of infected wounds, of sceptic lesions.
Spires that once defied any and all notion of architecture; inconstant, shifting edificies, their exteriors constantly rippling and rearranging, facades akin to a serpent's scales or a bird's feathered hide, every moment a new configuration, a new suite of patterns and colours...I saw the first of them raised, the people flocking to it, gathering around its base as though it were some form of idol, offering it their awe, their adoration.
How quickly it all became banal to them, as miracles always do, repeated often enough. At the end, few of them would have spared a passing glance for the structure or its siblings, except the rarest of them; those I found, those I inspired, in their turn. Rare souls. Playing games of their own, now; far, far beyond the world that birthed them. Maybe they will be like us; their absurd parents, trailing their idiot theatre across state and probability. Maybe they will be more; maybe they will find or make what we cannot.
This city...Deleria, they called it; a place after my own heart, where the people were once as various and changeable as the architecture. Stillness was sin, here; complacency a kind of ugliness, a discourtesy. No surgery required; they'd long since passed beyond the need for that, towards the end: a few moments having their molecules rearranged, and they could be anything they wanted to be: twin androgynes walking naked through the streets, sporting their skins of pearlescent scale, drawing admiring glances, the air thick with signs and symbols of ethereal appreciation, the wounded ones, the exsanguine, the flayed children, the anatomists; a particular trend, one that I followed from inception; of going open and wounded, slit down the middle and pinned back, sporting animated interiors, furnace, clockwork or insect-hive entrails, of being flayed raw, more naked even than the rest, displaying the intricacy of their most intimate anatomy to the world. A small following, but one fast gathering approbation, when the end came.
My scarlet children, my beautiful ones. I followed them, sometimes, walked in their shadows, feeling the beads of their moisture break across my face; followed them to the secret, abandoned places; the sections of Deleria they believed no others knew, that had been left over during one of the city's many, many metamorphoses...watched them scar and burn themselves, one another; watched them make love through pain, pierced and suspended from hooked chains, immersed in fire, knowing that they would never die, that their flesh, however broken, could not fail, enhanced and engineered as it was.
Even they couldn't sustain; not forever. Roseblade...he would have loved them, would have ingratiated himself; made himself Father or teacher or monster to them; something to love, to revere or despise. I wish he did; wish I could have seen...
How high do I have to stoke the fires, lover? How much more beauty do you want to see me grind to ash and shit?
Here! Nothing; a look, the shell-like spire with its shimmering, nacreous skin, already partially collapsed, crumbling, flaking away beneath my eyes. Here! A gesture, the ground trembling, parting, an entire district slipping into the paroxystic earth. Something screams, something flails; a rare child, a ragged, blackened survivor. No more; not unless they find some way to sustain in the darkness below. Even then...
What will it take? Do I have to crack this world in half? Do I have to scatter its dust and fragments across infinity..?
Ha. Nothing I haven't done before. For you.
Maybe...maybe this time, I'll come and find you. Would you like that? Would you like me to break the rules, change the game?
A tremor, coruscations running through the broken surface beneath my feet. It ripples, it screams, the light it once emitted stuttering and sickly as it collapses away, the rupture already vast, widening by the breath. I do not fall, suspended above it, watching as Deleria convulses, the city once so certain of its longevity, believing that beauty alone -not art, not technology-, would suspend it, even beyond the breaking of the world.
Perhaps, were it not for me.
Spires shattering against one another like tinted glass, structures of crystal facets and bubbling, organic curvatures, structures that appear two dimensional from one angle; almost disappearing, only to swell and deepen when viewed from another, all crashing down, the engines that sustain their distortions of reality failing. It won't be long before one of them causes critical damage, not only to Deleria, to this world, but the reality that hosts them both; tearing its essential seams, undoing the flimsy laws that bind it together.
I wish I could be here to see that, to watch it tear and flail; try to sustain itself, to watch suns swell red and dissolve into darkness, listen to worlds scream as they are eclipsed, consumed.
But he won't wait; that's not how we play the game, even now. All it takes is a gesture, a whispered word; one I haven't spoken in a hundred lifetimes; one that makes my mouth bleed, my organs rupture, my bones splinter.
Happily ever after. The end of the fairy tale.
Deleria dies...just another dream undone by unwanted waking, another potential played out. I ride its fires, into the storm, wreathed in them, this flesh withering around me, the pain of it...nothing, compared to the fires I have known, that we have shared. Sludge on the bone, bone itself charring, becoming ashes...Do you see, Roseblade? What I do for you, how eagerly I wish to please? I know you can hear me, even through the storm, the vacuous dark beyond...I know you love this, seeing me disgraced, undone.
Sing to me, sweetheart, even if you don't remember when you wake, sing to me in your nightmares, and I'll find you...I swear it...
George Lea, 02/05/2016