Tuesday, March 22, 2011



I took Clare’s hand in mine. We arose early before the rest of the house realizing, in a way that perplexed us both, that we had never, with the exception of sleeping together, been truly alone. In war this is not an uncommon experience. War is boredom, mind numbing waiting around with hands in pockets, but war is transition as well. In wartime, unless one closed the door and bolted it, it was bound to be opened by someone who wanted in or out.

We silently slipped out the kitchen door and into the yard. A fog whose fragrance was like wet mildew wrapped the land. Over at the stables the grooms were already readying the horses for the fox hunt. Old wiry men milled about in soft caps and tweedy jackets with reins and saddles, and young boys dressed in overalls with buckets and brushes, all completely oblivious to us.

Clare and I, donned in our capes and hats, strolled past them and down a small ravine. The ravine contained a rushing stream. The water foamed and gurgled down the channel, draining into circular pools at regular intervals down the slope. Small flowering shrubs, just beginning to show their waxy buds, clung to the rock walls in dense, damp clumps. I hopped down into the ravine and finding sure footing reached out for Clare’s waist. I pulled her down to me. As she slid down over my body her lips gently brushed mine as she wrapped her arms around me. I enclosed her me, pulling my cape, over her, effectively enshrouding her.

“Its cold for April,” I said.

“The breeze is stiff is all,” she said with her peculiar accent.

“I suppose we are having a war time affair,” I said huskily into her tiny ear. She looked at me with a twinkle in her gray eyes.

“I can’t distinguish it from my other affairs. Except we are in uniform, of course,” she said. I squeezed her tighter. “Why don’t you let me go Lang and I’ll show you something quite special.”

The shift was happening. The dull pearl gray of her dancing eyes was turning a sparkling yellow, her pale pallor, flushed from the breeze, was noticeably transforming under the secret, active agent that seemed to guide her into a darker honeyed hue. It was as if, in the effort to avoid being captured in a snare, she sacrificed a limb which she knew, in more favorable climates and circumstances, she could regenerate.

She trawled along the perimeter; she peered with her penetrating glance to the other side, but had no desire to pierce the tension, to break the cycle of compulsion that was so readily viewed, so idiotically and easily halted. For I do not believe in will. I do not believe in behavior. Compulsion is my herald and my god. And when her due is not paid, a correspondingly dear price is exacted from other arenas. Compulsion does not need individuals, it demands meat. It extracts carrion.

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