The Triumph of the Angelicals

She was where he had left her, but dreadful change was coming over her. Her body was writhing into curves and knots where she lay, as if cramps convulsed her. Her mouth was open but she could not scream: her hands were clutching at her twisted throat. In her wild eyes there was now no malice, only an agony, and gradually all her body and head were drawn up backwards from the floor by an invisible force, so that from her hips she remained rigidly upright and her legs lay stretched straight out behind her up on the ground, as if a serpent in human shape raised itself before him.

The sight drove him backwards; he turned his face away, and prayed with all his strength to the Maker of the Celestials. From that refuge he looked again, and saw her convulsed and convulsed with spasms of anguish. But now the very colour of her skin was changing; it became blotched and blurred with black and yellow and green; not only that but it seemed distended about her. Her face rounded out till it was perfectly smooth, with no hollows or depressions, and from her nostrils and her mouth something was thrusting out. In and out of her neck and hands another skin was forming over or under her own? he could not distinguish which, but growing through it, here a coating. there an underveiling. Another and an inhuman tongue was flickering out over a human lips, and the legs were twisted and thrown from side to side as if something prisoned in them were attempting to escape. For all that lower violence her body did not fall, nor indeed, but for a slight swaying, did it much move.

Her arms were interlocked in front of her, the extreme ends of her fingers touched the ground between her thighs. But they too were drawn inwards; the stuff of her dress was rending in places; and wherever it rent and hung aside he could see that other curiously-toned skin shining behind it. A black shadow was on her face; a huge shape was emerging from it, from her, growing larger and larger as the Domination she had invoked freed itself from the will and the mind and the body that had given it a place where it could find the earth for its immaterialization. No longer a woman but a serpent indeed surged before him in the darkening room, bursting and breaking from the woman's shape behind it. It curved and twined itself in the last achievements of liberty; there came through the silence that had accompanied that transmutation a sound as if some slight thing had dropped to the floor, and the Angelic energy was wholly free.

It was free. It glided a little forward, and its head turned lowly from side to side. Richardson stood up and faced it. The subtle eyes gazed at him, without hostility, without friendship, remote and alien. He looked back, wordlessly calling on the Maker and End of all created energies. Images poured through his brain in an unceasing riot; questions such as Anthony had recounted to him propounded themselves; there seemed to be a million things he might do, and he did none of them. He remembered the Will beyond all the makings; then with a tremendous effort he shut out even that troublesome idea of the Will--an invented word, a mortal thought--and, as far as he could, was not before what was. It had mercy on him; he saw the great snake begin to move again, and then he fainted right away.

Charles Williams
The Place of the Lion (1933)
Chapter Twelve

1 comment:

Theresa Magario said...

Wow. This is a nice little excerpt- Makes me want to read the rest.