Saturday 20 June 2015

Arbow's Notebook by Kath Middleton

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons Author - Shubi

Kath Middleton's 'Arbow's Notebook' won second place in September 2014's Short Fiction Contest.

Arbow's Notebook by Kath Middleton

You could say this is my diary although I have never written in it. 

I fell in with a man of science by the name of David Arbow. We were both acolytes of John Dee’s, a man who sat upon the boundary between science and magic. These days he is thought of as a magician and an occultist although when we first knew him he was concerned with communicating with angels. It was through this cabalistic angel magic and his beliefs that man has the capability of divine power that David Arbow came under his influence.

Contrary to common belief, Dee was a devout Christian and a gifted mathematician and his reputation for black magic is not founded in reality. Arbow, however, loved the idea of communicating with angels, most particularly with those angels who fell, along with Lucifer, when challenging the Divine One for power. He felt that if he could speak to these entities, steal a little of the power they surely possessed, he himself would rise above his fellow men. His arrogance refused to let him consider anything else.

He had nowhere near the calibre of mind which his hero possessed. He would sit with Dee while the latter performed calculations, nodding and seemingly sharing the journey of learning with him, but he was floundering along the wayside. Without the Master he was lost. Nevertheless, he had accumulated a certain cachet amongst Dee’s other hangers-on and sought to reap financial rewards through this reputation.

We were all in awe of John Dee’s mind and the things of which he was capable. Most of us were content to study with him and in all honesty, we struggled to follow in his wake, let alone keep up with him. Those of a more esoteric frame of mind would try to emulate his scrying techniques and attempt to contact spirits and even angelic beings by use of an Aztec artefact – an obsidian scrying mirror. 

Doctor Dee would occasionally allow those of us of lesser talents to attempt to see with this device but I have to confess, I saw nothing. Arbow let it be known that he could contact heavenly beings and also lost souls, adrift in a void and looking for the way into celestial bliss. Dee was interested and gave Arbow special attention, though the rest of us believed he was being fooled by a cunning man of lesser talents.

Dee encouraged Arbow to make copious notes in a diary. He suggested he should note the days on which he made the contacts, the results of his ‘conversations’ with the angelic forms and even the weather conditions prevalent at the time. He told Arbow that the diary must be a special book and that it should never be used for anything else. It was the key to heaven.

It was to me. It is made from my skin.

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