Unmarked Path

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You left your little hometown two weeks ago. Your job was too cramped and didn’t pay enough, your roommate was obnoxious and had a bizarre obsession with collecting animal teeth, and your family, well. Let’s just say they didn’t like you anymore than you liked them. Something had to change, and so one night you packed up your few belongings into a cart and set off to find someplace new to call home.

You’d passed through many towns along the way, most of which looked to be in no better shape than your own, so you decided best not to linger long. A kind-hearted elderly woman with a carriage and a pair of well-groomed horses offers to give you a ride to the next town. “It’s a bit nippy out, and Verylsville is out yet another three hours. I’m headed that way meself iffin you’d like a ride.”

Skeptically, you reply, “What’ll it cost me, m’lady?”

“Oh darlin’, not a thing,” she says, waving her hands in exasperation. “I’ve been where you are and it ain’t glamour and roses. I’d wish’t someone woulda helped meself out when I was a wee lass.”

You look around you at the town you’d stay in if you refused her offer. Three angry looking guards stand at the gate, but the houses and inns beyond are filled with light, and the chimneys billow smoke. Sure, there are at least four drunken bodies laid out in the street, and a screaming man waving a sword around at anyone who has the misfortune to walk past him, but maybe if you can get around all that, the beds of the inn will be welcoming and warm…. And won’t have bedbugs. Or cost you too much. You’re running low on coin from buying food the past three days, but if you sleep in the woman’s carriage on the way to Verylsville you won’t have to stay anywhere.

The woman waits expectantly. What do you do?

 

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And So She Lied

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When she walked into the forging room that morning to begin the day’s work, the man she worked most closely with asked her how she came to have these bruises on her face and wrists. And so she lied and told him she’d broken up a brawl at the local bar and inadvertently caught a few blows. He believed her.

When she walked into the bakery that afternoon to buy another week’s worth of soup and bread, the only food she was able to hold down nowadays, the shopkeeper inquired about the scars that riddled her exposed arms. And so she lied and told the woman that as a child, she was a reckless tree climber, and she now bares the scars of bark scratches as fond memories. She believed her.

When she walked into her home that night to realize she’d not washed the dishes or the laundry, not swept the floors, not even cleaned up from the past night’s meal, she wiped her face with her dirty hands and collapsed face first into the welcoming arms of her bed. And so she lied, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” But she didn’t believe herself.

Half Dead

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Author’s Note: I’m thinking about making this story interactive, a choose-your-own-adventure style tale, depending on the amount of participation I receive. If it doesn’t work out or you guys aren’t liking it, I’ll continue with the story myself. That being said, I would really like the chance to interact with you guys, so please leave a comment if you’d like to continue this story interactively or if you’d like another story to participate in (prompts are always welcome!) Thank you guys so much and I hope you enjoy! 🙂

 

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There’s thoughts that cross your mind at the moment of a betrayal that you can’t quite process at the time, thoughts that won’t make sense even to you until you have the time to sit down and think about “What the hell just happened?” These are the thoughts I call Lurkers. They’re there from the very beginning, just hiding out of view, waiting for you to torment your brain enough, to slave over every tiny detail for hours upon hours, until they’ll finally come to light. This coming to light might provide you answers to questions you’ve been endlessly pondering, might satisfy an emotion you’ve been debating over the significance of, or it might not help you with anything at all. Lurkers are cruel that way.

Then there’s the thoughts I fondly call Late Bloomers. These thoughts start out as a subconscious understanding of the situation, already knowing the bad and the ugly, the right from the wrong, but they stay locked away in the subconscious for what feels like an eternity, because your mind will not accept the knowledge they bring. And so they hide in the darkness until you are ready to acknowledge the truth – and most times, this truth comes to you too late for you to do anything about it. I don’t blame the Late Bloomers. It’s obviously my fault for being uninviting to knowledge I already possess.

Shifters are by far the most heinous of all my thoughts. They cannot make up their mind about what they think or how they feel, changing to suit an inconsistent mood. They make a clear remembrance of the occurrence almost impossible, because first they lie to themselves, then they lie to you, then they get confused about which lies were lies, and it all comes spiraling downward into the void of pain where we lock away our deepest, darkest, most haunting memories.

But this time, this betrayal, there were no thoughts. No Lurkers, Late Bloomers, Shifters, not even an arbitrary emotional reaction. All I had was a basic understanding that due to someone’s actions, I was in the middle of a chaos I had no power to control. I was in a kind of danger that couldn’t be seen coming. I was possibly going to die because of what someone did – or perhaps, didn’t do.

Never in my life had my body taken over before my brain could think it through, but it did. With a blank mind, but a soul filled with a raging fire and an unprecedented determination, I set off to find the one responsible, no matter what the stakes, no matter if I came back alive or not.

Because hell, after the turmoil they’d just subjected my spirit to, I was half dead anyway.

Alabaster Warned Me

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Alabaster warned me, when he first gave me the book, that the words written in human blood across the pages were cursed. He couldn’t tell me how or why, he just told me that should I ever decide to read the ancient prophecies, I would be putting myself in grave danger.

Alabaster warned me, as he handed me a sealed container, that inside were relics from a long forgotten village. He told me stories about a terrifying war and a devastating end, and that if I ever lost these precious belongings, the town’s memory would be lost, and the villagers blood would stain my hands until my death.

Alabaster warned me, as he tucked into my hand a small, transparent, diamond shaped crystal, that a day would come when I would be forced to leave my tribe, and that on this day I would understand how to use it. He told me to beware its power, and that if I ever tried to use it before that day, great destruction would befall me.

Alabaster warned me of these things as he presented me all these “gifts,” but he never told me how they came into his possession, or why he was giving them to me. Why would my Elder want to tempt my already less than promising destiny?

Internet Friendships

Author’s Note: This isn’t a writing piece. This is something I’ve been meaning to tell you guys for a while, but only just got around to. Writing gets pushed to the back burner sometimes when school and work are overbearing. Nonetheless, this is how I feel and what I think about my internet friends. I love all of you dearly, even the ones I don’t talk to anymore…

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Since the time I got my first smartphone at 13, I’ve made, and lost, a lot of internet friends. Sometimes, this virtual friendship is beautiful. It lets you learn about different cultures. It lets you in on different perspectives from a different standpoint. You learn about geographical barriers and tourist traps never to visit. You grow as a person, whether you realize it or not.

Sometimes, this virtual friendship is funny. You learn things about people. Within the first two weeks, you can learn what their biggest fear is, or that they’re allergic to red food coloring, and then five months later you find yourself asking, “Wait, you have a dog? Wait, you have three dogs??”

Sometimes, this virtual friendship is helpful. When stuck in a bad situation, you turn to these friends across the world to guide you through the day, to help you put one foot in front of the other, to help you breathe when you feel like you’ve run out of air. Other times, you learn random facts that you’ll probably never need to know ever, but three years down the road you’ll still be able to recall who taught you that random tidbit.

But sometimes, this virtual friendship is ugly. It’s heartbreaking. Sometimes, it’s getting texts in the middle of the night that say, “I don’t want to be alive anymore.” Sometimes, it’s receiving pictures of bruises with the caption, “Dad came home drunk again…” Sometimes, it’s sharing an exhausted phone call with someone you only started talking to a month ago, because neither of you wants to be alone, and nobody else would understand your silence. It’s feeling the need to hug them, to hurt the ones causing them pain, to help them with daily tasks when they’re incapable of doing it themselves, but being unable to because of the geographical barriers you so often discussed.

Today, I am unable to help three dear friends because I can’t drop everything and drive across the country to come to their aid. As much as I want to, as much as they need me to, I can’t. It’s not feasible.

Internet friendships, nonetheless, are invaluable. You gain and share not only knowledge, jokes and laughter, but also pain and torment. You share everything they feel, and they share everything you feel. There’s no obligation to stick around if you don’t want to, so you know that if someone has stayed by your side this long, they intend on staying a lot longer.

I send an apology to the friends I am unable to help. Know that I am with you in spirit, that not a day goes by when I don’t see something that reminds me of you. Know that, as often as I can, I am available for your 3 am existential crisis, or your 5 pm silent phone call.  I am here.

For lack of better phrasing, I leave you with a quote from the movie First Knight.

“I take the good with the bad, together. I can’t love people in slices.”

All The King’s Horses (Behind The Scenes)

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Author’s Note: I’m putting this here so I won’t lose it because, let’s face it, if I leave it anywhere else it’s going to end up at the bottom of some document I never open, and I need to be able to reference it often. You’re not going to/supposed to understand this, but if I ever get this book done, you will 😉 Nonetheless, enjoy my shit poetry! 

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Makeup to cover the bruises

Smiles to hide the pain

Oh what a girl wouldn’t do

To just be whole again.

Maybe it was fate

Or just a long, cruel joke

But time would soon tell her

The truth in the words he spoke.

She was not worth the light or day

She was not worth his time

She was not worth his energy

Her existence was her crime.

From the day she knew these things

Her heart began to break

What had she done to incur his wrath

And just what was at stake?

He was a man of power

In her life, so powerless

He was her only future

Nothing else to yearn or miss.

Poor little girl, he often said

You pathetic whining bitch

I’ll cut your throat, dance in your blood

You ungrateful little witch.

She changed her name to suit her mood

“A girl can change her stars”

Brayden, Abigale, Xylia,

But her body still bore the scars.

And so she took off in the night

To find herself alone

And with her dying breath she found

A new place to call home.

Bleed

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She hit the wall. Again. 

And again. 

And again.

Until she couldn’t feel her fingers. 

Until she was almost positive she’d broken every tiny bone in her hand. 

Until she realized that she could fill a river with all the blood she’d lost. 

And then she hit it one more time. 

Just to prove to herself that she could. 

Just to feel the explosion of her own nerves as they panicked and ruptured. 

And again.

And again.

And again. 

But, alas, the wall wasn’t what she wanted to hit.

And her hand wasn’t the only thing she wanted to see bleed…

Yesterday

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*Click*

The blackness of the room is suddenly illuminated with blinding white light, and though I squint my eyes against the intrusion, I don’t stop moving. I’m now on a rather demanding timetable, and I can’t afford to lose even a second. “Leon.”

He stirs instantly, rolling to face the sound of my voice, pulling himself out of sleep’s hold. “What is it.”

“You can sleep in the truck, right?” I ask apologetically as my fingers work to tie the old straps of my worn leather boots.

He wipes his face and stretches, his fist colliding with the headboard. The loud *thunk* it elicites startles him, and he looks over at me with an expression of mixed confusion, embarrassment and sleepiness, which would be quite amusing if I wasn’t so exhausted. “Why.”

I stand and start stuffing things into my duffle without any organization, subconsciously knowing that if I don’t organize, not everything will fit. “I just, uh… We need to go, we just need to get outta here.” The small bag containing my essentials slips out of my fingers before I can zip it closed, and it falls to the floor, leaving the contents scattered across the rough motel carpet. “Goddammit…” I mutter, hastily stooping to collect my toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, hair ties, and a few other odds and ends. 

Leon sits up in bed, the cover slipping off his bare chest, his head now slightly more involved in the game. “Nor, what’s going on?”

I sigh internally as I continue my search of the room, gathering my things and putting his in a pile for him to collect, if he ever gets off his ass. “I got a call.”

“From who?”

“Hogwarts. Who else.” I sling my overstuffed bag over my shoulder, feeling the strain in my muscles and the tension in my shoulder. “I’ve been summoned.”

“Again?” he asks incredulously.

“Duty calls…” I mumble, sidestepping towards the motel door with chipped red paint and dirty panelled windows.

“When do we need to leave?” he asks, stretching to a less than graceful stand and scratching the back of his head.

I’m halfway out the door, the freezing wind biting at my skin as large water droplets pound the ground. I turn and look at him solemnly, the gravity of the situation finally starting to sink in despite my best attempts not to let it. “Yesterday.”