Author Topic: Could The Real Adagio Please Stand Up?  (Read 227 times)

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Offline Pocky

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Could The Real Adagio Please Stand Up?
« on: November 24, 2019, 11:41:02 AM »
Adagio paced beneath the moon’s monocular stare, the grasses of the clifftop snatching at his leather pants like sycophants as he prowled. Cold wind ruffled the feathers of his wings, biting at them, causing him to shift the scarlet plumage, the tendons of his bare, muscular shoulders flexing with the strain of it. He squinted against the hair whipping into his eyes, glaring at his lunar overseer, its phase causing his jaw to clench. He spun on his heel and stalked back along the path he’d just taken, the slap of the grass drowned out by a growl emanating from somewhere.

From him. Low down in his throat.

With a snarl, he turned towards the restless ocean. His wings parachuted open, the wind punching into them and lifting him with minimal effort. He allowed the eddy to take him and hovered, momentarily suspended between the Heavenly Plane and the Earthly, his perfect, streamlined body caressed by a million fingers of air. Arms wide, one ankle tucked behind the other and eyes closed, his wings pressed downward and pushed him into an updraft. He tipped his face skyward, bathed in moonlight, a leather-clad mockery of piety.

His wings slanted then tucked and he plummeted, opening his eyes and turning, angling towards the maw in the cliff face. He landed in darkness, the susurration of his bare feet on countless crumbs of earth drowned out by the rustle of his wings settling against his back. He reached an arm outward, fingertips ravaged by the rough teeth of rock walls as he walked forward, allowing their curve and bite to guide his crunching footsteps. The path was well known to him, the shredding of his flesh a delight rather than a necessity.

When he reached his den, he stood in the centre of it, savouring the pungent scent of his own musk. His territory. Nostrils quivered. Fists clenched. A foot stepped forward—he hesitated—and it returned. He pivoted, mouth a slash in his beautiful face. He went to step in another direction, failed again. Inert with indecision, he rocked his head back and roared at the darkness above him, teeth gritted as it ricocheted and echoed along the maze of earthen arteries around him.

His head drooped then, chin to chest, falling and rising with laboured breaths. Finally, after countless minutes, he moved. He gathered his candle and lighter and struck the flint. Light blazed and he flinched, squinting against the flame as the wick sputtered, flared and took. He tucked the lighter into the restricted space of his pants pocket. Just in case.

Shadows cavorted around him, stretching up the walls of rock as he forced his feet down a tunnel at last. His steps were ponderous, heavy heels and slapping toes, one hand holding the candle, the other protecting the flame from the incessant draughts. The spacing was twice his shoulders’ breadth though it narrowed in places, the rough stone crowding him until he was birthed beyond the narrowing.

There were gouges, dark streaks and clumps of hair snagged on crags in these parts. He eyed the strands as he passed them, noting their glint in the candlelight. Gold, brown, black and red. A count of four. So far.

Time held its breath while he moved, his scowl deepening as he wended his way towards the heart of the cliff. There was a tell-tale water seep running down a section of rock before the final turn, a wide cascade of rippling movement. “Fire sear and water quell,” he whispered when he saw it, pausing before the blackened opening once he found his way around the corner. The air was cold and stale here, teasing his nostrils with its secrets, coating his tongue and throat with its savagery. “Herein do their spirits dwell.”

After several moments of solemn contemplation, his feet slid along the rough flooring as he moved into the chamber beyond. It was an open cathedral, the walls spread so far apart that the light barely touched them, honeycombed with fissures and sinks. “Rancid air in earthen gloom,” he continued, his lips barely moving as he looked around, seeking the white glow reflected back at him, “I have condemned them. This, their tomb.”

His dark elemental prayer concluded, he moved left. A jagged vertical crevice leered at him; two corpses stuffed within it. They were arranged front to front, clothed in pyjamas, their swollen arms wrapped around one another. A redheaded and an ebony-haired female, their faces wedged cheek to cheek, their sightless eyes open and staring at him. The redhead’s bloated tongue bulged obscenely out at him. With two fingers, he pushed it gently back into her mouth and forced her jaw closed.

“There you are,” he told her, stroking her hair. The disturbance caused her tongue to loll again so he patiently prodded it back in. This time it wouldn’t stay. He frowned as he shoved and poked to no avail, eventually huffing as he punched under her jaw sharply. A crack echoed around the chamber as her teeth connected, severing the tip of the tongue. It fell to the cave floor. He bent over and picked it up, inspecting it in the candlelight. With a tremulous sigh, he squeezed it into another pocket to deal with later.

The next crack in the wall was smaller. One corpse was stuffed in there, a brown-haired teenaged boy. There was room for him to be moved in and out without too much trouble, the scuff marks on the rock either side of the opening showing he had been. He was naked, ragdolled against the rock in front of him, his arm drooping outside the fissure, his knees bent and ass poking upwards. His flesh was sunken, skin desiccated, declaring he’d been there the longest.

Adagio ran his hand from the back of the boy’s head, down his back, his fingers concertina-ing over the knobs of his spine before coming to rest on his ass. It was still slightly rounded for it hadn’t dried up completely yet. The candlelight wavered. He sighed and moved on wordlessly.

The last corpse was contorted and broken, wedged into a crack at impossible angles. White, doughy flesh ballooned out at him, a ballet-flat-covered foot kicking impossibly into the back of a bulbous thigh. Milky blue eyes were turned towards him, above a mouth open in an ‘O’ of horror, blonde curls surrounding a puffy face. Her arm was lifted and draped above her, like she was performing an obscene dance, her pendulous breast drooping outside the fissure, huge and swollen. Bruises still marked her body, proving she was the most recent addition.

He didn’t touch her. “It’s been too long,” he sighed, his jaw tightening. The hand not holding the candle fisted. “You have to understand. I need more. I can’t be powerless.” His final words were a whisper. He stared at her, his heavy brow slowly drawing downward. He licked his lips again. “Maybe… “ he murmured, his gaze drifting away from her and around the curved catacomb, counting out the crevices and cracks still to be filled. There were twenty, at least. His gaze returned to her. “Maybe you’ll have company,” he warned. He chewed on his lip, staring at her.

After many minutes of silent contemplation, he sighed. “I’m sorry,” he whispered and spun on his heel. He strode out of the chamber much faster than he’d entered it, like he had somewhere he needed to be.