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View Full Version : I Loathe the World Today (sequel to "She Flew Away")



Pietro
May 25th, 2014, 12:01 AM
Sequel to:
1) My Dearest Adriane
2) Behind The Eye
3) As Above so Below
4) She Flew Away




“The British Pound proved resilient so far to the international marine curfew. However, as the pirate uprising has currently blocked all trans-Atlantic cargo shipment, and the NATO efforts to chase down the increasing number of sail-ships have been vain, we fear the worst for our financial stability.”

The man behind the bar, released from a trance, turns his eyes away from the television screen and sees Richard putting forward his empty glass. He picks an unlabeled bottle of whisky and pours him another dram. Not so customer friendly, Richard thinks. The man serving him seems to be in his fifties, but quite healthy physically. However, everything about him smelled of melancholia: his grey hair undone, with distant light blue eyes that avoid eye contact, and a white shirt unevenly buttoned. He looks like a man chasing after a death he cannot find.

“Quite curious; eh?” Richard says.

“What sir?” the man behind the bar answers with a rugged Scottish accent, “That pirate business?” He then sarcastically adds “Scotland’s a land the sea could never take. You’re safe here”.

“Name’s Richard. What’s yours?”

“I’m Peter” the man replies while shining his glassware.

“On the contrary Peter, I don’t find that pirate business scary at all; I find it curious. They don’t seem so keen on stealing or slaying anyone as much as they are on scaring the hell out of cargo freighters.”

Peter displays a disconnected grin. “Something’s really messed up when American aircraft fails in chasing Somali boats that look like sailing out of the XVIIIth century!”

“That” Richard answers with certitude “is the work of an old authentic pirate!”

Peter, turning his back to Richard and placing glasses on a cupboard, hides a surprised look. He turns around with a perfectly worn smile and goes back to sarcasm. “It seems like you’re CIA, my friend. You know things we commoners don’t.”

Richard lets out a lousy laugh. “No I’m just at the edge of sobriety my friend.” He hits his empty glass against the bar. “Push me off.”

While Peter is refilling the glass, Richard asks: “is this your own blend?”

“Blend? You clearly do not know your scotch brother. This is a single malt! My own! My distillery is right behind the barn.”

Richard smiles, leans forward and utters with a low voice “well whatever it is, it sure has stardust in it.”

Peter skips a beat. He looks into Richard’s drunken eyes and wonders whether he is to be taken seriously. “Glad to serve you sir!”

Richard looks around. The sunlight that has survived the thick fog of Laggan dies on the thicker layer of dust of the dim diner’s window. Two lanterns mildly illuminate wooden walls, a few tables with unmatched chairs, the bar, cupboards, shelves and bottles of whisky. There is absolutely no ornament on the walls and tables and a door next to the bar should lead to a kitchen. The air smells of oak, fried fish and peat. The television monitor breaks the solemnity of this old Scottish room.

“You own this place too, Peter?” Richard asks.

Peter nods.

“Then I must say” Richard adds “you've ruined it with that TV.”

Peter smiles and answers “I have only recently bought that thing to follow the pirate uprising. You say you find it quite interesting, yourself, Richard… that pirate business.” He looks at his client with scrutinizing and curious eyes.

Richard finishes his glass of whisky. “I loathe the world today, and I love anything that might stir it.”

Words out of my mouth, Peter thinks, maybe I should drop some defenses. He raises the glass he has just poured for himself and says “Sláinte! This world is in desperate need of magic.”

Richard’s eyes glitter; he smiles at Peter and speaks “what if…” then pausing for five seconds, with his smile growing bigger he finally lets go. “Ah what the hell! I’m drunk anyway. Do you know some pirate history Peter?”

“Yes I believe I am quite acquainted.”

“What if I tell you that the man behind this Somali fleet is none else but Samuel Bellamy, captain of the Whydah that sank near the coast of Massachusetts in 1717?”

I knew it! Peter could not hide his surprise this time, but he decides to withhold his side of the bargain until Richard has nothing more to give for free. “I would say you’ve had more to drink than my whisky, my friend.” He takes the bottle and refills his client’s half-full glass.

“And what if I tell you” Richard adds “that all the turmoil he caused during the XVIIIth century, and that he's causing now is for a mermaid?”

Atargatis! Her name has already echoed in Peter’s diner as many times as Samuel has sat on Richard’s seat. Captain Bellamy visits Laggan frequently, as he keeps his fortune in an underwater cave by the shore, and he never leaves without a pack of whisky bottles from Peter’s distillery. Peter knows everything about that immortal pirate and his quest to bring the mermaids back to the surface so he can be rejoined with his beloved Atargatis. That is because Peter has his way of setting tongues loose with his stardust whisky; but how on earth might an American tourist be aware of this truth? With troubled fascination, Peter diverts the conversation “What brings you here, Richard?”

“A fairy.”

One word was sufficient to push Peter into the maelstrom of confusion, enthrallment, nostalgia, hope and hesitance he saw coming a few minutes ago in this unexpected conversation. He sits on his chair right in front of Richard, leans on the bar and looks at his strange customer with the eyes of a frightened child waiting to hear a promise. “What do you mean?”

Richard, too drunk to notice that Peter has totally dropped any Scottish accent, continues smiling silently for a few seconds. I'm drunk; I'm not held accounted for what I say. Richard has not spoken of his visions since he last saw Diana before he left Kentucky, and it is already starting to ache him.

“What do you mean a fairy brought you here, Richard?” Peter still has the same look in his eyes, and a begging voice.

“I am crazy, Peter.” Richard takes a more serious tone. “I used to think I am. I used to see things I am not supposed to see, and I thought I was crazy just like my father and grandfather were.” He takes a long sip of whisky “Samuel is not stopping before he takes over all the oceans, and he can. Trust me nothing can kill that man, and he’s got all the skills he needs. All he had been waiting for was an oppressed people with a cause and nothing to lose, ready to sail and fight.” He finishes his glass, and then refills both his glass and Peter’s himself. “What? You think I’m flying high above the rainbow now?”

Peter, still out of breath and paralyzed, picks his words precautiously. “You may fly wherever you want brother. Go on please… what brought you here? What’s with the fairy?”

“It took two women to make me certain I’m not delusional."

“Who were they?”

"There was Diana and there was Adriane."

Before the tear could escape his eye, Peter turns his back to Richard, but numbness creeps out of the floor into each of his articulations and he crumbles down. Richard, surprised by the sight, jumps to the other side of the bar and helps Peter back up. "What happened?"

Peter, now facing Richard, with his eyes soaked in tears, takes two deep breaths to gather what sanity he's got left and answers "My wife has died not so long ago, her name was Adriane. Maybe I am not ready to hear it yet when I drink. I apologize."

Richard lays his hand on Peter's shoulder. "Sorry for your loss. I don't know what to say." He moves back to the customer's side of the bar.

Meanwhile, Peter, slowly recovering from the shock, sits back on his chair and adds more whisky to the glasses. "Tell me more about these two women."

"You still don't think I'm cuckoo?"

"Does it matter? I am enjoying your story anyway."

Richard raises his glass. "Cheers. Diana used to listen and enjoy too, though at first she thought I was delusional. Diana was my psychiatrist when I thought I needed one; now she's my woman."

"What made her believe you?"

"What made both her and I believe me, was Adriane."

Peter, now ready for the hit, smiles, takes a deep breath and asks "how is she, Adriane?"

"She's one hell of a marriage between beauty and magic." Richard looks at the teary eyes of his host and wonders if he should stop, but then the persistent smile on his face begs him not to. "Adriane is a fairy who came to me and made me believe everything I see. We've only talked for two minutes on a rainy Kentucky night, but she changed my life."

"How?" Peter speaks while thinking: she will never give up!

"She begged me never to give up. And she gave me more than a vision, something for the world to see, something I have shown to Diana. She gave me a unicorn!"

Peter's eyes are now piercing through Richard's mouth, watching every movement of his lips as he articulates one more word: "Fastghost." Peter explodes in tears and laughter, as he crosses the line between sorrow and ecstasy.

Richard looks at him with bewilderment and laughs as well. "She reminds you of your wife?"

"Yes. Yes she does. She was happy?"

"Radiant."

Peter wipes his tears. "How is the unicorn?"

"He's my best friend." Richard looks curiously and wonders why Peter might be taking his stories so casually.

"And she told you to come here?"

"No. But since I regained faith in my visions, I decided to pursue them. My oldest one is a blind shepherd boy who could see me, and who asked me to come back home. And since I am a third generation American originally from Laggan, I thought this is where I should start."

"Oh you're from around here? What's your family name?"

"Caorach" Richard answers.

Peter has a surprised look on his face. A breeder! He thinks, leans forward and asks "and how are you going to find your little shepherd, Richard Caorach?"

"I don't know."

"I do. Come, you must leave now! I assume you can ride a horse." Peter says as he rushes out of the diner.

"Wait!" Richard shouts while running after him "I haven't paid..."

Peter's voice coming from outside interrupts him "On the house."

As he steps outside, Richard sees Peter exiting the barn with a white horse. After Peter whispers some words in its ears, the horse approaches Richard and leans, inviting him to mount the saddle. Richard hesitates for a moment, but then feels too tempted. He rides on the horse and looks at Peter. "Who are you?"

Peter smiles. All of his features have radically changed compared to the man Richard first saw behind the bar. In front of him stands a proud and radiant mid-aged man with gracious grey hair and radiant blue eyes. The man answers him "Never give up, Richard" and the horse runs.

Peter looks at Richard riding the horse into twilight through the heavy fog of Laggan, pulling behind him decades of sorrow out of his body. What are you planning, my love? He thinks. Where are you?

He hears a crystal voice behind him: "I am right here, Oberon."






Pietro Kheir
25 05 14

Ephemeral_One
May 25th, 2014, 07:53 PM
"As I had been told, I felt the abyss stare back. Yet, I saw neither eternal agony nor something I should fear. So, I leapt into the darkness with my arms flung wide. If this madness could consume me, I'd find my own paradise."

Sorry, that's just simply the tone I received from this. The interplay between both men is energetic and cautious. I very much approve of this. As far as my weak grammatical skills leave me, I saw nothing of note that stuck out. Overall, it's a pleasant piece that leaves a tension in the back of your neck. Good work.

Pietro
May 25th, 2014, 08:28 PM
Glad you enjoyed Ephemeral.

starchild
May 26th, 2014, 05:26 PM
This is very beautiful and well detailed.

Pietro
May 26th, 2014, 05:50 PM
Thank you :)