‘Thus woe succeeds a woe, as wave a wave’

[Sigur Ros Í gær . Play while reading.]

And there passed lithe and terrible men, among them sauntered long and verdant women, all strong as rooted trees.  They trod lightly following paths unseen and unspoken but along an understood bearing.  None spoke between them but communicated by slight gestures a passing bird might have confused for the rearrangement of gear, tools passing from hand to hand, or a head turned ever so slightly towards a minor breeze among the prevailing wind.  Their feet were not remembered by the warm earth, as heels hard and smooth as river stones passed over root and brush.  For a time they ambled through a dense wood, giving way to a grove of sentinel sycamores that carried a scented breeze over acidic soil, sending nostrils aflame and a twitching of ears towards their collective left.  A shudder passed between them and a cruelty rang about their tongues.

Desperations linger, curling as flames saw and gutter on aggressive winds, turning through the gut to lie heavy as a stone in an empty field.  Bowels churn, eyes pulse in sleepless blood-rimmed sockets, muscles flicker in atrophy as though attempting to escape from the skin, the thin barrier between blood and sun.

Huddled in a small canopied clearing was a haggard old man clenching in paper fists a wooden flute accompanied by a small boy a few years yet from the onset of a manhood his watcher longed to see.  Flitting through the malign defense of tree cover, the sinew lengthened in succession amongst the hideous crew, fanning slowly, deliberately, to fill the voids between the trees, leaving the dull glint of iron as the only light to escape from the wood beyond the clearing.  The flute’s nearly inaudible melody fell off with a muted moan and the boy looked up slowly from his scribbles in the dirt.  The watcher and the boy exchanged a slow crawling glance while collecting their meager possessions towards their feet.  Before the boy had risen beyond a crouch, the first of them stepped with a frightening grace out of the gloom, followed at random by the rest, equally disastrous in their precision and deft economy of movement and sound, as if granted them in cherubic desperation.

The chill breath, the long poised legs of a malignant woman, curries favor with the steaming demented man of imprecise age while others ferment mouth-watering atrocities, entirely unaware of the concept of pity or remorse.  Frenzy comes creeping across shoulder blades, not quite here, salivating in anticipation.

Furtive hands disappear into the folds of cloth, to re-emerge slowly revealing the grim and supple flesh beneath, while containing no discernible terror.  Their otherwise faint and steady breathing has grown to a weak rasping as if restraining a snarl, wicked and glorious and waiting.  The hapless travelers could only manage shallow and harried gulps of air while an abhorrent ballet began to unfold about them.  Gasps and minor tensing of muscles were the limits of their abilities; doleful eyes bearing witness to a divine savagery wrought by the craftsmen of slaughter long past.  The first blood to season the earth came in a lurid crimson spray that erupted in a perfectly symmetrical array from the throat of the lean and pestilential man nearest the center of that murderous ring.  Pale pupils traced the vector of his wound along the lacerated jugular towards a woman whose figure betrayed nothing; standing svelte as the vicious canines of a jungle cat.  Yet before the blood-letting was to run loose and destructive as a flood tears the ground bare, a long silver blade gently emerged from the lower belly of the lacerated man, gleaming and slick, it slowly split his navel in two as it licked up his chest to disappear quietly again below his breastbone.  He stood planted, disembowelled, viscera steaming putrid in the cold even light, head lolling softly, sweetly, while his breath fled from him, macabre and immaculate as his grinning brethren.

We release the profane tincture, letting it explode in deep red blossoms on the ground, our corporeal sparks that light the conflagration.  It engulfs our searing muscles, a beatifying flame fed by flayed flesh.  Mindlessness is paramount, agile aggression lends a steady hand; a preternatural comprehension of death dances with an earthly cunning to an orchestra of bones performing the guillotine waltz.  And so we cavort under a chandelier of blood.

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