Hyperion Episode 8 – In the Moonlight

BLURB:

Hyperion is on a mission to slay the Swine, a powerful Night Wraith. Yet in the last episode he found himself compelled to save his target’s wife, Ligia, from rape by one of her husband’s men. Hyperion killed the attacker, and now he has to dispose of the body, which he takes deep in the woods. Yet in the moonlight there’s more than Hyperion’s wraith that comes to life. Enjoy the story as secrets even Hyperion doesn’t expect reveal themselves “In the Moonlight.”

***

The Weasel’s body now lifeless at my feet, I hide my face deeper under the hood. This is the part where I become a real monster, and I don’t want Ligia seeing it in my eyes. I don’t want her to know I’m no better than her husband.

Without a glance at her or the widow, I grab the Weasel by his ankles and drag him over the sill. The adrenaline is still alive in my blood, and I must take advantage of it while it lasts. I jump over and sling the body over my shoulder, but as I advance into the darkness my feet begin to sink in the thick snow, the cold and the strain catching up with me. It’s been a draining night.

By the time I reach the heart of the woods I can’t feel my toes or my fingers. My lips are split and start to hurt. The ground is too frozen and too hard to dig anything resembling a tomb, so I give in to my other monster impulses. I take the Weasel’s knife – dented and blunt – and start around his face, applying more strength than I would with a good blade, and more skill.

He’s already rigid and barely bleeds as I cut around his forehead and cheeks, making sure he’s unrecognizable. I rip his shirt open with the same bad temper he ripped Ligia’s, shred his pants and underwear, and I chop him open. The cold neutralized his smell, but the warm insides of his body are an odor bomb.

I wait for a while in the frosty shrubbery to see if wild animals take a chance on him. They don’t – they prefer their prey wounded but fresh. They will devour him eventually nevertheless. Food in the winter woods is scarce. Still, if he doesn’t fall prey to fangs, by the time anyone finds him he’ll be long forgotten anyway.

The break helps refill my tanks just enough to start back towards the old widow’s house. I remember the story about the orphans in the widow’s barn, and I decide to seek shelter there. For that, I have to take a path through the village to cross to the other side of the woods, and so I have to pass by the well. When I do, my heart leaps in a way no wraith could ever cause it to.

Ligia stands in the moonlight with her back at me, her blond locks falling free down to her waist. I approach, the snow crunching under my feet. Apart from the sound of it there’s an unfamiliar pounding in my ears. Maybe I’m worried about the consequences of her leaving her house. What I know for a fact is that I can’t believe she honors the midnight meeting she suggested even under the circumstances.

“What if your husband returns and doesn’t find you?” I admonish when I’m close enough. Not too close, I don’t want her feeling the stench of death on me.

Her frame straightens and stiffens at the sound of my voice. She spins round, and her bright blue eyes meet mine, the blush in her cheeks like roses on porcelain. The sight stirs me, and I feel the urge to shield against it. I square my shoulders, putting on a forbidding face.

“He’s –,” she babbles a bit and gathers the afghan around her like a shy child. “He’s not coming back until morning. It’s not the first time he goes out like this.”

I give a stiff nod.

“I mean he’s at –”

“No need for explanations,” I interrupt, doing my best to sound unfriendly. It makes her feel embarrassed, and my stomach clenches. Not what I aimed for. “He’s seeing other women, I understand. You don’t have to give me the details if they hurt you,” I add a little softer. This encourages her.

“Hurt me? No, they don’t hurt me. I’m happy to have him away.”

She walks closer and looks me right in the face. I take a step back and she stops.

“I’m sorry about the first night at the citadel,” she says. “I didn’t realize you were . . . You’re not going to tell him, are you?”

“I just killed a man in his house, right before your eyes. Do you think I’m in any position to expose you?”

Her eyes wander all over my face, greedy and relentless, and I realize my hood is off. I want to pull it back on, but it seems awkward and pointless. It’s too late.

“Then we keep each other’s secret.”

I don’t reply, and keep my gaze fixed between her eyes. It helps me look distant, but something very strange happens inside of me.

“The widow’s lips are sealed as well,” she whispers. “She said she prepared the old Father’s chamber at church for you, it’s warm and cozy now, and she will be attending to you. I will as well, if you wish.” Her cheeks go even redder and hotter despite her breath turning to steam in the cold. I’d like to breathe in that steam.

“No. It would cause trouble for the both of us.”

Now she feels embarrassed again. She sinks her head.

“No it is, then. But if I may ask – why did you do it? Why did you save me?”

“Just an impulse. I came to see your husband, and –”

“You came to kill him,” she cuts off. It doesn’t really surprise me, the widow must’ve told her. I decide to restrict the answer though.

“It’s not that simple.”

“I understand. No need for explanation on my side either. Just know that whoever seeks to free this place of the Swine – freeing me of him in stride – has my complete and purest loyalty.”

She walks by me and stops by my side. She’s too close.

“Father Jacob. Is that your real name?”

“It’s the name they gave me in the monastery.”

“But not the name your mother gave you?”

The words make my jaw lock, but Ligia is patient. She doesn’t move until I speak again. “My mother was young. She had big dreams and daring ideas. She picked a more pretentious name.”

“Tell me. Even if it’s the last word you ever address me,” she pleads, her voice sweet and broken. It blows my shield into pieces.

“Hyperion,” I hear myself before I think it.

“Hyperion,” she repeats. There’s a kind of reverence in her voice. She seems to take my name with her as she departs, while I remain motionless by the well under the moonlight, my heart pounding, my face burning. The adrenaline races through me, but this time it isn’t anger or bloodlust. It’s something different. Something new to me. And strangely pleasant.

To be continued.

***

Liked this? Share your thoughts and feelings in a comment. Hyperion’s whole story will be published in a Christmas Story Book for Adults, so stay tuned for Gift Promotions and other goodies. This Story Book for Adults will also be quite fit for a Christmas present – stay tuned for the reveal of the cover versions next week, and you’ll see how come.

Enjoy Hyperion’s former episodes on this site 1, and my muse for Hyperion’s fabulous works here.

Picture from www.pinterest.com

Buy Hyperion’s whole story here.

 

 

13 thoughts on “Hyperion Episode 8 – In the Moonlight

  1. This episode brought to mind something that has guided my life and incorporated into my philosophy of seeking balance through the experience of all things. It’s from Ecclesiates 3. You perfectly capture Hyperion’s duality in his willingness to do whatever dark thing that accomplishes the greater good, even at the loss of his own soul. He also yearns for connection to the light and to feel a brighter purpose than the drudgery of destruction. There is no greater salvation than a shared love. But Hyperion never knows if it love, lust, or manipulation. He has to be sure otherwise, he does more harm to those he pledged his life to protect. Thank you Ana, for reconnecting this in Hyperion’s story and in my heart.

    For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
    a time to be born, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
    a time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    a time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
    a time to tear, and a time to sew;
    a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    a time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time for war, and a time for peace.

    1. Wow, you leave me speechless… Your words again, they capture profound essence, and it touches me especially that Hyperion comes across the way I feel him – more than an action or suspense story, even more than a love story. There are many more mysteries he’ll reveal, for himself and for us. We are now further in the story and Hyperion takes us deeper into his character. Just like a person – we get to know him better. But he is profound and complex, there is more to his enigma. I get the feeling this episode was special to you in a way… Is it just me?

      1. All of the episodes connect but this one drove deeper and released many thoughts. Like your quizzes, the selection reveals an answer that is different than what can be assumed by the selection alone. Yes, this episode is very meaningful. More so than I can say or write. And, you aren’t done yet. There are many labyrinths to explore not all of them necessary. You have a delightful skill for finding the right one to travel down. Please keep it up.

      2. I actually wondered… The story goes to secret chambers and deserted wings there is always the danger that you might want untouched. I always chew my fingernails before you read, even in the pool I thought about it… It was great to come home to such positive feedback.

      3. Oh darn! I messed up your zen moment. You have a pass key. One of those big skeleton keys that unlocks the oldest and most rusty locks.

  2. Another well written chapter, Ana. 🙂

    It’s interesting how Hyperion suddenly starts to feel the passion of love after having engaged in the passion of killing.

    It’s interesting that Daniel quoted Ecclesiastes 3.

    It’s my favourite Old Testament passage.

    It was the chapter I had printed on the front of the bulletins handed out at my dad’s funeral.

    1. Thank you, Chris! Hyperion doesn’t understand what he is feeling very well; he didn’t until the end of this chapter anyway, this is new to him. Maybe the rush of darkness feeds the passion of the light, I’m not even sure myself. He’s a very strong muse 🙂 Interesting choice you made for the bulletins… How old was your father?

      1. He was 82 but both of his parents lived to 90.
        And both his grandfathers lived until their 90s.
        And one of his great-grandfathers lived to 105.

        He contracted colon cancer somehow- my dad didn’t understand how since he neither smoke nor drank.

        Of course they put so much junk in food these days.

        And then the major cancer clinic in northern Alberta used to have 4 oncologists working there full time but the year my dad got cancer was the year that the Alberta Provincial Government had an absolute brainless idiot of a man named Ed Stelmach as a Premier and his government never bothered finding 2 replacements for 2 oncologists who left the clinic the year before.

        Which meant that year of 2010, there was a major backlog of cancer treatment and my dad because of his age was way at the back of the list.

        I think if he had got into the clinic and received treatment, he would have lived because he was in otherwise very good physical shape.

        That’s another reason why I left Alberta for British Columbia because I thought the brainless electorate of Alberta would continue to vote for the so-called Progressive Conservative Party and ensure that total bozos like Ed Stelmach would continue to sit in the Premier’s Office.

        To my surprise, in the very first election after I left Alberta, they finally kicked those bastards out of office after having been in power there 44 years.

        The new Premier Rachel Notley is in fact the daughter of Grant Notley a man who was a very good friend of my father.

        Grant Notley was the leader of the NDP (New Democratic Party) back in the 1970s and ’80s and if it hadn’t been for his tragic death in a plane crash in 1984, many thought he would become the first NDP Premier of Alberta.

        As it was, it would take another 31 years when his daughter Rachel was elected leader of the Party that she’d win the election and lead the Party to power becoming Alberta’s 1st NDP Premier herself.

      2. That’s a very interesting story! Indeed, older patients don’t get the same attention as the young ones and, regarding cancer, it does seem to be a pandemic. I’m pretty sure it’s caused by some meainstream product that we use every day, as I’m pretty sure the WHO know exactly what it is, but it would change the face of civilization if we knew what it is too…

      3. I remember as a kid, my dad’s godmother who was French and originally from rural Normandy always wondered about the meat they had in grocery stores in North America.

        It didn’t look the right colour to her.

        She wondered if it was loaded with pesticides and hormones which it probably was.

      4. Yes! That must be so, but I think there’s more than that. I know people who got ugly cancer even though they were vegetarians – the cancer was even more aggressive in a particular case. As for a famours example, think of Steve Jobs with his diet. I think it’s more than the meat, something even more mainstream. For example, in Germany it’s a huge deal nowadays with the asbestos floors in apartments. It causes cancer if fine particles are breathed in. Only recently they admitted that, plus that only specialized companies can remove these floors.

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