The Threshold by A.S. Byatt, conclusion

And one day we will write it otherwise, that he would not come, that he stayed, or chose the sparkling ones, or went out again onto the moors to live free of fate, if such can be. But you must know now, that it turned out as it must turn out, must you not? Such is the power of necessity in tales.

Well, she took his hand softly, and the touch of her cool fingers was the kiss of moths, or cool linen after a hard days work, and she turned her face towards him and lifted up those eyelids and looked at him and then he saw her eyes. What can I say of her eyes, save that he looked into them and was lost and no more saw the heath, nor the other two bright creatures turning and turning in their cages of light, nor yet  his own trusty steed who had come with him prancing and saddle-sore to the known world’s end? If I were to attempt this description — but no, I cannot — yet I must, for I am your chronicler, bound to recount toyou, what? Imagine then twin pools at midnight, lit by no external shining, but from deep within, some glimmer, some promise, lucid though sloe-black, deep after deep. Imagine then, when she turned her head slightly, a black not after all bluish, like those black plums, but very faintly brown, the slightly hot black of panther-skin, waiting, out of the gleam of the moon.

‘I will come with you,’ said the Childe, a second time, and she said softly enough, inclining her head in what might have been a dutiful way, ‘Come then.’

And she drew him on, over and under the threshold of the standing stones, and his horse called out in alarm, but he stepped on unhearing. And although the stones seemed simple enough in the  midst of the moor, which seemed vaguely to stretch on behind as it had before, he found it was no such thing, for beyond the lintel was a descending track, winding and winding, between banks of sweetly scented flowers that he had never seen or dreamed of, blowing soft dust at him from their huge throats, and lit by a light neither of day, nor of night, but even the perpetual unchanging light of that kingdom…

by Christabel LaMotte                                                       Finis

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