Chapter Fifteen: Snake and Merrow (4)Mature

Seoc was at a border.  He was aware of this fact, if only vaguely.  In his mind, he was suspended in the twilit margin between night and day, falling infinitely over unfamiliar horizons, ceaselessly pursued by the darkness and the unseen monster that he knew to be hidden within it.  A monster that was, in his perception, serpentine in nature.  But the daylight was slipping downward faster than he was falling toward it, and the night crept ever closer.  Soon it would catch him and the monster would devour him.  And once the night had caught him, it would catch up with the day, Seoc knew, and the monster would devour that, too.

            The tapeworms in his gut twisted and slithered.

            Yet although he perceived himself to be in freefall, he knew also the touch of the cold, damp cell floor against his feverish flesh.  He wished to melt into that floor, become one with it, so that it might sooth the burning in his temples and the searing pain across his back.

            But he was aware of something else, too.  Of cool, gentle human hands upon him, stroking his head and his face.  Of a voice, singing.

“…And yet shall you go forth,

Three sunsets on, yea, Marandur’s men,

Three dawns blessed not by heaven’s worth,

I deosinu ag angealu go leir.”

            Seoc knew the song.  His sister had sung it to him when he was very small, but he hadn’t heard it in years.  He rather liked it.

A’feu sé,

In peaceful pastures you shall sleep,

’Neath your shields and warlike masks.

My gift to you, the wool of sheep,

Armúru fita, foil ó fiaru.”

            The song went on, and so did its singer, but Seoc slipped once more into the grey of twilight.  Though he still heard it, it no longer mattered and the words held no meaning.  All there was to him now was that image of endless freefall and encroaching darkness.

The End

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