Ramasbat and the Beast
|tumblr |Ekphrastic |Fiction |Competition
I entered an Ekphrastic Fiction Contest on tumblr, the challenge being to write a piece to accompany this wonderful piece of art by Ignosipitus - Ignosipitus on tumblr - and am thrilled to say that I won! Thank you to tcstu - tcstu on tumblr - for running the competition and to Ignosipitus for the inspiring picture!
Both the picture and my accompanying piece are below. I hope you enjoy them x
Ramasbat and the Beast
As he made his slow ascension from the depths of hell, Ramasbat saw that the flames grew smaller, their reach lessened. The stairs that lead the way were visible now; molten squares of smouldering rock, lava glowing crimson beneath a blackened crust. This crust moved, grinding softly at each cloven hoof placed, but Ramasbat never worried it would melt away, that he and his mount would fall. He had fallen once, to land in fiery hands. He could never fall again.
He paused upon one such step, looking up at a different kind of fire; one that glowed roundly in a pale sky. Grinning, his forked tongue flickering, he tasted the ashen-air, the first odours of the world above reaching him. His grin widened; they would never believe their stench was so great that it could reach him here. Arrogance, self-righteousness, superiority; their countless sins amused him.
He spurred his beast on. Eagerly, it obeyed, as keen to climb the stairs and step over the lip as Ramasbat himself. They went on, even as a well of molten lava bubbled and spat beneath them consuming the stairs they had just climbed.
They reached the top to find the last steps missing, offering nowhere for the beast to rest its hooves. They stepped out anyway, Ramasbat and his mount. The lava rose to meet them, buoying them up on a huge red crest that folded in on itself, curling down onto the mountainside almost gracefully, scorching the earth beneath it, rendering the pale sky black as it spat them out.
Ramasbat and the beast should have shrieked and withered, they should have melted and died when they were engulfed by that ruby wave. Yet Ramasbat gave a mighty roar, standing on the rearing beast’s back. He heard the people below cry Volcano! He saw the helpless mortals run, though they knew it to be pointless.
Ramasbat laughed, a sound like thunder. A second wave approached and Ramasbat jumped to it, riding it and every one that followed, laughing and jeering as he raced down the mountainside. A few men, too slow to escape, looked up and saw him approach. He saw the fear, the recognition, the understanding corrupt their flat, mundane features. He saw them burned to nothing as he rode them down. They would never speak of what they had seen.
Nor should they. Ramasbat was not to be announced. He would simply be where he had not been. He would appear where there had been no one. He would exist in hearts and minds yet not in human sight.
He was everywhere and nowhere. He was a myth and a reality, a tale and a truth.
And he was in the world, at last.