Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Psyche's Gate: An Excerpt

Below is the Prologue of Psyche's Gate to give the interested reader a little taste...
Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Beneath a swollen harvest moon, the city breathes.

It pulses and quivers in its own strange light; a garish, buzzing, glittering watercolor stain in the falling autumn rain. Like an exotic beast it sucks in and devours travelers hungry for beauty and dreams and impossible fancies; like a gorgeous whore it ostentatiously flashes all of its frills and lights and beckons invitingly. It is old, it is new, it has been destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed again. It could be any city; it is every city. It is beautiful and hideous, gaudy and drab, heaven and hell. Its citizens are born, blossom, die, and molder to the beat of its urban heart.

Beneath a swollen harvest moon, the city is an ode to terror, to filth, to beauty.

The rain is falling steadily now, catching snatches of glassy moonlight as the night clouds drift overhead. He walks through the rain, through the city, a stranger in a strange land.

He no longer remembers how long he has been here. It may have been a few days, it may have been centuries; time matters little to one who is as old as creation itself. The cold rain beats down around him; tiny, shimmering daggers slicing through the half-darkness. He passes like a shadow beneath streetlamps, and drops of rainwater glisten like diamonds in the tangles of his dark hair, on the shoulders of his coat.

He passes into an older, meaner quarter of the city. Here the derelict plaster buildings lean moldering against each other, seemingly held together by the ancient glue of a thousand peeling posters and the swipe of graffiti spray. Brick warehouses squat like toads, boarded-up and silent. Rubbish whispers through the empty streets before becoming sodden by the downpour. He is mostly alone; aside from the occasional squatter, huddled miserably in a broken doorway or under a dripping eave, he walks without company.

He passes through a narrow alleyway and emerges into a wide, empty intersection; an urban crossroads. He sniffs the air; he smells magic here. He stands on the corner, looking across the street, his dark eyes hidden by oppressive shadows.

Here, an industrious few have converted some of the old brick structures into shabby live/work lofts. Places for a strange sort of pauper; men and women driven to a poor, hungering life by the insatiable need to create, an urge as powerful as the need for food or sex or drugs. This is the sole building where some of the huge paneled windows are lit, staring out into the rainy night like ominous golden eyes.

Figures move in and out of the light behind these windows. Artists, musicians, poets. Aspiring and miserable. Anguished, seeking fulfillment.

He is looking through one window in particular; a wide lower panel that gleams gold, drawing him in. A small, delicate silhouette passes restlessly through the light, pacing like a tiger in a cage.

She is moving, moving in that space. Working. Creating.

He slowly backs away from the lamplight, backs into the shadow of a wall. There he stands and watches her, never moving, never uttering a sound.

He only disappears when the sun begins to rise.

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