…could make up your mind.
“Where did you get them?”
It was the sound of shame, the sound of setting aside morals to do what you wanted. Bylah hadn’t heard a voice like that in a long time. It pleased him inordinately; only Bylah could take appreciation in guilt. It’s owner had been creeping up on him, bit by bit, for quite a while; only now did Bylah bother turning his head, horns scraping the underbelly of the stars as he did.
“I lied for them.”
“What’s that like?”
“Lying? Lying is like killing; the more you do it, the easier it gets. The more you do it, the more you enjoy it.”
“Do you? Enjoy it, that is?”
Bylah turned that vast grin, wide as the sun in the sky, on the stag. To Rev, it looked like the Gates of Hell; for all the things that went into it(and it was a great deal, a great deal for the Devil), nothing came out of it. Nothing ever had. Nothing ever would.
You don’t notice when Bylah moves – not the act, merely the aftershock. One moment, Rev had been alone, albeit a slow creep, as only careful things might do. Children creep up on new children, that may or may not like them, that might pull hair or make fun. Bylah did not creep; he merely existed, a smear of black on otherwise stark white paper. In the middle of snow, Bylah was a crow, a thing that stood out where it should not.
Crows, in winter, go south. Bylah, in winter, went down, into the earth, to die. Night. After. Night.
Bylah had poured close towards Rev the way oil slithers over water, effortless and fluid, a seamless transition from one place to another.
Bone has two options. It stays still or it breaks. It is not something meant to bend. Bylah’s smile grows anyway. It tears at his skull, jerked wide at the corners: the image is not unlike fishhooks pulled taut at a mouth.
“More than anything. More than all of the wives, all of the children. I have had countless.”
When he leaned in, Rev could feel the heat of him. Men coming out of the desert feel like that – No, no. Children, at the hands of anarchists, feel like that: on fire, alive. Only children didn’t scream as loud as Bylah’s voice did, the screaming of sheep, of dying martyrs. Oh God, and the laughter, laughing at him, scraping through the walls of his mind, scoured away by heat and sparks and the viper’s tongues in Bylah’s mouth.
“I have as many tines as I have told lies. They are as countless as stars: when one falls, ten more takes it’s place.”
Madness – Madness is not fucking Sparta. Madness is not a place, not some joke. Madness is the sprawling way that..that thing, in deer’s skin smiled at him. The way his head tilted, the fires that was it’s eyes lighting up the way lightening turns the skies white.
Even ten minutes later, muscles in flanks screaming, begging for him to stop running, could Rev still feel those eyes: they had not just looked at him, but into him, as if his brain was but a mere book, and that thing, a cruel, claw-handed librarian that could read every thing of him. He could still feel Bylah’s words, for they had not merely been said but spun, pouring into his ear as honey pours into a throat, to suffocate him.
“I have lied in you too, boy.“