• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 06
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The Tread of Secret Kings

For a long time I groped in darkness. The iron-rock upon which I sat anchored me and would not let me leave. Neverthess it was a place of wonder, this rock, a place of multitudes. Naturally – of humiliation also. My first discovery however was a delight. Tapping with sickle fingers, delving about, I found that the sags and wattles of my old body – what I like to call my field, forest, and town body – had fallen away, leaving fine enamelled bone. My arms were double-sticked; likewise my lower legs. No longer was I to be troubled by mutinous bowels or wretched sexual organs. What difficulties they had caused...

Eating presented a twofold problem, having neither guts or digestive juices, nor any actual food. I was surprised, at first, that it was necessary at all. The periods of starvation were long and painful and certain images assailed me over and over. I was a man of great importance, a leader, a sorceror. Figures approached hourly to consult me, having travelled far and wide to hear my wisdom and seek my justice. Later, some informed me that I had committed a crime; others that I was the victim of crime. The details are unimportant: I had merely indulged my privileges to the full. Among my treasured possessions I counted certain individuals; their earthly bodies were mine to dispose of as I saw fit.

Hunger brought me to other shores. Here I approached the divinity, glimpsing him on distant mountains, in obscure vales, wading in rivers. With training and discipline I learned how to make the tantalising flashes last entire seconds. One inch above the divinity's head floats the great parabola of the infinite, which is the last of all numbers and no number at all. And from the parabola some few pieces of knowledge percolated down to me.


The Tread of Secret Kings

I conjured light, I conjured a rabbit; then another. I find these creatures both fortifying and entertaining – since my teeth are first-rate I enjoy the chewing as much as the struggle. Quite simply, they drop through the ribcage, to be ground into paste by my stomach-stones. After a time the remains are discharged through pelvic apertures onto the iron-anchoring rock upon which I have chosen to remain. The discharge is... not unpleasant.

My story is long in the living but short in the telling. On the day I felt the horns I foresaw myself swathed in cowslips and elderflowers. I do not know if this is the final form in which I shall return to fructify my kingdom; but return I shall. On that day I will drive away my accusers, and confine to this place my son Coujou and the snake-woman Beatrice who betrayed me. Until then I tread the tread of secret kings.