The Magician

The magician, a satanic beast of man, aged as any other yet survived the colonial wilderness of America, the Gothic Age and the space age too. As a child, the terrible boy fed goats of the town by hand, coaxing the animals with a slight nudge of the horn into upstairs rooms of women’s homes. The youngster set fire to dry overgrown grasses behind the homes as the women embraced the latches on their doors. The women peeped through cracks in the walls and torn drapes which shed streams of light on vermin stirring the dust which dirtied their dry wood floors. The fires threw embers through open windows catching the hairs of the kids sending them rushing about burning down the houses.

The magician left home as a young man for adventures like a savage beast. On the streets he found prostitutes to accompany him as he fiddled an Eastern stringed instrument with bow. His prostitutes spoke of tales to please the magician and kept time to his songs on sets of bells and blocks. Some works took days to play out, the stories murmured on and on and once accomplished to the ends of song cycles and chapters of tales, they took their turn cradling the magician’s head with as gentle a grasp as putting a baby to breast. The magician was a biter though and the prostitutes sobbed as he tried to latch.

In old age, the magician had been resting as his many children, born of the services he employed, had grown, married and tended to their own families in far away places distant from their father. The prostitutes still played out longer and longer song cycles and the infeasible requirements of their aging bodies gave them a fragile appearance. They enjoyed their tales and songs until their idyllic lives came to end. The magician wandered home.

The magician came to burnt out ruins and churchyard graves. Townsmen and women left their ghosts and stones to tell of the beast who had left them in flame, a small boy who had gone insane. They locked him in a cellar, with a few books, Hawthorne and Shelley among them, and for years he sat with the cycles of the sun barely piercing the cellar window tarred over by weeping women outside, sounding as a bowed voice, and the small boy tapped the pipes, dry wood floor to their song, laying with the vermin and dirt.

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