Sanctuary, Solitude, and Journeys Through A Garden
He had spent many long nights resting in the comforting embrace of the moon, calm and peaceful with the assurance that he was alone in the garden, untouchable. He had once read a passage somewhere that he felt knew him very well.
‘Solitude, extended for a sufficiently long period of time, becomes its own reward and nourishment. A weary soul’s voice aloud can become repugnant to its own ears, and for years these had been the only voices he had heard and spoken back to, until they had become his own voice.’
It was not surprising, then, that the girl’s presence
in the garden had not gone unnoticed, for over time the solitude had developed in him a keen awareness of this place. He had felt her presence long before she had come into view, a slight rise in the electricity of the air that was carried to him in the gentle caress of a warm breeze.
Had he not been slightly stunned by the idea of another being’s presence, he would have killed her—a thought that led his curiosity on a fine wire, for he was at once flooded with resistance to the idea. Who was this woman who had somehow, if only for an instant, tamed some small part of him into wanting to know more about her?
He watched as she made her way along the small path that led to the small pool of water in the middle of the garden, following in silence, until she came to rest at a low bench made of marble below a trellis covered in ivy. She seamed unsure of what to do next and turned around quite suddenly, startling him.
He heard her slight intake of breath at the surprise of almost colliding with him just as he stumbled backward, her recoil and his knocking them both down. For a long moment they sat, dazed, and he fully expected her to scream and beat the living hell out of him in fear. He sat absolutely still, remaining perfectly impassive, scrutinizing her carefully, ready to dodge the oncoming assault, and was not unpleasantly surprised when it did not come. She only sat there, quite still, gaping at him as if she had never before seen another human being.
His eyes drew her in like a tempest, and his perfectly powerful, lithe form moved with the seductive liquid heat of a jungle cat. His silky, sable hair shone in the moonlight, framing a face so incredibly handsome it almost hurt for the sweet intensity of his grace and beauty. She had heard his name spoken in the darkened corners of Alyrian taverns, reverently by friend, passionately by lover, dreadfully by foe. Highly adaptive, primally dangerous, fiercly loyal, divinely intelligent, terribly formidable...
When he was sufficiently sure that he was in no immediate danger from her, he quietly rose and took a step toward her, extending his hand to help her to her feet.
She did not shy away from him, but remained exactly as she was, as if sculpted of ivory. Her eyes went from his face to his hand, then back again, then returned to his hand as if she had no idea what to do with it. Then, tentatively, she took his hand in hers, watching him all the while in mystified wonder as if she were watching some magnificently wild creature poised on the bank of an ethereal stream, and stood.
His senses were at once assaulted with a thousand different triggers, and he almost fainted from the overwhelming impact of it all. There was a hint of lavender and eucalyptus about her, and her hand was unusually steady, self-assured. Her eyes were a deep green, a striking contrast to his icy blue and purple silver blend. Her skin was the color of vanilla cream with a hint of caramel, her hair long and slightly disarrayed, as if made of moonlight. She wore a simple light-blue dress that fit her small frame well, and she seemed infinitely young and innocent, as if she had only just come into the world, and had not yet seen its dangers.
She was about seventeen, and she was regarding him with the same wonder that he felt. Suddenly he felt self-conscious, and dropped her hand. A small frown played on her lips, and she once again seemed unsure of what to do. After a moment, she held her hands in front of her, turning her head slightly and dropping her gaze away from him, only to return it a moment later.
Finally, he found his voice and gently apologized for startling her. She flushed, as if a small child caught doing something wrong, and modestly told him that there was no need.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know that there was anyone here.”
“Who are you?" he asked, and she could hear a mix of curiosity, distrust, and something she could not quite name in his voice.
“My friends call me Ky.”
“Why are you here?” His eyes narrowed and his tone was demanding, dominant, powerful, and indignant.
“This place, I’ve never seen anything like it. Who are you?”
“The garden. Is it yours?”
“ You could say that. No one comes here. Until you.” He raised an eyebrow, and said with indignation: “Do you often make a habit of invading places where you don’t belong?”
“No, of course not; you spoke of friends, so this is new to you.”
His voice was full of resentment, and she was reminded that she wasn’t welcome here.
“I’m sorry. I’ll go. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
For the first time it occurred to him that he wasn’t so sure that he wanted her to go. He had spoken too sharply, and he resented that. He felt violated, as if somehow, she had broken something by being here, and the confusion of the moment upset him even more. Who was she to question his security?
She was just past him when he turned to her again.
“I don’t like the idea that this place isn’t just mine. I had counted on this place being forgotten. I want to keep it that way.”
“I understand. I was never here.” She smiled gently. Cristos nodded and watched as she left.
He rose from the depths of sleep and uncurled himself slowly, as if he woke for the first time, and found the rooftops overlooking the city. There he sat in the icy wind and rain, a gift of ice and fire that he opened himself to, his and his alone. He had once read somewhere that the king’s house was all the world. Indeed, he felt like a king, for the king’s house is all the world, and he felt all the world’s joys and sorrows as if they were his own, the joys and sorrows of the god of storms.
Tonight, he was restless, and his soul searched for something that he did not know he searched for, but he felt it all the same. Soon, he drifted on the wind until he found his garden, and his thoughts turned back to Ky. For reasons he did not know, he tore through the paths until he came to the center of the garden, and came to a dead halt. Even his heartbeat seemed to silence in his desperation. She was not there and he did not know whether to weep in heartache or flood with relief. He did not know whether he wanted her there or not. And so, he left again, because his sanctuary was a sanctuary no more.
Indeed, Pandora herself had been the cause of his discomfort, unleashing all the torments of hell upon him; Pandora in the form of the innocent vanilla cream caramel queen of winter roses.
He was so immersed in his thoughts that the sudden realization that she was near took his breath away, too late realizing his carelessness. He supposed he should have taken her life in the garden, for he could not bear the turmoil that she had wrought upon his world.
Before he could question what he was doing, he had found her, and spoke.
“May I…walk a while…talk a while…stalk a while…on this beautiful pathway called life?
“Do as you will, but don’t expect too much of me. I got nasty, nasty habits and that’s all you’re gonna get.”
“I don’t remember what song that’s from.”
“Neither do I.”
“Why do you use it, then?”
“Because it fits.”
His eyes narrowed as his gaze fell over her in a penetrating stare that excited and frightened her.
“What do you see when you’re out here?”
“Cheap conformity. They are…bubbles of blood on a barbed wire strand that stretches from this life to the next, and we have not reached the end of it yet.”
“Do you always speak in quotes?”
“Only when it suits me.”
“The story of a woman’s life.”
“Why so cold?”
He leered at her like a great jungle cat ready to pounce.
“Because it suits me.”
“Is everyone an object of your ice, or is this my own special treatment?”
“Maybe you’re not the only one the song speaks of.”
“So I’m just a scapegoat for your nasty habits?”
“No. A scapegoat is innocent of the crime that he is being punished of. He is the victim of displacement.”
She shivered under the rage emanating from his body in silent, thunderous pulses.
“And what was my crime?”
“Knowing that I exist. Being where you had no business being. Violating my sanctuary. Defiling my temple of solitude. Do you want to know your most nefarious crime, siren?”
Her own rage was quickly rising.
“Unleashing a torment fit for hell upon my soul..., for an I can not do what I must, and I can not make you mine..." His eyes softened, yet retained their torment, and the fate of her soul was sealed. She was bound to him...
I feel him wake
deep inside me,
and rise to greet the night
with his fire-eyes that
reflect his heartbeat
in the mirror made of sky.
I melt into him,
like lowering myself
into steaming hot water
and feel the vibrations
of his trembling breath.
My veins flow like
rivers induced with his soul
as he raises his face to
gaze upon his crown of stars
that is no longer there.
He reaches out to caress my face
with fingers made of his breath,
and I breathe deeply and
become saturated by it.
and the sound of his voice
crashes out like cymbals
in waves of shaking sound.
We fly swiftly
through mother night
asleep within his center,
yet wistfully awake,
and are caught by silver clouds
that wrap us in their misty embrace,
so that we may settle back
to where we began
and sleep until
my lover wakes again,
spending the time soaking
in this gift he gives
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