Log in

No account? Create an account
09 November 2009 @ 09:15 pm
An Original Fic  
So, in honour of nanowrimo - a short original ficlet. Yes, you may have seen this at loveletters_v1 but it has been changed slightly since then. Tell me what you think - I know it's not fanfic (so most people will skim over this) but it is about science, love and Galileo. OH and if you recognise the first sentence...then yes, yes you do.

Title: The Greatest Love of His Life
Prompt Response to:
“Poison is in everything, and nothing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.” – Paracelsus

Word count: 1 710


The cobbled streets were difficult to pick out from the buildings that huddled along their edges. Facades faded into an expanse of stone, dwarfed in years by a gnarled olive tree, branching out from a gardened corner. The marble capping is gone, plucked from the walls revealing a crumbling network of holes occupied by affectionate pigeons. In pairs, they preened each other and settled down for the night. Their soft cooing replaced the trade voices which shouted across rotting produce where coins rolled down alleyways, escaping out of sight.


A short, stout man rolled his ankle on the uneven street. Swearing, Agapito fell to the ground landing hard on his knees. His purse and a scroll scattered between the feet of straggling shoppers. He retrieved the scroll first, running a finger over its wax seal to check that it was undamaged.

Rome was in flux – that time between the business of the day and pleasure of the night. Soon the walls would vanish like magic as the brothels crept out. Women, closer in nature to creatures, recline against the cooling stone, flicking their eyes at passing cloaks.

Agapito wants to be finished before this time. If possible, he would like very much to be dead.




Agapito waits to the side of the doorway, examining a crack in the wooden bracing. A vine sneaks into it, sprouting serrated leaves along its extension. It swells with moisture, deepening a crack which will eventually tear the structure down.

He is greeted in Latin by the servant of the house and ushered through the ground level. They stop at the base of the staircase. Bowing low, the servant crosses himself. Agapito nods and takes the staircase two steps at a time, upsetting the candles.

The third level is lighter, catching the sun as it dips toward the sea. Narrow windows tessellate around the top floor where the walls are curved. He thinks that he must be in one of the towers and is startled by a flock of gulls ripping past. Their wings brush the stone as they arch in search of the city edge, joined by rooftop stragglers.

“Do you have it?”

He drops his shoulders. Agapito had not noticed the figure squeezed upon one of the sills. Their legs and arms are clutched inward, perched like a peculiar bird.

“Yes,” Agapito replied, crossing the room. “I have it.”




Past the steeples of Florence, Arcetri’s orchids nuzzle at the dip of a valley. The town is a recluse, seeking safety at the top of an overlooking rise. From here it can see a ridge of green and the peak of a sleeping volcano, hung against the sky.

The scientist sat at his window, peering out at the blurry shapes. He could see colours, rich in the summer heat but could not make out their detail.

Someone tapped his shoulder and whispered, “They’re coming for you.”

The scientist nodded, wishing he could stand once more in the warmth of the sun. He could feel everything moving around him. The ground beneath was alert, crying with life as it spun. It was part of a race, chasing the other planets around the burning sphere. He wondered if the fiery extensions tasted the planets as they passed. He could almost see it – a branch of light twisting into the sky.

They came for him in the evening with two carriages. As with most days of the season, with nightfall came the lightening. Thunder rolled over the hills and a great storm played in the clouds, tossing bolts of white at the countryside. The rain began as a few heavy drops and then stopped. A rumble followed as a cool wind replaced the humid air. Then sheets of water fell, buffeted over the land.

He picked up his billowing clothes, lifting them over his ankles as he stumbled into the weather. The apricot buildings became waterfalls. Terracotta tiles shattered in the water as they hit the street. His beard filled with cold rain and he could see nothing but blackness as he was ushered onto the unsteady carriage.

He grunted, sweeping his soaked garments in as the door slammed. Blinking, he realised that there was light. The scientist wiped his face on his cloak, ringing a grey tangle of beard out onto the floor much to the displeasure of his company.

“Please do not,” said Agapito, straightening his hair from the gust of wind the scientist’s entrance had caused.

The scientist remained silent except for the drips of his clothing.

“Do you know why you have been brought here?”

Galileo lifted his murky eyes, for all the good it did. “I cannot say.”

Agapito observed the man’s decayed state. It appeared the scientist’s soul was sick transforming his body into a tomb. His fingers twisted with knuckles more like tree knots, pale beneath his skin. He was turning into some kind of afterlife while his mind refused to quit the world. “Would it be correct to say that you do actually know?”

“I know what I cannot say,” replied the scientist. “You will have to decide whether that is reason enough to escort me to Rome.”

“I think that the Lord sends this storm to blind himself and that he never wishes to hear your scathing voice again.”

The scientist heard the rain fall louder, becoming a drowning roar against the horses. “It rains every night in summer,” he replied, simply.

The carriage lurched as they began their descent from the hilltop. Outside the sky flashed. Galileo held onto the handle of the compartment, trying not to slide across the leather seats. His companion on the journey stared back with sharp eyes. Agapito would not waste this time, but spend it luring heresy.

“Is there something you wish to say?” said Agapito, stretching out both arms so that he occupied half the compartment.

“One may wish to say many things, but in this case I think it best to say as little as possible.”

“You cannot say it. There is no way to say it. It has made you ill. Corrupted your soul and transformed you into a shadow of a creature, stumbling about in the chaos.”

Galileo watched Agapito pick up a book from the floor. Its cover was damp and some of the pages crinkled. The scientist knew that it was entirely possible that this was the last copy of his life work left in existence and here it ended up, its life teetering on the edge.

“Pages turned hurt more than words,” he said, wishing he could reach out and stroke the cover of the book. He felt ill as Agapito’s hands levered it open to fall on a random page. “Their edges cut through you – draw blood from your cause. It is why you hate them.”

The book snapped shut.

“I hate their lies,” he hissed, ripping the front cover from its binding.

“Lies are of no matter. The world is full of lies and liars, neither of which are capable of nipping the mighty church with such vicious teeth. Stories and half dreams may play but Truth’s wound will fester, taking you with it.”

“They were right about you,” he spat, tearing a few pages free. He held their delicate edges to the flame on the side of the carriage. They caught at once, black clawing up the paper like a dark stain. “You are nothing but poison.”

Galileo closed his eyes. “If poison is this sweet. Clarity –” he inhaled, “in death this beautiful. Then I will have it. Knowledge will be known whether it form a curse or cure – no man may stop it.”

He opened his eyes again, but the carriage remained a blur. Agapito was wearing an olive cloak while his hair was dark. Galileo guessed that it fell in tight rings, resting at his shoulders where they brushed across a golden clasp, holding the cloak in place.

“Burn the books if you will,” the scientist continued. “Their thoughts shall rise in the smoke and enter the passerby. A substance this potent cannot be destroyed by your hand or mine. Even the elements will conspire, distilling its truth to a moment.”

Agapito brought a hand to his mouth, catching a wisp of smoke in his breath. His fingers burned with the last of the paper which he dropped. Galileo draped his wet coat over the flame, extinguishing it.

“At the very least,” said Agapito, “I will have you. You will burn with your precious poison.”

The old man smiled, a droplet of rain drying on his cheek. “I think that I shall live, locked in by heavy doors.”




Warm and dry, the scientist was led through a series of passageways. Ornaments peaked out from their places between the tapestries. The floor boards were covered in a thin, woven carpet which looked soft in the lamp light. These passageways deepened, becoming a labyrinth. Still – every now and then a turn would touch the outer wall and end in a window. Daylight streamed through, exposing a layer of scented smoke drifting down the hallway like mist on a river.

The scientist folded his arms across his chest. His skin crawled, turning over itself. This felt like betrayal.

Finally, he was left in a large, circular room lined with ionic columns. The air was thick with smoke from a dozen alters burning not far in front. Luscious curtains hit the floor, secured to the stone and up above his head was a ceiling painted with stars. He felt tiny and alone – a planet in the universe, watching the sky stretch and shimmer.

The Pope snapped a wax seal free. Galileo watched it bounce twice and then roll away into a shadowed corner.

After dutifully repeating each line read to him, Galileo lowered his head. His fingers dug into the rug, embedded in its softness. “And yet it moves,” he whispered, daring his audience to hear.

It was then that he learnt that knowledge torments as a lover does. A glance, then a whisper and suddenly the earth itself moves. He did not die alone, locked away from life. He died with love in his heart and truth rising with the poisoned smoke.


any thoughts?

Currently seated: plotting to take over earth
Background Noise: it's the end of the world as we know it
(Deleted comment)
ellymellyellymelly on November 10th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
lol no fandom - just an original story. :D thank you so much for taking the time to read it! :D