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Tuesday, February 21, 2017


"When I am dead, my dearest,
  Sing no sad songs for me;

 I shall not see the shadows,
  I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
  Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
  That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
  And haply thou may forget."

 -  Christina Rossetti

 The night was chill.  The wisps of fog swirled about me like accusing ghosts.  They needn't have bothered.

My own memory accused me every waking moment.

It was Three Kings Day -- 

the Day of the Epiphany.  

The Carnival season kicks off with this day ...
as did the murders.

For the past six years, each Carnival season had the tolling of midnight bring the discovery of a new butchered body.

Each victim had been found innocent though they had been anything but.

The crowd milling around the yellow police ribbons was ugly.  Lt. Trifle beside me was beautiful, her long hair the red of a dying sunset.

The flayed alive man hung upside down on the alley wall, his body smeared in garishly loud green, gold, and purple paint.

The Mardi Gras colors were green, gold, and purple ... each holding hidden meanings.

Green represents faith, gold symbolizes power, and purple is justice.

One burly pimp growled, "How long you gonna let this go on, McCord?"

The drug-thin girl to his left whined, "You're a piece of shit, Cowboy!"

Another voice in the back shouted, 

"Hell, you been hiding in that club of yours for the past six years!  What's wrong?  The big Hoodoo scared of this killer?"

As if separating from the shadows themselves, a tall gaunt man in black robes suddenly appeared beside me and grunted,

"You could kill them as easily as I yawn, McCord-Pasha."

I flicked weary eyes to the Ningyo.  "It would be redundant."

He barked a laugh matching the mood of the crowd and faded into the shadows once more.

Lt. Trifle rasped, "Who the hell was that?"

"Hayato, my wife's deadly, oblivious counselor."

"Meilori?  But she left you six years a...."

Her voice trailed away as she realized the significance of the number of years these murders had been going on.

I sighed, "And Meilori must be dead for Hayato to be allowed to do this for so long."

Trifle said, "I thought you said you would sense it if your wife died."

I shook my head. "Meilori must have been so mad at me that last time that she ... severed our bond."

I sucked in my cheeks.  "Meilori died ... and I never knew it until this night ... until this night."

I wrapped the shadows around me as had Hayato and disappeared to my sanctum named for the wife I now knew to be dead, Meilori's.

The club was deserted due to the Mardi Gras festivities.

Hayato sat waiting for me at my table.  I smiled wryly.  He was sitting in my chair, symbolic in a sense:

He had wanted to be Meilori's husband for as long as I had been married to her.  

I didn't object.  His loving Meilori only showed his good taste.

Hayato, Ningyo for Falcon.  Fitting name since his face resembled a falcon's.  

I sat opposite him and asked, "How long have you known?"

His voice sounding like desert wind wisping over sandpaper, Hayato said, "All these six long years."

That I did object to.  "Why didn't you tell me, damn you?"

He shrugged.  "It amused me to see you grieve, the light of an impossible hope burning in your eyes."

His own piercing eyes stabbed into me.  "Now, you know how it feels to harbor an impossible hope."

"Why tell me now?"

Hayato's face became a mask of dead love.  "I grow bored.  Now, I go seek a good death."

The shadows swallowed him ... and me.

"Out of a grave I come to tell you this,
Out of a grave I come to quench the kiss."
-  Edward Arlington Robinson

 (Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning "farewell to the flesh.")

 "I lived as best I could, and then I died,
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide." 
- Michael R. Burch

Follow the Xanadu, the 1st Air-Steamship
as it sails the skies of the world
on Meilori's and McCord's 1867 honeymoon


  1. Replies
    1. In NEW ORLEANS ARABESQUEA that I am forever writing, Hayato turns up again to vex poor McCord!

  2. Hi Roland - love the Rosetti poem ... and the story of Hayato trailing McCord to do his deadly deed ... loved reading this - cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks so much, Hilary. I was beginning to feel as if I were playing to an empty theater! Rossetti has always been one of my favorite poets. :-)