* * *
by Edmondia Dantes

AN: One side of a conversation, as told to a newcomer to St. Canard. Revised 2005.

* * *

It's long since half past midnight
and the city streets are haunted
by the phantom that lurks in the night.

There's no turning back when you're going too far,
and redemption seems so far away.

And maybe he's running or maybe he's scared,
but the mask is so perfect the world cannot know.

And maybe he's beautiful or maybe he's awful,
or maybe he's a tormented avenger -
a strange comic book come to life.

So sad, a cliche, or is it all true?
I'll tell you something, between me and you,
If anyone knows, will anyone tell?
What's his secret, who's hiding, who's who?

You think it's a joke?
You've not been here long
Only a fool would sing that old song.

He's there on every shadow-clutched corner,
hidden behind the blind alleyways,
a patient predator swathed in the dark.

And there's no thug in this city
who doesn't know and fear his name.
And every cop will hate him,
(Why, yes, it is their shame)
and his public doesn't adore him,
and the shadows are all that he knows.

Now living in the city you see dangerous things,
Meet dangerous people,
Maybe break a few wings.

And he could be there to protect you
or he could be there to kill you
but you won't know until your time's passed.

They've seen him on the rooftops
and they've seen him on the street
and they've fled from him right to the arms
of the most-hated police.

And then he'll flash a dazzling grin,
soak up all the attention a man can give
and then vanish into the night.

They say he'll rant and rave
And you - you know his name,
Some say a look will bring the grave
A vigilante always gets the blame.

Everyone knows his silhouette
when in lingers in the moonlight
and in the too-still darkness
it's not hard to taste the fear.

They say he's just a fake, a sham,
they say it's all pretend.

But the underworld knows,
And the legend grows.
You'd be wise to not trust what you see.

The whispers build up constantly,
until they tower higher than the city tops
that we've seen him darting along.

The mystery forever lingers,
and it deepens every moonswept night.

In the darkness, they whisper of a thousand things,
Of immortality and insanity,
(A single look, and you'll yet fright)
Of fools, and jesters, of darkness' kings,
Of cruel laughter and vanity,
Of power and pride and might,
(See him and the wildness he brings)
Of everyone that ran from he,
This demon-ghost of the light.

They say he's a felon, they say he's a monster,
and they say he's a beacon of truth.

But those who have seen him
and those who have watched him,
this creature of fire and smoke,
to them he's a demon
or maybe their savior -
and nobody knows who is right.

But when the lights of the city glow
and the wind rustles down your spine
and the darkest darkness deepens
and a breath of shadow brushes past your side -

You'll know it's the touch of heaven
Or a brand from the pits of the night.

* * *


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