One of the most dangerous gifts a man can be given is protection under the law, as it exists on paper. Embedded in that action is the assumption of safety that such men as pen laws have always enjoyed in its embrace. Having mouthed the magic word: “Justice,” they are free to continue as before—contented, now, in their righteousness; proud of their liberal minds. But the lips of the law and the fists of the law are distinct organs, each with its own agenda, each notorious for laying blame with the other.
Such is the circus.
Writers write, judges judge, jailers jail; children lay dying in the streets, crushed by a mountain of words from on high.
GQ France, September 2014
In the cities, a man became accustomed the gentle buffeting of the manicured breeze. It rocked him in the same, practically imperceptible rhythm from birth, ushering him forward without inserting itself too jarringly into his existence. Beyond the Barrier, it was a different matter.
There, the wind blew according to its own design, with great bursts that flapped at a man’s jacket and picked at his balance. It died down without ceremony, leaving in its absence an eerie quiet that lingered in his ears; abandoning the mind to its own blank cacophony. In the Wild, the sky itself was a personality to be wrestled with. Jan hated the way it stole his concentration. He huddled down in the waving grasses along the cold-gripped shoreline and waited.
The night was still flushed with pressure from the summer heat when Jordan stepped in off the balcony. As she slid the door closed behind her, she hardly noticed Ferdinand in the dark corner of the library, illuminated only by a pale finger of man-made moonlight across his lap. She startled to find she was not alone, only to laugh when she recognized the figure in the shadows.
“Oh,” she said, “It’s you.”
Ferdinand set down the drink he was holding.
“Yes,” he said, “It’s me.”
Jordan groped in the darkness for a second chair. Framed from behind by the festival lights, she seemed like a gauzy insect, frail and transparent, circling a flame. She sat down beside him. The music on the balcony filtered in as if up from the bottom of the ocean.
Ferdinand smoothed the edges of his collar. The music from the ballroom on the floor below shook the mirror ever so slightly. Or maybe it was only his hands. The Vice Chairman closed his eyes and felt for the envelope in his jacket pocket. He would have liked to open it, but there wasn’t the time.
He took a cigar from the case on the dressing table, then thought the better of it. Out the window, he could see the lights of the automobiles on the street below. They blurred together through the thick glass, which occurred to him, for the first time in a long time, was bullet proof. Maybe the cigar would be a good idea after all. Maybe it would keep his hands from shaking.
This has turned into a shockingly accurate character sketch.
Jordan sat across from him at the table. The room was dark, except for the few rays of late evening light streaming in between the cracks of the curtains. Almost imperceptibly, the ground shook. The crystal and china and books on the shelf responded with a musical hum, their voices blending together in a moment of haunting harmony before fading into silence.
Jordan looked up across the flowers that stood between them on the table set for tea. Her eyes were wide and clear but tired. Or perhaps he was tired, and she awake. She smiled at him piteously.
“Who are we,” she asked, “You and I?”
The sound of the fan tumbled, white and green, down the canyons it cut through his malleable brain. The thunder held him back, drawn inward, away from the conversation that the two of them kept beside him. Jordan sat between them, her hands pale, leaping like birds: diving in and out along her words. Konrad frowned and looked on through the gestures—past the words, to the divider and its gleam of darkened glass.
Everything was dark. It was getting on past midnight. Even there, under the free northern sky, the void had opened wide, revealing the indigo of god’s eye.
Ferdinand let go to the sound of the fan, into the dark of the looming hills. They beckoned them onward, to the embrace of the farm.