Upstairs again, I lie down. Throughout my tuna melt, I was keeping at bay the picture of Kim’s Angel-like figure at Pippa’s, but now it floats up through the quiet air of my bedroom, floats down on top of me here on the bed, and softly gnaws at me.
It’s not going to go away, unless I deal with it. There’s no choice: I had better have a tune-in to Angel himself.
So I close my eyes, conjure up a vivid blast of Angel, aim it out into town, and send my sight running after it like the obedient dog it’s become. I half-expect to find myself strapped into a wheelchair on Pippa’s balcony or locked behind a keyhole in a cubicle off her hallway. But no, I land at Lucan’s house on Summerfield Avenue … and straight away I see it’s not a soothing moment, Angel, for it seems you just demanded something Lucan won’t allow. Your little body’s angry as you jump to your feet, shrieking “How dare you say no? I hate that.” Lucan launches off his chair; his left hand grabs your right wrist hard, so you yelp. He thrusts his gorgeous snarl towards your face and growls: “Where the fuck were you, here, before me, huh?” He lifts you off the floor and holds you up aloft before him. The tight supple muscles underneath your tattooed angel’s wings strain to flail you upright, in vain, while the little silver crucifix dangles in mid-air beside your black vinyl brassiere. “Where would you be without me—huh? Nowhere! Dirt-poor! Dead, or good as dead. And I can send you back down there, any time I want.”
An explosion of black light floods your eyes and mind: it’s time to kill. It’s time to kill Lucan.
I zoom in on your eyelids and through them, to your grand estate: a seven-layered formal garden, planted with metal trees and cinder-chip flower-beds and black ponds of oil, around a mansion with minarets and jagged glass spires. Here in your prison-pit of decadence, you’re powerful and wealthy. Your contempt is pure, aesthetically; your darkness divine, aristocratic. Around your mansion’s ballroom floor, waltzing mannequins grimace, by themselves or in internecine pairs, on jerky rails, while a poisoned orange light from the setting sun blasts through the terrace doors from far beyond the lonely claustrophobic furthest end of the mile-long enclosed Linden Alley carved westward through your forestlands…
Never can you rest, even here in your estate, for Lucan always slips in, hiding on your battlements or somewhere in your corridors, behind the wooden panels, and at any time he may smash or slash with the force of a scythe or a mallet, like a dangerous unpredictable machine. But every day, when he finds you, when the mallet or the scythe hits or slashes you, it feeds you and validates you—tells you that you’re loved, in the only tongue by which you are persuadable it’s true.
And everything you love might seem to smile at you; but inside, it’s always preparing to escape you. Whatever thrill tingles in your fingertips, a death-shadow palpitates close above your head. Your vermilion-tinted eyes have the fever of a flame on a grave in the dusk, and your little pouting lips hide the kiss of death behind them where your canines sweat. Your glamour’s violent to the core, my Angel Deon—and your violence in itself is a glamour unto death.
Hear Lucan stalking through the attics of your palace, up your dark wooden staircases, hunting for you, whip in hand. Crouched there beyond the heavy four-poster bed, you think he cannot see you, but he lashes out, straight in your direction, with the whip. You screech. So he saw you, or he knew you were there, and he still knows. You both wait motionless a moment, in silence… Then the whip whistles out again and bites your back and cuts it like a knife, and you feel a warm trickle down your left flank. You breathe hard; adrenalin is raging through your system now, mixed with this morning’s dose of female hormones. The whiplash comes at you again, again, again—from right, from left, from overhead, and even curling up with its end from underneath you where you crouch on all fours, ready to scuttle away through the door like a dog or through the floor like a cockroach. The end of the whip streaks and zings through the air, hissing up around your slinky body, stroking at your blood-dripping black vinyl brassiere. The whip’s end hits the bedside table and a glass shatters, wrenching you away from your mansion and your grand estate, and landing you back here in Lucan’s house in Asbury Park.
For more about "The Imagination Thief" by Rohan Quine, see
For some great reviews of it, see
And to pick it up from whichever retailer you may prefer, the retailers’ links for the paperback are at
and for the ebook at