Tonight, then, would be the night. The Moon set against her sect, invisible tonight. Tonight would be the night. The sack bulged. Above, Saint Lorenzo cried his tears, pointing his invisible way towards the Holy Grail. That trail would have to wait for another night. I set out.
The road was gritty, illuminated by the base lights of a base town. The gravel on the tarmac slipped underneath me; my sack bulged and I slipped. But I must continue, the road was long and the night short.
The flashing lights behind me as I left the streetlights behind me gave me pause for thought. Before I could act, the flashlights were upon me and the gruff shouts of authority surrounded me. No doubt they wished to check my facemask, but this was not the time.
There was no time for discussion with these bearded fools. Lo que se presta se devuelve I cried and they hesitated. And in that second I threw myself to one side, out of the light, and thought for a curse to come to me.
Dos policías en el salón, dos policías en tu habitación, dos policías bajo la cama, dos en la funda de la almohada I cried in the most horrible voice I could muster, there in the darkness, hidden in the roots of an olive tree. In the moonless night, lit only by the light of Jupiter. On the grounds where, 90 years before, heresy had been committed by the murder of a priest. On the ground where the power of his blood still lay, ready for the taking. I took it and sent it out in the words I uttered, in the most horrible voice I could muster.
To my delight they withdrew. And as they sat in the light of their official car, talking on the radio, I saw my black cat appear between their wheels, and winked at me in the light of their headlights, as he sat washing himself, as the police sat talking on their radio whilst the cat winked at me.
I fled into the mountains.
The night was dark, the moon was diurnal today. The greatest light in the skylight was Jupiter. And when I sat to think, San Lorenzo would flash out his tears to show me the way. No, he did not, I was not so egoistic as to think that, but I would use his power to pave my route. I powered on. The night was short, the way was long, the cat was following me in a most peculiar way and the sack… continued to bulge.
The night was warm, and the night was humid. In the village below people opened their windows to allow the breeze to flow through. But I would not, in the sure knowledge of what could enter when the window was open and the defences were low. My windows would be barred, my family asleep with the mechanical functioning of the air conditioning, with the protections erect and the sleep never less than siesta deep, always ready to leap to the defence of the house when called. Deep sleep is not something that comes easily in my house. I carried on, and felt blessed when a cool breeze caressed my shoulders as I powered up into the hills.
I knew this route well. There were two ways, the easy way powered by the bulldozers of the modern era, destroying everything in their way, killing all that resisted – and the old way.
In the darkness of the night, lit only by Jupiter, followed by a black cat with a peculiar way of looking at me and with a sack that bulged – there could only be one way. I started up the modern road.
Only to be chased back by the life of the night. The way was blocked by wild boars. In an instant I was knee deep in their babies, with the mothers pawing the ground and grunting. I rushed back, and I fell into the ditch, as the rayones scattered, as the guarra roared at my ankles, as I hit my head and sank into darkness, I stared up and saw my black cat, sat upon the cliff edge above me, silhouetted against the stars, staring at me with disappointment, and then, the stars shimmered and I lost consciousness, my head smacking against the rock with a satisfying noise that promised the need for a paracetamol in the morning.
Why can’t you get pain killers in the jungle? Because the parrots ate them all.
This was the joke that appeared in my head as if spoken as I awoke, blurry, with a spirit upon my chest preventing me from breathing, a black spirit that controlled me through my breath, a black hair spirit that sat there with a delicious smile upon its face.
I summoned my strength through the haze and roared into its faceAbyssus cattus invocat! Which seemed to do the trick.
My black cat leapt away and washed itself as if annoyed by the attention.
I drank some water, I ate an energy bar, and I checked my sack which bulged, in the moonless night as I stared over the valley towards the towns lit by their boring lifeless electric lights. They are so powerful that I sit here almost casting a shadow, despite being so far away from them. As I sit there, brooding upon the life of man, here at the edge between man and nature, San Lorenzo cast his biggest tear yet, and shewed me the way. I went.
The ways of the Moors are known, between the shepherds and those of the high mountains. They are not often spoken of, and why should they be, for they are not for the casual.
I followed them now, in the darkness of the night, lit only by Jupiter. My smartphone told me that the light next to Him was Saturn, and in between was poor Pluto who is invisible. But it was Jupiter that lit my way. Jupiter and the poor towns below who spent their money on streetlights that could illuminate a sheer path many kilometres away and many hundreds of metres above.
Eventually I came to the cliff face. Yes I had a choice. I had many. I could return to my comfortable air conditioned bed far below. I could risk the boars. I could stay here until daylight. But my sack bulged and I felt forced to continue. The music in my ears roared.
I started to climb.
This was a high climb I had done before. Up to the skies. 125 metres of sheer cliff face. But the Moors had left their secret ways, and the shepherds had passed them onto me, through many years of patient friend making and buying of small beers in local bars.
I lit a small candle, put into my antique candle holder to protect against the humid breeze and set off upwards.
The struggle need not concern you. Let me only say that Whisky, and Music, and Determination, drove me on, the headphones roaring and the blood coursing and the Determination not to fall bringing them all together into one great over controlling force.
I was maybe half way up when I noticed the great silver of the moon appearing over the Mediterranean. I relaxed, knowing that this would be a better source of light than those far off electric lamps and the candle and Jupiter.
But as I rested on the ledge, the cat appeared and hissed. And I realised that no, the light of the moon was doom, for it heralded on this night sunrise.
And so I forced my way upwards, up the sheer cliff.
Something I cannot bring myself to remember. Could you? As you dragged yourself up a sheer cliff, following a toe path vouchsafed to you by drunken shepherds, lit only by the lights of a candle, of Jupiter, of a sliver of a moon that is driving you on and cares not if you die?
I dragged myself over the final ledge and lay gasping in the pale moonlight. The candle has long since died and my heart was racing in the effort. The damned cat sat there smiling. Above me, glinting in the smooth Mediterranean glinted the sliver of the moon and around me whipped the breeze.
My sack bulged. I snarled. I would waste no more time.
Sulamain! I screamed for you are to be released!
And the hoopoe came out of the sack that bulged, on top of the mountain, under the light of the pale sliver of the moon and Jupiter and under the gaze of the black cat to whom I fed whiskers in my home.
And the Hoopoe replied to me Al-Nami take you! For I do his bidding.
But I cared not for Tereus who does not come into this story. And I took the Hoopoe and the sharp knife in my belt and severed his head.
And his head severed upon the floor was taken up by my cat, the black cat with the green eyes who had followed me up into the mountains, and was devoured. And my black cat sat there, and washed himself, and winked at me.
I cared not. I slit the Hoopoe from stem to severed stern. And as his battered innards fell out, under the light of Jupiter and the sliver of moon, I stared at the innards.
6, 12,15,23,34,38 I muttered as I stirred the intestines, at midnight, under the light of Jupiter.
And then I realised, as I sat there under the sliver of moon, and as my cat dashed forwards for a decent meal of Hoopoe innards, and despair washed over me like a Tsunami over a small port.
Whoever had designed the Euromillions… had chosen more numbers than the Hoopoe intestines could provide for.