Monday 20 June 2016

The Prince of Exiles, 20

The hammering of the rain outside echoes through the white marble corridors.

Lightning captures in a split second the lowering shadows as of a still picture painted in harsh black and white shadows, illuminates a length of fluted pillars, geometric wall reliefs (Art Deco? I think and then wonder what the words mean), a row of hung theatrical masks that grimace, mock, mourn.

I shut my eyes call back the mental picture of a map scratched with a piece of charcoal from the stove on a tablecloth by the mute eunuch who brought us our drinks. A sentry, represented by a small, simple, beautifully realised sword. We are going to take the eunuch boy and the neutered girl with us.

But the sentry first.

The rain rattles outside; I stand with my back to the corner, take a deep breath, shoot the smallest, sharpest glance around the corner.

And look directly into a pair of hooded green eyes.

[Collected Writings Index