Requiem For Golgotha, страница 1
Requiem For Golgotha
Cover image T. Dennison
Copyright 2011 Troy Dennison
Thank you for your support.
The most beautiful woman in the world smiled at me and my heart almost skipped a beat. The last time we had been this close I'd tried to drive a wooden stake through her chest. In my defence all I can offer is that the time before that she put three bullets into my spine and kicked my bleeding, paralysed body into the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic. Of course both these intimate brushes with death had occurred in front of dozens of witnesses in the controlled environment of film sets. I give you Siobhan Williams ladies and gentlemen, Oscar nominee, media darling and the personal bane of my existence for almost two millennia now.
We have actually tried to kill each other for real over the centuries; I distinctly remember a drunken night in Paris 200 years ago when the bitch sliced my throat with a razor and pushed me in the Seine. I suppose she felt justified after I'd had her burned as a witch, but who can really know what goes through a woman's mind?
We were both sipping mineral water that cost almost as much as the fine wine that they served at the exclusively popular L.A. restaurant where we were dining. Several Paparazzi had been lurking on the sidewalk opposite when we entered Chez Nuevo and the flashes from their cameras would have been enough to induce a fit in any passing epileptics. No doubt we would shortly be plastered across the covers of the glossy rags that passed as news periodicals these days, with endless speculation as to our involvement with each other in broad type banner headlines.
If only they knew the truth.
But of course if they did know the truth then nobody with a shred of sanity would choose to accept it; that a demon and an immortal were having an expensive cordon bleu meal together. It was far, far easier to believe that Hollywood's hottest leading lady was romantically involved with the newest and most eligible British actor since Daniel Craig.
Every male (and a few females) in the room had focused on Siobhan as we entered and Shiva (as I've always known her) chose to ignore them all as the tongue-tied maitre d' showed us to our table. We eschewed the wine list in favour of more healthy beverages and while we waited for our entre we passed the time in the sort of industry small-talk that only people in 'The Biz' seem privy to.
"Have you spoken to George recently?"
"Last week, but I've turned down his script."
"Really? What on Earth for?"
"It's too dark and my publicist thinks I should be looking at rom-coms instead of serial thrillers."
"But Angelina and Tom are interested."
"I know, but I think I'm leaning towards Will's new project."
"The plastic surgeon and the gynaecologist?"
"That's the one."
"I read that, I really liked what Kevin had done with the characters."
"His dialogue is almost as good as Quentin's."
"I miss him sometimes you know."
"Do you remember the night we stayed up drinking wine and screaming Hamlet at each other across the Thames?"
"That was a few years ago."
"'04, with the King's Men."
We both paused for a moment, lost in time and space and the only sound was the gentle murmur of conversation from the other tables and the occasional chink and scrape of cutlery. That our friends grew old and died while we stayed as constant and unchanging as the sun was the inevitable burden of our longevity. I have buried lovers and children and seen my mortal enemies grow ancient and wither away. Death has been my steadfast companion for almost two thousand years, walking side by side with the exquisitely beautiful Shiva and I have speculated on no end of occasions as to whether the Reaper and the demon were not in fact two sides of the same coin.
In all honesty I'm rather unsure as to where Shiva's true allegiances lie, sometimes she seems to be a force for good; on the side of the angels so to speak, and at others she appears to relish the carnage, chaos and bloodshed that seem to follow in her wake. I certainly recall that the first time we crossed paths I believed that she was wholly and unutterably evil.
"A penny for your thoughts Jay?"
Shiva's voice broke me from my reverie and I flashed a brilliant smile at her, "I thought pieces of silver were more your style."
"They have their uses, but everything in its proper time."
"And we have all the time in the world?"
"Perhaps. That's something I've never really been too sure of."
I found myself nodding at the truth of her words, wondering if I truly was immortal and knowing that only time itself would answer that particular question. The one thing that I was certain of was that I have not died yet; at least not the true death that haunts the fragile lives of the people around us. Each and every person in this room, on this planet, has an allotted span of years and when the candle of their life reaches its end and fades to an ember they are no more. They get no second chances, no turning back of their clock; I think it's the fragile nature of human existence; the constant struggle to live each day knowing that your end is inevitably drawing closer that gives humanity an almost divine grace.
The entre arrived without fanfare and the smiling waiter performed a marvellously economical dance to position our plates before us on the table. Petits farcis niçois, a delicious array of Provençal stuffed vegetables; courgettes, tomatoes and onions was placed before Shiva with a flourish while my own omelette aux fines herbes received only slightly less attention. We ate for a moment in silence and I savoured the taste of the freshly chopped chives, parsley and chervil.
Shiva wields her table knife with the precision and dexterity of someone born with a blade in their hand and I have seen her skill tested countless times over the centuries. She never loses a fight and those foolish enough to challenge her only discover the error of their ways when she runs them through and they find themselves staring at the length of steel protruding from their chest with mild astonishment and disbelief.
If it sounds like I have some first hand experience of that particular personal bemusement I can assure you that my gorgeous dinner guest has run me through on four separate occasions; although she swears to this day that the last time was a genuine accident.
Quite how you can call ramming three feet of gleaming Toledo steel through someone's chest an accident is beyond me, but at least she apologised afterwards. In all honesty I was rather unconcerned about the lethal stabbing that my personal nemesis had delivered; it wasn't the first time someone had attempted to kill me in that fashion and it wouldn't be the last.
Death has been an inconstant constant in my life since the first time I ended my own existence with a length of rope and a handy tree. Asphyxiation is a rather unpleasant way to die; the blood roars in your veins, your body twitches and spasms and the black wave of oblivion that settles over your brain is not the blessed release that you craved. The one thing I remember most about hanging myself was how much it hurt and how I wished that death would claim me quickly.
Of course death didn't claim me at all.
I woke up in the dark, scared and alone, somehow alive but unable to breath with the coarse paupers shroud I had been wrapped in scratching at my face. It took me hours to claw my way out of my shallow grave and I still remember how much that first lungful of air hurt as I lay shivering on the cold stony ground. I remember crying, partly from the almost overwhelming horror of what I had endured and partly from the terrifying knowledge that the release from my torment that I craved so dearly had been denied me. There was pain from my ruined, bleeding han
It was almost like being born and setting eyes on your mother for the very first time. I loved and hated her in equal measure in that moment; something that has remained almost constant throughout the span of time. Shiva has been my mother/lover/sister/friend - at one and the same time both my dearest confidant and my bitterest foe.
The melted butter on my omelette tasted wonderful and I found myself smiling as I asked my companion, "Do you remember the first time we sat down together for a meal?"
A slight frown crossed her face and then Shiva nodded and replied, "I remember."
"The small inn outside the city? We sat outside and ate bread and cheese."
"A far cry from this little repast."
"Those were humbler times."
"We were humbler people."
"I was. You I'm not so sure of. Can a demon be called people?"
"I've been called far worse. By you on several occasions."
"You deserved it."
"After what you made me do? Certainly."
As our empty plates were swept away with neat efficiency Shiva smiled the smile that breaks hearts,