Being weird is a full time job. Well, it’s my full time job. I don’t know what your excuse is.
I mean, you probably do have one. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading here, right?
ANYWAY, moving right along. Being self-confessedly weird, and getting back into writing by fits and starts (but mostly fits) since I’m also still getting the house unpacked to “Might be livable” space (which has eaten vast chunks of the past two weeks, I …. sometimes get assaulted by weird bits of bits.
Before you ask, I have absolutely no clue what this is, or why it attacked me:
He met me on the path. Whipcord thin, but with a sense of suppleness. His hair was short, which startled me. I’d expected it long, I thought, and I thought there would be a beard. There wasn’t. The hair was white, as prescribed, but he had both eyes, which struck me as odd, and then an inner voice whispered that he didn’t, but I didn’t quite understand it.
What surprised me most – besides the fact that he’d left the gate to meet me halfway down the path – was his snarl. “Another one!” he said. And his tone was of exasperation, like a many-times prodded dog will snarl, to stop the torment. “I suppose you’re here for a muse?”
I gave him an under-brow look, and mumbled my response, and he must have thought I said yes, because he growled again, as he fell in step by my side, on the twisting rocky path.
“Oh, sure,” he said. “And then it will be all honey over cakes, won’t it? You’ll get through the gate, get your muse. She’ll sing her magical songs for you, you write them down, and life will be gold and perfume, eh? Let me tell you—”
I looked up. “No sir. I’m here to trade my muse.”
He blinked. I realized in shock that I’d surprised him. I’d heard of him. Nothing surprised him. Knowledge hard-won, life hard-lived. No surprises.
Having surprised each other we stood, staring at one another, unblinking, both breathing fast as thought we’d been running. If I closed my real eyes, while leaving them open – try it sometime – I could see behind him the shadow of his muse – his driver – a snarling dragon, mouth open. A tendril of smoke escaped the mouth, and it too looked it was panting.
The man came closer. He was now close enough I could feel his breath as he snarled, “Show me.”
I laughed. Because if that thing ever did anything I told it to it would be the first time. But in the next minute I could see he’d glimpsed it. Or the shadow of it above me.
For a moment he frowned, and I knew he’d seen the bull, drawn back, head lowered. He looked confused, then stepped back, and I knew that was the exact moment the bull had become fire.
The man blinked. He looked at me. “Trade? Who would take it?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know,” I said. “It won’t be my choice. Or theirs. We call it the market of the muses.” Looking up the hill I saw the inscription over the gate that said exactly that, in Greek. “But it is we who are slaves.”