His skin was the colour of shadow, dancing with veins of lightning, and his head was bestial – almost draconic. His wicked weapon struck with repeated ferocity, until the darkness twisted and shrank away. At last it was the size of a python; the shadow-man bent and let it crawl up his arm in undulating coils. He kissed it when it reached him, then from his shoulders it hung, obedient and deadly.
‘I am the black earth into which your roots must plunge,’ his bass voice rumbled; his eyes like white hot coals. This man was otherness incarnate: the enemy, the shadow, the one through whom I could know myself truly. He was all I could ever find undesirable, all I could never stand or be; he was all I denied but was in truth or potential. I nodded, my arms opening, knowing that in his embrace I would be liberated from my own ignorance – I would know and own my capacity for evil.
Image and text from my forthcoming book Hawk Divine.