The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34083   Message #465463
Posted By: Peter T.
18-May-01 - 09:49 AM
Thread Name: BS: (Another Classic Gem) In Search of Shangri-La
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
Later, when the other two slept, Curioso sat towards the front of the cave, rifle in hand, watching the rippling white curtain of snow, angry and demented in storm. Annette's cry of panic upon awakening had struck something in him, and he sat and watched and thought. And then it came to him, and he realized that he was carrying her and Tirseng and Shangri-La down to their doom. The Black Master was using him as the magnet to lead the darkness to the still centre. They had been up the mountain together, and were still tied together -- one pressed up against the sheer cliff, the other far down in the abyss, pulling him down by the weight of his evil. There was no choice.

He stood up. It was a terrible gamble. How could he know whether as soon as he left them, Yamada might somehow come again? But Tirseng, Annette, they could cope with Yamada, maybe. No one could cope with the howling whiteness except -- well, he could grapple with him, Jacob and his brother angel, and at least try to end it all.

He went over to where Annette lay, lovely in sleep. He always seemed to be watching her, asleep. Maybe it was easier that way. He bent over and lightly kissed her hair: "Beloved," he whispered, "I'll be back", and then went over to Tirseng, and covered his mouth, and woke him.
Tirseng started, and Curioso pointed to the cave mouth.
"I'm going to him, Tirseng. We can't go on like this."
Tirseng shook his head. But Curioso nodded yes. Tirseng shrugged his shoulders, and they briefly embraced. Then Curioso walked out through the curtain into the storm.
And there was no storm. Beyond the curtain of white there was only the blackblue of night, gleaming blackblue ice everywhere, and the clear stars. Curioso spun around, but the curtain had gone, and the cave entrance was black. He began to run across the ice field. The air crackled with cold. He ran for an hour in silence and then stopped. His eyes scanned the horizon. In daytime it was hard enough: the Black Master could cloak himself in white, and the only part he ironically could not control was his lack of shadow, so one looked for a white anomaly. In night, there was nothing. And at that moment, above, the sky suddenly exploded in fury, vast curtains of aurora borealis howling and swooping across the Tibetan plateau. Curioso nearly fell backward against the sweep of colour and the whine, but kept moving. Follow me, you bastard, he whispered, follow me, follow me. We are going to die together, brother of mine." And the night howled.
When the first howling began, Annette awoke. "What the hell is going on?" she cried," Where is Curioso?"
Tirseng shouted back: "He has gone to fight his brother alone, out there."
Annette got up and went over to him. "Give me your gun. I'm going after them."
Tirseng replied: "No, it is what he has to do."
Annette looked at him and spoke in a slow voice: "This is not a boy's comic book. This is not the strong silent man going out into the snow for his friends. That is merde. Give me that gun. I am going to deal with that Black Master. Then I am going to deal with that primadonna Curioso playing games with the woman in his life. And then I am going to come back and deal with you. Comprienne?"
He handed her the gun. She thanked him politely, told him to kill Yamada with his bare hands if he got the chance, and then raced off into the night.