His name is duke because that’s a good name for a big dog but he’s not a real dog he only lives in my head. He used to be real, but then he wasn’t mine, and now he’s just mine and nobody elses. When he was real he was a puppy and I saw him in the store and I got to hold him and he loved me and I loved him but he costed too much money so I had to leave him and I cried. And then I heard him crying too, outside, and it was dark but I snuck out anyway and looked and looked but I couldn’t find him. The next time, I checked at the store and they said he was still there, it must have been another puppy but I knew better. So that night I heard him again, and I couldn’t find him, so I was sad and went home, and he was there! He was in my room! I ran and hugged him but my arms went right through him, so I knew he wasn’t real, but I asked him to stay with me and he slept on my pillow and in the morning he was gone again. I cried and I called the store and they said he wasn’t for sale anymore, because he was sick. He didn’t look sick when he was with me, so I waited for night and he came back and I cuddled him all night and gave him kisses and when he tried to leave again I held him and he just curled on my lap and went to sleep. And then I called the store and they said he was gone, and I tried to tell them he was with me but they didn’t understand. So now he is the puppy who lives in my head and I love him forever and ever, and he loves me. The End.
sister, sister, tell me true,
what I ever did to you,
stretch your hand to save me here,
and you may have my sweetheart dear.
I will have your sweetheart, true,
but never will I rescue you,
my hand outstretched will never be,
for sake of what you’ve done to me.
sister, sister, tell me why,
I see my murder in your eye,
what e’er I’ve done I’ll make amends,
and you and I shall live as friends.
Never shall I stretch my hand,
to help you safe up to dry land,
though it may be hard to see,
I’ll think of what you’ve done to me.
sister, sister, tell me here,
is it of my sweetheart dear,
I will forsake him, for your sake,
and you his hand may surely take.
it is about your sweetheart, aye,
whom you love half as much as I,
and though on me he has yet frowned,
he’ll turn to me once you are drowned.
sister, sister, save me, please,
and I will swear on bended knees,
that you a bride will shortly be,
and I no more shall envy thee.
I will not save thee, sister mine,
though your prayers are sweet and fine,
this stream will bear you out to sea,
and you no more will bother me.
sister, sister, hear me now,
my curse on you I hereby vow,
you may well have my sweetheart true,
but this black deed you soon will rue.
sister, when you take my man,
try to hold him if you can,
his faithless heart will ne’er be true,
and this last thing I do to you.
You know I’m teasing you with the title, bestest Twin-o-mine, right? I apologize in advance for any what-the-hecks that have wiggled their way into the story, but let us simply state that strong pain medications added to pills with a strong sedative affect make for an (I hope) interestingly “woogie” writer. Okies…so. Most of you know this, but for those of you left behind, I’ve been playing in someone elses playground for a while, writing one chapter of a story, doing whatever I want with the story and plot, and handing it on to the next player…lucky them. >.<
At this time we are considerably up-and-down with the whole thing. Up, when it comes to words…approx. 700-1000 word chapters, 53 of them, equals quite a lot of words. Down, when it comes to writers. Of the original fantastically wonderful writers, only the originator, TRG (aka Boss, aka The Reclining Gentleman) is left. Joanne Best and I were relatively late-comers to the dark corners of the playground, but it’s been a lot of fun. (Can’t speak for Joanne (loveya, twin!) but I think she’s had fun too.) We miss all the original architects, who I am far too lazy to list (and afraid that in my woogie tangent I’ll miss one, and then I’ll cry) so I’ll just have to send you over to the Homepage of this weirdness called the Fiction Relay (cause we can’t title it till we see how it comes out, sillies!) to see for yourselves. (I recommend it…and then check out their pages, cause you won’t be dissappointed…their greatness is sorely missed) That all taken care of, let the curtains part (can’t tell that I’ve been reading Tommy and Tuppence novels, can’ya?) and gaze upon the glory of this, our Chapter 53! (for reals, this time)
Unfortunately for Jose/Elijah, no matter how careful the ninja, gravel under sneakers makes a distinctive sound…so Blue and Spence were ready almost as quickly as he reached them; which was good, as so was Raj. With a whining snarl that echoed through the lonely dark, he abandoned the mystery of the box and jumped at the approaching form, snapping and pawing to get loose when Melissa grabbed him around the neck and held him tightly. Blue and Spencer wrestled Elijah to the ground and kept him there. By this time even the slower members of the team had become aware of the scene, and turned with various statements of dismay or anger in their voices.
Meagan, still acting as the clear center of the group, carefully closed Ephraims hand around the little (glowing, humming, throbbing) box, and winked to him, before turning to the trouble. “Hello, Elijah…or do you prefer Jose, now? I know -I- do…after all the trouble you caused us, and all the trouble you bring with you, why should we welcome you now? Why shouldn’t we just let Raj go, let him tear you to shreds, as he so obviously wants to?” She gestured, toward the snarling, snapping full-grown coyote…with his sons eyes.
“Raj? No…no! You’re just trying to trick me…just like these two, with the smell of the mountain! And you, changing places with her!” He gestured with his chin toward Melissa. “I’m on to you! I saw, in the mountain! I saw Her give THE CUP to you! She promised! She promised to pass it to US, not to you…” His voice trailed off as his head fell back, and his eyes closed. With a grin for Blue, Spencer lowered him, unconscious, to the gravel.
*Nice one, babe! Vulcan Neck Pinch for the win!* *Don’t call it that! You know I hate that…* *Yup* *Smug bastard…* *Yup*
With a quick glare at Spence, Blue sat back on her heels, looking up at the adults. “Sorry, Mom. He was talking too much…not getting us anywhere.” Her glance included the whole group, even Raj, who had calmed down as Melissa squatted beside him, still holding him. “I love you, but right now you’re…you -all- are…thinking like civilians. Like you still have all the time in the world for earth-shattering revelations, and clever power plays. You don’t. What you do have is a war to fight. A war that Sanderson…or whoever he is…has been fighting and training and planning for…for a very long time. And that’s where we need to meet him. A war on the level of Mountains, and Gods, and Spirits…we can’t win. But a war with people (alright, and coyotes) we can find a way to handle.”
She stopped, with a quick smile up at Spence as he moved to stand behind her, hand on her shoulder. “She’s right. Before you all panic and start spouting about Gods and Mountains and Epic Quests, think about this. Sanderson has been training an army. Thousands of young men and women, chosen for their strength and intelligence, and manipulated into almost fanatical loyalty…and that’s not even counting the outsiders, the witches, to maintain the Coyote forms…why? If he’s such an all-powerful Spirit, God, whatever…what use can he have for an army? Why spend all that time and effort, if he could just magic-it-up, as Blue would say?”
At first, watching Blue and Spencer shift from “grumpy-chick and her boyfriend” mode, into “calm and in charge soldier” mode, what Meagan mostly felt was sorrow. Sorrow for her little girl, who she had left so long ago. Sorrow for the boy, grown up so fast, and so lost. Sorrow for -all- the children lost to soldiers, and now thrown into a fight with elements they could -not- defeat. But as she listened, sorrow changed to anger. Anger born of fear, of anxiety and overwhelming concern for her loved ones. Anger shared, she realized, as she glanced around the members of -her- army. Her soldiers. “Yes, Sammy and Spencer are correct…in essence. The presence of the army, of the footsoldiers and commanders, however magical, cannot be ignored. However, neither should we turn and ignore…well…that!” All eyes turned toward Ephraim, as she gestured, and she heard a collective gasp.
Ephraim heard, but felt nothing but confused. Glancing down at the hand that held the glowing box, he blinked. In his hand, floating above the box, was a tiny golden…or was it bronze?…cup, or goblet. Or maybe cauldron…or box? The object shifted restlessly on the top of his closed fist, the image or whatever it was moving to stay on top and rightside up at all times.
He slowly opened his fingers, palm up, and the image stayed, pulsing above the now quiescent box, rainbow shards splitting the night. His voice was soft and almost reverent as he spoke… “What…is that?”
An answer to which will hopefully be upcoming, as the now much the worse for wear baton is passed to the Boss of FR, TRG himself! (At least I hope he’s himself..sometimes he’s not, and then sometimes he’s someone else entirely, and it all ends up in a dreadful tangle once the two of him get home. So here’s hoping!)
Your Woogieness, signing off…
Ok, so I lied…this one snuck in there and insisted to come play, so here it is. I hope you like it, and Merry Christmas/Holiday to everyone!
a child is born, to parents poor,
his cradle is a manger, small,
in stable dark beside the inn,
in wind that whistles through the wall.
yet at his birth, the heavens sing,
the glories of a stars bright light
eclipse the lanterns of the inn
and make the sky a beacon, bright
shepherds follow, drawn by light,
and angel voices singing sweet,
gifts they bring, a blanket warm,
the rhythm of a drums soft beat.
and from the East, the wiseman come,
men of learning, traveling far,
gifts they bring, to lay before
the glory born beneath the star.
and in the heavens, angels chorus
till all the world can hear the ring,
peace on earth and mercy mild,
and glory to the newborn king.
Okies, here we go again…it’s Fiction Relay time once more! If it seems as if it’s coming to me more often (is anyone complaining?) you’re right, but hopefully only temporarily. We’ve had a few sad departures, due to increased pressure from that horrible beast known as “Real Life”…and a few are just taking a quick break, but will be back with us shortly. But never fear, we are keeping the torch passing, keeping the light in the window, and all that sort of thing…so with no further babble, here is part (I think) 42!
Trotting after the three strange ones through the halls of the Club, Jose kept his fingers curled protectively around the tiny leather pouch in his jacket pocket. Feeling the butter-softness of the ancient medicine bag against his rough palm seemed to keep him grounded, keep him walking in beauty amongst the witches.
He knew it was necessary, for him to be here…had known it ever since the touch of the woman’s quick fingers on his wallet had burned through to his skin, cold as the breath of the Mountain itself. He had known that it was time, finally, and he had known pride that his generation would fulfill the promise…but it had taken all his strength not to turn and run, to leave this place and hightail it home, back among the People.
Until yesterday he had believed the stories, of course. As you believed all the stories. Of course they were true. Why would they not be? But true now…in this world…to suddenly be told that you are a messenger, and that your time is -now-…he took a deep breath, fingers once more caressing the tiny bag as they hurried out into the deepening dusk.
Alone again, the man known as Sanderson hopped back up into his favorite position, cross-legged on the marble-slab conference table, looking out into the coming night. As always, when unobserved, he faced the Mountain.
Beneath the layers, shorn of (most) pretence, he was much closer to the young man of Ephraims vision…the craggy cheekbones and deep-set eyes of ice-water blue under that waterfall of white hair gave him a startling resemblance to the Mountain that he tried to keep hidden.
Of course, he liked to believe that the Mountain had come to resemble him in some ways, as well. In order to keep him out, it had needed to let a bit of him in. To become more…flexible, less rigid. And in doing so, although it had taken him an eternity to prepare, to sacrifice…it had become its own undoing.
And now the tools were at hand. And now the first sally had been sent. And soon it would be seen if the arrows he had labored so long to create would make their mark…or break against its stony hide.
Melissa dreamed. And Raj was ready. He had been mustering his “strength” for this little exercise for a while now, and he was finally ready. Carefully, warily, he widened his area of focus, pushing his awareness out into the room around him a bit at a time, until finally “he” stood away from his motionless body. Gritting his teeth, he pushed through the disgusting layer of sweaty-grimy-dirty-slime that was the psychic residue of thousands of weary travelers over the years, and made his way gingerly across the space that separated him from his sleeping target.
Halfway there, he received a rather nasty shock that set him back a bit…the coyote “statue” suddenly turned its glowing eyes in his direction, pinning him in place in a most literal fashion as he felt it heedlessly rummage through “him”. Whatever it was looking for, he must have passed, however, because the eyes dimmed again and the tension was released.
The incident shook him, but nothing would stay Raj from his goal, at this point. He’d been waiting far too long to let some little…totem, guardian, low rank ancestral spirit, whatever…get in his way. Ignoring the sound of quiet snickering, he pushed on until “he” stood staring down at Melissa’s sleeping form.
For a moment he simply stood, telling himself that it was necessary to gather energy before the final push…but knowing that he wanted to savor the moment, his final triumph against the murderous bitch who had tried to stop him. Staring down at her, he reached out an ephemeral “hand”, and traced the lines of her face…from this side, it was easy to see what the waking world could not. To see behind the semi-permanent illusion she wore, to the biggest secret she held.
Although their faces weren’t -exactly- identical…Meagan’s chin had a bit more point, while Melissa’s cheekbones were a touch stronger, for instance…the resemblance was crystal clear, and the relationship undeniable, to those who could see. How had it felt, he wondered, to give that up? To know that your closest relation…the closest relationship it was possible to have…wouldn’t recognize you? Wouldn’t even remember you? Was it worth it, in the end? Was the extra power worth the loss? Was that why she had never changed her name, trying to hold on to even that weak link to her twin? He shrugged, impatiently. Whatever. Time to play.
With a sound half laugh, half snarl, he moved to kneel over her on the bed, phantom hands on either side of her face. At the contact, she moaned, thrashing a bit on the bed, but didn’t wake. Gathering himself…literally…Raj brought his face down until his ephemeral lips touched hers. Her thrashing worsened, but her head was held still…and Raj grinned against her mouth, swallowing her increasingly desperate moans like fine wine. “Time to wake up, little one…wake up, and kiss me goodbye!”
An impatient snarl fell from his lips as her eyelids flickered, but didn’t open. Attempting to strengthen his hold on her, drag her up from her nightmares by brute force if necessary, he was distracted for just long enough. “Bitch! Wake your ass up, little whore! Wake uhhh…”
Gasping desperately for air, Melissa sat straight up in the nasty hotel bed, the remains of the dream still echoing in her mind. Shuddering, she curled into a ball on the cheap sheets, tears pouring down her cheeks, unheeded. Raj had been her first and greatest love…and her worst enemy, so far…but even he hadn’t deserved the fate served to him in her nightmare. The sound of his screams as the pack of wild…dogs? wolves? somethings had torn him apart would likely echo in her mind forever.
After a quick glance to make sure that the not-quite-a-corpse still sat in the lounge chair next to the bed, that its position of slumped, sheet-covered gloom hadn’t shifted…that it wasn’t, in point of fact, torn and shredded, bloody scraps all over the room…she curled into herself, all dignity gone, all restraint lost, and sobbed herself into an uneasy sleep once more.
And on the dresser, the eyes of the statue flickered. The shadows played around its muzzle, giving the impression, almost, of movement…if one were fanciful, one could even imagine it…laughed.
Whoops. Missed an important part of the game…passing the stick. Here y’go, Dawn!
(Once again I get to play in the awesome writers playground that is the shared story, “Suzi’s Saga” or “A symphony in Blue”. ;p Hopefully you’ve read some of the other chapters, but if not and you want to catch up, follow this link to find links to the other 37 chapters, and even the names of the perpetrators of this deed. Here’s to my fellow FR’ers…hope you like it!)
With a squeal born of pure rage and hysteria, Melissa stared wide-eyed at the apparition, the sudden appearance of the hated one temporarily destroying her fragile hold on sanity. Fingers like claws, she grabbed for Blue, trying to grab her collar, eyes still locked on Suzi’s. As Suzi’s mocking grin grew wider, Melissa’s fingers groped impotently, and she turned her head…and saw an empty seat.
“Wha…what??” She scrambled across to the door, tried the latch, and shook her head again, confused. “It’s still…still locked? But…” With a snarl, she turned on Suzi, eyes glowing as she gathered her power to her…only to find the window closed as well. Scrabbling at the latch, desperate for some explanation, some…sense, she heard the sound of car horns fade in, outside, and the rush of traffic.
The window slid open, and the voice of the driver drifted back, sounding bored and impatient. “You ok, lady? Need some help getting out? We’re here…” Baffled, she looked to the car windows, and saw the street in front of her hotel, as noisy and real as if it’d never gone away. “I…”
~Come on, Mel…pull yourself together, girl. Something freaky is happening…what’s new about that? But above all we can’t let anyone know we’re upset…or inconvenienced…in any way. Just breathe…~
With a deep breath and a brush at her ruffled hair, she spoke, pitching her voice low to sound in control. “No, this’ll be fine…thank you for making such good time. How much do I owe you?” The man shrugged. “Well, with the extra stop to pick up your friend, I guess…$40?” Bemused, she pulled the money out of her bag and paid, stepping carefully and slowly out onto the well lit pavement of the hotel entrance.
As she turned to go, the man called out. “Hey! Don’t forget your “luggage”!” and she heard the trunk latch click. Moving slowly still, she moved to the open trunk, and blinked at the blanked-wrapped bundle inside. For some reason she felt as if she should recognize it…didn’t it belong to her? But the memory fell from her confused mind like water, evaporating as it went.
Blinking again, she motioned to a bellman, and asked for help carrying the bundle to her room. Following the cart, locked in her own head, she made her way to the room. Placing the bundle on the floor at the foot of the bed, she slumped down beside it, one hand resting on it…and fell asleep.
As Blue opened her eyes, the familiar walls of Spence’s room at the compound fading into view, she burst into delighted laughter, picturing the look on Melissa’s face. “Oh, lord. I wish I was there to see it. Wonder how soon it faded? Hope she made it “home”…we still need her. Need all of them, unfortunately. For now. Until mom and I are together again…”
She sobered for a moment, turning the image she’d plucked from Melissa’s mind over and over in her mind.
~Hmm…I do kinda look like her. Good. More her than him, thank god. That’ll help her recognize me, I hope…if she can’t just feel me, like I feel her.~
Still a bit dizzy from the effects of the unexpected alcohol, and the brand new feeling of “Jumping”, she sat down on Spence’s bed, briefly considering how nice a quick nap would feel. Sighing, she shook her head, and stood. “Time to go get my baby back…and show that guy what happens when he drugs the wrong person.” Grinning happily, she strode out of the room, her steps confident and sure.
In the Clubs private dining room, its panoramic glass windows looking out over the beautiful view, dominated by the sacred mountain that loomed in the distance, three pairs of eyes stared at the man calling himself Sanderson. Jose, a confused look on his face, looked at them. “You did not know this? You did not know that this…this witch, this destroyer-of-beauty, was their leader? And yet you came seeking him…” His eyes thoughtful, he settled back in his chair, watching them all now, warily.
“Sanderson” laughed, the hearty laugh of a strong man, and nodded his head to one of the brick walls. “Bring me Spencer…I need to have a word with him, and I want these folks to hear.” With a nod, the man left. He moved surprisingly lightly and silently, although he had to turn sideways to fit through the door.
“So…” “Sanderson” turned back to face the others, winking at Ephraim as he did. “You must be “Ephraim”. The Seer. It is a pleasure to meet you again. I am pleased to see that you have learned discipline and discretion as you matured.”
Chuckling at Ephraims baffled expression, he turned to Sam. “And you would be “Sam”…the See-er.” He laughed at his own joke, even though the rest just looked puzzled. “Be careful how deeply you See…some things do not -wish- to be seen, and have the power to make you regret crossing them. On the other hand, you are the father of my favorite pupil, so I can forgive you much.”
“And last, but most important…my little Suzi. I’m glad you managed to find us again, despite your sisters efforts to the contrary. She never quite trusted me for some reason..”
Startled, Suzi opened her mouth…but shut it again as the brick wall returned, ushering in a young man of about 18. As he approached the table, she gasped, fingers tightening on the table, and glanced at Sam to see if he felt it as well. Finding him looking down the table at her, she mouthed “He feels like Sammy!” and watched him nod, once, before turning to watch as “Sanderson” began to speak.
The young man stood impassively in front of the big man, almost seeming to stand at attention, military style. “You asked to see me, sir?”
When “Sanderson” spoke, they all stifled a gasp…his voice had completely changed! This voice was that of a much younger man, although still older by far than the young man…a peevish and fretful voice, used to being in control but holding on to that control with both grasping hands.
Stealthily and warily, Ephraim risked a peek at him, controlling his reaction at what he saw. A man sat in the chair, balding and middle-aged, in an approximation of a military uniform. From the markings and the younger mans attitude, Ephraim deduced that he was of a high “rank” in whatever organization he belonged to.
“Yes, soldier, I “asked to see you”. I shouldn’t have had to! What were you thinking?” The young man, presumably “Spencer”, stared resolutely at a point just over “Sandersons” shoulder as he spoke, his voice crisp. “Sir…I was tending to an asset, sir. Per your previous instructions, sir.”
Ephraim watched as the shadow-man pinched the bridge of his nose, obviously a habitual gesture, and shook his head. “Spencer…son…she’s dangerous, you know that. I don’t want you risking yourself in case…no, -when-…she goes rogue.”
The young man seemed to pull himself even straighter. “Sir…understood, sir. With all due respect, I believe I can handle her, sir. She listens to me. And, sir…grandfather believes I can handle her. That is enough for me. Sir.”
The man bristled, fists clenched in his lap under the table. “Your grandfather is no longer in charge of this organization, soldier. He is unwell, and has turned all policy making and organizational matters over to me. And I -order- you to stand down re Private Blue. Just this once…do as I say?”
Startled, Meagan clapped her hands over her mouth, senses reaching out almost automatically to “read” the boy who stood before her. Recoiling as she felt the strength of his connection to…Blue…to Sammy…she glared at him behind her hands. Sammy is 14, for gods sake!
With a crisp salute, the boy half-turned to the door. “Sir, yes sir! Understood sir!” He turned and headed out the door, still speaking, but softly now, his voice fading as he stalked down the hall. “…comprehende…gotcha…dohn…comprendre…”
Shaking his head, “Sanderson” settled back, looking back to Meagan. (Ephraim watched the shadow-man fade, and the coyote-man come to the fore once again) “I apologize for that. The boy has his own brand of courage, true…but much like your Sammy, not an ounce of discipline.”
Meagan frowned at him. “I don’t understand…how can he be your son? I mean…I know you’re not…well, not human?”
He chuckled. “Ahh, but he is -not- my son. He is “Sandersons” son. And Sanderson is -my- son…at least as far as the Club is concerned. You understand that I am handing you some of the deepest secrets of the Club? And I know you’re all smart enough to wonder…what does he want, in exchange for these secrets? Well, I will tell you…”
(*giggles* On to you, Dawn! Have fun! *hugs*)
In one of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” comics, I believe it was in Brief Lives, featuring his creations, the Endless, there is a story that I think of right now. It talks about people, normal people, who live longer lives than other people, but they just don’t tell anyone. They just live their lives, glad to have them. One of these, I think his name is Bernie, lives as a “normal” accountant or something…even though he can remember the smell of wet mammoth fur, and hear the sound of the hunt.
In this world, Death is one of the Endless, a family of brothers and sisters who represent/are the basic elements of life. In no particular order: Dream, Destiny, Destruction, Desire, Despair, Death, and the youngest and my personal favorite, Delirium. Death, in Gaimans world, is a beautiful young girl with a taste for gothic clothing (or are the goths dressing as her?) and a gentle and kind of quirky attitude and behavior.
In the story, when Bernie-the-accountant finally dies, from a wall falling on him, Death comes for him, and he looks at her, confused and frustrated. “Is that it? Is that all I get?” Death looks at him and smiles. “You got what everyone gets…you got a lifetime.” For some reason, that comforts me, right now. Not sure why, but it keeps coming up, and I always smile, which right now is rare…so thank you, Mr. Gaiman.
Listening to the distant fireworks tonight, I thought about the fact that in some places, some countries, those might be frightening sounds. Sounds of war, or at least confusion or trouble. Whereas here, for me at least, they make me smile. Not really for any patriotic reason, but for the memories. Memories of gathering blankets and picnic food, of packing into cars or if you were lucky, walking, to get to the “best” view. Maybe it was big sponsored show, or a smaller city-run show, or even, if you could find a good height, the whole thing spread out in front of you. Waiting for dark, running in the dusk, kids tied to parents by invisible strings of excitement and anticipation; is it dark enough yet? are they starting? when-when-when?? Then somehow knowing it was time, somehow sensing the migration, everyone running through the dark to curl up next to a parent or sibling, maybe snag that last piece of lunch, all eyes to the sky. The time between that first waiting and the first small, far-off “poomph” was an eternity…but once it started, it didn’t stop. Stars and wheels, showers and fountains, balls that fell to flowers that fell to sparks…and all the while the noise. Half bang, half boom, half the whisper-roar of the crowd, squeal of small kids and yell of larger, startled but trying to pass it off as excitement. Parents/adults laughing and watching and waiting, trying to guess the next set…is that the last one? Is that? Wow, that -must- have been the last, they can’t top -that-…but they always did, until the end. Until the sky was alight with stars, booms and bangs and thumps coming so fast there was no differentiating them, just one tremendous roar of noise and light and the being on the ground, all hearts beating in time with the lights, feeling the explosions on your skin. Then it was done, just a few sad sparks falling from the heights, kids refusing to leave until the very last star winked out, then bundling sleepily into cars, or carried home, tired parents listening to a replay of every little bang or boom, and you were separate…but for a while, there, you were one animal…one being…one child, watching in wonder and awe as the stars danced, and fell, for you.
I really am nuts, y’know? Not a little bit, not relatively, just…nuts. Not “insane”, I don’t think. Well, technically, I suppose, but that’s -such- a broad spectrum, honestly. Just vague and diffuse…like the law…a net spread to catch the biggest fish, but tight enough to catch the tiddlers as well…when the Fishers want them. *shrugs*
But that’s beside the point. Back to “nuts”. I like that better. It’s perjorative, and offensive…unless you are, and you use it about yourself. Well, in -my- rules, anyway. Such as they are. Normal. Silly word, silly place, let’s not go there. *nodnod* Most people (“most”…another nonsense word) want to be normal. Correct? People want to fit in wherever they are, in whatever living environment they find themselves in, this time around. But some people don’t. Some people feel that it’s impossible to ever fit in, so in a sort of sour-grapes scenario they decide that being “normal” isn’t anything worth striving for. Just the opposite, they decide. Let’s be as -abnormal- as possible, and revel in that…in our separate uniqueness…just like everyone else.
Then there are the nuts. They…we?…just live. Well, try, anyway. It’s really very difficult to swim downstream in a world of spawning salmon. When the race is to be uniquely different but in a way that fits in with ones chosen social group in such a way as to not outlaw the possibilities of being fertile within said grouping…people who for whatever reason don’t have/want/use that drive can be easily lost in the crowd and drowned.
One of the horrors of being…asexual? ish?…is the absence of touch. People were designed to need touch. Physical contact of even the simplest kind…a hand on a hand, a touch on the back…people without these things will become ill, and can even be driven insane, or become so depressed that they die. Not suicide…just die. Most people don’t think of these things because for them, they are touched every day. One way or another. A quick “snack” during the day. A handshake, a quick hug between friends, even a bump from a stranger on a bus or subway. And a full meal, at home. The loving touch of family, birth or found. The surety of knowing that you have permission…you have the right…to touch and be touched. That you will not be winced away from, or avoided, or rejected, dismissed, or reviled.
However, when people touch, something is transmitted, from skin to skin. A basic assumption, a sort of signal, that no matter the relationship, age, or physical condition, says the same thing. “This person is capable of physical love…this person is normal.” You’ve seen what happens when someone in whom that signal is missing or corrupted touches someone…or attempts to. There is an almost automatic repulsion, an anger that borders on fear…because they feel “wrong”. Instinct says “This person is an evolutionary dead-end…a thing to be avoided”.
Of course this is all hooey…straight out of the “Sour Grapes” file that lives in my twisted little mind. I mean, really. I told you I was nuts! But think about it. Watch for it. And if any of that hits home to you…don’t let it. Fight it. Work for what you need…or what another needs. Thank you.
Just a little fan-girling…I -love- Stephen Kings “Firestarter”, I have ever since I first read it, at twelve yrs. old. I didn’t watch the movie till years later, didn’t want to spoil the book…but I was surprised to find that I liked both. As long as I thought of them as separate but related stories, they were both awesome. I love Drew Barrymore, and she was so cute in her angst-filled rage… ;p
Anyway, here is my little tribute, a short-story-ish non-canon look into the world of the Firestarter, part one. Enjoy. 🙂
The old cars long familiar motion failed to soothe, and Charlie shifted, restlessly, head pounding with the rhythm of the wheels. “You ok, baby?” Her fathers voice was intentionally low, and his eyes sympathetic as he met her pained gaze. Forcing a shaky smile for his sake, she nodded…and winced. “It’s ok, daddy. Just a little headache. Just need to sleep…”
His nod said that he knew the truth, but like her, he would let it be for now. “You do that, baby. Get some sleep. We’ll be stopping for gas pretty soon…maybe even get a motel room. You’d like that, hmm?” She smiled again, and kept her exhausted sigh as internal as she could. “Mm-hmm. That’d be nice. Love you, daddy.” “I know you do, baby. Love you more…” A tired grin was his reward, before she turned her face to the darkness outside the window and deliberately closed her eyes.
He sighed, carefully keeping both hands on the wheel although he longed to reach out and touch her soft hair…to reassure himself that she was still real, still there, still with him. Not like…the other. He shook his head, quickly, banishing the thought before it could take hold. All his concentration must be on the road, on keeping them safe, keeping moving. But god, he was tired.
The lights were sharp and white when Charlie woke from her half-doze, glaring through the windshield, reflecting the exhausted face of her father pitilessly in the glass. She winced again, and deliberately pasted on a bright smile before shifting in her seat as if just waking. He glanced over at her as he pulled into a spot under the canopy. “Just getting gas, like I said. Do you want anything? A soda, some chips? We can get some real food once we get to the motel, ok?” She just nodded, then shook her head, gently. “I’m ok. I…I’m not hungry.” He searched her eyes, then nodded as he got out of the car. “Just let me know, ok?”
She was pretty sure she’d never be hungry again, not with the memory of her last meal still so fresh in her head. The phantom taste of her mothers grilled cheese sandwich stuck like glue to her mind, mingling with the scent of tomato soup…and the other. Angrily, she brought her hand to her cheek, brushing away the memory and the tears that began to leak from her eyes. No. Not thinking of that. They were both scrupulously avoiding any hint of what they’d left behind, and as far as she was concerned she’d like it to stay that way forever. “Ok, daddy. I promise.”
Curling into herself, she watched him move around the car, pumping gas, moving to go into the brightly lit store that stood like an island port in the darkness, the big rigs like ships around it. This image amused her, and she began to embellish the picture, adding the sounds of creaking sails and excited voices, her active mind keeping itself busy as it always had, her favorite toy.
In the store, he gathered a few bottles of soda, a box of crackers, and a brightly furred little bear, and moved quickly to the cashier. Placing his items on the counter, he kept a bright but somewhat harassed look on his face. “Hi. I’m sorry to ask, but is there any chance you can cash a hundred? I’m traveling with my little girl, and I forgot to get change…” She sighed, smiling down at the little bear, then up at him. “I’m not supposed to…but all right. For the little one.”
His smile warmed, and he reached in his pocket for a worn one dollar bill. Holding the bill folded close in his hand so that their hands touched as he passed it over, he summoned the picture of a one hundred dollar bill into his mind. Worn, but not too much, a crease across Franklins face, a reassuringly recognizable bill. Holding the picture, he concentrated with all his strength as she carefully counted out his change, bagged his items, and handed them to him. He almost staggered as he pulled away, the sudden exhaustion that always accompanied use of his gift almost overwhelming him…but the thought of Charlie waiting out in the car gave him a burst of manic strength as he hurried back out the doors into the night.
If this makes anyone stop following me, I understand. I’m a very open-minded person, so much so that things fall out sometimes, but I hate negative emotions because I have so many of them. Hate, guilt, shame, anger, pain, loneliness, etc.etc.etc. So, that over, on to what I wanted to say.
The card is basically Eve and the Snake, but in a good way, a life-affirming non-guilt-ridden don’t be afraid of the Snake because she/he is only one path to power, way. And I like this, because in the story, it was the power of knowledge, the loss of innocence, that got them “kicked out” in the first place. I prefer to think of them as “released” once they had the tools it took to live out here. To live and breed and hurt and die…and in doing so, become one with the One.
And to answer a question in my mind, here is what I believe. I believe that -all- the stories, of gods and Gods, Godess’ and godess’, spirits, creatures, etc. are true. If the God/ess is all-knowing, all-encompassing, all-powerful…why couldn’t he/she be whatever he/she needed to at the moment?
Huddled together under the dubious safety of the Bridge, the Less watched the poisonous beauty rain down from the sky. They called them “Civs”, those who sent the terror, the flowers of sickness and death. Civs, short for civilized, for those who thought themselves risen past all ugliness and filth, all hunger, pain, and anger.
In the City, all was beauty and grace, peace and love. In the buildings so tall and willowy; grown, not created. Grown of the plague that was destroying humanity. The living seed of evil, machines smaller than the very air itself…machines that “fixed” everything, everywhere.
Gone was individuality, a cause for strife; property, breeder of jealousy; anger, pain, trauma…imagination, creativity, life.
Barely clinging to existence, those who called themselves The Less…careless, feckless, reckless…faceless…fought, carrying out a losing war against the Seed.
Soon, all would be at peace…beauty and grace rule the world. And as they watched the beautiful death that came for them, its light illuminating the shadows and dirt in which they existed…most of them could not regret its coming.
(whoops…forgot the linkie thing. Lots of neat little stories here. Go check’em out!)
This is number one of a series of 5 stories, poem or other, inspired by/written for a handful of pictures from Christina over at Artblablablablog. I chose this one to go first to give Mr. Mike his something secretive and dark. 😉
“One pill makes you larger, one pill makes you small, and the ones that Mother gives you don’t do anything at all…go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall!”
“White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
Hmmph. Well, I’m Alice…but don’t ask me! Trust me, don’t. I’m likely to tell you, and then where would you be? Lost, same as me, that’s where.
Lost in my head, far from my bed, lost in the woods of shouldn’ts and shoulds, cravings and ravings and speaking in rhyme…aren’t I having a marvelous time?
Oh, no, not you again. You just shut up, you! You got me into this in the first place, with your little whiny voice. “Oh, please! It’ll be fun! You -like- camping with your family, so this’ll be even more fun! They’re nice guys, and there’ll be other girls there too…and what if we say no, and they make fun of us? We have to go!” So we went. And here we are. In the woods, in the dark, a baggie of stolen pills in my hand.
Little pills for certain ills, of the mind that’s caught the chills, and for the mind that’s running low, and the one that wanders to-and-fro!
Heh. Wandering. Yeah. That’s what I’ve been doing all day, and all day yesterday…and likely all day tomorrow, unless they find us and kill us for stealing the pills. Find me, I mean. Not us. There is no us. THERE IS NO US! Ummm…sorry about that. Just an echo. Really. Now, where were we? Oh, yeah…trying to figure out where we are.
Take a pill! Just one little pill, you saw what it did for jack and his jill, as they fell laughing down the hill and lay them down so very still!
No! No pills. That’s why I took them in the first place! These things are dangerous! They make you see things, feel things…awful horrible things. Things with big teeth and worms for eyes that used to be a snotty cheerleader named Jill. Things that laugh and laugh and laugh until you panic and run, not realizing what you clutch in one sweaty hand.
Why do you wait? It can’t hurt! You’re sitting here in cold and dirt, and freezing as the sun goes down with no idea how far to town, or if there is a town at all or maybe you just had a fall, and you’re really lying in the dirt all bloody-broken-dashed and hurt…
I can’t! I’m…I’m afraid, alright? My brain feels fuzzy enough as it is, and all I had was a bit in a drink. I’m afraid what’ll happen if I try it…but you’re right…it is cold.
Maybe just -one- won’t hurt…
“Officials are still investigating the strange disappearance of 7 college students in the state park this weekend…so far the only clue to the mystery is an abandoned bag of aspirin.”
She tucks her hair into her hood, tugging the fabric forward to shade her face. Kneeling, she opens the bag at her feet, checking that all within is as it should be. Satisfied, she stands, bag in hand, and without a further glance behind, sets out on her journey.
red as blood, black as night,
shadows shield me from her sight,
lead me when I start to stray,
that I might live another day.
mother moon hearken to me,
father darkness hear my plea,
hold me safe and free from harm,
and shield me under sheltering arm.
The moons light filters sparsely through the trees, causing more shadows than she relieves. The girl in the hood slips silently among the shifting shades, all senses alert and poised for action. A tiny far off squeak is heard and dismissed. The death cry of some small prey, most likely. A moment later, she drops lithely to one knee, hand going out to hover over the damp leaf covered ground. Her sharp eyes scan the leaves, then move to a nearby bush…and she nods, decisively. Standing again, she moves off in a different direction, eyes scanning the ground in front of her intently.
a howl of warning fills the air
a cry of mourning and despair
the red ones hunt! the speaker cries
and gulping, hard, I close my eyes
a shifting perfume on the wind
one testing sniff and it is pinned
closer than I like to see
the red hood knight still follows me
Shrugging to adjust her armor under her bright scarlet tabard and hood, she follows the trail, eyes intent and almost glowing with excitement and eagerness. Getting close now…she can almost taste the sour-sweat-and-blood that is the mark of the Beast she hunts. A howl rings out through the forest, and she snarls under her breath, eyes touched with disgust. Filthy murdering beasts. Momentarily, her senses are filled with the scent/taste/sight of hot apple pastries cooling on her Nona’s counter. She snarls again, and shakes her head, dispelling the image. No time for sentiment…it’s killing time.
running hard through forests deep
I dream of home, and warmth, and sleep
of friendly faces in firelight
anything but this cold flight
my heartbeat pounds within my chest
as if a bird fought in my breast
my legs are made for running far
but now each footfall seems to jar
Her breath quickens, along with her pace, as she feels the trail grow more obvious, easier to follow. The beast panics, running blind. Her grin is feral beneath the scarlet hood. Soon it will fall, and then it will end. Ever vigilant, she watches for an ambush, although she doubts there will be one. The beast is alone.
my breath is shallow, eyes are glazed
yet still I run. I am amazed
a-mazed I am, a mouseling, trapped
in territory long unmapped
I dare not turn my head for fear
of red-crossed knight who runs so near
I know she comes, I feel her eyes
I know her ears can hear my sighs
She shrugs her shoulders again to loosen the strap of the bag on her back, letting it slip into her hand as she runs. Reaching within she withdraws a gleaming silver knife with an enameled red cross for pommel, and a scarlet thong with a small glass flask hanging from it. Slipping the bag back behind her, the knife into a specially made pocket, and the thong around her neck under the hood, she continues forward, cautiously.
I stumble onwards through the night
my heart beats like a bird in flight
my ears hear running footsteps, nigh
as moonlight beams down from on high
one more stumble and I’m done
my traitor legs refuse to run
I crumple to the forest floor
let death come, I’ll run no more
She hears the dull thud of a large body hitting the ground ahead of her, and she hurries forward, ears alert to any further sound of movement. None comes, and she grins as she pulls the gleaming knife from its holder. Moving cautiously into the clearing, she sees the beast lying with its back to her, curled into itself, shaking with fear and exhaustion. The long grey tail matted with blood and sweat, the fur-covered ribs heaving with each panicked breath…it is harmless now. Only prey for the taking. With a quick prayer, she drips a bit of consecrated oil from the flask at her throat onto the blade, and shaking her head so that her hood falls back, she steps toward her prize. She will stare into its eyes as she…
moonlight shines on midnight black
the fall of hair hangs down her back
her deep brown eyes look shocked, afraid
as she stands before me, scarlet arrayed
a tear runs down through matted fur
as overcome, I stare at her
she drops the knife from open hand
and weaves as if she cannot stand
I close my fear glazed eyes and wait
I know full well my future fate
I hear her drop down to her knees
in the clearing, beneath the trees
her words are shaky and unclear
her voice a ringing in my ear
I grit my teeth, and wait for death
each breath I take is my last breath
I feel her hand upon my face
I feel her fingers move, and trace
I hear her voice, and my heart shivers
with the pain and sorrow it delivers
She stares at the beast as she lies before her, oh-so-familiar features made strange and warped. But oh, those eyes. Those soft brown eyes that she had seen all her young life, that she had thought gone forever. With one shaking hand, she reaches forward, turning the creatures muzzle and leaning down to lay her cheek against the sweat-matted fur. Cautiously, a long grey arm moves to hold her close…and she weeps. For the one before her…for herself…for the long wasted years. Curled up on the forest floor, the moonlight streaming down on them, she weeps.