Will Rabjohns, perhaps the most famous wildlife photographer in the world, has made his reputation chronicling the fates of endangered species. But after a terrible accident, Will is left in a coma. And in its depths, he revisits the wildernesses of his youth and relives his life with a mysterious couple who have influenced his life as an artist and a man.
When Will awakens, he sets out on a journey of self-discovery -- one where he will penetrate the ultimate mystery and finally unlock the secret of his destiny.
Soaring, provocative and passionate, Sacrament is a masterwork from the pen of one of today's most acclaimed authors.
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January 23, 1997
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Excerpt from Sacrament by Clive Barker
He Stands Before An Unopened Door
To every hour, its mystery. At dawn, the riddles of life and light. At noon, the conundrums of solidity. At three, in the hum and heat of the day, a phantom moon, already high. At dusk, memory. And at midnight Oh, then the enigma of time itself; of a day that will never come again passing into history while we sleep.
It had been Saturday when Will Rabjohns arrived at the weather-bullied wooden shack on the outskirts of Balthazar. Now it was Sunday morning, two-seventeen by the scored face of Will's watch. He had emptied his brandy flask an hour before, raising it to toast the Borealis, which shimmered and billowed far beyond Hudson Bay, upon the shores of which Balthazar stood. He had knocked on the door of the shack countless times, calling out for Guthrie to give him just a few minutes of his time. On two or three occasions it seemed the man was going to do so; Will heard him grumbling something incoherent on the other side of the door, and once the handle had been turned. But Guthrie had not appeared.
Will was neither deterred nor particularly surprised. The old man had been universally described as crazy: This by men and women who had chosen as their place of residence one of the bleaker corners of the planet. If anyone knew crazy, Will thought, they did. What besides a certain lunacy inspired people to build a community--even one as small as Balthazar (population: thirty-one)--on a treeless, wind-battered stretch of tidal flats that was buried half the year beneath ice and snow, and was for two of the remaining months besieged by the polar bears who came through the region in late autumn waiting for the bay to freeze That these people would characterize Guthrie as insane was a testament to how crazy he really was.
But Will knew how to wait. He'd spent much of his professional life waiting, sitting in hides and dugouts and wadis and trees, his cameras loaded, his ears pricked, watching for the object of his pursuit to appear. How many of those animals had been, like Guthrie, crazed and despairing Most, of course. Creatures who'd attempted to outrun the creeping tide of humankind, and failed; whose lives and habitats were in extremis. His patience was not always rewarded. Sometimes, having sweat or shivered for hours and days he would have to give up and move on, the species he was seeking, for all its hopelessness, preserving its despair from his lens.
But Guthrie was a human animal. Though he had holed himself up behind his walls of weather-beaten boards, and had made it his business to see his neighbors (if such they could be called, the nearest house was half a mile away) as seldom as possible, he was surely curious about the man on his doorstep, who had been waiting for five hours in the bitter cold. This was Will's hope, at least; that the longer he could stay awake and upright the likelier it became that the lunatic would surrender to curiosity and open the door.