Sunday, November 1, 2009
Hypatia stepped from between the marble columns out into the wan light of early evening. The soft cotton robes she wore rustled slightly as she descended the stairs of the Great Library. A light breeze lifted dark locks back from her face cooling a fevered brow. Hazel eyes darted back and forth, furtively searching the street for any of the short mans thugs. They would bear the blame for tonight’s deviltry but their actual presence would surely gum up the works. Seeing only the waiting chariot she made her way down the stairs nimbly. She hurried but resisted the urge to run.
Tonight must appear to be as any other Imbolc she thought stepping onto chariot and bracing for the jostling of the cobbles. She did not know the man that drove the perfectly matched pair of white mares but he looked enough like her usual servant as to be his brother. She chanced a backward glance and was pleased to see nothing but empty street. A wisp of smoke was rising above the building black against the sky. Following her familiar route at first they slowly made their way from the temple of knowledge that was the great library toward the throngs of the market place. She was going over the plan for the umpteenth time in her head when she spotted what she was looking for up ahead on the right.
Another simple chariot drawn by a pair of white mares. She did know the driver of this chariot and she would miss him for the rest of her life. If for no other reason she would succeed to Insure that his impending death was not in vain. They drew alongside and she looked at another stranger. A dark haired woman her size but with a dead stare in her eyes. Upon closer inspection she could see the ropes that held the woman up as they moved toward their separate destinies. Lucky that a convenient corpse had been around, at least she hoped it had been luck. One deaths guilt was all she was prepared to bare at the moment so she would not examine alternatives.
An imperceptible glance passed between the two drivers and then she dropped out of sight beneath a linen cloth and they turned sharply to the docks.
She heard the whip crack and the horses bolted forward almost tossing her out of the chariot. She grabbed the large mans leg and held on as the whip cracked again and they were flying through deserted alleys. Because of the festival most people were gone to the temple row. The remainder were members of the growing Christian community that would be waiting indoors till sundown for their feasting to begin. She had glimpsed her homeland for the final time and it stung a little as they pulled up to a seldom used wharf where she was quickly stashed below decks.
As she waited for the tide to turn she penned the tale that would pass into history. Knowing that the more lurid the story the faster it would spread she detailed the fate she was escaping by sailing west beyond the pillars of Hercules to a land that had been lost since the time of her schools beginnings was her fate now. Something deep in her animal self took pleasure in detailing the rending of flesh with shards of pottery. The alter of fire over which the flesh was charred had a cleansing effect on her mind and when she lifted pen from paper her old life was in the past and powerful winds were driving her toward an uncertain future.