Issue 5 [Autumn 1996]
by Suzanne Barbieri
The neon light over the
bar gave the three women’s complexions an eerie glow.
‘So,’ Angelica said, regarding each of her companions
in turn, ‘have we seen anything we like?’
‘How about that one?’ Nina nodded towards a
dark-haired man, dressed from head to foot in black leather.
‘Oh, please,’ Tabitha sneered. ‘Do you
have to be so obvious?’
‘It was just a suggestion,’ Nina huffed, flicking
her long auburn hair over her shoulder. ‘Got any better
‘There... that one,’ Tabitha said, pointing
at a blond youth in jeans and a ripped T-shirt. ‘What
do you think?’
‘Not bad,’ Angelica admitted, ‘but we
can do better.’
Three pairs of eyes - green, blue, and brown - scanned the
bodies that littered the dance-floor.
‘I could do with a drink,’ Tabitha said, glancing
in the direction of the barman slumped over the bar. ‘Pity
Angelica smiled, her teeth brilliant in the ultra-violet
light. ‘Then help yourself. He’s in no position
to complain. And while you’re about it, make mine
a large vodka.’
‘I’ll have a whiskey.’ Nina put in.
‘Okay.’ Tabitha stepped onto her stool and slid
over the bar. ‘We’re going to have to decide
soon,’ she said as she filled the glasses. ‘They’ll
start going off.’ A line of Guinness foam edged her
upper lip. She handed the others their drinks and climbed
back over the bar.
‘I want the dark one.’ Nina said, easing herself
from her seat and picking her way through the motionless
bodies. ‘Come and see, Moonchild.’
Angelica joined her and leaned over the man, ‘He’s
sweet, Dark Lady?’
Tabitha frowned. ‘I prefer the blond. He’s younger.
Young ones are easier to raise.’
‘And to teach.’ Nina conceded.
‘But I still think we can do better...’ Angelica
skipped over to the bar, and grabbed a fistful of the barman’s
long, dark red hair. ‘We appear to have over-looked
the obvious,’ she said, raising his head so the others
could see his face. ‘This one’s young, and sweet...
Nina and Tabitha looked at each other and smiled.
‘Moonchild does it again,’ they said in unison.
‘Help me, sisters.’
Together, they eased the man on to the floor, then joined
hands and formed a circle around him.
‘What shall we call this child?’ Angelica said.
‘We shall call him Lazarus: he whom we raised,’
‘We shall call him Endymion: beloved of the Goddess,’
‘We shall call him Paul: the name his mother gave
him,’ Angelica finished.
‘Lazarus.’ Tabitha kissed his forehead.
‘Endymion.’ Nina kissed his mouth.
‘Paul.’ Angelica kissed his heart.
Hands still joined, the women sat back and waited. First,
there was the flicker of a pulse in Paul’s throat,
then his chest began to rise and fall as air passed through
his lungs. Finally, his eyelids fluttered and opened.
Before him were three beautiful faces, each framed with
long, silken hair: red, black and moon-silver. For a moment
the faces blurred, then his focus sharpened. He tried to
‘Ow!’ he said, clutching his head.
‘Shh ,’ Angelica said, ‘Don’t try
to move just yet.’
‘What happened?’ He seemed to remember smoke;
red, black and silver smoke, but no fire. ‘What happened?’
he said again.
‘We came...’ Tabitha said.
‘...And chose you.’ Nina smiled.
‘All will become clear in time. You are with us now.
Come.’ Angelica stood and held out her hand. Paul
grasped it and she dragged him to his feet and led him outside,
the others following.
He remembered smoke... around him were dead bodies. ‘A
fire...’ he said.
‘No fire, just smoke,’ Angelica said, ‘Our
Outside the club, the night was still; the sky black and
‘Who are you?’ Paul said.
‘Moonchild,’ Angelica answered.
‘Dark Lady,’ Tabitha said.
‘Eclipse,’ Nina smiled, passing a hand across
Paul glanced up at the empty sky. ‘What happened to
The women smiled, and took his hands in theirs. As they
rose into the air the night seemed to fold around them.
‘Lazarus,’ Tabitha said, kissing his forehead.
‘Endymion,’ Nina sighed into his mouth.
‘Paul.’ Angelica traced with her forefinger
the shape of his heart.
A sphere of light closed around them and Paul felt himself
melting into it, into them. As a child, he’d spent
many nights watching the moon grow from finger-nail to penny
then shrink away to nothing, leaving the sky empty and hollow,
until it was ready to return. He’d always felt how
lonely it must be with only itself for company. Suddenly
he understood. Three women, one Goddess; three phases, one
He looked down from his bed of weightless indigo. The city
below was little more than a half-glimpsed memory.
© 1996 Suzanne Barbieri