Wallie the Imp has always had a strange fascination for mad artists. I suppose he should. After all, he tells me he has personally met Byron, the Phantom of the Opera, and of course, Edgar Allan Poe. For the first and last, he tells me he was a creative muse.
My Friend doesn’t believe him for an instant. Wallie had better be prepared to prove himself.
We had a very energetic discussion about mad poets, writers, musicians, etc.. As most of our conversations do, it ended in raised tempers and didn’t get us anywhere except on each other’s bad sides. Which of course, made it entirely worthwhile.
I decided to try my hand at creating my own sort of monster poet. It’s really just a ramble. Here goes:
For all that he wasn’t, there was no denying his voice, for it was not the voice of a cripple.
The first time she heard him Anne had been surprised and frightened, thinking that someone else had discovered their sanctuary. Standing poised, she thought desperately how she could stifle a problem this enormous. She could scarce resort to murder, but she was terrified what might be done to her charge.
There was a high, frail melancholy in his tone. The words were so sorrowing, sweet, and soft, that Anne’s apprehension at once began to ease even as she tried to keep it in a frantic struggle for common sense.
“Must I, must I be alone,” sang the voice, “never a place to call my own? Deep in the dark of endless night—O God!—have mercy on my plight, and even in this hellish place, bequeath to me some passing grace…”
Anne clasped her hands, and listened.
“Limitless transport of a thousand wings, in hope, in faith the soul takes flight; in love the faded grey one sings, and even darkness turns to light.”
Surely one who intended evil could never possess such beauty. Anne was familiar with the wiles of art, the deceptions of fantasy played on minds longing to believe, but there was truth here in the strains that almost wept, the higher notes that almost, almost laughed with some irrepressible, remarkable inner surety.
She ached to join the song in an earnest reply, caring little that her own talents were unremarkable. Her heart beat fast as she stole through the corridor, passed beneath the last low arch, and saw—
The thing—she dared not call it a man—was kneeling in the center of the low, damp space. The dress cape she had lent him was gathered close about his thin, emaciated frame, but even from a distance she could see him shaking with cold, the winter weather creeping into the bowels of the city.
His thin arms were raised high in a passionate gesture as if to claim and keep the small, grey element of morning light that trickled, elusive and practically invisible, through a chink in stonework above.
Anne clasped her cloak tighter at the sight of that soft glow on those long, grasping talons.
“Victor,” she said.
He recoiled with a cry.
In his haste he stumbled inelegantly, putting out his hands to catch himself against the wall where he remained pressed and rigid. Even in the comparative darkness Anne could see the bright glisten of his eyes as he watched her. He was startled but, more strikingly and severely still, he was afraid.
Anne did not approach him at once. She hesitated, held by his terror.
“Don’t be frightened,” she said at last, quietly. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I’m sorry. Were you singing?”
He looked at her, shaking violently, and did not reply.
Anne broke free of his glance. Swiftly she unclasped the cloak from about her shoulders.
“Here,” she said. “You’re freezing.”
Before he could deny the offer, she stepped forward herself and took him by the shoulders, guiding him, gently but forcefully, away from the wall. The man-thing flinched at her touch but resisted only initially. His eyes were wide when she fastened her cloak’s clasp at his throat.
“There.” Anne smoothed the fabric on his shoulder. She shivered and smiled. “That’s better.”