Umwelt: Darkness Flows Like A River Episode 33: Sacrifice

rembrandt_sacrifice401x600Margo hasn’t taken her eyes off the castle. Those clear-cut as an amethyst green irises swirl with shadows, boil with flame. Moe watches her as intently as she watches the castle. He’s worried. He knows Margo. He knows that look. Behind him, he feels the presence of Kitty, the Seraphim. It’s indescribable, but if you could feel light, could see music, could touch joy, hold it in your hands, you might come close to knowing something of what it feels like to be touched by his aura.

‘She’s planning something stupid, isn’t she?’

Moe laughs, bittersweet as a pill in honey. ‘Isn’t she always?’

‘She’d do that for him?’

‘She’d do it for all of us.’

‘But Rolf is special.’

Without hesitation, Moe replies, ‘He’s the other half of her. They’ve known each other forever. They’re like twins. If he dies, she will too.’

‘A broken heart.’

Moe turns to face Kitty. ‘No. She will die because he has died. They keep each other alive, those two. Like I said, they grew up together, they reflect each other, prove they exist by doing so. If he is gone, she has no reflection. Understand?’

Kitty swallows. ‘I do. So what will you do if they die?’

The look in Moe’s eyes makes Kitty take a step back. ‘I will make sure that rabid old bitch pays with her every breath for as long as I exist.’

‘Moe.’ Her voice is quiet, but it carries like a shout in the stillness of the streets, deserted now for almost an hour, the remainder of Londinium’s population having returned, subdued and fearful, to their homes.

Moe goes straight to her side. She leans on him, her head rested on his shoulder. They stand there like that for silent moments, both watching the purple flags rippling on the ramparts of Imalia’s castle. Such a peaceful sight, so at odds to whatever horrors Rolf is enduring somewhere within those walls. She sighs and he’s never heard her so mournful, but she’s never knowingly been without Rolf by her side. He’s not envious of their connection. Why would he be? It’s not the same thing as he has with Rolf, it’s older, has different meaning, and he knows it’s vital to their survival.

‘What are you going to do?’

‘I’m going to go and get him. But I can’t go in there all guns blazing, my powers all over the fucking place. I can sense how badly that would go. It grates against my every instinct.’ She tilts her head to gaze at him. There’s a seriousness to her he’s only seen once before, in the wake of their first encounter with the Mother. It’s like a rot, eating her joy from the inside. He wants to reach out and pluck it away. ‘I’ve never been considered. Or careful. I’ve always rushed in where even fools fucked to the eyebrows on crack and false confidence would think twice about treading. If I do that this time, I lose Rolf, you lose Rolf. Worst of all, he loses you. See, I’ve only got him, but he’s got you now…’

Discomfited and unnerved by the gentle sadness in her tone, Moe interrupts, ‘But he’s not changed, Margo. He’s still your Rolf.’

She slips her arm around him and squeezes. There’s so much tenderness in it, he wants to cry. Margo isn’t tender. ‘No, baby, he’s your Rolf, has been since the moment he laid eyes on you. But I’m his Margo. And if I’m his Margo, then I make sure he comes back to you.’


She squeezes again, and this time he feels the tears roll down his face. He doesn’t try to stop them. ‘I’m going to walk to the castle,’ she says softly. ‘I know what will happen, and I’m OK with that. I’ll be happier when I know I’m near him. He’ll feel me then. He’s too tired and hurt to feel me right now, the poor baby. Look after Kitty for me. Make sure he behaves.’

Trying not to think about Rolf and what’s happening to him, a task he’s failed miserably in ever since the Shadow roared through the streets and stole Rolf from his side, Moe attempts to lighten the mood, desperate to see old Margo, even if just for a second. ‘I’m not a cat herder, Margo.’

A wicked smile curls across her mouth, bright as a banner, and his chest unfurls with it. ‘No, darling,’ she says, her eyes sparkling acid amusement, ‘but you are a Queen.’


Click, clack, Margo’s heels tap the cobbles, sure and confident. She’s called upon her older powers, covered herself in what she used to consider her uniform, a raggedy red dress and killer red spikes. This is where her centre lays, this ridiculous, provocative, insouciant mockery of sexuality. It’s entirely inappropriate for Londinium, but look at all the fucks she gives. Rolf needs her. He needs to get back to his Moe. And she’s just the bitch for the job.

Approaching the castle gates, Margo hears the commotion as she’s spotted. Such a show, and all for her. As guards rush out and roughly grab her arms, she’s forced to withhold her smile. Oh, there is such pain to come, but for him, she can endure. Imalia will be certain that Margo sacrificing herself, coming with her powers suppressed, ensures her victory. It won’t. Staring at this castle, her heart disintegrating within her, Margo finally understood what’s she’s failed to recognise all along.

Strength is not always in the attack. Sometimes, it is in the surrender.

© Ren Warom 2013


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