Poetry, maybe, but there is no romance in you … Just beautiful. Stunning. Dark.
While that might be true in most horror fiction, like Hannibal, it’s completely off the mark for most Mythological and Religious texts and especially so for Gothic Fiction, where romanticism rules the dark. I’m a big fan of dark romanticism, and the TV show, Penny Dreadful, is wonderful in that respect. A recent episode put a smile on my face when Lyle and the Good Doctor Frankenstein were discussing the “Hidden Ones” from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Now the Hidden Ones appear in a great many texts spanning many centuries and cultures, and many meanings have also been attributed to them, most importantly, that they are the angels and demons who walk amongst us. Theology and Mythology have always been fetish reading for me, and it was in dissecting a few ancient versus that inspiration came to me for my novella Logos. Particularly versus from The Book of the Dead and The ancient Pyramid Texts:
The hidden ones worship you, The great ones surround you, The watchers wait on you.
He […] Who rages in his heart, Who lives on the being of every god, Who eats their entrails When they come, their bodies full of magic From the Isle of Flame…
Selena, the narrator in Logos, is a Hidden One, a killer, cursed to watch humanity eat itself. Not a Grim Reaper, who passively collects those whose time has come, but a henchman, an executioner, one who was chosen and cursed to fulfill that which death has dreamt for us all. The Fourth Horseman, if you will, but death has had many names. In the book, Selena speaks briefly to the legions that live in the shadows: the vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, and all manner of necromancers who speak to us in whispers from dark places, and it’s the idea of the Hidden Ones that has inspired countless words written in their honor. From Greek Mythology to The Book of the Dead to The Bible, from Ovid to Homer to Dante to Poe, many a modern monster has been born from those inspiring texts. Selena, along with her particular poetry and romanticism, was fashioned from the fire in those texts as well, and I suppose, Logos is a mash-up of sorts, homage to those texts and their creators. Homage to the Gothic Fiction I read as a child. To the Poetry. To the Romance. To that beautiful, stunning, dark. So, as I often do in my longer fiction — inter-textually allude to the writings that inspired the story — here’s a passage quoted from The Book of the Dead, slightly altered to fit my need for Logos:
I am the Hidden One in the hidden place.
I am a perfect spirit among the companions of Râ,
And I have gone in and come forth
Among the perfect souls.
I am the shadow of Nehebkau.
I am the mighty Soul of saffron-colored form.
I have come forth from the underworld at pleasure.
I have come.
I have come forth from the Eye of Horus.
I have come forth from the underworld with Râ
From the House of the Great Aged One in Heliopolis.
I am one of the spirits who would come forth from the
Grant thou unto me the things in which my body needeth,
A heaven for my body,
A hidden place for my soul.
May the God, who himself is hidden,
Whose face is concealed,
Who shineth upon the world in his forms of existence,
And in the underworld,
Grant that my soul may live forever!
Grant thou unto me an entrance and an exit
Without let or hindrance.
— The Egyptian Book of the Dead, E. A. Wallis Budge, translation