Sabbath
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The image is dreamlike, an oneiric painting, atrocious, like an assault on my dreams in stormy nights. The black rectangle that contains her is like a reflection of my room, an impenetrable dusk contrasted against a white silhouette, made from perverse paint strokes. I can almost reach out and touch her, as if she were levitating, hovering in front of me, staring at me from her two-dimensional prison, about to leap on me like a predator.

It is her. Naked, pale, a specter both beautiful and monstrous. A white, sinister doppelgänger. In her face, two white, pearled and empty spheres where I once saw a pair of warm eyes, eyes sad and deep… in their place, a window into the abyss.

I can hardly believe it is the same person I once loved, but at the bottom of my heart I know it to be true, I know that this sinister effigy is someone whose warmth I have felt. She is someone whose name used to leave my lips with a smile and a sigh, a breath of longing and desire. None of this I find in this portrait, in this woman bathed in the light of the night’s aster.

Her skin, the soft, clear skin of a woman, is completely absent. In its place there is an immaculate white, a hard, cruel substance that looks more like marble than human skin. Her small breasts seem to rock back and forth, following the rhythm of a heavy, ecstatic breathing. Her hair floats towards the heavens, stirred by some unnamed wind spirit. On her knees, her pale silhouette leans before an open book, placed between two hands like talons. It is a wicked grimoire, a gateway into forbidden knowledge, into the darkest secrets of arcana.

And I hear her… I hear the words murmured, the words whispered by those thin lips I once lovingly kissed, turned now into a mouthpiece for darkness.

And I see her…

I see a forest. It is a dark mass, cold and dead. Its treetops stab the black, starless sky like the talons of a primordial, feral being. There is no sound, only an unnatural silence. No crickets chirp, no crow caws. Nothing moves. Nothing breathes. Nothing lives. Only the moon, impassive, fathomless, seems to inhabit this sterile world.

In the forest, there is a clearing. It lies below the moon, just below its zenith. The aster’s light caresses it. The floor is covered by dead things. Leaves, branches, flowers… all withered, all undone. And at its center, a black, scorched mark, a putrid, festering wound that betrays an atrocious crime. Indifferent, the moon shines on.

Steps.

Barefoot feet. Barefoot feet that tread lightly on the dead floor. Steps that move towards the clearing from within the bowels of the dark forest. Slow at first. Then trotting. The steps are barely audible, almost as if the feet were gliding. Fast, fast, fast. Running. Faster, faster, faster, faster, FASTER, FASTER!

At last, silence.

The steps have stopped at the clearing’s edge, in the line that divides light from dark. Slowly, a figure emerges. It is her. Her arms open, she advances, this time in absolute silence. She pays no heed to the cold. Her body looks like it is made of moonlight. If her shadow did not betray her, she would look ethereal. Before her floats the grimoire, that cruel, blasphemous book, born of the very forest behind her. Its pages open, revealing its secrets to the empty eyes of the pale woman, her face twisted by Truth.

She reaches the center.

She stops, and her mouth opens. If any sound comes out of it, it is not for men to listen. Even the gods tremble, grasping their thrones in fear of falling from the heavens.

Silently, the chanting begins. Her lips open and close, but there is no one to listen. Her words are mute, absent, abhorrent.

Blasphemy! Heresy!

They are the words of ancient, dead gods dreaming of their return. They dream of sowing madness and death. The forest, their bones; the earth, their flesh; the moon, their spirit.

Fire.

Before her is fire. Cold, blue flames rise towards the moon as if they sought to devour her.

The dance.

The dance around the fire. Her arms and legs, thin and frail, rise and fall, twist and contort, throwing shadows against the floor.

Her hair rises and floats, a wild, tangled mess lifted by no wind. Thus begins the Sabbath.

The flames dance with her, they writhe, they separate, they form sharp daggers and tormented faces. For the briefest instant, the woman and the fire are one.

And at the fire’s center…

The silhouette.

It rises above the clearing, majestic and terrible. A black pillar that stretches along with the flames. A void given shape. A dark, forgotten titan. An exile from the heavens. A Prince of Darkness.

The Beast.

And she, screaming without a voice, dancing around the fire, transfigured into moonlight, the pages of the grimoire floating before her…

It is her. A fury made flesh and blood. A goddess of terrible and unimaginable power. She who is three in one. The moon. The fire.

The woman.

Apotheosis.

And all is silence.

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