Then the summer came, and time went by,
carelessly they drifted across the steppe
riding past large assemblies of flamingos,
toward the mountains and the rising sun.
Marco found the time to soothe his pain,
his guilt was gnawing at him: he could
relate to Dream-eater, and he became her
friend. The sister kept a watchful eye.
They left the horde – and for the young
horseback riders that was a rite of passage.
Dream-eater had no interest in power,
since she had killed her father – well –
for other reasons. Leaving the tribe
was the easiest thing in the world,
as the age had dared them to leap,
so the three Saka youngsters leapt.
They flew off as a young sparrow
finally leaving the nest after having
been nursed by an unwilling and sour
old man, yet somehow loving of the
small bird. Off, into the summer air,
off – presumably to finding love,
and death, and casualty, leaving
dead and broken siblings behind.
Animals get one chance to fly away,
just at the cusp of meaningful age,
that one opportunity often fails to
reveal itself, and the moment passes,
the small creature in the cage is never
freed, its soul dies at last on a winter
day, no longer pining for dreams that
never existed, accepting a dead life.
The young warrior followed the two
sisters on their journey, and Marco
could not believe his luck, the power
dynamic having changed, and him assuming
the role of guide in this wide world away
from the horse riding tribes, and into
the unknown, where was wont to find fortune
and favour, for a demon was on his side.
Or so he thought. As a child in Venice
he had met a fortune-teller, and she had
been shocked and horrified by his demeanor,
she said: “How can you be so carelessly calm
walking around with a demon on your back,
how can you be so innocent, and so sweet,
yet having a monster whispering in your
ear? One day you might fall prey to sin.”
That distant memory was a long-lost bourdon
note, and Venice felt as if it never existed; now
the mountains were rising ahead, snow capped,
a large forest loomed in between, and Marco
felt an emotion he had forgotten, though
he could not place it. He badly wanted to
share his story with these his fellow
adventurers, and yet he hated himself.
He could not bear to change their favourable
opinion, though clearly the witch sister
was ever watching him; he felt her magic
touching ever tendril of his soul, and the
song that defined who he was kept beating
the drum in his head, and his head hurt from
too much lyric-munching, the same words
kept spinning inside his soul, surely that
was the demon’s work. On occasion he remembered
everything; he could almost touch Dream-eater’s
own pain, and the sister’s heavenly mind, or
the young warrior’s purity: he felt great shame.
As they entered the forest ahead, they went in on
foot, leading the horses into a strange darkness,
a great all-encompassing stillness. It felt like time
had inched on; a tiny, imperceptible tick forward.