It had been a startling evening. The audience applauded enthusiastically as the curtain drew back a second time to reveal the mysterious and ethereal performers. They radiated warmth and merriment, and such was the beauty and strangeness of the show, that no-one was shocked when the little boy removed his own head.
In Marjorie’s deep sleep dream, he talked so eloquently and with such vigour and skill, that no-one in the party thought to ask Mr.Pertwhistle quite why he’d turned into a bird.
The more entertaining he became, the brighter he glowed…
The king and his concubine bodyguard had finally grown tired of travelling between worlds. Their mute son was now old enough to ascend the throne of the old moon world.
The regal processions were in order, the ambassadors of all nations awaited.
The Navigator had been summoned.
The king, he went away.
In evening light he died –
And all around the ancient walls, the mourning wind did sigh
And so – our hopes and fears, and all our bitter tears,
Are met tonight in stone, with fruit and wine on blood and bone
This Shadow Age will surely pass, into the golden light at last
Until that day, we all shall wait, with faith and prayer
And burning hate
After fourteen years of slapstick and nonsense – self abuse for the entertainment of the noblemen at court – the jester wishes for peace. The constant backdrop of barely suppressed devilry, violence and Paganism – the lust of priests, the brutality of chivalry, and the holy coldness of virgin princesses – it’s all too much for him now. The Mummers shriek and prance before the jostling peasant crowds, whilst Jester Jakob Hollyback shrinks away across Merrie England, dreaming of Disney, McDonalds and Pepsi…
Up through his thin red fingers seeped the essence of the Human mind. He felt his own body filling with a painful wave of confusion and fleeting joy, and felt infinite pity for the beautiful creature in his hands. It was safer for all that they were now gone, but his warm heart still ached for the loss.
He replaced the fragment in his collection.
A gargantuan god-figure, clothed in armour fashioned from the mirror of the world, stands guard over the peoples of his land. Tribal elders carve the seasons and star-signs on his chest, and stand watch throughout the long night. Such is the belief of an isolated group deep in the jungle territory of the old world, those who were once visited, long ago, by a Tudor knight who had become Missionary and Mystic over his lifetimes voyage from the tiny isle of Albion.
Forty five centuries after the last and most devastating war, Mankind grew up somewhat differently on the re-shaped planet. Science, history, warfare, fashion, and literature had their regular seasons and cycles. Time passed, and layer upon layer of Ancient Man lay forgotten in the earth, slowly turning to rock and fuel and mineral and food.
Awake, alive, sewn together, fed by tubes; pumped full of drugs; no worries, no hang-ups, no sadness –
the raw amphetamines from their twisted ecstasy were siphoned off, and sold to the dismal public in capsule, powder or liquid form, providing instant – albeit fleeting – pleasure.
The temperature continued to fall. They had reached their goal without hope of rescue or return. Their futile heroism was known only to themselves, as the approaching blizzard would surely erase both them and the tiny, precious orchid that blossomed impossibly through the crack in the mile deep ice.