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Strength





The young man sat uncomfortably on the statue’s plinth, back turned to the god who glared down stonily on the disobedience of youth.    He was strong, and naked except for a brief white cloth around his waist and he was staring ahead of him at the door that led into the uncertain night.

The young woman entered silent-footed and stooped to pick up the discarded robe from the floor, a maiden’s robe of silk,  and held it in both her hands.

“Pyrrha,” she said.

He smiled.  “Not my name,”

“Pyrrha,” she said, challenging.   “You’re going away.  He’s taking you away.”

The young man nodded.   “Not taking.  My choice.   Been hiding too long.   There’s a war.”

She narrowed her eyes, and her voice conveyed that to him though he did not look up.

“There is always a war,” she said.  “Always.   Always men willing to kill for money, or honour, or the sheer love of killing.”

“Or glory,” said the youth whose name was not Pyrrha.   And she knew that she had lost him.

“You’ll die,”
“Who doesn’t,” he said, “This war…  Everywhere.   Forever.”  He gestured with his hands, a broad encompassing gesture and he stood up as he did.   The woman glanced from  him to the stone god behind him and found the stone wanting.   Just as she did.

“Death in battle is not glorious my love,” she whispered, “this stranger has lied to you, told you it is an opportunity for immortality, but it will fit you only for the raven’s banquet.”

He was still looking at the door ahead of him.  Staring at worlds unknown and horizons undreamed.  Battles raging.   Then he turned to her suddenly and pulled her to him.   Their kiss was hot as the pyre of a dead hope.

“Remember me,”

She touched her stomach gently.  “We will,”   But he was still too much the boy to hear and he turned and walked away into the future, and into the past and into legend.

*****

Finn Cullen's first novel "A Step Beyond Context" is now available on Amazon.


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