the dark side of the sun

Warning: strong language, car crash.

I may not always know what's right, but I know I want you here tonight.

Everything’s fucked. Mallos leant forward a little to observe his Lamborghini Aventador teetering on a ledge halfway down the cliff. Are you even listening?

Probably not. Knowing first-hand how difficult it was to hear and respond to every prayer, he tried not to begrudge that.

The Aventador was strangely mesmerising: a drop of vibrant yellow against a background of craggy grey rock, shifting dangerously in the wind. The side-panels and front were crumpled where it had rolled down the cliff edge, and the windscreen was smashed where Mallos had gone through it. If he’d been wearing his seat-belt he’d still be in it right now, rocking with the breeze. Ironically, the absence of the seat-belt had saved him by thrusting him head-first through the windscreen and sending him tumbling onto the grassy verge instead of flying over the side of the cliff with the rest of the car.

A drop of blood wormed its way down from the top of his head, where the yellow healing sparks were still doing their work, into his eye. He wiped it away with the side of his hand.

You should be delighted, he picked at the grass with his fingers, that I want someone to tell me what to do.

Mallos had never been to a church or temple to pray. It felt incredibly superficial, especially since it didn’t matter where a person was when they prayed, in terms of their god actually hearing them. Didn’t matter much what you said either, so he used it as an opportunity to say whatever was playing on his mind. In an increasingly untrustworthy world, confiding in an invisible being was a meditative form of self-therapy.

Further down the cliff, a magpie perched on the bonnet of the Aventador, causing it to teeter dangerously. Sat on the edge of the cliff with his legs swung over the side, Mallos watched it idly. He could hoist it back up telekinetically if he wanted, and he’d have a great time in the workshop beating those panels out, but he felt somehow… detached. Like he was watching the car on television. Besides, with the death of the Aventador, that would make it a nice round five million euros in Italian cars he’d smashed up in the last few weeks.

Something - someone - connected with the back of his mind, making him sit up straight. Aura, actually answering? No, the voice was male. Incoming prayer. Typical.

It was a familiar voice, though. Mallos would have ignored it but for that; vaguely curious, he closed his eyes and let the prayer wash over him instead. In his mind’s eye, a great stone-walled castle loomed above him.

No, not a castle. The castle.

A slight frown creased Mallos’ brow. The voice in his ear continued, identifying itself by association, hitting home on a topic Mallos preferred to drink away rather than think about. He drew his legs up over the cliff and crossed them, resting his elbow on his knee and his chin in his hand. Images of Mordred, Morgan and Tristan flashed briefly through his mind. That, he reflected, neither sure nor really caring if Gawain could hear him back, and I’m not really wanted there anymore. That much had been made clear.

The wind picked up, tugging at his hair just as the last few sparks of divinity finished their work. Below, a tremendous screech wrenched open the air as the Aventador slid from its perch and dropped like a stone towards the ocean below. The up-splash was so high that it dampened the air in front of him, forming a brief rainbow.

So long, Italian bastard.

Mallos inhaled, focusing on his magic. As he exhaled, the splashes of blood over his hair, skin and clothes dissipated. Healing magic had taken care of the rest, even repairing the holes in his shirt, so he now looked no different to how he had when he’d stepped into the car. His second breath teleported him directly into the rose bushes in the castle gardens. It was night, here. Gawain was lying on his back, staring up at the star-kissed sky.

“I’m listening,” Mallos told him gently.

I've learned enough to know I'm never letting go
Photography by Raul Soler


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