A Wolf in Hallowed Places

The light is a covetous hymn that sings in my blood; a suicidal canticle which promises of fiery rapture.

We are like the delicate moth, who too, is drawn with an unthinking alacrity towards it; we ache to bask in the threads and tangles of golden Sun.

And like the Sun, we are drawn to you too. To us, we see the dawn that breaks under your skin. The heat of everything that we desire to have, pulsing in the sacred cartography of your veins and pouring from every inch of your drenched skin.  You are luminous to us and we cannot help but consume you.

The heavy mechanism of the massive light slowly rotates and as it engulfs me, I close my eyes; feel my skin becoming momentarily translucent. My thin, bare fingers and spindly arms become like pale, silvery spider webs, revealing the ancient knots of old, black blood slowly moving around the circuitous tract of lines that are visible under the heat of the beacon.

It feels like a moment of near-life. The sound of the sea crashing against the dark rocks below, the roaring wind, and the nocturnal gulls that hang on it, fades away and I hear with perfect clarity, the sizzle as the light sweeps its perfect blade across me. Each rotation of the noisy artifice like the finger of a fiery deity brushing across my skin, and yet it sustains me just enough so that I do not wander into the daylight.

I am the keeper of the light here and I have always been; since dirt tracks and cobbled stone, where the seeds of your town sprang from. You bustled noisily from your primitive scatterings, to wooden shacks and into a cluttered and busy town. For that I am grateful, because now, I arouse less suspicion moving among your kind. I can feed on you without the chance of inciting an angry mob; the cause of many of our deaths.

I recall in the early days of religious fervor and mania, the casting of rabid suspicion and blame among the dwindling number of townsfolk. “A curse,” they cried, “we are cursed,” and in a way, you were. You just never figured to point your finger at me, the friendly old lighthouse keeper.  Why would you? I sat at the periphery of your world, an unquestioned ward against the encroaching dark and I was entrusted with your protection, even though I was the very wolf in hallowed places that you so viciously sought.

And when you suspected something was amiss, you did what you people all do in your moments of mania; you persecuted and murdered your own kith and kin, hoping that it would stave off the machinations of some slighted figment of your collective imagination. You enacted deranged and fruitless blood rituals to sate the fairies and imps, and evil spirits that you imagined haunted you.

Then I watched as the old buildings fell and new, grander, more elaborate ones rose up to blight the brilliant horizon with their steeples. And with them; the assimilation of old beliefs into other, newer doctrines of faith, far grander and more eloquent in their insidious deception than the last.

We have a unique connection, you and I. Like tangled tree limbs. I have moved amongst you for generations, unchanged, and unquestioned in my position. One by one, across the ages, I have reached in and touched the lifeblood of every family; like a loving finger across the spines of familiar books- I would stop and carefully select one of you. I would bring my covetous hunger down upon them, savouring in them the other, distant ancestors with whom we have both shared blood.

I watch out to sea, at the slow feathering of the sky from black to lilac to pale blue. I consider closing my eyes and just waiting. Waiting until I slowly feel the morning Sun as it rises to claim me.

I have sent letters to the other lighthouses that are occupied by others of my kind. I can only assume from the silence that I have received, that I am very possibly the last of my race. I cannot help but wonder if they decided to transcend, as we cannot, as far as I am aware, die from the passage of time. I am envious of their transcendence, but I am saddened by this idea also. There is a grace and beauty to us that will be lost with me should I decide to go, and that, now, is yet another burden to me.

Every moonfall, I descend the winding, stone stairs into the cold dark of my room to rest and I lock my door so that I can fight the temptation to ascend. I may one day take my place in the light, but until I do, I have decided that I will document the history of my people.

I have been a curse, a monster, a vengeful spirit, a spell, a hex, a punishment, a plague, both holy and unholy wrath, a demon, a disease and now a fairy tale, a book, a movie, a legend. Yet, I have no name that I call myself; to you, I am the lighthouse keeper and I keep your ships safe in the dark.

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