Friday, 22 October 2010

2009 A Club Odyssey: Part 16

It was the end - that could be in no doubt. Him just sitting there made her feel as if she was still running down, down, the wind shaking in her, her tongue and voice gone, because if he was not a god then he was certainly more than a man; she was just able to hear him talk. Fire, or at least some heat, caught in her blood, as if her heart expanded to her lungs, her arms and legs. It was a good thing she was already sitting down, or else she would have to sit down.

"Are you all right? Say something, please. Who were those women? I mean, bacchantes at this time of day?" He was genuinely puzzled, kind, which of course made the whole thing worse. She shook her head, glad for some neutral territory. "Bacchantes don't really care about the time of day, normally." A bird hooed and hooed, hooted once definitively, as if in agreement. "Long night?" he said, and then stopped. She looked at him as if to say that this night was the last, there wasn't going to be another one. Not away from home, at this rate. Looking at him, which she could barely do that last time, was something she could do now. His eyes drank her in - small, frightened, very much alone. It was why he ran after her in the first place; not to confront her, but to let her know that, while he didn't want her any more, he was still very much concerned about her. "I think I know what's going on, in case you don't."

"It's on, it's on, you know they're fighting. I mean, it was going to happen. You were right to get out. The fight is a good one but I didn't want to get involved; I am a prize coward." "And he would have thought of you as the enemy, which you aren't." "Well, no, I needed your help, they didn't." She began to cool off, a little. She was getting used to his voice, like hot water. "They thought they could pull it off, and I led them to the club and..." He shook his head at the simplicity of it all. "God, they really are sheep, aren't they? Did they really think that you were going to do something for them? To say, take it all, who cares?" I got to know them and what they were like and just how far I could go." She watched a squirrel hop past, then paused. "I saw the hunter in the early morning. Did you see him, in the sky? A good sign." "Yes." "I think that hunter was a woman, you know." She looked at him with some puzzlement now. "There was a girl there who just wanted to kill one man. That's how it started, then all hell proverbially broke loose. He started in then, aided by his friend, and the bodies piled up..." How do you know all this? "Gut instinct. Let's just say I know, but really it was all foretold anyway. And yes, he knew full well it was you, you know." She felt the heat blanket her again; he seemed closer than he was, she found it hard to breathe and turned away. His brown eyes were too big; he wasn't Pan, exactly, but she began to see why the bacchantes would run towards him, similarly big-eyed and breathless. It's on, it's on, she thought, I have to get going home, to get there before he does. She got up abruptly and began to walk. "Can I come with you? Part of the way? I know I can't, aah..." "Yes, but we must hurry. He's in pain and I have to think of a way to trick him, to give him pause. I have to forget. Tell me about the hunter."