The Devil & Georges Servan Aballaird – Part Three

Posted: November 17, 2014 in Short stories, starts & writing, The Devil & Georges Servan Aballaird

Grey beach detail

Were my memory a book, the first page of the chapter that was the night I first met Georges Servan Aballaird would begin, “Here begins a new life.”
I felt no panic or fear. I embraced him tenderly, cradled his brow as he stared into the vast darkness below, gently took his hand, and as we floated away from that hellfire and toward the shore I heard a voice softly singing, “They do not know you anymore.”
The sea had become a shining blanket of reflected stars and Georges and I were flying, falling through them, arms outstretched, into eternal darkness, into fire and ice.And love, which had felt so far gone from me, which had once so arrested my heart, suddenly seized me once more. Not since I had first come to behold her. Her beautiful form, that time long ago when pollen and mayflies glistened in the haze about the field by the mill, had I been taken so strongly by love and delight.
My love. My love who was taken from me on that cold night in January, in a manner which still guts me to think of. How long had it been? Weeks? Months? Such sorrow and such beauty and such love struck me all at once and as the stars began one by one to fall away the Devil whispered to me again.
“You must go deeper,” he said. “Into greater pain.”
I began then to weep and as the last star winked out I heard his voice, fading, say, “It is not permitted that you stay.”

When my feet touched the muddy sand of the hushing shallows it was all of a sudden the grey of dawn and the shock of cold in my boots and my bones and Georges’ body in my arms set my teeth a-chatter, numbed my ears to any other sound. Gulls swung across the wind that set the grasses in the dunes waving to and fro like Georges’ waterborne brown hair.
He wanted to roll over, the sea wanted him to, to look up at that grey sky and those swinging gulls.
“Show me,” I heard myself say. “The way you worship little things. Show me.”
For a while nothing happened. Just the rhythmic to and fro of the shoreline; waves, dune grasses and Georges’ locks. Then the sea flopped Georges over on to his back and I was knocked to my marrow-bones beside him, kneeling and staring into his face.
“First you have to die a little,” said the Devil.
Georges’ eyelids were all but gone, picked clean by the myriad of opportunistic marine-life he had floated by. His eyes were an unseeing shade of milky white, the cloudy irises a mirror of the grey sky, and they just stared and stared and stared.
Stunned, my immediate thought was that he was bleeding-well looking into my face! Staring into my eyes with those dead and useless grey orbs! Then a chill streaked up my spine as another idea struck me; he was looking into my soul! But the chill went as quickly as it had come as the reality of my situation began to sink in.
Here looking up at me was a very, very dead man. It was clear that he saw nothing with those lidless, ratty eyes. And besides, the Devil and I both knew that look as he might there was nought to find. I had no soul to see.
A great weariness leant its weighty arms around my shoulders and neck then, and I half expected the Devil to whisper anew.
But no whisper came.
Only the rumble of thunder in the east. Leaving Georges to gaze up at the clouds I turned my head toward the sound of the storm and saw a column of smoke slanting up into the sky from a place away up the coast, close to where five big sails sat out on the water. Another chill shook my shoulders and I looked back to Georges’ face, anticipating some new expression of interrogation, but his demeanour had not changed.
I realised again that it was just the cold making me shiver and that I should get out of the water.
My mind was sluggish, nonsense thoughts coming in waves. How long had I been in the water? How long? Weeks? Months?… “Enough of that now!” I chided myself. There was something I had to do. It was time to get on. The tide wanted to turn Georges over again, wanted to suck him back into its black sulkiness, from where he would find no joy from God or man or the universe.

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