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Daegaer wrote, @ 2003 -04 -25
I get into work by about 7.30, just so I can grab one of the few
parking spaces. This means I sit around in the cold little shoebox of
hell that is my office, slaving diligently on matters of work in the
chilly dawn. Hahahahaha. Yeah. It means I meander round the Web for
free, is what it means. Today it means that I made the mistake of
getting trapped by afrai ’s subtle machinations over at carmarthen
’s LJ. She made me do it.
I’m not kidding. This was written very
fast, got spellchecked, and
that’s about it.
Edited to add: I’ve changed a few things,
which makes this a bit
smoother to read.
T. E. Lawrence/A. J. Crowley
Lawrence has always seen angels and demons. The world is not confined to the surface for him, as it is for other people. He has looked out his window in the middle of the night to see a winged form sitting in a tree looking back at him. As a small boy sitting on the ground and crying with fear because a horse bent and blew hard in his face, he has been lifted on to his feet by unseen hands and told he must never be afraid again. He has often seen the tall dark-haired man with the sly smile and the terrifying eyes, although he does not talk to him for years.
When he is thirteen he turns to find the man smiling at him, silently as ever.
“Who are you?” he asks, annoyed.
“Your guardian angel.”
Lawrence’s mind is full of Greek myths and he finds many explanations. The man says neither yes nor no to any of them, and becomes merely a familiar, dark presence.
“There is no god but God,” the middle-aged man tells him in London, and gives him a book.
Lawrence traces the beautiful, unknown script with a finger as he looks into the bookseller’s eyes. They are mild and kind, and quite as terrifying as the dark man’s.
* * *
In the army he decides to put away childish things, and no longer believes in anything. The dark man laughs and pours himself another drink. Lawrence has long since learnt Arabic, and has read the Qur’an he was given so many years ago. He never looks at the inscription on the first page any more. Not since he deciphered the classical script and understood its meaning. He is not an angel.
In the desert he asks Ali.
“Do you believe in angels?”
He looks over to where the dark man sits cross-legged, dressed now in Bedu robes. Lawrence describes what he sees to Ali, asks if that is the sort of angel Ali believes in. Ali looks serious.
“My friend, that is not an angel. That is a djinn. You should not pay attention to it.”
Lawrence looks over at the laughing man, and deliberately turns his back. Ali is right. And there never was such a thing. When he looks back the man is gone.
* * *
At Deraa, when he needs an angel, there is none. He pleads, and the Turkish soldiers laugh. It is only when he blasphemes and curses God that he sees the man step out of the corner.
“So now you believe,” the man says maliciously.
Lawrence weeps and promises anything, anything. The man strokes his face as Lawrence looks into the terrible eyes. The pain and the humiliation do not stop, but they are far away, and Lawrence is falling into eternity. It feels like flying. He is only aware of time again when his Arabs find him the next morning.
He does not see the dark man again.
* * *
Lawrence is empty. He no longer sees angels and demons. He cannot find the bookshop in London. He cannot be a hero. There is no more Lawrence. He is waiting for his despair to be perfect.
When it is, he is riding his motorbike. The dark man steps out of nothing, right in his path.
Lawrence swerves, loses all the control he has left.
He is falling, falling. It feels like Eternity. It feels like flying.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *