"... a hideous shape"

"Don't!" he cried out, "you're giving in. That's not the way to rule; that's not within you." To keep himself steady, to know somehow within himself what was happening, to find the capacity of his manhood even here -- some desire of such an obscure nature stirred-in him as he spoke.

He felt as if he were riding against some terrific wind; he was balancing upon the instinctive powers of his spirit; he did not fight this awful opposition but poised himself within and above it. He heard vaguely the sound of running feet and knew that Quentin had fled, but he himself could not move. It was impossible now to help others; the overbearing pressure was seizing and stifling his breath; and still as the striving force caught him he refused to fall and strove again to overpass it by rising into the balance of adjusted movement. "If this is in me I reach beyond it," he cried to himself again, and felt a new-come freedom answer his cry.

A memory -- of all insane things -- awoke in him of the flying he had done in the last year of the war; it seemed as if again he looked down on a wide stretch of land and sea, but no human habitations were there, only forest, and plain, and river, and huge saurians creeping slowly up from the waters, and here and there other giant beasts coming into sight for a moment and then disappearing. Another flying thing went past below him -- a hideous shape that was a mockery of the clear air in which he was riding, riding in a machine that, without his control, was now sweeping down towards the ground. He was plunging towards a prehistoric world; a lumbering vastidity went over an open space far in front, and behind it his own world broke again into being through that other. There was a wild minute in which the two were mingled; mammoths and dinotheria wandered among hedges of English fields, and in that confused vision he felt the machine make easy landing, run, and come to a stop.

Yet it couldn't have been a machine, for he was no longer in it; he hadn't got out, but he was somehow lying on the ground, drawing deep breaths of mingled terror and gratitude and salvation at last. In a recovered peace he moved, and found that he was actually stretched at the side of the road; he moved again and sat up.

Charles Williams
The Place of the Lion
Chapter Five : Servile Fear

No comments: