(somehow related to Andreas - We All Must Cross)
The night dragged on endlessly and Andreas had given up on being
exhausted hours ago. He had resigned himself to stumbling about in a
drunken and drugged haze as best he could in search of Priscilla and
a yielding-enough horizontal surface to lie down upon. Andreas felt a
little sick to his stomach, and the other guests spun by in a blur at
the edge of his vision. Much like Ulyxes and his doomed crew
on the shores of the Land of the Lotophages, the guests
at this gathering were a roiling mass of sleeping and copulating flesh.
The music had stopped hours ago; the musicians were passed out in a
corner in a tangle of wine-drenched clothing.
She was nowhere to be found, but Andreas couldn't be sure if he
had searched everywhere (or indeed, had searched for her at all). His
mind was wrecked against the rocks and shoals of all things
psychoactive and time flowed in jagged spurts: one minute slowed down
to fill the space of an hour, and then the next hour would shrink to
the span of a minute with scarcely any notice at all. Andreas felt
heavy and weak all of a sudden and sat down on the floor.
He could barely hear a tinny, far-off voice calling out to him:
andreas, can you hear me?
andreas, wake up. are you all right?
He was suddenly aware of being sprawled out on the cold tiles
of the floor, feeling disheveled and perfectly wretched. All the color
had been leached from his vision, but standing majestically above him
was Priscilla, as clear and beautiful (though a bit glassy-eyed and
clumsy) as an ikon. She had been indulging in both wine and
other things more mind-numbing than that, but she was the daughter of a
wealthy household and was better able to conduct herself in such a
state than Andreas, the only son of a poor household. Andreas could
fool the other guests, but not her.
"What happened to me?"
"You fainted. What did you take?"
"I imagine everything I could get my hands on."
"Foolish of you. Come, my bed's a better place for you than the floor. Can you stand all right?"
"I can try."
He slowly pulled himself to his feet, agonizingly aware of every
creaking joint and bruised muscle. He rearranged his disheveled tunic
around his waist and tried not to rock back and forth too much on his
feet. The color was slowly coming back to his vision and his heart
pounded furiously against his ribcage; the blood rushed around his
temples in a dull roar.
"You look in a bad way. Are you sure you're all right?"
"I will be. Where's this bed you mentioned?"
Time once again played a trick on his mind, and the next thing he knew,
he was lying on his back on a very comfortable bed. It was completely
dark in this room and the sheets positively reeked of perfume. A pair
of unseen hands were loosening his tunic, and Andreas felt it not in
his best interests to resist. Helpless, he yielded, and a warm,
wiry-muscled body slid onto his naked frame. A cloud of scent and body
heat enveloped the two. His head whirled in dizziness, overwhelming his
senses utterly, even more than the drink and drugs did.
whispered warm and soft in his ear, some ancient and elegant variety of
Greek, teetering on the edge of intelligibility:
"Tío, s', o phíle gámbre, kálos eíkaso;
Órpaki bradíno se kálist' eíkasdo..."
He submitted to the sweet yoke and could remember nothing more
after that. He awoke, the rays of the sun pounding against the backs of
his eyes and bouncing around against his temples. A small money bag lay
on the bed next to him amongst a tangle of sheets and clothing, utterly
bulging and pregnant with coins. Priscilla was nowhere to be found. He
pulled his clothes back on and stumbled out of the house, past the
still-sleeping bodies of the guests, and out the door.