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1997/12/25 - Videotape Confessional [18+]

 
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Sinon Lagos
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:40 pm    Post subject: 1997/12/25 - Videotape Confessional [18+] Reply with quote

In the beginning, there is nothing but darkness. Then the blank sea unspools, hissing as it winds through the vcr. Specks of light form on the television screen, from where stellar electrons struck the film before it was ever used; they flicker quickly and vanish into nothing, like shooting stars.

Then there is a brief moment of light, followed by noise. Flesh. A moan. A wild, calloused hand ----. Fierce eyes look into the camera -- they are the blue-green of an unsettled ocean. He starts to talk but the words crash against the shore of another mouth, whose jawline can belong to only one man; Sinon Lagos. A red dash of tongue ends with the white of teeth biting lip, and Sinons hand runs itself into the untamed, blonde waves of hair..

The tape returns to darkness. In the void, there is a profound noise.

The voice of the man: Please.

Then nothing for some time.
________

White peaks spread across the sea in long strings, chaotic and without pattern. Water swells and sways in turbulent eddies. The boat cuts through them without effort. A great wind fills its sails.

A man works the boat without speaking. On film, he appears tall, with broad shoulders and a strong, defined nude back. His hair is mad and curly, blonde bleached near white, tied in a bun with a small strip of blue lace. He wears white pants and the sun has turned his skin a deep gold. He turns back to eye something unseen by the camera, and though the focus is not perfect and the sun casts long shadows, he is recognizable, instantly, by his regal nose and jaw.

Andreas Graff. German by way of Albania. Anarchist, smuggler, and thief. Wanted by Interpol and over two dozen governments. Responsible for the theft of the original Grundgesetz fr die Bundesrepublik Deutschland. The world at large believes him to be a terrorist, and this is true, even by his own admission. The media call him the Gottlos, meaning godless, after he bombed and burned his way through 13 churches, temples, and places of worship, claiming afterwards only that he found no gods in the rubble.

He prays every night and wears a silver cross on a long chain, wrapped many times around his neck. He claims its a family heirloom, like a pocket knife, and that it means nothing.

No one believes him.

He is the lover of Una and companion to Sinon. Soon he will be dead.

Andreas crosses the boat at speed, hands moving over ropes and knots quickly. He is not handsome, but he is singular, and in his singularity he is memorable, and in that he is attractive. His nose is slightly too large, and his features angular and sharp, from strong chin to expressive blue eyes. He grows a beard at sea, gold flecked with white. He often wears his heart on his sleeve and experiences mood swings, at one moment ecstatic, and the next crestfallen. When he smiles, he has a habit of tucking his tongue into the corner of his mouth.

Most eye-catching of all, though, are his hands. The palms and fingers have skin like leather, and the knuckles are ridges of mountainous bone, as hard and rough as stone itself. They are working hands, old world hands. They stay in the memory for days, for weeks, hypnotically displacing other thoughts, other memories, invading dreams and waking moments like violent deja vu. These hands make bombs. These hands make love. These hands fight, and these hands kill.

Right now, these hands are busy.

Are you going to film me the whole trip? He asks without looking up from his work. There is a hard-to-place lilt to his voice, as though he has an accent that does not belong to any country or known place in the world.

Maybe. This voice, however, is easier, precisely because it does not belong to any country, but all of them simultaneously. Its shape and timbre is owed to a lifetime of travel, with proper upbringing for roots and branches dirtied by the foul air of every polluted metropolis on the planet. Sinon asks, Why? Would it bother you?

Only when Im crapping. Andreas smirks over his shoulder.

I do not think there will be a problem with that.

Good. Now put it down and help me secure the cargo. Andreas vanishes beneath the deck, leaving a lingering shot of the boat and the sea upon which it floats. The yacht shows signs of age and long use, worn down by exposure to the sea and the weather. A deck slick with sea foam, a broken railing; known quantities to Una, and to others Andreas has ferried before. Familiar, and very much like the man who owns it.

There have been changes, though. Alterations, additions. New mast, new sails, fresh paint. Sinons camera is jumbled and confusing as he makes to his feet, standing atop a deck that moves with the waves. He moves across the boat with much less grace than Andreas, and at much less speed, though he never once slips. Andreas says something from below, but its lost in the wind.

Coming, coming. Sing song. Sinon pauses. The camera focuses on the portal leading downward, and then on script, painted recently, above it.

Unas Fury.

The tape descends into darkness, to the rhythm of sea on hull.


Last edited by Sinon Lagos on Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:10 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Snippets of time at sea flicker off and on; cuts of water and sky, scenes of eating food from cans, long frames of clouds. Andreas is always alert, often working, rarely free. Sinon films his hands, capturing in permanence their shape and color, their strength and uniqueness. They talk over work, over food, over quiet nights on the deck, watching through the darkness for the lights of passing ships.

You are family to her? Of a sort. Are you like her? Yes.

How often do you make this trip? Not often. Once, twice a year. They get most of their guns through other channels. Are you afraid of being caught? Yes.

Whats wrong with that, Andreas? Men with men? Nothing, of course. I just... Im Greek. It is our way. Sometimes, with Una, we take other women. No different, except a man does a better job than a woman. I dont believe you. No one is better than Una. You are not Greek. I am, at least on my mothers side. Her mother was Greek. Ah. Then you should not be closed minded. I have Una. Shes enough. Mm.

Sinon becomes fascinated with the knots, in all their variety and uses. He films them deliberately, obsessively. In free time, he deconstructs them, unwinds them, absorbs them. At night, he replicates what he learned, until he has mastered all the shapes Andreas uses and can make them with his eyes closed.

Sinon stops filming knots.

Why did you want to come along? I am bored. We get bored. Our lives are very long. You know Im making more off you than the cargo. Yes, I imagine. Just because youre bored? Mm.

They play cards. Sinon is better; he loses on purpose. Then they play chess with a set of magnetic pieces Andreas finds stuffed behind a crate; Sinon always wins.

I never beat Una in cards. I never beat you in chess. What it must be like, to have such a long life. Endless days of chess. Is she good at chess, too? Yes. Perhaps better than me.

Andreas fishes for them one day, and catches dinner. They eat it over a bottle of wine.

You cook like crap, Sinon. I never learned. Una cooks like crap, too. Yes. Does this surprise you? I thought you were good at everything, you two. No. Just some things.

Andreas tells Sinon he should film the water and so he does, especially at night, when there is nothing but the black waves to keep them company. They sit outside and talk religion, politics, sex. Sinon is intrigued by the German, and Andreas is unable to resist answering his questions or asking his own. Often their conversations turn to Una. Andreas comes to learn that Sinon and Una have loved each other in the past, but he is not surprised nor uncomfortable with the revelation.

Do you still love her? Yes, of course. One always loves Una. It is a terminal condition.

Whats it like? What is what like? Men. Ah. It is different, obviously. Yes, but how, exactly? Would you like me to show you? No, no. I was just asking. Forget it. Gottless himself, afraid to ask questions. Im just trying to understand. Like you and my knots. Learning your knots was a hands on experience. So are men. One day you will realize this.

As the days go on, they sink into the steady pattern of rote repetition, just as they sink further and further into each others presence. More and more, Andreas grows comfortable with the strange vampire and his unusual interest in filming him. Day by day, Sinon moves closer to establishing something more substantial than a working relationship, until finally Andreas consents to being touched, if only when they stay up through the cold of night, leaning against each other for warmth while watching the ocean around them, or keeping eyes open for falling stars.

Sinon reminds Andreas of Una, and in his thoughts, they start to blur together at the edges, like an out of focus picture. He dreams of them, the one and the other, and forgets which is which. Hungry mouths descend on him; he gives himself up to one or the other, or to both. He is never sure.

Then, one day, there is a storm.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lightning splits the distant sky, twisting and turning and crashing into the crest of surging sea. A darkness follows, deep and unnatural, until the camera adjusts the light balance.

It is dusk, and some miles off a storm is bearing down on their small ship. A solid sheet of white water falls from black clouds, or perhaps rises up; it is hard to tell. Andreas sprints across the rising deck, bringing down sails, lashing things down, making preparations. He has to shout to be heard over the sound of a sea going mad. Sinon! Put that thing down and help me! Take this below and secure it! A medical case is thrusted at the filmmaker with an angry carelessness.

Where?

Up your ass!

Mm.
________

The ships climbs and climbs and climbs, and everything inside is tossed and jumbled, man and cargo alike. Sinon avoids pots and pans and a cooler as they tumble down into the rear of the ship. Andreas clings to the wall. His lips move rapidly across a face painted with pain and terror, like the last brush strokes of a new, terrible painting, but the camera cannot pick out the words against the static wall of white noise. Focus is lost, and then regained --

The ship tips and goes flying, flying, flying all the way down.
________

Chaos rips the camera apart. The storm comes in short bursts, screeches in, roars out. Water soaks through the lense, distorting the left side of the tape. The ship is on its side --

-- no, the camera is on its side. The cabin is flooded by some odd feet of water.

There is a sudden whiteness so stark it dazzles, and sensors burnout, extinguishing into a naked nothingness. What follows is as hazy as a dream.

Sinon drags a lifeless Andreas out of the water with one hand and throws him over a shoulder, wading through the debris, stalking. In the dream, he is warlike, godlike. The boat rises and enters freefall, and the vampire braces, rides it down, cradling his captain, protecting. The ship cra --
________

The ocean is a sheet of glass, calm and tranquil. A sky, clear and peaceful. The warm sun beats down on a broken ship. The camera films as if from the bottom of a great, tall bottle of brandy, giving everything a distant, golden glow; the storm has damaged it beyond repair, and it is only vaguely functional. Andreas sits, cross legged, on the bow, his back to Sinon. His chest rises and falls in coughing fits.

The distance between viewer and viewed closes with a dizzying, distorted jumble. A hand sets down to rest on Andreas shoulder.

Andreas reaches to touch it, and looks up. Red eyes search for black ones. The hair around his face burns in the light, angelic, electric.

He says, or appears to say, Thank you. For saving me.

Sinon sits down and turns the camera off.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New, and much better than the last one. Sinon sounds pleased. Andreas looks amused. There is a bond between them now, palpable even on film, even in the electrons arrayed on tape. A giant hand pushes Sinon off balance.

Dont break this one.

Cant. No storm.

The men share a laugh. Andreas goes to push Sinon again, but the slimmer man twists away. The camera sweeps across the inside of a warehouse as Andreas stalks after him. Water damaged wooden crates sit in the middle of an open floor. You said I was like a storm. Does that mean I can break it?

I said your piano playing was like a storm. I did not mean it in a nice way. They kicked us out, you dog.

They kicked us out because you were picking fights! The larger man goes left, then right. Sinon evades, and only makes it seem difficult.

Yes, with the men who were kicking us out. Tsk, tsk. Silly Andreas. The name has a new shape in Sinons mouth, and though Andreas is only in focus for a moment, he show pleasure in the sound.

Well, well. Is that Andreas Graff smiling? And.. oh, well. Hello, Sinon. That explains it. The new voice purrs as much as talks, instantly sensual, intrinsically feminine. Boots strike concrete, gum pops in mouth.

Azra Ozel, a bruised-knee princess from one of the many families along the Euphrates, all long legs and with an inviting roundness to her curves that is exaggerated by a swinging walk and the careless way she cocks her hips like gun hammers. An Armani skirt flairs dangerously, giving the impression of a black blue-flame. A jacket of military camouflage is a few sizes too big and it hangs open over a tank top of flimsy, pink cotton. Large sun glasses hide her eyes, but black curls peak out from beneath an army helmet.

She smiles like gods screw; recklessly, violently, and with madness. How I do so love it when men fight. Please dont stop because of me. Id like to put a considerable wager on Andreas. Black painted lips are in contrast to rows of perfect teeth.

A dozen men flank her on either side. They arrived in silence, and even Sinon seems impressed. He whistles.

Andreas laughs. Never. I would never fight a brother. Do you not know who this man is?

Azras lips twist into a sharp and jaded smirk.

Sinon remarks. I am Odysseus, and this is my brother Paris, King of Troy. We have sailed the seas, and returned with conquest. An arm loops around Andreas neck and tugs him close.

Greek heroes, then, is it? You must have been celebrating. She is amused, and gestures at the crates without looking at them. The polish on her nails is chipped and bracelets rattle on her wrist.

Have been, but were not done. We are going to drink our way back to Germany, where I will show my brother Odysseus how we do it in the hills of my people.

Oh, is that so? Well, Paris, Odysseus.. I do believe I owe you payment, and while it is customary of the Greeks to drink over their brushes with death, and the Germans to drink over their stories, it is customary of my people to drink over the signing of business. Cheshire, she tips her face forward to drop the glasses down the length of a nose, regarding them with dark eyes. Her men open the crates without ceremony, extract the water-proof, hardened cases inside, and start the long process of unlocking them one by one and confirming their contents. Azra doesnt bother with the inspection, intent on examining the traveling heroes, instead. She takes a few hungry steps closer. Hands flutter across her stomach and settle on hips; the jacket moves, parts, spreads open. Gaudy piercings poke through gauzy shirt.

I.. Andreas pauses. Fingers twitch, drumming along his thighs. The hair on the back of his neck rises and his jaw sets. Suddenly, hard wired instincts are telling him that hes being played, somehow. He starts to look for the angle when Sinon speaks up.

You will, sweet Azra, be paying us .. first, of course. The camera does not capture his smile, as slick as oil, but it is impossible to imagine him without it.

First she stares, then she laughs. It is a loud, quick thing, like a gunshot. She levies Sinon, then Andreas, with faux surprise and shame, as if caught. With a wink she returns her sunglasses to where they belong. Of course, Sinon. Odysseus. I would be such a terrible, terrible girl if I didnt. Come, lets see to it that youre paid. Then we drink.

Andreas bites the corner of his mouth and continues to feel the unease, splitting his attention between Azras men and the woman herself. That she may be trying to take advantage of him bothers him, even annoys him. He has just sailed across an angry sea with a quarter of a million dollars in high end French weaponry, only to have his buyer possibly try to screw him out of it some of his cut. It isnt even about the money. It sets him on edge, and he is already considering canceling the deal when Sinon touches his shoulder.

Brother, Sinon whispers. The camera falls to Sinons side and for the moment the film captures only the wall, upside down. We will get ours. Unas family is a lot of things, but they are honorable, in their own way. We will get paid, we will ditch Azras honor guard, and then we will drink like heroes. I am not nearly done celebrating.

Do you ever finish celebrating? Andreas did not sound as though he minded Sinons appetite for it.

Yes, but we have not gotten laid yet. Drinking yes. Fighting yes. There are other conquests to be had.

Andreas laughed. It was a very German laugh, quite cynical and full of skepticism. For you, maybe. I have a woman.

Mm.

What?

Nothing. Come. Let us get your money.

Our money. Andreas corrected. The camera rose to focus on Azra, who was watching trucks reverse into the warehouse. Her men collected the hard cases to deposit them for transfer.

Our money. Then we celebrate.


Last edited by Sinon Lagos on Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Open sky, naked moon. A bonfire blows out the stars, casts miles of shadows across an open field. Bare chested men form a tribal circle around the flames, their dance savage, primitive, wild.

Azra is among them. She, too, is bare chested. A baby doll blue dress hangs around her hips, the top folder over, the bottom whirling with every exotic roll of her body. Men fight over her, for her, throw themselves on the ground and roll around like beasts. She laughs and spins away. The laugh carries over the tumult. It is husky and loud. Loud like her smile. Loud like her soul.

Two men wrestle and she kicks them into the fire. Logs pop, embers burst. She laughs again. Sinon turns the camera away to catch Andreas exiting her limo, furious. The man stalks toward Sinon. The camera focuses on his hands, zooms in, follows their motions. In one is a half empty bottle of red wine. The other is a fist.

Did she not answer? Sinon asks, filming Andreas as he claims the flimsy folding chair next to him. The answer is obvious but he asks anyway.

No. She was suppose to be here when I was done. She isnt, and she isnt answering the number she gave me to call, either. I want to bring her with us. His tone is all cold rage, barely contained by a civilized veneer.

When is the last time you saw her?
Andreas doesnt answer. He sets the bottle between his legs, hand tightening around the bottle neck.

When is the last time you talked?

Shut up, Sinon.

The moment hangs. Sinon captures only the hands. The size of them, the strength of them. The broad back interrupted by thick knuckles. The palms covered in calluses. Sinon loses the frame when Andreas takes a hard drink, captures them again when Andreas tucks the bottle back between his legs.

Azras laugh breaks the tension. Sinon finally return the lens to her. She makes a circuit around one man mounting and beating another. The fire paints her skin orange and red.

Is she like you? Andreas question arrives with impact.

Sinons answer is calm, distant. No. She is different.

But shes Unas cousin.

Of a sort, yes. Unas family is not like my own. They are more of a tribe.

So what is she?

How much have you had to drink, Andreas? Sinon detours the conversation, but with an edge to his question, a suggestion of anticipation. Una wouldve recognized it. Andreas does not. He doesnt see the subtle manipulation.

Ill drink as much as I want, Sinon. In proof, he finishes the bottle, stands, and returns to the limo. He returns with another and begins drinking immediately. Wine escapes his mouth, rolls down his throat. Sinon waits until he sits.

She is complicated.

Azra?

No. Una.

Andreas grumbles, or perhaps growls. The ritual around the fire is reaching a peak, and the noise is all encompassing as Azra launches into a lyrical, astonishing cry. A victor has been declared. Tell me about Azra, Sinon.

Mm. Tell me when you talked to Una last. Then I will tell you about Azra. Sinon reaches over and tries to take the bottle from Andreas. Andreas grabs Sinon by the wrist and throws the hand back.

Azra, Sinon.

You are a bad drunk.

Andreas glowers. A cruelty blooms in him, just behind the eyes. A crack in the veneer. What lurks behind is infinitely more interesting to Sinon than the foregone result of Azras entertainment. Six months. And two weeks. Too damn long.

Just to talk? Yes, too long for you I imagine. How long since you saw her?

A year. The bottle creaks, the glass protesting sudden pressure.

Sinon lets Andreas stew. Man is worst when left alone to his own thoughts. Anarchist, smuggler, and thief. Terrorist. Sinon needs to do nothing but let Andreas eat himself alive. Andreas drinks again, hard, and nearly breaks the bottle in the simple motion of stuffing between thighs.

They watch Azra twist away from the last man standing, haunting him with vespertine eyes, taunting him with fleeting touches. He snatches her dress, but she steals it away. He drives but tastes only the ground at her feet. The chase is the last stage of the ritual. His fatigue pants are bloodied, his nose broken; he is one of her own men. How long he must have watched her from the side until finally he threw himself into the mix. She shakes a finger at him in playful condemnation. The man is entirely outclassed.

Her nature dawns on Andreas. He asks again, What is she, Sinon?

The word we Greeks have for her is muse. Una would call her a bitch, but fondly. Until now.

Muse? Andreas understands, but he asks anyway.

She inspires.

There is no doubt what she inspires. Andreas stands and shoves the bottle into Sinons space. Azra sees him, shares a look with the camera, smiles cheshire. The woman is mad with an intensity that defies understanding. Her path makes a sudden, sharp turn, and as she heads for Andreas, her man trails behind her, unaware of his impending fate.

Sinon is aware. He stands and zooms. Months from now, Una will watch the following in vivid, clear detail. Azra passes Andreas, whirls behind him, laughs. Andreas readies himself. The man recognizes the trap but lunges anyway, insane with a primal hunger. In the light of the fire, his shadow flails far, crossing the camera lens with brief bouts of darkness.

Andreas catches him by the throat with both hands and throws him to the ground, following him in a barely disciplined frenzy. He squeezes, and squeezes, and squeezes. Azra throws himself against his back and laughs, turning her face to the sky.

The light leaves the mans eyes. His neck breaks right in Andreass hands. Andreas turns his face up to the sky, too, and joins Azra with a howl.

She does not evade him when he stands to claim her. He takes his prize by the fire, blessing his sin with glory.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These hands make bombs. These hands make love. These hands fight, and these hands kill.

The hands do other things, too. They touch. They explore. They grip tightly in the heat of the moment. They make knots of discarded clothes. They tie limbs together; they tie them apart. They control, possess, dominate. They worship. They leave bruises.

They fill.

Sinon records all the new configurations of Andreass hands, from the blood soaked dirt to the posh hotel. He captures them in detail, studies them in film. Fingers clasped around wrists, jaw, throat. The application of rough knuckles, the tender touch of palm. Their unending, undeniable need. Their sheer creativity.

The way they shiver-shake, starting at the fingertips, when Andreas finishes.

Sinon leaves when Andreas slips into sleep. The last shot before the next jump is of Sinons own hands closing the door.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The video goes dead for a minute, exactly to the second. Just long enough to raise questions, to induce concern. If that was all that Sinon did, it was not so bad, not so terrible. As Christmas gifts from the Lagos prince goes, this one is falls short in both love and malice. It is too gentle. It is too flat.

But then the tape picks back up with a fast flicker of light, in silent black and white. The thumbprint of the static places the camera in question as the original machine, from the boat, and not the newer, sharper model used later. This, then, is a precursor to the current narrative. Sinon is being daring; he is approaching his story out of order. Things have become nonlinear. Who knows what he might do from here on in.

Its afternoon. The city is obviously German, even if only the keen eye could deduce this. People stream past the camera like fish caught on a current, flowing along the sidewalk in schools and groups, pausing in the eddies formed before store fronts. They linger, loiter, slip inside. They talk and gossip. They smile. All except for one. A dangerous shark pushes forward a few dozen feet ahead of the camera.

Even devoid of color, even without seeing the face, there is only one man it could be; Andreas Graff. Terrorist, thief, murderer. Human.

Lover.

He glances back just as the camera falls from Sinons shoulder. In the game of cat and mouse, Sinon is too experienced to be caught so easily. If Andreas is a shark, Sinon is the experienced fisher. He knows this game well. Una herself taught him the way.

And then, with a slow fade in, theres audio, as if arriving from a distance before settling in. To the one woman who watches the tape, the voice is absolutely and utterly familiar. It has followed her since birth. She knows it in all its shapes, tones, and pitches.

It belongs to her. Its from a voicemail she left Sinon a year ago.

Sinon, Una starts, and then pauses. The background is filled in by the surf crashing against the nearby shore, the sound of gulls, and bits and pieces of conversation, the language mostly Greek. I wont be able to meet you in Naples next week.

Another pause, hand muffling the receiver. Laughter follows.

...should have mentioned before, perhaps

As the message plays, the separate visual plot continues. The two elements are related and yet not. The tape is saying, This is what Im doing, while the voicemail explains, and this is why Im doing it. As the camera catches Andreas again, the German is looking through the thick, protected glass of a clothing outlet. He is unremarkable in profile to those who dont know him, to those he has not yet changed by time and proximity. Just a little handsome, just a little ugly. Features too large. Sinon zooms in on the reflection; without color, there is no blue in Andreas eyes, only gray.

...entertaining yourself, from what Ive recently heard

But its hard to not imagine the blue ocean in those eyes, boiling beneath moons gravity, if only you knew the man. Its impossible to not remember the feeling of hands across skin, if hed ever thought to touch you. Andreas is more than the sum of his parts, and the camera does a poor job of capturing this so early in the story.

Clearly, Sinon does not see it yet. Andreas moves on. Sinon follows. There is no romance in the way the former is held in focus by the later. Everything is as clinical as lining up a gunshot.

...but I am happy

Sinon almost loses him in a crowd, only to catch Andreas ascending stairs along the side of a building at the last moment. The Greek waits outside for Andreas to buy coffee and spices from an Arabian clerk, spying on them from a corner across the way. The orders are in bulk. Andreas leaves them behind, presumably to be delivered elsewhere.

...avid sailor, among other things

Soon after, Andreas stops to listen to performers play stringed instruments beneath the shade of a tall building. A church, of all things. A cathedral. The irony is not lost on Sinon; he moves to frame Gotless against the great shadow of the building. In this moment, there is romance, but it is of a violent sort. A love note from one murderer to another. Sinon is simply appreciating the predator in the hunting grounds, amused that the other animals do not recognize the danger Andreas represents. On any other day, the German might have been there for other reasons than to simply listen to music. Terrible reasons. Dangerous reasons.

But not today. Andreas does not wait there long. He moves on. Sinon follows.

...is like a tide moving through me. He tastes of the ocean

The travel continues. Sinon hides in the shadows as Andreas drifts further and further along. The first time Sinon becomes fascinated by the hands of Andreas is caught on film, as Andreas stops to eat at a little cafe serving traditional fare on the edge of a busy road. They sit outside. What starts as surveillance evolves into something deeper, something substantial. Andreas has a sandwich and a beer. Sinon films the hands, as best he can without being caught. Crumbs speckle a beard. Andreas brushes them off. Sinon follows the hands, not the crumbs. He zooms, until he can capture the shape of the knuckles from a dozen tables away. He zooms, and zooms, and zooms.

Andreas finishes, pays, and is off again. Almost immediately, he vanishes into an alley.

Sinon is too experienced to be so easily caught, but now hes curious. He follows.

...knowing you cannot kill him without destroying what your family has worked so hard to put into place, too

What follows is predictable, or perhaps not. It follows regardless: Sinon is caught as Andreas rushes out from the shadows. The camera is tipped, falls, rolls over, spinning the world around and around until it stops some feet away and leaves the world upside down. Andreas hangs Sinon by his feet -- no, only the angle makes it seem that way. Andreas has picked Sinon up and wrapped his two hands around his throat.

Sinon could stop it but doesnt. Only he and Una know it, and he is acting and Una is stuck watching it unfold on a tv, months later. The smaller, slimmer man lets himself hang. He puts on a show of a struggle. He allows Andreas to win.

Andreas drops him, only to hit him across the temple. Show or not, Sinon slumps and does not move.

Ultimately, its Andreas who walks over to the camera, picks it up, and turns it off.

...tell her hello from me. I havent forgotten

And again, the return to black.

Adio, draga mea.

Una's voice sustains through the darkness, floating, floating, hanging ... hanging like a guillotine, hanging on fingertips, until it, too, falls away.


Last edited by Sinon Lagos on Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The next round of images come in on a burst of burned retina, on overwhelming, feel-it-in-the-teeth, feel-it-in-the-bones red. It saturates everything. The chroma is off balance; it has been skewed as far into the infra end of the spectrum as possible. Even the blacks bleed.

Even the blacks.

And more, it lasts only a few seconds, comes in with sudden violence and vanishes, full stop, without explanation, like it's been sitting on the other side of the film all this time and it's burning through in the space between scenes, like it's been behind the whole bloody story from the get-go, from the start. Like it's just been waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and it's gotten tired of it, so here it is.

It begins with a "Please." that invades the silence with a boom. Andreas and Sinon, Sinon and Andreas. "Please. Please. Please." Talismanic. Witchcraft. A spell that Una knows all to well.

"Please, Sinon. Please." Andreas begs, throat exposed, throat exposed.

"Please."

Then black and nothing but.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the black, a kiss of reflected, distant red and only red, and then a few beats later a rise of blues, grays, and whites, as the controls self adjusts for contrast and clarity, producing detail from what started as one static sheet crowned only by a sunrise cast against glass. The quality of the shot reveals this is the new camera, and thus this moment must come from the present moment of the story. The tape has caught up with things, for now. It has caught up with Sinon, hunted him down across the plain of narrative and order. He's been caught sitting outside on a balcony, back leaning against the glass door, sprawled out in half-nude repose across wooden slants. The lack of saturation drains his olive skin of complexion, of shade. It makes his fatal look more sorrowful; or perhaps it reveals the sadness he'd rather hide, but cannot. Not from film, not from himself. Not from the Una. She will know the look. She has caused it a thousand times.

Una will know, too, without evidence in the frame, that this is the 13th floor of the Villa Magna in Madrid. She will know the room number and the layout of the suite, and she will know the name of the elderly street vendor who sells blood oranges down on the corner at the right time of year. She will know the feel of the sheets across her skin in the spring, and the noise of the Fiesta de San Isidro on the streets below, as it climbs its way up the side of the building like loud ivy, and she can dance all the dances and sing all the songs, and she will know what it's like to see and hear Sinon do them with her. She will know these things because she has shared this space with Sinon a half dozen times over the last century. She will know these things because this place is special to them, or was, once upon a time.

She will also know who sleeps inside the suite now, and what Sinon has done. There has been a remapping. Sinon has co-opted the history of the place. It is not longer only theirs.

Sinon imagines she will never share it with him again, but the heartbreak on his face is for something else entirely. The world is too vast for him to worry about the sanctity of anywhere, of everywhere, and his sins against Una too numerous to concern himself with the addition of just one more. No; she will know the look, and she can guess at the cause. It is, for once, and for perhaps the first time ever, not for her. It is --

"Una." Sinon's voice is sugar syrup on a cold morning, dripping from his tongue honey slow. There is a gravity to it, a quietness to it. He repeats himself, louder, and with more effort, surprised at his own difficulty in speaking. "Una, it is -- this is -- this is a very strange moment in my life. I am not sure what I am doing."

The deliberate man unsure. There are echoes of a much younger Sinon in the way his dark eyes avoid the camera, and in how his hands fidget with themselves, attempting to find some way to fit together that would self-assure himself that all will be oka. As if to apologize, he explains, "I have not slept in some days, so forgive me," and then self-consciously stills himself and looks out over the camera, onto the invisible sky behind it. Against the glass the sun is rising. Sinon fixes himself and continues, pausing only to brush hair back form his eyes.

"When you told me we would not be together, I was at first amused, and then upset. The idea of someone else, of anyone else, fitting against you in such a way that I -- that I did not matter, or that I -- that I could not fit against you, for fear of dislodging them -- the idea of someone else, Una, it hurt. It broke my heart. And I could not for the life of me imagine someone who would draw you into such a state. You will not be surprised that I became at once obsessed and possessed by the idea of him, the capacity and the shape of him, and his destruction. Who, and why, and how can I erase him?" Sinon exhales, and adopts a smile that it all self referential, sorrowful amusement. This, then, is to be a confession. Here is my sin, Una. I love you too much, but I know that is a poor excuse.

"So -- I met him. In my way. And I did what I so rarely do; I lied, I bent truths, to subvert him. You will be pleased to know, I think, that he kept me in cuffs for a week before I convinced him I was of you and yours, and that I was just curious and meant no harm. You will be impressed that I almost lost him twice. Once when I slipped and admitted I was not related to you, and once again when he caught me red handed in a falsity. He is sharp, Una. -- he is so sharp, and I understand his allure. In the weeks following, on the boat. -- Una, sometimes -- sometimes I wished he would see through me, and look at me, the way I imagine him looking at you. With a demand for the honesty of your being. With --" The sentence trails, and Sinon's expression blanks. For some time he simply looks into a space occupied by memories of salt and sail, and Andreas Graff.

Finally, "I meant to kill him this morning. I have ruined him thoroughly, or I thought I would have. He has cheated on you. With Azra, and, I think, more importantly, with me. -- no, not physically. But I engaged his curiosity. He has dreamt of me. He wonders. And so in this ruin I thought I would end him and show you that you were wrong, and that the only proper shape of you must involve me, as I would never lie to you of myself. Not like him. But --"

Una will know what follows. She has felt it, too. She has felt it like the ocean moving through her.

" -- I think I am in l -- "

The glass door opens behind Sinon, and out steps Andreas, unclothed except by hair and scars. In the nude, Andreas is an expression of the Greek desire for the perfect man. His is muscle, sinew, ratio, and his ugliness is a particularly engaging form of handsomeness; it is a kingly ugly, a heroic ugly, like that of a veteran animal, a carrier of stories. He has a over sized mug in one massive hand, a plastic affair with nondescript Spanish scrawled across it, red on white. The other carries the blue ribbon so often found in his hair, and he is in the motions of tying his mane back with one hand.

Sinon is surprised, and even frightened. Not only by the man, but by the moment. Andreas, however, seems to have not heard. He is entirely preoccupied with himself. He closes the sliding door with a foot and sits down next to Sinon, taking a drink. It's only water.

Sinon speaks first, glancing back into the apartment. "You two went again."

"Mmhm."

" -- you wore her out."

"Yes." Andreas is a quiet rumble, volcanic smoke from deep, deep down.

Sinon is surprised at that, too. More importantly, he is impressed. That should be impossible. He asks, after a moment to allow Andreas to settle, "Do you feel better?"

Andreas takes an equally long moment to respond. First, there is a hint of guilt, "No." But then there is far more, "Yes."

Both sink into silence again. Sinon glances to Andreas, tucking his tongue into his cheek, and considers the other man and what he said. The eventual follow up is simply,

"We can take her with us if you want. If she makes you feel better, Andreas." Here is another trap. Take it. Take it so I can destroy you. Take it so I can live vicariously through her. Sinon cannot hide the hope, but Andreas is still unaware of it. He has his own troubles now.

"If you think that's the thing to do, we can bring her. -- maybe we can share her. The thought came to me a while ago."

Sinon's mouth hangs, but only a touch. It closes when he smirks. "You are still drunk."

Andreas shrugs, then smiles without looking at Sinon. "Yes. A touch."

"That does not free you of what you said."

"I will claim to not remember later."

"I never forget a thing. I will remember for both of us."

"Do that, Sinon. For now I just want to sit here, and think. If you can do it quietly, you can sit here, too."

Sinon turns back to look at the sun. Behind them, the reflection rises, and then the film floods with red. Transition.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The remission from the red comes through in silent, rolling patterns moving just behind the color, a collection of shapes so soft and ambiguous they float like moth wings or foam. A scene unfolds behind the flooded color. Harder lines shift into vague forms and around them light ripples away, silhouettes in the water, things making waves. The scene in the back hard cuts once to another moment, then again, and again. As the red fades away, it becomes clear that there is not one point to see, but a collection of them, a gathering of time and space significant to Sinons story. It takes minutes for the sun rise from the balcony to evaporate, and even then red lurks in the corners, in the shadows, and behind every saturated pixel on the screen. Always there. Always with Sinon and Andreas, as new scenes unfold, new stories of their time on the boat together, alone, in the vastness of all that nothing. Sinon and Andreas talking in mute silence. Sinon and Andreas laughing, stealing looks, chasing each other over and under rigging. Sinon and Andreas, together.

Then the sound comes in, and here, too, a remission, a reapplication of a previous technique. Sinon splices the audio of another place and time over the visuals of Sinon and Andreas. But this is not Una, and it is not a message left on a machine connected to a secret phone number known to only two people in the world. This time, Sinon plays a conversation. One voice, his, maintains a steady, smooth beat, never rushed or taunt. The other is faster and higher and infinitely feminine, even if the lows are smokey and the highs frenetic.

You said I could have him, Sinon. You promised me I could have him when you were done with him. Azra Ozel. Distant cousin to Una Cristea, as distant as a leopard to a jaguar.

I did.

You had your little time on the boat playing pirates. You have to give him to me.

A beat. I have to do no such thing yet.

Why? Youre done. You broke him. You violated his little .. whatever he has with that bitch, and now I get to play with him.

Another beat, longer. His voice lacks warmth, but not control. The control never slips. Never call her that again.

More scenes filter by, and in them there is a linear construction. They follow the timeline of day to day, week to week, with no lapses or unordered cuts. A relationship blooms between the men as it did before, but here, in the second showing, the tape focuses on the little moments stretched out across all that time at sea. Their hands brush each other as Andreas shows Sinon how to construct knots. Sinon films Andreas in secret as the sailor raises sails and adjusts rigging, and he focuses on a stretch of spine where four nailed-sized scars travel across the bones. They eat together; Andreas suffers through the terrible food and they share wine from one cup. Glances, smiles, conversations that grow warmer. Gotless becomes Andreas. The beast humanizes over theological conversations and Sinons lessons on history. Sinons defenses drop by careful, calculated degrees, except when dont, and Sinon simply opens up for no reason except to open up.

A new moment; Sinon cuts his thumb deep with a knife, deliberate and careful, as Andreas watches, rapt. Blood swells around the wound, fills a palm, and rolls down a wrist. The shade of the blood is the same red that lays in threat behind the tape, and it seems less like color recorded on film, and more like something bleeding through. They are not pixels on the screen; they are holes reaching all the way back through the machinery, tunneling down.

Sinon puts the thumb into his mouth, between lips and teeth. In a minute the cut is gone, but blood paints his mouth. Andreas inspects the former, but the camera catches him when he becomes distracted by the latter. Both are tricks that come to Sinon easily. Una will recognize them both. No scars remain. All of them fade away, his silent lips say. Some faster than others.

The recorded conversation cuts with a subtle difference in pitch. Some of it must have been truncated, a middle section that was either unimportant or too important to share. Sinon revealed the beginning, and now he reveals the end.

Needful. When can I have him?

Casual. When I am done with him.

When will that be?

I do not know. We have traveling to do. At the end, I suppose.

Where is the end, Sinon? Impatience touches on dark, girlish curiosity.

Beneath the conversation, more film runs by, more time and space to travel. Sinon examines Andreas in close proximity, one hand touching scars, the other holding the camera. The mans skin texture changes in sweeping passes, sometimes in hairline lengths, sometimes in vast patches. Rough rubble stretched across a shoulder blade; the unnatural smoothness of a valley cutting through a calf. Sinon can almost fit fingers into an old puncture beneath ribs, but Andreas slips his ugly hand over Sinons and compares the two. One set of fingers are meant for piano, or strings, or for deftly navigating the space between legs. The other are too large and thick for any of that, though they manage all three with their own brutal, careful grace. No marks remain on Sinons. Andreas hands wear their history with every pockmark and knick. Sinons hands seem so careless, and Andreas must always be careful. And yet, as Andreas turns them both over, when they are at just the right angle, they seem to almost blur together, and if only for just a moment, there is no point where one begins and the other ends, but a melding.

There are other scars to see, but the men journey below deck to explore, and the tape drifts away to other moments.

The audio repeats. Where is the end, Sinon?

The last scene from the boat is from after the storm. The camera lense is cracked, and though it has time to dry, it retains all the errors and damage from before. Salt has crystallized somewhere in the assembly between film and glass, and it splits half of the incoming light into a kaleidoscope of blues and grays. The two men are above deck; a night sky hangs behind them with a sheet of twinkling, static-filled stars, and a bare sliver of moon. Andreas is sprawled on his back, asleep, and a foot and arm dangle off the boat edge. His head is tucked against Sinons thigh, who sits up against the broken railing. Sinon pushes hair from Andreas face with a single finger, looking down upon him, thinking, wondering, dreaming. Sinon glances at the camera, his face slack, almost tired, almost sad. Almost guilty, but yet not.

Then Sinon reaches for and picks the camera up to turn it towards the sea. Black waves stretch out forever.

In Paris. It will end in Paris.

Transition.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jump cut; a violent crash of light and color. Black waves explode into the blue-white light of a kitchen dining room, bright enough to stun the retinas, to induce pain across nerve endings. So bright the television hums as every diode floods with electricity, and the cathode tube in the back opens itself right up to stream as much light as it can. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. Sinon speaks in visual wavelengths, and with nothing but a hotel room and a camera, he washes away the whole world. 40 days and nights of rain, sink or swim. This is how it ends.

And Una is no Noah. Sinon leaves her with no time to build her boat or collect her wild beasts; she can drown with the rest of them, go under all with all the shadows fleeing before the brightness. The tv sings its detuned song and the world around it slips beneath its waves. All while the three people it depicts on its screen eat cereal from expensive china bowls, casual in their linoleum apocalypse. If God needs four horsemen to destroy the earth, Sinon will need only three. In truth, he only needs the two.

He might even only need the one.

But eventually pupils dilate and the ears adjust. Andreas takes up most of the table, with Sinon and Azra flanking either side. He makes his way through a bowl of Captain Crunch (a joke, surely), thoughtful and distracted, limbs tensioned with discernable agitation. Sinon has toast and a blood orange; he reads a paper, legs stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankle. Azra pours herself more cereal. Of the three, only she wears clothes, a baby doll bathrobe barely tied at the hips and offset by an unruly mess of wild hair and cheap bunny slippers. The silk is carefully ranged to be utterly negligent of covering her, but neither man pays her much attention, even when she crunches loudly and eyes them for reaction. Seeing none, she pouts. This, too, they ignore.

They all drink coffee. Azra�s cup is the largest, and Sinon has a cigarette smoking in an ashtray next to his.

The room is one of many in their suite at the Villa Magna. This, then, must be something of the morning after, though given the state of them, perhaps not the morning after, but rather just a morning after. Tension has had time to bleed away from Sinon and Azra, to dry up, dissolve itself past the point of detection. They almost seem --

Familial. Familial, in a dark and exotic suburbia. Familial, in a way of broken empires. Sinful, decadent, nonplussed.. If only Azra had an apron to complete the picture.

Yet Andreas seems to be bothered. There is a weight on him. In him. He has not yet digested everything that�s happened.

Finally, Andreas speaks. �I have business I have to attend, in Rabat.� The declaration is formal but without edge. He almost seems embarrassed to bring it up, if Andreas can be embarrassed.

Sinon replies with a relaxed, slow glance at Andreas, but says nothing. The information is news to him. Azra raises her brows as she looks between the two men.

Andreas continues, quietly. �Before we continue on, there are men I must see, payments to make.� He hopes, but knows better, that an explanation might excuse the secrecy until now. His spoon makes shapeless motions in his bowl of milk. �If I�m going to spend more time with you two, it needs to be taken care of now.� He doesn�t say, �Before it becomes a problem,� but it�s implied. Blue eyes don�t return Sinon�s look; instead, they focus on the bowl.

Sinon�s reaction is subliminal, a near invisible twitch along his jaw. Neither person in the room, at the moment of the filming, can spot it. Una can see it only after a lifetime of having been in its presence. When Sinon speaks, he speaks breezily, shrugging. �Then we go to Rabat to finish your business.�

Azra follows, amused, spoon practically dangling on the ledge of her lower lip, barely supported by fingertips. �Business before pleasure. Such serious men.� The grin that follows is mad hat, and stretches half way up her cheeks. She teases, �I like Rabat, and we can take the coastline back. I know all the best spots to stay.�

The men pause, exchange looks, and communicate without speaking. Sinon goes back to his paper. Andreas sighs, reaches for the box of cereal, and finds it empty. He shakes it in his hand while looking over to Azra, who only grins more.

Sinon ignores her, attention back to the paper. �I can fly us there in a private jet, Andreas. It will save time.� He speaks of spending money like it�s nothing.

�That�d be helpful,� replies Andreas. He stands and stalks off to toss the empty box into the trash, returning only to acquire his mug and move to the coffee machine. The pot is as empty as the box of cereal. Again he sighs. Again Azra�s smile emboldens. Again Sinon ignores her. Andreas has his back to the camera; the muscles along his spine tighten, and his shoulders flex. He puts both hands on a counter and takes a deep breath. Gold hair falls across his neck in curls, except where he�s tied it back with his blue ribbon.

Azra teases the beast with a simple, �Still hungry, Andre?� Her smile could practically ignite a fire. Andreas lifts his head to look at her, and then, a moment later, move to her with long strides.

They don�t even go to the bedroom; there is, after all, a table right there. Sinon finishes an article, folds the paper away, and watches them between sips of coffee.

As the scene fades off, a new audio track unspools itself for Una. Sinon and Azra, again, talking.

�Do not call him Andre. Even to antagonize him.�

�Awe, did I upset you? I�ll call him whatever I want. This isn�t about being nice, Sinon.�

�His name is Andreas. He deserves your respect.�

� � Are you forgetting why we�re here?�

�I are you forgetting who I am?�

She scoffs. Then, a few beats later, �You�re serious, aren�t you?�

�Yes.�

A sigh. It stretches on, petulant. �Fine. I�ll call him Andreas, just to make you happy.�

Sinon does not say thank her. It�s not of his nature. Yet still there is something of a softness to him, in that moment, in only the audio. A faint tone, barely detectable. Almost as if he were �

Human. Human, and not God, despite flooding the world. Despite ending it over and over again, scene by scene. As if he was �

Having second thoughts.

Then the videotape jumped again, speeding onward.


Last edited by Sinon Lagos on Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Car trip, plane trip, transport by windowless van.

Black market, dark market, cash exchanged for chemicals in inert, white plastic jugs. A shot of hands and unmarked bills, framed by marred basement floor. Dirt and grime. The mulatto skin of strange men, shot from the shoulders down. Sinon does not film faces, all parties remain anonymous.

Marker scrawl, thick letters, chemistry shorthand: barium peroxide, sulfuric acid, iron oxide, aluminum powder. A view of glassware and burners, the quiet whirr of an ozone generator. Andreas the alchemist, his lightning in the bottle. The muscles of his broad back, hunched over tables and beakers. The scars on his hands, making fine adjustments to small instruments. His utter expressionlessness when at work, except for his eyes, ever present. They burn blue and cold.

Sinon makes himself useful. “What will be our final concentration?”

“93%.”

“It will be highly unstable.”

“Yes. Do you understand chemistry?”

“I am Lagos. We all do.”

“Then you can watch this while I build the packages. When the strip turns blue, open the valve and siphon.”

Dangerous concoctions, steel jars, broken glass and ball bearings. Loops and loops of wire. Handcrafted circuit boards and the wispy blue smoke of soldering irons, with brief shots of beepers and a round of testing. Andreas makes a call, sprawled against a desk adorned with a dozen contraptions. He fiddles with the buttons; the phone is small in his hands, and he inputs the pager number one key at a time with a single finger. Then all at once the devices leap to life and activate. Andreas nods in satisfaction, tongue thoughtfully pocketed in his cheek, and drops the phone into its cradle. Lazy is the satiated beast. A hot sun pours through a crack between boards nailed across a window.

Andreas sends Sinon out for magnesium flares, bought in bundles from a naval supply store, purchased cheap under the counter. They cut them open together that night, carefully removing the ignitors and cores. Azra films them as they work together in parallel, in mirror. Faces fixed, hands delicate, they cut through the neon orange shells with scalpels and pliers. Night drips between the boards now, forming puddles of moonlight on the floor.

“Men you must see, you said. Payments to make.” Sinon muses, lilting playfully.

“I didn’t say what kind of payments.”

“I question your definition of payments, Andreas.” Brief smile, snapshot charming villain.

Andreas doesn’t respond. Sinon follows up. “If you do not trust me with all the facts yet, that is okay. But I would prefer you not lie.”

“I didn't lie. I just omitted.” Scowl. Distracted, Andreas almost drops a flare cap. A man calm in gunfire, but nervous in conversations.

Sinon has no such troubles. “The difference is only a subtle one, Andreas. I would have come here with you all the same. I will burn men with you. I would burn much for you.” For you. The word choice has weight. If the word could be dropped into the midnight puddle, it would ripple the light.

“So I am to trust you?” A pause in work; Andreas sits up smooths his hands out across the table, a flare half-finished in front of him.

Sinon pauses, too, and looks at him. Pauses in reaction. Pauses in thought.

And he hesitates, for a moment. A fraction of a moment. Only a fraction of a moment. As their eyes meet across a table, as Andreas raises the dangerous, deadly question of trust, and Sinon evades not just the man across from him, but himself, too, himself and all the feelings and thoughts he’d not expected to have, Sinon hesitates.

But it’s only a just a moment, and not even a full one. Casual is the smirk, and lionish the shrug. “I think you should trust me. I do not lie, Andreas. I cannot.”

“Truly?”

“Truly.”

The next night they take a break from the work and go to the cinema, to let the edge off, to blow off steam. Sinon purchases tickets to an older French work, a neo-noir crime film about a hitman and a love triangle. Azra sits between them, in a dayglo dress lifted to her thighs. They watch very little of the movie, and pass the camera between the three of them. Skin on skin. Hands on throat. Andreas demands eye contact each moment she spends atop him, straddling lap. Sinon speaks to her in Greek, in a soft display of hard words. She loses herself to the men, and they lose themselves, to themselves, in violent, dissolving releases. She leans heavily against Sinon when they leave, as if he could hold her whole world up, and asks him to keep talking in Greek.

Later, with the camera perched on the corner of a bar table, Andreas asks Sinon what he said, and so Sinon tells him in slow, deliberate detail. Speaks them again word by word by word, in English, in German, in all the languages Andreas knows. And others, which Andreas doesn’t know, but understands, there and then, in the context of the situation. The German drinks beer and listens, growing heavier and heavier. Growing to want to lean against Sinon, just as Azra had. To lean against him as if he could not just hold the whole world up, but could bring it down, too. Word by word, Sinon demonstrates a power of language has never known, and when Sinon finishes, Andreas says nothing, half shocked, half awed, and utterly enspelled. The Greek finishes his wine and suggests they all go home.

They have to drag Azra away from the jukebox, from its neon lights and vintage, vinyl hits. She sprawls against it, languorous, makeup smeared and men gathered around her. Moth to the light, wide eyed and body high; her skin sheens, and her chest beats like a hummingbirds. Andreas almost pulls a gun, but Sinon speaks for the three of them, and all others depart.

In the van, as Andreas speeds them through the streets, he asks Sinon how he does it.

“It is easy. You only must mean everything you ever say. You can never lie, not even to yourself. When you can do that, people are inclined to believe you. Even when they do not want to. Even when it scares them.”

“Truly, Sinon?”

“Truly.”

In the safe house, she begs for the words again, and fits herself between the two men, leading them to the bedroom with her small and tender hands. This time Andreas understands every word, and loses track of which are for her and which are for him, and though the men never touch, they do everything but. With Azra between them, they absolutely do everything but.

Then, in the morning, they have breakfast together, place everything they’ve prepared into innocuous brown boxes, and make their delivery.
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