The Devil of Moravia : To burn eternal

The end is coming, but who will be cursed and who saved? Can Edmund survive this last trial intact or will he lose his soul? Read on. And to catch up with the story so far, see the instalments below.

Onetwothreefour, fivesix , seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelvethirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty one, twenty two, twenty three, twenty four, twenty five, twenty six, twenty seven, twenty eighttwenty ninethirty, thirty one, thirty two, thirty threethirty four and thirty five.


 

‘There is always a choice,’ I said, walking towards the shutters, towards the drawn curtain, ‘For those prepared to sacrifice all.’

I looked at Frances for the last time, at the hollow woman she now was, a wax likeness of her old, sweet self. ‘Farewell, love.’

I reached for the catch, lifted it free and flung wide the shutter.

Daggers of sunlight stabbed the room, piercing every corner, leaving no inch untouched. It cut into my back, my head, my arms, a burning blade scorcing the skin from my body, slice after slice down to the bone.

The world had turned to red through my sun scorched eyes, Slatina a man of flame, an effigy of fire and I knew this to be his true form. Frances staggered under the glare, Samuel slumped, leaning against the wall for support, the clean, pure light of the sun too good and honest for us to bear.

And the Devil looked to me, inside me, through me, the strongest of us. But still he shuddered in the sunlight, every muscle quivering with the agony of that honest light. If I was to act it had to be now.

‘You think to defeat me with the sun?’ he bellowed. He was shaking now, the whole of his will turned to standing against the blaze. ‘I have stood for millennia. I have watched empires rise and fall, followed in the wake of conquering armies, seen nation lay waste to nation and that slain nation rise again to fight their victors. The world is a speck beneath me and I am its master. I am of the Creation and shall remain when the Earth is burned in fire and crumbled to ash and I shall eat the crumbs of its existence.’ He clenched his fists, flung back his head, screaming, ‘I am eternal!’

With all the righteous anger within me, I pulled myself up straight, punching against the pain of the heat, of my disintegration. And it was as if the sun was peeling away my every falsehood, my pretence, my shows of lying courage, ripping me clean. And with every dishonest action and thought gone, hope went also and love and charity and shame and selfishness until there was only the core of me, the hard nugget of what I had become. There was nothing now but my own true self. And I faced that full on, recognising me for what I was, accepting it, welcoming its new creation.

I was monstrous. I was a devil.

Without another thought, I leapt, felt his neck beneath my hands, dug my nails into the sinews of his shoulders, tearing, ripping at him, watching his flesh fall away. He lashed out, tore at my back, flaying me as I stood. His neck arched and I glimpsed fangs – longer than  a wolf’s, sharper than pins, curved as a new moon –  and he pulled back his head, ready to strike.

But my own body changed in response, my jaw widening, my own teeth changing, growing, pricking my lips and I was ready. I pushed with my legs with all my might, flinging my whole weight at him. He staggered, toppled, fell and me with him.

And as we fell I called, ‘Samuel! Frances!’ hoping that they would hear me, hoping that their instincts would overwhelm their pain and fear, that the monsters in them would take hold.

With the force of our falling I thrust my chin towards Slatina, felt my fangs hit his neck. At first there was resistance, an unyielding solidity. Then we hit the floor and I felt him puncture beneath the force of me.

I fed.

It was like dying. Centuries of pain, of horror, of death flowing from him into me. And I felt what he had felt, saw what he had seen – the fires of the Beginning, the rise of worlds, of people’s and his part in their destruction. I felt his pleasure at each life he had taken, how each soul was snatched by his hand and dwelt within him still, the chorus of voices screaming in an agony at all they had lost, deafening, their hopelessness so great I had to force myself not to pull away.

He bucked and struggled like a rabbit trapped in a snare, his throes threatening to shake me off. But then I felt others beside me. Samuel and Frances, scrabbling at their former master, finding space to feed. And for a while the three of us were side by side, united in Slatina’s destruction.

How much time passed, I do not know. But for a moment the four of us were one. One monster, four minds, weaving together, our histories shared, our lives overlapping.

As I sank into them I felt our horror, our destructive nature. But something more. I felt our solitude. The knowledge that even as we joined we were alone and always would be, never to know the comforts of home and hearth and family more.

The pain of it overwhelmed me and I succumbed …

***

‘Wake, sir. You must wake.’

I opened my eyes to see Peg Fair’s kindly face looking down upon me. My whole body creaked in agony, my skin a hard carapace, stiff and solid. I felt I heard my eyelids crack with each blink.

‘Peg?’ I tried to say the word, but my throat was so scorched it would not come.

Soft hands lifted my head, poured water on my lips, the liquid at once a sweet relief and almost more pain than I could bear.

After who knows how long, I found the strength to look about me. I was lying on a bed in a small, dark room, a tattered sheet pinned across the window. I could smell the Thames, a gull called, long harsh, solitary.

‘What happened?’ I whispered.

‘I fear you are not strong enough to hear. And yet it cannot be long until the watchmen find us out. If you are to know, you must know soon.’

I felt for her hand and squeezed it. ‘Tell me, dear friend.’

And so she did.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

23 thoughts on “The Devil of Moravia : To burn eternal

  1. Ah, so this is what that foreshadowing was leading up to, about how Edmund would have to accept his true nature. Very dramatic turn! And what rich emotional pain, too. Not what I expected, but the way you wrote it, it couldn’t have happened any other way.

    One slight wording question: I love the devil’s speech, but he’s been around for only “centuries”?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joy. Ye,s rattling towards the end now and I’m glad you thought this instalment’s outcome was fitting. Only a handful more episodes to go and we’re done! Quite right about the Devil’s speech – should be millenia, shouldn’t it? I shall amend. Thanks so much for reading again x

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It made me wonder whether the Devil is a position rather than a person, and this particular guy has only been doing it for a few centuries — after having defeated the last one, naturally. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouph. Edmund, how far you’ve come, and what indeed have you come to?

    Is this the end you envisaged at the beginning, Lynn, or — like Edmund — had you come to a realisation where things were going as things progressed? Whatever the case you certainly drew us along with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing has grown organically over time, Chris, to be honest, with me not quite sure where the story was going until the episode before – or until I sat down to write that week! It’s been huge fun to write, been a great learning exercise too, shown me exactly what I can do and what I can’t. Nearly at the end now which is sort of sad but sort of freeing too – I’ll be able to write other things now. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, there’s nothing I like better than a well written piece of scathing eloquence… which in this case is also terrifying and ancient… Beautifully done Lynn, quite cinematic. Pure virgin silver prose, sharp and deadly, borne up out of blood and squalor. The consuming reminded me both of Chronos eating his children in Greek myth, but also Patrick Suskind’s “Perfume: Story of a Murderer”. The film of the novel is also extremely faithful to it,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much – what lovely comments! Yes, Chronos eating his children – that’s quite a tale. Didn’t William Blake paint that – so disturbing, the look of madness in Chronos’ eye. Horrifying. I saw the film version of Perfume and that was disturbing enough to put me off wanting to read the book – the main character is horrifying, dstroying human life for the perfect scent. Gave me shivers. Thanks so much for reading and for the lovely comment 🙂

      Like

      1. I must check that out if Blake did… but what I mean is, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (the character) got his come-uppance in the end. Despite it being such a dark book, it is written excellently for texture, and evoking scent – and it always made me laugh. Calling your ill-aspected character “John the Baptist Frog” tended to lighten things up a bit. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had no idea that was the translation! Very fitting. Yes, he gets his comeuppance, but what a nasty path to tread first. Tell me, that peculiar orgiastic scene near the end – is that in the book too? Perhaps something that worked better on the page than onscreen.

        Like

      3. Yes there was an orgiastic scene, but then well… I’m not really spoiling the book to say (look away now people) but he eventually runs out of his master scent that makes people conclude he is angelic… and then he’s lynched to death and I think he’s eaten but I can’t remember. It’s HEAVY.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Very interesting yes. Scent is the most evocative sense and it’s the last one to go when you are dying. Very well explored.

        Like

  4. An interesting chapter. Draining Slatina to defeat him, if this does. Edmund giving into his own evil desires to kill a greater evil. Ingesting both Slatina’s blood but many terrible events and memories. I wonder what will happen for the three of them now? The lines about having no hearth or home caught me. It’s very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Amanda. Some monster tales are the saddest when the monster still remembers what it was like to be human – that’s where the heart break lies I think. There were never going to be any winners here I think. Thank you for sticking with the story – not long to go now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Lynn. I’ve enjoyed it. It makes me think of Gollum in the LOTR movies, shown b4 he found the ring. He was a normal hobbit but by the end of the 3rd movie look what he’d become.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, you can make some interesting stories out of ‘creation’ myths – how Dracula became Dracula, Merlin’s childhood, etc etc. And you’re right, Gollum’s is a sad tale.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s