The Prince of Horns

"Ding Dong the witch is dead!" said the tongue of an altar boy.

It was a long dog-like tongue, the bishop couldn't help but think. He felt contempt only in the face of the coming punishments, the ones of this earth at least.

The child's half-shaven head was the only visible part of his body. The behead face rose from behind the table, jack-o-lantern eyes shimmering next to the bell, book and candle. The brat thumbed his nose and pointed, getting himself a good view.

They all made a circle around the bishop with his battle wounds, it was a noiseless game of ring around the rosey. Then spat upon him and threw whatever they could find in his face. Nuns pissed on him and priests smeared his face with fruit as his body flapped against the floor, his mouth drowned slowly.

Someone left a stuffed toy hawk by him, placing it in his mouth. It turned bright as the apple, his pouring mouth bit into the hawk filled with goose down feathers. He gagged, spitting hair out.

Navarre and Isabeau might have been wed in a Parisian chapel by now, yet he pictured them there with him... for some strange reason, standing on the smooth and gilded floors, there between the painted and flattened flesh of the Michael and the Raphael. He watched her soundless train of clothing, which was dull and better for a boy, crawl behind her down the hall. She disappeared, Mary Madonna, Mary Magdalene, who so many had crawled on raw hands and cut knees for, and picked out roots of hair from their scalp, flagellated their back, and broken legs trying to climb a ladder and peep through a window for, or jumped of towers to their deaths with her name rotting in their throat. The same woman he had lost his kingdom in Rome for, went away all quiet, an insect in the church. Her flight was nothing like an angel, but an ant, this lady that we lose so much for. When she she threw the chains he'd forced her into back in his face, the bird tether, and the whole congregation shook, she did that to without sound, just the sound of her snapping his invention, she would not even talk.

He examined her beauty while he dreamed, considering the width of the big eye, and how ultra the violet, (he was a man of science,) the lack of color in her lash, albinism in a wild animal- tigers, snakes, how "heart" the face's shape was, all this he considered while he was being murdered. Her face, which was he supposed like wax, did not turn to look his way as he called it into his mind, even in his own imagination her face was always turned away from his; she walked straight ahead out of the room, little feathers of diamond-colored hair never moving. She was hand-puppet and china doll, stiff, even down to her hair, it was a wood-like beauty. He imagined touching her weak arms and legs helping her to walk. Some things must be forced alive, toys, whose arms we force to flail, dead cats to rub out of a stillbirth, mud on the riverside forged to precious sculpture. Were he to take unfair advantage of her hear in this church, had his hands found her behind the trap doors he had build in the confession both, or had he been bold and dragged her behind a curtain, he might have awoke some life in her yet, she would be better of through his violence, wiser and strong. They could wield power together, he'd have to marry her.

As the artist of Isabeau he decided to paint her rich and grand this time. She was a soul in a place he could not identify, for it may have been the second circle of Hell where lustful are damned to twilight and wind, or it might have been God's world in paradise which she had conquered. Wherever they were, she placed Christ's crown of blackthorns on his head. Red roses sprang out of the black hat, and just before that she kissed his forehead. She was bright and all gold, smiling and decadent with all Midas' treasure she'd received as engagement presents from either a fanfare of demon suitors or a kingdom of angels. On her hair, which had grown darker, (it had once been white as the weak man's wine, and now it was warmed as honey,) between those curls was a red halo. The halo was braided and complex, not a big and simple bad. Still there was an adolescence to the braid it was woven together loose, it might have been a crown of flowers. Was this their wedding in heaven or hell?

He took no notice of the splashing grail of holy water that he was being slapped across the face with, nor of the burning wax another drew on his back with, calling it a quill. His charge of office was slit to pieces with knives, and a stoning of coins came at his body. His rosary got stolen from his neck. All of these things came and went without his notice.

They put water in his eyes without touching him. It came as he dreamed of Isabeau carrying the edges of a pink and embroidered gown, and running out of the church with a smile, wearing shoes with moonstones and pearls sewn around them as the bright sun covered her, soaking her in orange seas. The imp was hardly out of the door before a pair of pink and blue wings came out of her back. She didn't fool him, he was only a little disappointed, he had guessed she was something higher than a common heathen fairy, but yes he always knew that the both of them were only trapped in these docile human bodies.

He covered his face with what they left him of his white clothes. All the while the hole that Navarre had put in his heart when he carved him up like cake grew. A jewel from the sword of his ancestors had popped out and become stuck in his skin.

He had pulled it out, half asleep with death. His blood, though coming out as molasses, still came through the many clots, and covered up the loose stone of his enemy which he took to his grave now. Had the angry mob seen the defrocked clergyman's second indulgence, a great jewel, God knows what else they would have done.

His body was left quivering in the church as all of Aquila turned their back and walked down the steps and would see to their livestock, eat a meal, decide to fish, beg for a coin on the corner, visit a lover, close their shop or go to bed.

The moon had come out. It was supposed to have been a waning crescent, but it was such a bony and small moon that it was the dark moon to anyone not looking from high up in Heaven. The Witching Hour came, then the Devil's Hour.

Had the women of the church pulled off his clothes and left him there naked, as was their first idea, they would have uncovered his face and found the thin and ripped lips still moving, mumbling thousands of different spiritual hymns so softly. He had been there speaking that way for hours with a voice too crushed to be heard any longer. Just breath.

But on the sixth hour vases of rosewater exploded into dust and glass. The body of the church quaked as if the tapestried and velvet walls would scream, or teardrops might leak from the very ceiling. She herself might simply crack too, crack no differently than if she had been built of porcelain, the poor church.

Pages of requiems turned over in the open Bible, and kept rolling with the speed of invisible and insane creatures sitting on the podium and tearing page after page until they reached the end. Wind blew the bolted church doors off the hinges, the old doors were forced to the ground and a banging began on the organs, filling the dark and blue shadowed House of God with musicianless music.

The twisted gown on the floor stirred, and a body hidden in clothes began to stand up. The clothes fell onto the dragon-shaped lance of the drawn Gabriel. But what emerged was not white skin, but the body of a stag with a maze of antlers on his head, horns so long they sprawled over and knocked down everything on the tables around them. Silver goblets came crashing down, as did caged doves, mirrors grew dented centers and lilies fell to the soaked floor.

The stag ran down the halls colored with trees and with Adam and Eve, past the wooden and leather seats of men and women, jumping out of the stained glass windows into unseen forests.

Author's note: This will be either an epic or a one-shot. I was considering making this a sorta sequel to the movie, but in the end it all depends on you guys and your reviews. As always with my writing I haven't got a reason to keep doing it without you. I have a feeling it will be a one shot as our section is pretty tiny. :)