Tyger Linn slips into the darkness, invisible and silent, and even her footfall makes no sound. I am blind. There is no need for sight for if I can see that means whoever it is out there can see also, and this is my maze, my jumble of human things, and my home. I pull the hammer back slowly and the metallic click sounds like a ten feet long piece of rail dropped from the ceiling of a cathedral. I wait for the explosion that will come with the dogs’ barking but there is no sound but my breathing. I take a deep breath and wait. There is nothing to be seen, nothing to be heard, but there is something that feels wrong here.
Twin predators from the deepest part of the ocean slip past me on either side, brushing against my legs, causing me to steady myself against the door jamb as Lucas and Lilith glide out of the darkness and disappear again. I can see the lighthouses, the blue green numbers that tell me it is far deeper into the morning than I would wish. How did we get here? Why is it we need light on all of our appliances to tell us what time it is? Do we really need to know that often? Children and the elderly ask what time it is because for one it is a new experience and for the other there is so very little left to talk about. But there is something here, something inside of the house, and time doesn’t mean anything at all anymore.
I can see the shadow of the pistol in my hand against the twin glare of the clocks. Insanely, I remember when I was working in construction as a teenager and I hated how my hands looked. They were smooth and white while the older workers’ hands were gnarled and reddish colored. There were scars and scrapes while my hands looked brand new and unused. There was a man whose right hand contained two fingers that didn’t work. His thumb and index finger and his middle finger were all that was left after a nerve was severed by a saw. Yet he was still a hundred times better a carpenter than I could be if I had twice as many fingers that worked perfectly. My arm tires from holding the gun but the adrenaline is roaring through my veins and skull. There is someone here.
Lilith’s growl cuts through my thoughts and the darkness as if someone had turned on the lights. It’s a searing and bright vocalization that declares her intent for slaughter and leaves no hint for quarter. It’s not a warning but a promise of violence with extreme prejudice. The sound is a low and guttural thing, primal and basic. This is the dark sun whose invisible heat boils away the flesh and blood and reveals the glistering and dry bones of the moment. Lilith goes silent having said all that will be said. The issue is no longer one of communication.
Tyger Linn takes up a position at my right. I hear the tiniest of sounds and I know it is her. If it were Lucas I would be able to see his hand silhouetted against the starlight outside. Lucas is at the door, a full frontal assault has to go through Lucas before it gets inside, but there is something already here. It occurs to me that Lucas means to not only prevent any help arriving for whatever is inside, but he means to block the exit.
There is a sound. It’s the sound of friction, like someone’s shoe scrapping the floor as they shift their weight. It’s a sound that is totally human and alien in the natural world. Lucas gives a voice to the moment, loud, braying, and for just a fraction of a second it is the whole world. It’s a sound, a war cry, an alarm, a call to arms, it is everything that he has in his soul that pulls his sisters into war with him, a declaration that the life of that voice must be extinguished totally and all things must cease or the reason for that clarion annihilated. Lilith’s cry sounds instantly, a lifetime later, and Tyger Linn, a veteran of wars unknown, now defends her home, her family, and there is no fear in her.
I step out into the open and now the gun is light in my hands and now I know that whatever is here has been surrounded and attacked and no human being could hope to withstand the pack without a gun and Lucas’ snarl rips through the black as if he’s engaged the enemy with everything he owns.
Then there is silence.
I sit up in bed and listen to the sounds of The Three, deep in sleep. My breath comes in gulps and I can feel my heart convulsing in my chest. Tyger Linn slips off the bed and into the darkness and I wait and wait, but she returns, hardly a weight shifted as she gains the surface of the bed again, and Tyger snuffles my face.
There is nothing here but the night and whatever has seeped out of the world within my own and out into the night. It occurs to me, after I can breathe again, I never knew a man with a half hand.