Category Archives: Short Story

Arachnafelorpion (New Version)

The tiny figure slipped demurely from the shadows of the building, hesitantly, like a mouse, darting glances about for the dangers potentially lurking in every corner, then shot across the alley and slipping back into the shadows of another building.  She looked about her for an exit, a sanctuary at the least, so she could gather her thoughts for her next move, preferably one that would offer a true escape.  Out of the corner of her eye, she spies a door about halfway down the alley, just slightly cracked open.    She rushes quickly to it and peers into the darkness beyond, then slips inside and pulls the door closed behind her.
They lumbered noisily into the alley, debris crashing about them in their invasion and sending scurrying the scavengers of the night.  The smaller, weasel faced one diving into the trash bins, tossing its contents in a torrent above his head before leaping back out.
“Not here, m’lord!”  he squeaked as he landed on the ground beside his companion.  A grimy creature who promised to smell as fetid as he looked, his long beak nose the sole feature visible under the dirty single lamplight of the alley.
“Well, she has to be here somewhere, Allbritch, you worthless pile of worm dung!”  the other yelled.  He was as massive as his partner was slight.  A giant lumbering creature shrouded in a long dark coat, with arms hanging unnaturally long at his side, with massive hair coated knuckles balling into fists just below the sleeves.
“She turned this direction.  There’s no where else she could be.  Keep looking, dammit!”  Then he slammed one of his massive fists against the wall, opening a gaping hole in it, sending his weasel faced companion darting through the rest of the alley, peering in corners and testing doors.
Desolinia stood with her back and hands pressed firmly on the inside of the door, taking deep slow breaths to slow her heart thundering in her chest and waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dim light within.  Gradually, the geography of the inside began to take shape and her chest began to relax somewhat.  It was an abandoned warehouse or factory of some sort, broken machine skeletons and crate remnants scattered throughout.  She made her slow way across the room, making sure to take inventory of all potential hiding places and potential exits.  As she crossed into the growing darkness on the other side of the room, she spied a door at the far corner.  She bolted toward it, excitement racing through her veins, only to discover it firmly bolted shut with iron bars and heavy locks.
She sunk to the floor desolate.  She was so very tired!    She had meant no harm when she opened the gate into that room.  All she had wanted was to take a small peek around and spirit away before anyone had scent of her being there.  And she would have done so if the small thing hadn’t looked at her so imploringly.  She had never seen the like of it in any of the books she had ever browsed nor any story that had been told her.  A sprite-like whisper of “something”, the creature glimmered in frantic sweeps within its enclosure, begging freedom and being dimmed by the loss of it.  How could she refuse such a plea, how could she turn from offering aid to such a one?  So, she stole quickly across the room and released the latch on its cage.
Like a firefly, it burst out and into the air, a trail of sparkling dust weaving behind it.  She giggled softly at the spectacle, her ears filling with the sound of tiny bells showering around her head.  Then gently, it lighted upon her hand and set a bag and a stone in her palm then vanished from sight.  She fingered the stone softly before slipping it into her pocket, then tied the bag to her belt, its size and weight expanding as she let it drop.  A knowing smile crossed her face, “a fresh magic bag!”  It seemed fortune was smiling on her this day.
Just then she heard the voices above and started.  She had tarried to long, they would catch her scent.  And there was no telling what they would do when they discovered she set their “pet” free.  Quickly, she made for the gate and did her best to cover her trace as she fled.
She had been fleeing from them for days, maybe weeks.  Sometimes she had thought she had eluded them, no sense, no trace of them in the vicinity.  But, just as she was about to relax and loosen her guard, she would spy one of them around the corner, at the edge of her eye.  So far, the bag of tricks had kept her safe, kept her one step ahead of them.  A small pinch here, a slight dip there and she would “shift”.  She lost track of how many forms she had taken, each one taking a toll on her waning energy.
And now here she was, trapped, in this abandoned building; they, close on her heels.  They wouldn’t lose her scent this time, this she knew.  She heard the small one as he entered the building, his nasally breathing whistling in the air.  The thundering bulk of the other followed right after and she looked frantically about her for a place to hide.  They would surely find her where she was if she didn’t.
She spied a gaping opening at the end of the hallway and crept slowly towards it and slipped inside.  It was an old service elevator, the floor creaking slightly under her weight.  She froze in the corner, fearing more movement would stir another sound sure to expose her.  At least she could hide for a time in here, as she waved a concealing door in front of her.  It wouldn’t offer protection for long, she knew.  Her magick was almost gone.  But, maybe there was just enough time.
Slowly, she reached into the bag.  It was almost gone!  She wondered if she had enough for one last “shifting”.  She pulled the stone out of her pocket and held it tightly.  She had never figured out what its purpose was.  Maybe just something to hold on to, something of substance.  It glowed faintly in the darkness.  “Hmmm?”  she thought, “its never done that before!”  Now, to the form.
She thought deeply on the memories of the beasties and creatures of fantasy, searching for the right one, the right combination that would make this work.  She heard them approaching, it was only a matter of time before they figured out that the only place left to look for her was in the elevator and the door in front of her was as insubstantial as the air it was woven from.  But, summoning a creature from story or mythlore was most dangerous.  One need rely on the accuracy of the telling and hope that there did not exist an older, more dangerous version that might emerge in its stead.
Their footsteps approached nearer and she stilled her breath and willed her heart to soften its beating.  She could smell the rank staleness of them.  There is nothing so vile as the scent of stolen dreams and magicks left to rot upon a trophy cord.  Softly, she drew in her breath and wishpered a prayer to her spirits and released her substance to their will.
A soft twitter-giggle echoed gently through the elevator shaft.  Desolinia was no longer so timid.  Her spirits had served her well.  She rather liked this new form.  Seems they fashioned her out of some of her favorite creatures, the sleek feline body, all these wonderfully tactile legs and such a tail!  That barb could slay her most formidable enemies   Now she supposed she needed to give herself a name.  Hmmmmm????  A knowing smile spread across her face . . . . . Arachnafelorpion!  Desolinia giggled again and began to draw herself further up the shaft by her silken thread.  She could hear their distant voices cursing her below.  She had found a form even “they” couldn’t pursue.  She placed the stone back in her pocket and leapt out of the top of the shaft.  It was a bright sunny day out.  She figured she had earned the right to enjoy some of it.
copyright May 16, 2010


Soul weary and with a leaden heart, he slung the pack across his back and began to walk.  He walked until he lost track of how long he had walked, till his mind was stilled save for the placement of the next step, long past the time where he crossed others upon the trail, till the muscles in his body screamed “enough!”  And still he continued, placing one foot in front of the other.  It was as if the trees were beckoning him onward, parting just slightly to show him the way.  And still, he continued. Still further he would have gone, save for the fallen trees that barred the path forcing him to veer off to find a way around.
He pushed thorugh the brush and branches and heard the soft trickle of water nearby.  So, he pushed a bit further away from the path to look for its source.  The soothing crystal sound pulled at him until he found himself in a small clearing.
Soft rays of sunshine poured through scattered breaks in the branches and the mossy veils of the trees.  The small steady stream of water slipped over a crease in the hill to play across the rocks, casting prism glimmers of light on the slope before coming to rest in the small pool in front of him.
He let his pack slip from his shoulder onto the ground, then slowly lowered himself down beside it.  He pulled a small bag of food from the pack and leaned back against an ancient tree stump, a furrow in it a perfect fit for his spine, its gnarled roots granting a cradled seat.  He slowly began to eat, allowing the silence to fill him, the scents to intoxicate him and the low heartbeat of the land to lull him..
He slipped into a gentle slumber and was awakened by a sense; a presence maybe.  He looked around him to notice the sun had dipped slightly, shifting the shadows and play of light around him.  Off to his side, he noticed a slender stump robed in a deep carpet of moss, rising up from the ground like a small moss-robed man.  He smiled at the thought, remembering the stories he had been told as a youth of the fey spirits of the forests.  He could see in this visage how such tales got their birth.  And the more he looked upon this man of moss, the more real he appeared to him.  It was almost as if he could sense him waiting, listening.  But, for what?
He leaned back and watched it for some time and the spell of the forest touched him once again.  “So, its a story you wish to hear, is it?”  He asked the little man.  “Well, fine then.  Then tis a story you shall have.”  He reached into his pack again and pulled out his pipe, filled it with some sweet smelling tobacco, lit it, then leaned back against the stump and began to talk.
His story, he began to tell, of his life.  The words, slow and faltering at first, then flowing into a stream whose dam has broken, into a torrent of tales.  He spoke tales of his pains and sorrows, of his joys and accomplishments, and of course, his failures.  He recounted the tales of his youth and many adventures then.  Of his loves and his losses, and of his children.  Of those he had said goodbye to far too soon and those whose brief touch left an indelible imprint on his soul.  He spoke of those that had loved him and those that had betrayed him and laughed at how often they were the same.  He wept and he laughed as the stories poured out.  The miles and the years and the lifetimes he had experienced, all were told, all revealed.Silently and patiently, the figure listened.  An understanding being who had all the time in the world for him, who begged to hear, with his quiet countenance, all he had to tell.  So, on he talked, telling the secrets he had never told another soul.  He told of the things no man speaks of to another.  The secret fears and the unfulfilled desires locked and guarded so deeply within.And deeper, the sun began to slip.  And on he talked, till his voice was hoarse from the expense, till there were no more words to speak.  And still the figure listened, silently, patiently, till the last word had been summoned forth

The night had stolen in during this time and the man smiled gently on the robed figure in the dark.  The telling lifting the weight from his heart, his soul finally at peace.  He closed his eyes to the night and slept, his mossy guardian never leaving his side.
She broke into the clearing, eyes full of wonder at what she saw there.  She began to snap pictures of all that was about her, the sparkling little waterfall, the trees with their drapes of feather moss, the birthing blooms of Spring.  This was the kind of place that dreams were made of, that held the promise of fairy dances and midnight rites, of the ancient gods and a time where nothing was beyond belief.A shadow fleeted off to her side, catching her attention.  A small gasp escaped her lips as she spied the partial circle of moss covered figures.  She began to snap pictures of them rapidly, from every angle.  Worshipers frozen in time, the wise ones of the woods, guardians of the forest.  They looked so real, she thought, as she set her pack down on the ground.  “I’ll bet you all have such stories to tell!”  She pulled her notebook and pen from her pack and sat down.  She closed her eyes for a moment, breathed in the forest, and listened till the first soft whisper slipped into her ear.  “Yes!  Oh Yes!”  she exclaimed, opened her book and began to write.
copyright March, 2010

The Beauty in the Beast

The Beauty in the Beast
The liquid amber rays of the afternoon sun bathed the small clearing, dancing lightly upon the surface of the ripples in the stream below and showered the fringes of the clouds above. A kaleidoscope of wildflowers swayed gently in response to the touch of the breeze’s beckoning. And behind, the sharp, stark faces of the mountains tore their way through the earth to try and touch the sky, the shock white of their tips branching rivulets downward to form an inverse crown marking their majesty.
A lone figure sat at the top of the hill looking out over the symphony of nature at play below, sketchbook on his knee and easel before him. He let rest the tip of his paintbrush to his lip, closed his eyes and slowly inhaled the scent of life and allowed it to fill his soul. Slowly, his eyes opened and his gaze returned just as the figure moved from behind the shadows of the crop of trees.
He watched as the figure moved over to the stream, let slip the cloak from about its shoulders and as the light fell upon the figure, he drew in his breath. The misshapen figure sat down on a boulder by the side of the stream, sunlight catching upon the small shocks of sparse hair upon its head, almost translucent with lack of color. Its body deformed and twisted in such an unnatural way that it evinced pain to just look upon. He could not imagine what it must feel like to be trapped in such a body.
Its gaze turned upward to a hawk crying out in joy as it played in the waves of the air currents, soaring gracefully among them and swooping down to survey the ground for movements proclaiming dinner. The light caught the side of its face and the artist got his first full look at the creature’s face. Creature, because he did not know how else to refer to it, so far removed from human countenance that he had ever seen. The head and skull misshapen, the skin scarred and marred by lesions and disease. The horror at the monstrosity before him was almost too much to bear, he who worshipped beauty, embraced it and drank it like ambrosia. And ill though it made him to look upon the monster before him, he could not take his eyes from it.
Dusk began to slowly settle in and the painting that was the sunset began to draw its brush across the sky in a swirling movement of colors and bath the clouds in their haunting iridescent glow. As the sun began to slip from view, the shadows began their descent upon the land, looming ever downward and casting a half light through the branches and whispering the first summons to the conjuring of the night. The brilliant orb of the full moon kissed the earth in her ascent, her swollen form overflowing and radiating soft light, bathing all it touched in its blue-gray shimmers.
The monster rose and raised its arms out toward the rising beacon, stretching out its fingers as if to touch the glowing orb. And the darkness that was night closed further in, filling in the light voids and spreading darkness like a storm sweeping the land. As the last of the golden rays vanished and the silver glow of night was all that was left, the creatures of the night began to awaken and emerge. As is the case, the ones that crawled were the first to come forth, ravenous and devouring in their very existence. Then began the calls and songs of the night as the creatures of the air and land awakened as well to prepare to begin the night hunt.
And still the monster stood, arms outstretched and bathed in moonlight. And still the artist watched, unable to tear his eyes from the scene.
Dark wings cut through the air before it as shadows swept across the ground below. Then it raised its head and opened its mouth in a song that rang out and pierced the blanket of the night. A song of such beauty, he thought his heart would burst from its touch and he would melt within the flow of its waves and his mind was swept to another place that was both no place and all. When the moment passed and he looked again, its clothing had been shed and discarded and it was taking gentle steps to the center of the clearing. When it reached it, it began to spin slowly, lowly and then began to dance.
He still could not tell whether the creature was male or female as he watched its lithe movements in the soft glow of the moon. Movements which grew in energy and intensity till they became a dervish swirl that held him mesmerized and feeling faint. The deformities lost in the swirling movements, the ugliness transformed to grace and beauty in the undulations of the movement. He watched with the creatures of the night as they danced with it and worshipped with it till the moon crossed beyond the place of light and he feel asleep on the ground before it.
When he awoke, the sun was bringing the first taste of day to the sky and the creature was picking up its cloak from the boulder. Just before it entered back into the forest, it looked up at him and their eyes met, then it melted into the trees and was gone.
No one understood the painting in the gallery or what might have inspired such a thing. It was unlike anything to ever emerge from his hand. The elegance of the scene so vivid, you could feel the textures of the land, smell the scents in the air. So stunning was the sheer beauty of it, so intoxicating, it took your breath away. And at the edge of the woods where the trees met the land, a creature. A creature so vile, so damnable in appearance that it pierced one’s heart with its horror, and yet so riveting, you could not tear your eyes from it. No explanation was ever given as to its inspiration, or what was meant by it no matter how many times he was asked. All that was given it was a name; The Beauty in the Beast.
copyright  August 28, 2009

A Quiet Disturbed

A Quiet Disturbed
Swirls of mist rose up from the ground, hovering gently above it, caressing it and checking its substance. A stir breathed into it and moved it in swirls and undulations, soft glows emanating within its depths like bodies swimming and riding the currents. Diffused faces looked around, disoriented, seemingly lost and confused. The glows shifted in varied hues and shades of colors within the deepening churning mists, soft muted colors from gentle pastels to demure shades so dim as to be barely perceptible. Occasionally, small sparks of light emerged as if a few tiny stars were trapped within and trying to escape.
The soft curtain of silence that was night became slightly severed with low unsettled whispers. At first, it was but a couple, then it began to multiply, urgent, confused, questioning. It sent ripples through the night air, awakening more spirits to join and bringing disquiet into this place of quiet sleep.
A small voice cleared the murmurs of the others, a soft voice, but clear as a crystal bell. “What has happened? I slept, I dreamt, all was complete, I was divine. I was alone and now there are many. It was quiet, now it is disturbed. There are so many! How came I to be in not the place I should?”
The shimmer behind the voice looked about. Their voices underlying the silence like the hum of a far off machine that is just within the hearing range and can’t be dismissed. They permeated the air and sent ripples through it that made nerves ache.
The sky began to lighten as the morning sun slowly crept upward. The unease grew within the voices, their movements quickening and the disturbance in the air rising. Their glows began to fade as the light grew till all that remained was the mist and the murmurs of the disturbed air.
Day crested and the gates were opened. Soon, a group of people made a slow, ritual way inward, their eyes downcast, their purpose focused. They found the assigned spot and began to take their places, waiting patiently for the last stragglers. Some shifted uncomfortably for a time while others looked around them and still others simply stood in contemplative silence.
They began. And the disturbed mists felt them and made their way over. They watched as the mists slipped in and about their feet as they began to speak. The mist rose and thickened, and as it rose, they felt a weight that was beyond the weight of this day, a weight that was beyond theirs, and yet felt like it should be, descend upon them and envelop them. As each took their turns to speak what they had come to say, they found other words issuing forth in the midst of their own, words that came from their mouths that were not theirs. Their sorrows made more bare, amplified, as they felt the anguish of the displaced.
A small girl stood off at the end of the group, holding tightly to her mother’s hand. She smiled as she looked to her side and saw the shimmer that was the small voice and they reached out to each other. The girl looked up at her mother and tugged gently on her arm to tell her. The mother leaned down and the girl told her of the shimmer that could no longer dream and the mists that had been forced out and had no home any more. And the mother heard it and believed that the weight of the day had been too much for the girl and tried to console her and tell her it was but her imagination playing tricks upon her. The girl sobbed and nodded, but never let go of the shimmer that held her hand.
As the last words were being spoken, the shimmer began to quiver and tightened her grip on the girl’s hand. She tugged gently, imploring the girl to follow and wrapped the girl in the urgency and desperation that had become her. Gently, the girl let her hand slip from her mother’s grip and let the shimmer wrap around her, cloaking her from the watchful eyes about. They went to a quiet hill with an ancient tree upon it, stretching its limbs to protect the whole hill. They sat under the tree as the shimmer told her story of her dreams disturbed and how she woke to find her place had become no place and of the others who once had a home and a place to rest and now had nowhere and were lost.
The voices of the party echoed across the area, frantic and imploring. They watched as they wandered around the area under the hill and sat silent, the great limbs of the tree hiding them from their seekers. The shimmer held tight to the girl, begging her to stay there so she would not be alone in this strange open place. The girl nodded and sobbed, for the shimmer’s sorrows as much as the fear of what the party would do to her once she was found.
As the party searched, the mists followed, circling the members of the group and wailing out at them. Their wails sparked fears in the party and they looked to the sky for the storm they believed to be approaching. The search grew more frantic and harried and the people darted in every direction, fear gripping at them like a stalker.
The mother came up around the back of the hill and that’s where she found them. The mists converged on her as she fell to her knees at what was before her and wept. The others came rushing and looked with horror with her at the jumbled wreckage of the discarded. It was like peering into a dragon’s cave. The remains were tossed in piles and strewn across the ground like discarded refuse. Remnants and shards dotted solitary areas. Eyeless holes peered out at them and skeletal hands reached out as if for help. They shouted and made calls and soon there were very many more. Many needed to untangle and make sense of the chaotic tangle of all these remains. Many needed to help piece each back together and make whole again, many to find answers and demand a reckoning.
A small lone form was the first to be put back in its place, gently lifted and given a new warm place to lie with soft cushions all around. As she was laid reverently onto the cushions, the young one with the laughter of a thousand bells and stars shining in her eyes, the girl felt the shimmer begin to release its grip and felt a gentle brush against her cheek. The shimmer settled in and once again dreamt and once again was divine.
copyright  July 25, 2009


The timid toy designer wrote a story in a broken elevator to confuse the investigator. She thought deeply on the memories of the beasties and creatures of fantasy, searching for the right one, the right combination that would make this work. Her bag of tricks was almost empty and it was only a matter of time before he figured out that the only place left to look for her was in the elevator and the door in front of her was as insubstantial as the air it was woven from. But, summoning a creature from story or mythlore was most dangerous. One need rely on the accuracy of the telling and hope that there did not exist an older, more dangerous version that might emerge in its stead.
His footsteps approached nearer and she stilled her breath and willed her heart to soften its beating. She could smell the rank staleness of him. There is nothing so vile as the scent of stolen dreams and magicks left to rot upon a trophy cord. Softly, she drew in her breath and wishpered a prayer to her spirits and released her substance to their will.
The news cameras caught the filming of him running from the building screaming higher than any bimbo in a B-rated horror flick. The camera men inched slowly towards the building hoping to get a glimpse of the cause. A daring reporter cautiously stuck his head in the door and looked around. There was nothing but empty halls and rooms that he could see. They moved in and began to scout around, becoming more baffled with each moment at the emptiness of the place. The offices were closed and all the doors were locked. The only open door was the elevator at the end of the main hall. The daring reporter that first entered the building approached cautiously and peered inside. It too, was empty. Laughing nervously, they began to file out of the building. It was unlikely the investigator would ever live this one down.
A soft twitter-giggle echoed gently through the elevator shaft. The toy maker was no longer so timid. Her spirits had served her well. She rather liked this new form. Seems they fashioned her out of some of her favorite creatures, the sleek sensual body of a cat, the legs of a spider complete with web spinning ability  And oh look!  She swished the venom barbed scorpion tale in front of her.  This will do just fine! Now she supposed she needed to give herself a name. Hmmmmm???? A knowing smile spread across her face . . . . . Arachnafelorpion! Desolinia giggled again and began to draw herself further up the shaft by her silken thread. It was a bright sunny day out. She figured she had earned the right to enjoy some of it.
copyright  2009

The Promise


The Promise

They arrived late in the night, at a time when even the moon had wearied of casting a glow. They knocked sharply at the back door, their feet making rough scraping sounds in the dirt and gravel outside. She opened the door quietly and they handed her the coarse-hewn wooden box without ceremony. She took it with trembling hands and set it down just inside the door, closing them outside without a word of farewell. Her knees began to buckle under her and she slipped to the ground, a weight descending all around her like a leaden cloak. She wrapped her arms about the box and the tears flowed, swiftly moving to wracking sobs that convulsed through her body. She slowly pulled herself up and forced herself to breath in some calm and will herself to open the box and pay witness to what lay there.

The shreds of what was once a dress met her fingers first. She remembered this dress, remembered the time she had stitched it together so many years ago. Its color now faded and stained, its form beaten and shredded, in pieces many too small to even yield a proper cleaning rag. Within the folds of the fabric, a couple of articles of jewelry met her fingertips. A ring that had been in the family for as long as could be remembered. She closed her hand about it and summoned the image of the first time she had seen this ring, on her grandmother’s hand when she was but a small child. How it had sparkled in the sun, dazzling her eyes and drawing her close to her grandmother’s sleeping side. And when she saw that the ring had slipped from her grandmother’s hand in her passing and onto her mother’s, she began to yearn that one day it might pass to her. She remembered the anger she felt the day it finally slipped from her mother’s hand and was not hers. She covered her face with her hands, the ring making a deep indent in her forehead from how hard she pressed it against her skin as she cried. It was hers now, with a passing as weighty as the loss.

She picked up the other item, a simple gold cross on a leather cord. She remembered the day it was hung around her neck, in front of the whole town. She remembered her form laid out in her long white gown, her arms outstretched and it felt as if she would never move. She had become a bride that day, a bride with no husband who would keep her bed warm at night or plant in her children to love. But, she glowed when she turned to look at them after rising and the cross was placed about her neck. Her mother had let the ring slip from her hand that day and given it to her even though it was against the rules and unlike what the others wore. But they allowed her it, or at least chose not to say nay. Both of these tokens, she pocketed to later put in her treasure box.
Gently, she lifted the shreds of the dress from the box and buried her face in them, breathing in her smell, her fears, her courage, her memory. Then slowly, she set it down at her side, tucking stray edges and softly patting it down.

She looked again into the box. There was a smaller box in the corner and she lifted it out. A deep wash of fear hit her as she held it before her. She didn’t want to learn what was inside, but she had made a promise and a promise must be kept. So, she took a deep breath and lifted the top. A bloodied kerchief lay folded inside. She touched the edges with shaking fingers, parting it open. A small nest of scorched human hair lay within. The sobs began again and she dropped the box, sending its contents tumbling into the larger box. Underneath, as the last of the contents fell, a small pile of papers cascaded down. She gasped softly as she recognized the hand that had penned the writing on them. Carefully she gathered them up and looked at them and knew the entire tale was there. She folded them gently and placed them in her waistband and closed everything else back in the box.

Tomorrow, she would give the remains the burial they had refused her. Tomorrow, she would be ready to speak what must be said.

She pulled herself wearily to her feet and headed to her room. Tonight though, she must read the rest of the tale.

copyright 2009



It is a sad and bleak day that brings me here to pay my farewells and put to its final rest my companion and helpmate of these many years.
Before you, the greatest have knelt and bowed their heads. In your sharper moments, you showed compassion and dealt your blows with swiftness and mercy. Never did you hesitate to strike with precision those that had been condemned before you. And even in your later years, when age had worn your edges and dulled your gleam, still you did not falter in administering your duty.
A lifetime you have stood at my side. A lifetime I have wrapped my hands about your smooth handle and lifted you above my head. A lifetime you have found your mark to the screams and applause of the crowds. A lifetime of lives sacrificed to your blade. A lifetime till one life too many and the steel cracked and split you, severing you from your handle as surely as you had severed the heads of the lives laid before you.
The time of your kind is done, they say. It is a new age with a new way.
The ceremony is gone and the crowds have been sent home. The condemned now die without fanfare. No screams and cries to send them to their forever land. Tis good that you did not survive to see this day.

My hood and robes packed away. I shall follow you soon enough, my friend. I look for the day that we shall be reunited in the great beyond, your blade forged anew and crowdscheering us again. Till then, rest my friend.
copyright  2009

Worst Day

Worst Day

I so glad to be home Teddy!I had the most awfulest day I has ever had!Remember how mommy and daddy had me get all dressed up in them new spiffy clothes they boughted me?I was all happy and cited cuz I thoughted they were going to take me to somewhere fun and special.Well, we got in the car and they put them straps on me so as I wouldn’t fall off the seat, like I really that dumb that I would fall of the seat.Anyway, we starts driving and driving and driving and I looking out the window at everything going past and finding the slug bugs and naner cars and making funny faces and waving at the people when we comes alongside them. And it seems like we were driving for hours and hours.
Then, daddy pulled off the main road and onto this dirt road and we went bumpity bump along it and he kept turning the car this way and that and every time he did I started falling in that direction.Lucky for me I had those straps on or I migha fallen off the seat!And I am looking out the window and there nothing but trees all around us.All the houses is gone.And I am thinking we is lost and start to get scared.What if we can’t find our way back home again?I started to cry a bit but mommy made that shushie noise that makes the tears stop afore they fall out.

After we been driving bumpity bump for a whiles, daddy makes a sharp turn and almost makes me fall out of the straps I pulls so hard.Then we is driving on the grass and there is lots lots of cars parked way out there.There is also this really big tent over past all them cars.I start getting all excited again cuz I start thinking maybe we going to see the circus and all the animals and clowns and magic people.Daddy stops the car by all the other cars and I can’t wait for mommy to let me loose from the straps so I can go see inside that tent!But, when she lets me go, she takes my hand real strong so I can’t get away and makes me stay right next to her.I tried and tried to pull away and then she got mad at me and told me to stay still.Well, I know better than to fuss when she sound like that.If I don’t, I know I could get a whupping and I try not to get those.

After a few minutes, we start walking to the tent, mommy never letting go of my hand and making me stay right next to her.We go inside and it is full of people and it is all a hush and quiet.There is all these fold up chairs all over in rows that people are sitting on and they pull me to a row where there are empty seats and tell me to sit between them.I can tells I had better be real good cuz they put me between them.They only do that so either one can pokes me if I act up.

Pretty soon a whole group of people come in all dressed in pretty dresses, even the men.They all line up at the front of the tent and one of them sits down at the piano and begins to play some music.Then they all start up singing.Its real lively music and all bout Jesus and God and angels and sins and such.Everybody else starts to join in and sing along and stand up and begin to dance as well to the music.Then some of the women begin singing real loud and waving their arms around in the air.The people around them start to move away, and I don’t blame them, I would move away too cuz I would be afraid of getting hit by them.Then it got really strange cuz they started yelling in some other language and I couldn’t understand them.A couple of them started to cry really hard which made me real scared cuz it made me wonder if there were ghosts in here and going to come after me next.Then a couple of them started swaying and fell on the ground and acting like my friend’s dog that ate the rat poison.
I started crying real hard then and told my mommy I wanted to go home.She just put her arm around me and was telling me everything was ok.I was still scared and crying and tried to crawl in her lap to hide my face, but daddy got real angry and told me to sit back down and stop my nonsense.I didn’t understand why it was nonsense to be afraid when people are crying and falling on the ground and making like they are poisoned.But, I quieted myself as best I could and tried to make my mind think of other things like being back home in my bed where it was safe so I could distract myself some.

Then this man walks in dressed in this shiny suit and wearing a big black hat.He walked real slow like up to the front of the tent and tap-tapped on the microphone which made a loud screechy noise after it thump-thumped.Then he started to speak real softly and I could almost not hear what he was saying.I thought maybe they didn’t have that microphone turned up high enough, but then he got louder and louder.He was talking bout God and Jesus and how we was all sinners and should all be ashamed of ourselves and the way we lived.Then he was saying that if we didn’t change our ways, we was going to be thrown into this lake of fire and we would be there forever and ever.I began to cry again and mommy tried to shush me again.I didn’t want to burn up in a lake and be there forever.I couldn’t think of anything I had done that would make me deserve such a punishment, not even when I tied Missy’s braids together or even stealing the piece of candy from the store.And those were the worst things I could remember doing.But, he said we was all going to get thrown there.

And then he started saying we could make it all better by coming up and letting him save us.People started filing out and following him out of the tent to the stream that was just behind the tent.Momma and daddy took my hand and made me follow them out there as well.Then the man walked into the water and started calling for people to come join him in the stream.And that water looked so dirty, I couldn’t believe anyone would go near it.But, they started walking down and right into the water with him.Then he would put his arm around their shoulder and slapped their forehead and pushed them splash under the water and held them there for a bit.When he let them back up, they were sputtering water all over and he told them they were saved and all their sins had been washed away.
I started to realize that mommy and daddy were leading me to the water with them and I started to cry again saying I didn’t want to get pushed down under the water.They knew I didn’t know how to swim and I was afraid of the water.But, they held my hand tight and wouldn’t let me go.I tried really hard to pull my hand away, but they wouldn’t let go and they just ignored me no matter how loud I screamed and cried.

We finally got to the water and they lifted me by my arms between them and walked out till we was in front of that man.He told them to put me down, that the water wasn’t that deep, but it came all the way up to my chest!I was about to run away when daddy gave me one of those looks that meant I wouldn’t be sitting for a very long time if I tried, so I just stood there sobbing.Then the man did to me what he did to all the rest and he pushed my head down under the water and my feet slipped in the mud and I had water in my nose and mouth and eyes and I knew I was going to die and I wasn’t going to be saved like he said I was.I started kicking and slipping around on the mud under me.Then, I felt someone grab my arms and I was pulled up out of the water and saw it was daddy and he held me real tight.He carried me out of the water and set me on the shore and then I had to watch while that man did the same thing to him and mommy.

By the time they were done, I was shivering all over as it was kind of cold outside there.Mommy looked at me and said we had had enough for one day and we should go home.Daddy started to argue and she said no, we was going and that my lips were blue.That made me scared again, thinking maybe I was gonna die after all if my lips were blue.So, we got in the car and started driving back.Then I noticed a black slimy thing on my leg and started crying all over again.Mommy looked at it and made daddy pull over and when she pulled my clothes off, there were lots of them all over me.They began picking these things off me and they left big red marks where they had been and I got even scareder.After they were done, mommy wrapped me in a blanket and put me back in my seat.I think I fell asleep then, cuz I don’t remember nothing else till they put me on my bed and I woke up and saw you!

It really and truly was the worst day of my life Teddy!I’m so glad I am back home with you!

copyright  2009

Untried Wings

Untried Wings

 I wonder sometimes what made you what you are, what dreams you may have had, what fires may once have burned within your chest. Was there once a time when the fires burned as greatly and brightly as they do in me. Did you once look to the skies to soar with the hawks, roam the plains with the lions and roar, or sit under the full moon with the wolves and howl? Was there once a time when someone clipped those wings for flight that you had, or did you do this to yourself?

 Did you hear the song of the wild in your spirit, feel yourself drawn to its beckoning, and silence it, blocking your ears from hearing that hypnotic song? Did you turn your back upon it so utterly and completely that it would never again be heard? But, you were wrong, were you not? That song still calls you, still beckons you. Is this what has created the bitterness in your soul? Is this what has made you turn from what life could have held for you and caused you to imprison yourself in loneliness and hatred?

 Did you seek instead to form yourself into a creature that could be accepted, could find power in holding judgement over others for having the daring that you lacked? Is this why you found in me such a seed of wrong? Is this why you turned your heart from me?

 You were once given a gift of brightness. A creature born of the wild who could hear that song in every blade of grass, in every wind that stirred upon the air. You were given one that was not afraid of the song, but joined in. Her wings you tried to clip many times, but each time they seemed to grow back. You tried to cage her body and smother her spirit, yet it blossomed even in the height of your attempts. And when it became obvious that all your plans had failed, all your attempts futile, you turned on her and called her evil.

Many years have passed, her wings broken many times and healed again. Her flights have often been staggered and weak from the misuse, but her spirit has never broken. She flies still, and still she hears the song that sings to her spirit, and she listens to it. But, there is still a moment every now and then that she stops in her flight and a tear falls from her eye for the mother that should be standing below rejoicing in her child’s flight. A tinge of sadness that there is not one there that is willing to share with her that this spirit of the wild was a gift from one that was maybe just afraid to try those wings on her own.

 And so, as she has always done, she must fly alone.

Persephone 1998