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Trajans Arch_Second Ephesians

Trajans Arch_Second Ephesians

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Published by Blackwyrm Books
This is an excerpted story from Walden Books best-selling author Michael Williams’ novel Trajan’s Arch. It has been made available by the publisher for promotional purposes. Feel free to share, reproduce, or distribute this story in any way you desire. The complete book is available at Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble Online, and directly from the publisher at www.blackwyrm.com.
This is an excerpted story from Walden Books best-selling author Michael Williams’ novel Trajan’s Arch. It has been made available by the publisher for promotional purposes. Feel free to share, reproduce, or distribute this story in any way you desire. The complete book is available at Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble Online, and directly from the publisher at www.blackwyrm.com.

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Published by: Blackwyrm Books on Jan 01, 2011
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TRAJAN’S ARCH: SECOND EPHESIANS
By Michael WilliamsCopyright ©2010 by BlackWyrm GamesAll rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, orportion thereof, in any form. Written permission must be securedfrom the publisher to use or reproduce any part of this book,except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles.The characters in this novel are fictitious. Any resemblance toactual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.A BlackWyrm Book BlackWyrm Publishing10307 Chimney Ridge Ct, Louisville, KY 40299Cover design by Dave MattinglyEdited by Jason WaltersFirst edition: July 2010
Scribd Edition, License Notes
This is an excerpted story from best-selling author MichaelWilliams’ novel
Trajan’s Arch.
It has been made available by thepublisher for promotional purposes. Feel free to share, reproduce,or distribute this story in any way you desire. The complete book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Online, and directlyfrom the publisher at www.blackwyrm.com.Part 1: Sybil’s MasqueThe Chariot is the card for those who achieve greatness. Thecryptic pharaoh in a canopied cart, drawn by twin sphinxes, hisvehicle emblazoned with wings above lingam and yoni.But perhaps, in the days of Mrs. Sybil Gault Lefcourt, thechariot was merely a symbol for all vehicles, for all travel. Forthe travel that brought her miles across the ocean, and those less
 
defined, interior travels that brought Ephesians Munday onto thestage of her memory and thought
.
Sybil Gault first entered the theatre in 1891, when she wasbut a girl of sixteen, at Stratford, in The Tempest. Though shewould appear in the same play in later years--and then as Ariel,mind you--on this particular performance she was only a dancingsprite near the play’s end, among a chorus of girls swayingethereally to the music of Mr. Haydn’s Sturm.There will be time enough, I am certain, to recount her otherearly ventures on the English stage. But it is the events of thatparticular performance that I shall relate here, as they are inkeeping with her visitations and intimations of the World of Spirit, a world that often mingles with our own. And as withmost experiences of travelers in the ethereal and transcendent, theventure began in unsettlement and unease.As she joined in the dance on that evening in ’91, the first of Sybil Gault’s troubles was simply a girlish one, to assure that hercrown of daisies did not slip from her head. The second, of course, remembering the simple steps of the dance, and aligningthem with those of her fellows. It was in watching the movingarms of the girl beside her, matching gestures with those of theolder, more trained dancer, that she noticed yet another girl,arriving late and taking a place at the end of the row.This creature was squat, a head shorter than any of the otherdancers, her skin pocked and curd-pale. The face and features of a Mongolian idiot, her own steps abstract and tentative, as thoughshe were remembering them over a long span of years or readinginstructions through murky water.Something repellent there was in her smell, moreover. Later,Sybil would describe it as a whiff of the charnel house, though atthat time she knew nothing of that terrible sweet odor, nor thatthe phrase itself was good spiritualist poetry, one that mediumand mystic alike would use to describe ghostly visitation. At thetime, however, Sybil thought of setting her foot at the topmoststep of a rat-rife cellar, of a warm metallic stench rising out of that cool dark underground.Watching the poor thing gesture her way through the simpledance, trying to keep up nervously and awkwardly, Sybil’ssympathy transformed into a kind of contempt. The cruelty of 
 
those sentiments alarmed her, more than the girl’s nature or heroccluded purpose in the Shakespearian dance.Despite herself, Sybil wanted to slap the girl. Wanted tostartle and confuse her. She did not like what she wanted. Andthen, the dance coming slowly to a close, the creature turned overthe sea of waving arms and swirling crinoline. Her eyes were alldark, as though the pupils had expanded to fill them entirely, lidto lid, so that she stared from blackened slits and smiled stupidly,a grin ecstatic and malicious, sans teeth and sensibility.Sybil turned from this slow monstrosity and fumbled with themusic. The dance ended with her some steps behind her fellows,staggering like an idiot in the silence. It was the girl’s fault, shetold herself with the righteousness of a sixteen-year-old, and shevowed to take it up at curtain.But of course, by then the creature was nowhere to be found.As Sybil moved through the dancers, through the bustle of actors and stagehands, her anger at the creature changed to a sortof pity borne out of her own shame. For after all, there wassomething inexcusable in the malice she felt toward the terriblelittle thing. Perhaps this was a friend or relation of Frank Benson’s, or an idiot girl upon whom the famous director hadtaken pity. Surely such contempt was unreasonable andinordinate.Sybil searched the tiring rooms, then the whole of thebackstage. Miranda flitted before her like a wraith, and Ariel aswell, though at a second glance these figures were clearly andpalpably actresses, solid and in the process of undress, making re-adjustments in their paint and attire about which I could never tellyou, for it is unfamiliar country to me: as it was to Miss SybilGault at that early hour of her theatrical calling. She would growaccustom to mask and role in later years, but now she wadedthrough simple enigmas, through the milling cast in search of agreater mystery.There was one patch of darkness in the wings, farthest fromthe lamps, and as she approached it, a smell--sour and feral--drifted to meet her out of the mottled shadows.No doubt it was more caution than kindness that slowed hersteps. Whatever the girl was, whether dancer or revenant, she

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