Dreaming the Horned One

Erosoi Scene III


It all began with a fleet fox, Erosoi in hot pursuit, running through a grove of precarious rowan trees, their bark indistinguishable from the scattered stone. And though he could not see them, he heard squirrels chirruping. Silhouetted meadowlarks coasted over distant mountains ridged in blue. Always just outside his grasp, the fox led him toward a shapeless chasm and without a break in stride, Erosoi leapt and floated across the void, landing soft upon a flat embankment where light from clusters of white-flowered yarrow illuminated a cross-legged figure.

A horned figure.

Long-mustached and curly haired, he sat, with a spear and shield in hand, naked, penis rigid, two horned serpents at his flanks.

“Turn around,” he commanded. Erosoi obliged. The yawning chasm hardened into a cave. The Horned One set his spear against Erosoi’s back. “Walk.”

A wolf’s bloody howl, reverberating through the deep tunnel, blew Erosoi’s hair back as he approached the lip.  He hesitated; with a slight jab to the back, the Horned One reminded him. Something cracked; something crunched. A large chunk of stone to his right tumbled down the tunnel, bouncing off its jagged wall. Another, not feet from the first broke away, exposing a sharp jagged tooth in the cave’s mouth. To his left a broad stretch of rock split and shattered, exposing more razor sharp teeth. Erosoi took a slow step back, but the Horned One’s spear and his two snakes, just feet away from Erosoi and poised to strike, allowed him no reprise. In ones and in pairs, the cave bared its teeth and for whatever reason, as if he had a mind of own, his old chap—his crazy old chap—stood firm.

The wolf again howled. Another joined. And another. Still more, until the chorus’s undulating moan rose to a pitch while more rocks thundered on their way down. The cave shook and though Erosoi tried to keep his feet planted, it jostled him back and forth until at last, able to yank him from his roots the cave pitched him forward. But, arms outstretched and deft on his feet, Erosoi caught his balance at the trembling edge, turned, happy defiance carved deep into his lips, to face the Horned One, and wagged his finger “no, no, no.”

And then the stone under his feet broke.

Anticipating such happenstance, Erosoi, of course, caught himself. His feet dangling over who knows where, the wolves, as if pleading with him, howled their ravenous pleasure. But Erosoi, always of the will to pull himself out of whatever trouble he found himself in, looked down and caught a firm toe hold. He found another, and, a disobedient garn snarling his face, looked up to find that pigging gomeral, his face flat, his spear inches away from Erosoi’s sweat laced forehead. The wolves screamed “now, now, now” and with a slow and cruel deliberation, the Horned One crushed his right hand the way one steps on a cockroach.

All the will and determination he possessed, all the strength and fortitude he could muster, proved of little utility and when the Horned One stepped upon Erosoi’s left hand amidst the wolfish cacophony reverberating through and juddering the cave, Erosoi fell, screaming amidst the wolves’ yipping and yowling “yes, Yes, YES!”

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