author: applegnat (with additional input from william shakespeare)
prompt: "a sunset would not save you now," written in 23 minutes.
summary: upon the heath/ there to meet with macbeth.
notes: this play seemed perfectly suited to answer this challenge. so much of it takes place in mist, fog, times when it's hard to tell whether it's meant to be day or night. "macbeth" is characterised by doubt, wavering, incompletion, things that are neither here nor there. is macbeth trapped by the witches, or are they inconsequential to his doom? the witches are imperfect speakers. one can't believe everything they say.
what? oh, alright. disclaimer: mine, mine all mine, except it's really shakespeares.
We are not women.
We gave that up long ago, with the coming of the sun and the phases of the moon, and time being portioned off, broken into pieces and given, taken: day for me, the warrior and the enemy; night for you, childbearer, spoils of war. We are no women. We do not belong to the night, and we do not long for the day. We have no realm, no lord-and-lady-ship. But there is one time when we touch the boundaries of the world that is cloven into two and twos. We like to hover upon those who have written death into their fate at twilight, and play little tricks for our own delight, when their faces come clear after the heady stupor of battle, and our breath intersects with the fog and filthy air.
When fair is foul, and foul is fair.
Time is our plaything. To the cloven world, it is fearful. A killer, like a spear or an arrow, flying straight past life towards a target none has seen. Who knows? It may be true. We like to think of it in circles, though, and spirals, feeding off itself. Oh, yes, we have seen snakes swallowing their own eggs, and children killing their fathers and mothers. We foretell because we remember. The cloven world will blame us for planting evil in the minds of spear-bearers and crown-wearers, but we are blameless, for we are powerless, by their very reckoning. No time or place, no strength, no grace, what can we, the witches, do to ensnare you?
We are now elevated, now thrown down, and we will pass this place again without knowing it. But time has not grazed our cheeks or pierced our hearts, oh no. We do not think it is a spear at all. We go where it takes us, that is all. That is all. The future is present in every cloven soul.
We, too, are time’s plaything.
Thus the spinning, now the brewing, now the bubbling. Eye of newt for fire, toe of frog for water, wool of bat for air, and tongue of dog for earth. Something, something, this way comes. Is it foul or is it fair? Not for us to say, we are done with clovenness. And the mirror brightens as the smoke thickens. The snake eats its eggs, and the child strikes its father. He comes looking for a reason. We will say it is so, and always has been.
Something fierce for this land, something brave for this time, something wicked for him, the two that is one.
That will be ere the set of sun.
“Hail to thee, thane of Glamis.”
“Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor.”
“Hail to thee, that shalt be King hereafter.”