I know his tricks… #fivewords

Weekly Writing Prompt #155

Notre Dame Blick nach Westen - Wasserspeier

 

I know his tricks, and I can recognise the face, his, or of one of his “staff“, as he likes to call his minions. I have seen him a few times, in the old city, never in the same guise, even as an attractive person, disappearing at will in the crowd. Always, I heed his moves, his looks, for, sometime, he betrays his goal, his intentions, and reveals who will be his next prey.

Photo: Noter-Dame de Paris, collection privée, Paris in the 30’s.

Le grand homme de la nuit

DSC_0279

 

The park is immense: we leave the car near the house on the lake, where the couple lived, and where, we can imagine, Hélène planned her acquisitions. We walk around the house, a structure that inspires solid wealth, and a longing for a bygone age. The sombre bricks reflect in the water, children have left their bikes against the steps that lead to the wide terrace. We follow a narrow path that serpents on what must be, in winter, a very wet land. The ground is soft but almost dry, despite the recent torrential rain. The path takes us to a square building, in the style of the house, which encloses a well. Nearby we leave the main track to circle around a small pond covered with lilies: a beautiful toad meditates on one of the larger leaves, impassible. But we want to see the museum and the famed arboretum. Most visitors are cycling and we feel somewhat ashamed of driving.
The sculpture garden closes at four thirty, so we decide to go and see the Van Gogh gallery first, then visit the garden – a museum of modern sculptures and installations. Hélène had good taste, and a large (they say “unlimited”) budget. She bought Van Gogh both before the painter had achieved fame, and later. His early work is astounding: Van Gogh painted peasants in his native land. The Potatoes Eaters show the rugged faces and hands of a poor family, lunching under the light of a small petrol lamp. The beautiful Dutch white coiffes contrast with the dark garments. The profiles are almost medieval. The collection is an amazing treasure trove. We recognise some the best known paintings, the postman and his wife, the village main square at night – the stars in the Mediterranean sky! – the light of Provence. Hélène bought many avant-garde paintings, Seurat, Picasso, Monet, Mondrian… An hour goes by and we haven’t seen more than a third of the museum. You say that we ought to visit the garden, and then come back to see as much as we can before closure.
This is an enchanted place: the sunlight bounces across the green lawns, and lits the sculptures scattered over open spaces, reflecting in small basins, or part hidden in the trees. You guide us through the maze, and we watch, mesmerised, the variety of inspirations and forms. There is la femme accroupie de Rodin, there the columns of the Sacred Grove

Later, you walk back to the museum, as I continue to explore the garden.
I retrace our steps, and discover more hidden treasures. It is there, a little away from the main path, that I sense him. He stands, in the shade of a large tree, on a block of stone so that his small size is not immediately evident. As I look up the reptilian face, taking in the short arms, terminated into powerful triangular wings, and the cruel hooves, the sun disappears behind a dark cloud. The face is inscrutable, the enormous penis, half erect, exudes menace. I dare take a first picture that turns out blank, then try again, this time more successfully. I read the legend, “Le grand homme de la nuit”, and the name of the artist, Germaine Richier (1904-1959). I can no longer hear voices, nor the laughter of children playing on the grass. I feel the malevolent presence, and ask myself, was Germaine his victim? Suddenly I feel the need to move away from le grand homme.

I walk back to the museum, and look for you. “Did you see anything interesting?” you ask. “It’s a delightful place, and we must come back for another visit…” I reply cheerfully.

Inspired by a visit to the Kröller-Müller park and museum, near Arnheim, Netherlands

Germaine Richier (en français)

Trace #TheDailyPost

Inspired by today’s one word prompt

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In any other city I would probably lose him, as his ability to hide behind others, look like them, or simply disappear, is beyond any other’s. But this is the city of Faust. Among the folks of the night, roaming the quiet streets, haunting the silent parks, he is known as the Prince of Deceit, and easily recognised. So I know where and how to find him, follow his putrescent scent, get the demons of the night to corner him.

He tries to pretend to be someone else, a poor vagrant, a homeless, harmless victim of this harsh life. And I laugh. Through the rictus and the sardonic smile, I see the reality of the shaking Devil.  Confronted, identified, gone the assurance, gone the lies, the pitiful remnant of a fallen angel is just afraid!

Vade retro Satanas!

Picture: Devil Voodoo Figure, Usulutàn Province, El Salvador (courtesy Tucson Museum of Modern Art)

Humble Pie #DailyPost

Tell us about a time you found out after the fact that you’d been mistaken and you had to eat a serving of humble pie.

Devil – horror concept by Yi Yang Chen“I’m so sorry my friend, I really apologise to you (poor bugger), how could I be so ruthless?”

The little demon keeps agitating in his bag, squeaking.

“I know, I know, you were quietly walking the street, sniffing the air, looking at the girls, watching the traffic… and there comes this big bully.”

He sees you, seizes you, knocks you on the head, kicks your bum, and then, horror and misery, stuffs you in this filthy bag!

“What did you say? You will complain to your master? O-yes, I’m sure you will, once I have finished with you – vile creature!”

A huge hand slaps him through the coarse material of the bag. How undignified for a supporter of Lucifer!

Image: Devil – horror concept by Yi Yang Chen

#DailyPrompt: Literate for a Day

Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?

Hat by © Crina PridaSo, you can read me now! I am so glad. I have wanted to tell you for a long time: you may hide, pretend not to exist, play this silly game: but it won’t work.

I know where you are, I can see your every move, even your thoughts you cannot conceal from me.

You see, I have eyes everywhere, and whatever disguise you chose, I know who is behind the mask: you cannot escape me.

If you were intelligent, as opposed to being what you are, a stupid demon pretending to be human, even beautiful at times, you would understand that time is up. But you are not, you still believe your evil master will save you.

Image: Hat by © Crina Prida

#VisDare 68: Precarious

Precarious

 

I know I can’t win at this game: you have all the good cards… And yet I wonder: have you thought that, perhaps, you cannot win either?

You see: this world is never what it looks like, appearance is even less than deceptive, it shows nothing, neither dream, nor reality. If we want to see, we have to go deeper, much deeper.

And this is where I am waiting for you, where none of your special talents, none of your tricks will work. Have you thought of that?

Probably not, for you are full of yourself, content with the fact that you have lied, lied and lied again, and no one seemed to mind.

But I do: and in the depth of despair you will be defeated.

#FiveSentenceFiction: Misunderstanding

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood…”

~ The Animals, Don’t let Me Be Misunderstood

Devil I have met him in many disguises, always the smooth talker, sometime the beautiful female seductress, sometime the innocent child.

I always see through his masks, but to give him credit, he’s trying hard to fool me, as well as everyone else.

That evening, in a remote quarter of the city that is sometimes called “Faust’s metropolis” – as it too often changes its looks – I got almost fooled, and yes, I admit, my guard was down.

He came to me as a young and very handsome beggar, and I listened to his words carefully, as I was intrigued and suspected an assassin.

I did not leave the beautiful eyes one instant, and expected the young man to draw a weapon of some sort, but no, he was offering the city to me – pure and simple: “I know you love this place” he said in the most melodious voice, upon which I replied: “It is not yours for giving, this is not the city of the Angels, nor is it the city of Satan, it is the city of the Archangel”, and I drew my sword.

#WritersWednesday: October 3 – He’s always close, and he knows I know

 He turns up in the most unexpected places, always in a different disguise, sometimes charming, sometimes hideous: but I have never failed to recognise him. When I finally meet my Maker, I will ask Him how it is that that creature can be left free to roam and spy on people at will, and I really look forward to His answer – Him willing.

I am restless at times, often when the moon is full: so I get up, awake, taking care not to wake her up, my sweet angel deep asleep. If the weather allows I open the bay window on the terrace, and I look at the sky, listen to the stars. Last night I heard some movement in the shadows of the garden. At first I did not pay much attention: the garden is alive with small animals at night, foxes, hedge hogs, frogs, mice and all types of insects, and of course night birds… The noise persisted, it sounded like some leaves being lightly scattered on a wooden floor.

So I put on my shoes and started walking in the noise direction, closing the window behind me – just in case. I rarely carry any weapon, and indeed the only gun in the house is my old Mauser, a relic of Africa, which never leaves my soldier’s canteen in the loft. This is a quiet neighbourhood, not a burglary in ten years we have been living here, and, besides, I fear no-one! I stood by the edge of the little pond, the noise had stopped. I walked down the small grassy slope, where the shadows are deeper.

As I turned towards the full moon, I saw him: a smaller version of his usual self, as he had taken the shape of a sad, very small girl. She had been playing in the leaves, making that soft noise I first heard from the terrace. She looked at me and said in a tiny girl’s voice: “I lost my way Sir”. And of course I replied: “No you have not, and I know perfectly well who you are!” She said nothing, looking at the ground, the little face sadder than ever.

I felt a sudden chill: “Go away, I recognise you whatever shape you wear, I am not your dupe”, I snapped, as I walked away. As I got to the terrace I heard small cries in the bushes, near the pond, at the bottom of the garden.

In the morning I checked the patch where I saw him, there was no trace, but I found nearby the remains of a disarticulated rag doll, half eaten by the foxes.

Photographs: © Sybil, petite sorcière, and Nouvelle Arrivée, by cfyrch on Flickr

#FiveSentenceFiction: Scarlet

We met by chance, one of those city encounters, that usually lead nowhere.

But it was your dress, the colour matching your smile, the shape of you, suddenly more visible than if you had been naked: I looked at you as a photographer, then as a poet, then – yes of course – as a male who wanted you, who wanted to know and own that beautiful picture of a woman.

But no-one is to own you, for you are free and want to stay that way, you are no object, your beauty is for itself, and if you play, it’s on your terms, dress and all: there is no Pygmalion on your horizon, just you, and, cohorts of people like me – if only I had known.

So we walked, chatting, a close time capsule, oblivious of the crowd, of the trees, of time slipping, your voice as smooth as honey, the colour of your dress still holding me, transfixed.

“So”, you said with a bright scarlet smile, “are you sure you want to know who you have met, Doctor Faust? Then I will show you the other side of me”…