Fiana Comes Down
“Look at this trash.” Fiana gestured with disgust at the filth permeating their local environs. All around her the dark streets of the San Francisco tenderloin district seethed with wasted humanity. Hustlers and addicts redolent with despair struggled for survival and slowly failed. With an almost unconscious hatred for the world which was destroying them, they cast off filth wherever they went so that their exterior universe became as ugly and stench ridden as their interior souls. In a city with modern sewers, a significant segment of the population still relieved themselves in gutters and alleys, the same places where many of them slept. A miasma of effluence assaulted the nostrils. The garbage stank. The people stank. The buildings and streets stank, having been permeated by a century of filth.
Fiana turned to Marlin who followed a respectful pace behind her, loathing plain on her face. “I’ve lost my appetite,” She declared. “Eating such creatures may be a blessing to them, but it turns my stomach. I want something fresh, something sweet and terrified.”
“But my Lady,” protested Marlin. “That will only bring the inquisitors. Questions will be asked. Hunters will quest upon our trail. Flight will be required.”
“Even so, I will risk it. There must be a better way than this. There are certainly better places than this to flee to.”
“I hear drums my lady, perhaps they call to us.” The dark lady paused to listen. The sound of a drum circle floated towards her from Market Street.
“They do call us,” she replied, “Perhaps they summon us to a feast.” They adjusted their course. Soon they began to pass a different sort of people, clean and dressed in colorful clothes. They passed an old Volkswagen bus with its side door open. Inside were several shaggy looking people sitting around a large pot simmering on a camping stove. A piece of cardboard taped to the side of the van offered vegan stew for two dollars a bowl.
“Now that smells better,” Fiana commented. “There is something especially savory about herbivores.”
A little further on crowds of youths were gathered around a circle of drummers while others where wandering around, some with one or two fingers in the air. The Dead where playing the Fillmore as well as walking the streets, and the freaks were celebrating. Fiana confronted a dazed looking girl holding up a finger. She held up one of her own.
“What does this mean?” she asked.
“Do you have a ticket?” asked the girl. Fiana smiled.
“No, but I know someone who does.”
“My lady,” protested Marlin.
“Hush” commanded his lady. “Stay here and enjoy the music. “I will return as soon as I get this young lady her ticket. After all she wishes to see the dead tonight.” She gestured the girl to follow her. Marlin stared after her morosely as they disappeared into a forest of parked cars. Absently he squatted down and began to pet the cat which had appeared at his feet. He pulled an old piece of cheese from his pocket and broke off a piece to feed to the cat.
Fiana soon returned alone. “Now she was quite delicious, although there was a peculiar bitter spice which was a nice compliment to the flavor, quite amazing and oddly euphoric. What do you suppose that was?”
Marlin looked at her closely, frowning. “Oh my lady, I fear she was tainted. Alchemical concoctions mixed with her blood. A voluntary madness which you have consumed.”
“Really, how extraordinary. I wonder how I shall react.”
“Perhaps we should seek more secure environs.”
“Yes perhaps you’re right, take me to the forest.” Marlin hailed a cab.
Ronnie was a friendly chap, good natured and talkative. This was why he generally enjoyed driving a cab, even with the insane San Francisco traffic. But he also knew when to keep his mouth shut. Some passengers were best left alone and treated with polite deference rather than his usual friendly chatter. The two who had just entered his back seat were the quintessential example. Besides, the Goth lady was obviously tripping.
“What strange contraptions these modern carriages are. “Fiana expounded.” They move as if alive yet nothing they are composed of has ever lived.” She laughed, “Except of course the ancient liquidized dinosaurs which they burn to make them go. Not that they ever go anywhere worth while, just from place to place within this sprawl of concrete. Everything living has been meticulously subtracted from this cesspit of humanity.” She giggled disturbingly. “Only the walking happy meals remain. How much better it would be to travel through the woodlands upon the back of a mighty dragon instead of having the dragon inside the tank.” She threw up her arms and yelled “Hoopla,” A suddenly terrified cabby found himself dangling from a rope several feet in front of the jaws of a coursing saurian. By craning his neck he could see the rope was tied to the end of a stout pole whose other end was secured to the back of the beast pursuing him. As it continually lunged for him he was inevitably shoved beyond its reach, a dangling carrot. Upon the beasts back clung the madwoman laughing maniacally and the middle aged man almost as terrified as he was. The primeval forest they were now traveling through flew past at a chaotic pace.
“My lady,” Moody cried over the thunder of their progress. “Please, this is not well done. Remember that you are not yourself.”
“My dear Moody one, I have never been more myself. Now more than ever I realize that I am indeed a goddess. Who is there in this world to stand against me?”
“There are other gods my lady.”
“That may be, but they are distant and ineffectual.”
“Only because it is long since any challenged them.”
“But none of those challengers have had the power I wield. My simplest imaginings become real.”
“Your hallucinations have corrupted reality.”
“It is divine madness. As I am now there is naught that I am incapable of. The world is my mollusk. The pearl of life is mine for the taking.”
“Can you find Rowan?”
“Ah, Rowan. Imagine the power which would be ours if we could be reunited now.”
“That,” Moody corrected her grammar.
“Aye, as you say my little professor. Dragon,” she commanded the anti-deluvian beast upon which they rode. “Take us to Rowan.”
“Daspletosaurus” Mumbled moody as Fiana threw up her arms and yelled “Hoopla.”
Moody and Fiana stood in a grove of ancient redwoods. Off to their left a reptilian beast was snacking on something gruesome. Fiana inhaled deeply, savoring the eldritch air. “Oh Moody, he is close. Can you taste the magic of this place?”
“Aye my lady, but I smell my brother’s scent more strongly.”
“Gather some rocks; we must build a cairn to mark our success.”
“As you wish my lady.” He started poking amongst the deep redwood duff for geological fragments.
“This place is beautiful. Why Have I not been here before?”
Moody began sorting and stacking the dozen or so rocks he had uncovered. “This place is spoken for my lady. Do you not feel the warding presence?”
“Is that what it is? Well we shall soon see who is the more powerful. Come dragon,” she commanded imperiously. She turned to where her creature fed, only to see a small blue bellied lizard sitting atop the corpse of a man and snacking on a grasshopper.
“What is this?” demanded Fiana. Where is my dragon?”
Moody cringed from her rage. “My lady, there are forces here beyond your power. All your acts are diminished.”
“Nonsense, there is none more powerful than I.”
“That may be my lady, but you are alone. You exhaust yourself with your wildness and separate yourself from the world. There is subtlety here. A powerful connection through out everything. It is a strong love which your anger and hate cannot join with. You have exhausted yourself fruitlessly. Fiana’s exuberance suddenly deflated. Uncertainty welled up to replace it. She looked around her with more senses then were contained in her eyes and realized he spoke the truth. Fiana sank to her knees. She could feel it now, knew it had been with her for too long. It was a world weariness hidden behind a façade of arrogance, a despair of separation beyond healing. She wept for her lost love and even more for her lost self. Her body lived, but her soul was dead. She began to pile stones to make a memorial shrine to herself as she once was.