I Am Ichabod
by Paradoqz

So I said my name was Ichabod.

Apropos of nothing and reasoned not in the least. I liked the sound and he was dying, and it didn't matter at all. But it stuck. The old ones, the ghosts, used to whisper forever about the power of names. What power has a stolen name over me? Nothing and all. I am Ichabod. Who am I?

I walked through Paris, gutted and screaming under the hidden sun: the eclipsed Apollo, weeping behind the mask; Ra plucking out his eye. The Eiffel's dream torn and humbled, rusted remnants spread across the bloody ground, the night split by the fires of the dying city. And dogs were feeding on the corpses in the Champs Elysees. The wolves were howling and dying but the dogs survived. It seems like that should mean something...

He said he was God and the fire from his eyes threw me into the wall like a rag doll. He screamed and laughed and wept and danced. He said he was God and he broke my arm. He was sad and crazy and brilliant and desperate and power breathed through him like a birthing sun. He said he was God. So I split his skull, gnawed through his throat and ate his heart. I am Ichabod.

Who am I?

I walked alone for so long. Darla walked with me a ways. She didn't talk much. No... She talked a lot. It annoyed me so I told her to shut up. She burned brightly in that Shift in London. Very brightly and she screamed when it caught her and left her in the middle of Trafalgar Square, on a sunny Sunday afternoon. They had good pancakes in that Shift and Giles made us tea.

Oz didn't talk much. We stood together on the hill and watched as Constantinople fell again: the haughty towers crumbling amidst the flames and death; the fire giggling madly, eating through majesty and pride and hopes and life. Hagia Sophia shuddring and collapsing slowly, dreamily, the great cupola buckling and burying the last Emperor. And the crosses of the holy army danced in the wind. Triumph. It was night in Byzantium. It was the end. It was pretty. There hasn't been a sunrise for me. I miss the sun. I looked for it at first and howled in frustration, tearing my throat into bloody tatters as it escaped me time after time. Maybe I'll find it eventually. I don't care anymore. My name is Ichabod?

We drunk and she watched us, and she was watching me. Her name was Thais and she was a whore and she told him to burn Persepolis. No. She was beautiful and she said she would save me. Alexander loved her but he would never say and he agreed.

Persepolis burned brightly and it was night and I left. I wonder if they are still fighting, city a time, conquering the world for him. His army that thought he was God. The world was, I told them, flat and goes on forever. Galileo was mad. I left before morning.

It snowed in Alexandria, the snow billowing in the cold, skin- searing wind, blocking out the sun. Frozen people... frozen corpses clattered the streets and the market. Pharos still worked, the last, the only ray of light splitting the darkness like... Like. I wondered then if it reached Jericho, where the horn's note still hung in the wind, like a drop of poison suspended in midair. Who am I?

Like the Gardens. They were suspended. Floating in the sky of Babylon, far above the painted gates and the towering walls and the people trying to escape the rage of Assyria loosed in the streets. Oz was there and he said... He wasn't there. He stayed in Alexandria... No, Rome. Yes. Crouching, rocking back and forth in the middle of the Forum, the embers of the autodafe still cooling. Her face was still recognizable, red hair flowing brilliantly like a flame, mouth quirked in the small shy smile. Tara's head cradled in the nook of her arm. He's still there watching over them, pouring ash over his head, keening. I am Ichabod. I am. Am.

I was alone in Babylon and she came for me. She kissed me. She was beautiful and tired and going for my throat. I stepped away and she screamed and wept blood. Her name was Ishtar and I buried her under the Tower of Babel. Her knife curved and stunk of life. I lost it.

I still had it in Venice. The Carnival. Where the madness reigned and people laughed and drunk and danced away the terror of the night. She laughed at me and asked me about my mask. Where was it? I said I brought my own. She wasn't scared.

I was drunk and she didn't give a damn and Voltaire, who shouldn't have been there, laughed too and waved at us and went back to writing, giggling to himself and chortling like a twisted, bitter, funny, horrible little gnome. I didn't see her face and she grinned when I asked her name. She was gone before I woke up and she took my knife. My name is Ichabod and I knew who she was. Who am I?

It was snowing in LA too. The snow falling fast and much. And then it wasn't snow and the sickly sweet smell of the fires that burned the bodies... The ash kept falling and falling, getting into my lungs but I didn't breathe and I couldn't move...

They took the bodies and painted white hieroglyphs on the doors. The symbols of death and in the back of my mind Osiris laughed. The plague walked through the city and in 'Caritas' Lorne was drinking, and his hands were shaking and he asked me if I knew what caritas meant. And I shook my head even though I did. And he smiled and he drank and he told me it meant Love. And Boccaccio was laughing and whispering something into Cordelia's ear.

I am tired of watching the world end.

I am Ichabod. No, I am not. I am William? I am Spike. I will always know who I am and I will walk until I find her and take off her mask and ask for my knife back.


Now the wife of Eli's son Phinehas was with child and about to give birth; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was taken and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she kneeled down and gave birth, for her pains came upon her.

And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, "Do not be afraid, for you have given birth to a son." But she did not answer or pay attention.

And she called the boy Ichabod, the name that means 'No Glory,' saying, "The glory has departed from Israel," because the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband.

And with that word on her lips she expired.

(1 Samuel 4:19-22)


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