An immediate future

Tomorrow drips in it’s yokey gold.
Offering the treasure of yet to be.
A sparkling beauty of opportunity.
Casting minds back into the dark.
Searching for answers in the rooms of yesterday.
Taking time to pray.
Asking God to push us onwards.
Into the light.
Into the storm.
Too long have I sat waiting for the world to split open.
To flower and bloom like spring.
For the great wings of fate to fly.
Catching me as I fall to climb.
Yet all there really is, is now.
The tear on your face.
The laughter in your eyes.
Each moment a prize.
That should be savoured in the moment.
For time yet to be and been and gone.
Is just another setting sun.

Conjured darkness II

PART I


Drample hill was a notorious place. A hill in every sense of the word, it loomed over the area with its clump of yew trees atop, once noted for its pagan importance, hiding Pollux Hall from the eyes of God. Pollux Hall was not always the place that many feared now. It was once the manor house of Lady Amber Chester, known for her charity and generosity, she was seen as a beacon of light in a very dull and darkening world. Her descendants however had tainted the name, and so too the hall, splashing it treachery and treason with their deeds that flowed as far as Rome.

The village, which had once benefitted greatly from the hall, now regarded it as a fearsome entity, and to be summoned or taken there was a great undoing. What went on in those darkened rooms in the manor, or the tower at the back of the hall, was only speculative. But those godly men from the abbey and church were known to flow in and out of that place now, doing god’s unseen work.

Agatha sat in the centre of the tower room, tucked away as much as a tower could be, at the back of the property. Ivy slithered up the outer wall, and the roof of the great hall blocked most views of the tower, which was an old Norman remain from the grandiose bailey which once stood on that spot. She was cold, and she was tired. She was shackled only at her hands, her feet bruised and battered and singed by a variety of fire poking devices that had left welts and the smell of burnt flesh to pepper the air. Flight, by human means, was deemed impossible, but still they locked the door.

She sat there, tears long since dried on her face, the result of the mental anguish more than physical pain of what they had done to her. Witch, whore, devil. The names they had hung upon her head, all at one time truthful, but never the whole of who she was. She listened to the silence ensnare her there in that tower room, a small smile appearing on her face now, for she knew they were watching.

The men chattered and bustled animatedly to each other, wine flowing and words pouring in great measure. A Few had remained in the tower to guard the doors, themselves smoking pipes as their eyes squinted through gaps to watch the witch. In the hall the others congratulated themselves on their success.

“Where there’s one, they’ll be others. Soon we shall cleanse this whole area of the filth and heresy.” An older man said, spilling his tankard as he flayed his arms around him. The fire burned well in the fireplace, and they had clustered in towards it as the temperature outside had dropped.

“That bitch, she spat at us when we mentioned the name of the lord.” Another said, touching a cross that hung around his neck, though he did this without realising.

“She is doomed, and not long of this world. We have given her the chance to recant and make amends before the fires take her.”

“Or you take her, eh, Reverend!” And with this a roar of laughter came from all aside the reverend and a figure who sat away from the fire.

Jonathan sat with his head forward, a small book clutched in one of his hands. The pages marked with a yellow ribbon; the passages spoke of redemption. He shook his head to what he was hearing, and he closed his eyes in remembering what he had seen that day. He was party to it all yes, but he was doing this for the greater good. These witches that pullulated the land, defiant against the lord, our saviour. These men in his company, he knew their shortcomings, but he could not do this alone. That woman up there now, she was guilty of the worst crime, lying with the devil and defying the righteous. A darkness hung over the village, the crops would not grow bountifully this year, and the livestock were sick. Ailments and disease were rife, and it could only be this witch and her ways. He knew this to be true.

She was one of many, but he knew sitting there, that she was an important one of the so-called coven. To have her, to save her, then he would really drive a nail through the corruption of it all.

One of the men threw his glass into the fire, the flames soaring for a moment with the added fuel, and then with a whistle that seemed to come down the chimney, the flames burst into a purple hue and were suddenly extinguished.

“Look what you’ve gone and done now Pilchard!” One of them shouted, though a silence seemed to swirl about them all now.

“It wasn’t my bloody fault, who ever heard of wine killing a fire!” Pilchard replied. They all stood quietly now, the candles in the room dimming and the wind outside picking up. A branch scrapped across one of the small lead lined windows, like long nails itching to get inside.

“Quiet you fools!” Jonathan said, springing to his feet now, his head cocked towards the roof as if trying to listen for lighted steps. They all joined him, casting their heads upwards as all the candles in the room suddenly went out.

“Quickly, to the tower.” And they dashed towards the door, the reverend however had fallen to his knees in hasty prayer, his head lowered and his eyes shut.

Jacob had been quick, it was in his nature to be aware of his surroundings, and he knew the quickest way out of the barn and off into the woods. He knew they were in pursuit however, the familiar had done its chore and alerted one of the witches who had told all they had been discovered. Despite local lore, it was rare for a witch to actually fly. Sightings of them had been known up in Lancaster, black streaks across the moonlit sky. Keep your doors secure, and a sprig of heather by the threshold; sheep’s piss by the back. Few witches could even fly, and those that did tended to do it merely to unsettle the village folk. Such displays drew unwanted attention though, and as fun as it was to frighten them, was not encouraged. Most witches transported themselves, flashes of dark shadows popping into places where they longed to be. Collectively, their powers were increased, and it was because of this now that a number of witches took flight after Jacob, whistling into the woods like the screeching of wild animals.

He ran of course, the air lost from lungs as quickly as he could replenish. He knew the path that took him around the church, past the grave where his sister now resided and brought him out by the stream. He ran for his life, the witches flying through the trees above him, their green eyes tracking him as he shot outwards and hopped the wall of the church. A sacred place for many, a sad place for him; though it offered him security now.

He watched them as they gathered at the wall, the bodies and shapes that slunk like the shadows. Those who flew dared not cross into the churchyard, and the nestled now in the trees, stuck up in the branches like huge black birds.

“She is lost you know.” A voice creaked out of the woods, yet tickled his ear as if from behind him. Jacob stood by the door of the church, painted only last week a vivid vermillion, glowing almost now in the night.

“Begone witch, you have no power here.” Jacob shouted; his little voice propelled by anger though weighted by exhaustion.

From the other side of the churchyard the voice came again.

“Trickery is our game, but you fooled them to get her here didn’t you? Burying her bones in alongside those other simple god-fearing folk. But you know she walks in that limbo now, unwanted by God and ignored by the devil. Letting the air into those wrist, clumsy girl.” The others cackled.

“Shut your vile tongue” Jacob said, his hands now fists.

“I would love to stay and torment you child, as it delights us no end to see the pains of this world scratching across your face. But our fight is with others tonight. Be sure that your time is done though, I know your face.” The witch heaved these words out of her as if throwing up a pungent muck.

“You are the damned. And I know all of you as you shake and slither before me. Your days are numbered, and it is YOU who should be afraid.” Jacob said, to which screeching laughter echoed high into the woods before him.

“We shall see.” The main witch said, and she took off into the night above the trees, the others following suit. Jacob was left alone, or so he thought, until he noticed the sets of glowing eyes that stood along the wall to the church, the eyes of wolves which stood watching him, ready to pounce.

“Check the room, is she there?” Jonathan said as he reached the tower door, the others grouping up behind him.

The man before him seemed surprised, but he turned and quickly opened the door and the spilled into the room. Agatha sat there, her arms still shackled and her head still low. A Candle spluttered off in the corner, dying in the pooled waxed but not extinguished.

“Fix those candles, get some light in here.” He commanded as he approached her. “Your friends are making mischief I believe.” Agatha lifted her head then, but her face was not her own. Johnathan jumped back in surprise.

“We all make mischief when no-one is watching.” The face said, returning suddenly to Agatha. The men crossed themselves, muttering words they thought were holy.

“Filthy witch.” One of the men said, coming across to her and slapping her hard across the face. Jonathan watched, his hand now bringing the book out from his cloak.

“Confess and be done with them, they will not harm a woman of god. Recant, and give thyself once more to the lord, he will protect you.” Jonathan said, pulling open the book to recite a prayer.

“Woman now, am I? Girl was what you had fun with. God is a woman, you know nothing of it all” She spat at then.

“BLASHPHEMY!” The reverend said, entering the room and hearing her words.

Jonathan stepped forth and smashed the bible across her face, the leather smacking the flesh like a heavy hand.

“Do not insult my god!” He hissed at her.

“You think you most righteous, don’t you? You are better than these men, but you are lost Jonathan Philipse. The lies from that book lead you further down the path of ruin.”

He was up close to her now, he could smell the musk from her hair, and the subtle hints of elderflower from her skin.

“And your way is better I suppose, sucking the teat of Satan and that whore Margellwood?” He whispered. At this she smiled to him, cocking her head slightly.

“If that is what you think it is, they you are even further from the truth than I thought.” She spoke. He seized her suddenly by the throat, beginning to lift her up from the chair. A Great wind rushed into the room, extinguishing the candles finally, the windows higher up suddenly exploded into a rain of glass, showering down on those below.


Island


ISLAND

This fear of limitless emotion.
Washes at the shore of my soul.
I fought a war for our love.
Raging like a storm on the face of time.
And now I fall like an island in the sea.
Alone and bare.
Washed by a tide, a poison of loneliness.
Never more to welcome the sun above.
I can only skim sad pebbled tears out to you.
There on the horizon.
That sight of hope, which will never land on my coast.
I glow, and diminish through this all.
Soon nothing but a shell.
That cannot even echo the sea.

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Reaching roots

How deep do these roots need to burrow?
While the wind of the world shakes and batters.
Down deep, past dinosaur bones and bits of myself.
Long forgotten memories and names no longer remembered.
Roots of strength, yet they strangle the small and struggling.
Little sprouts of new dreams which begin deep in the dark of my soul.
Waiting, for just the tiniest flash of light.
Yet the roots need to be strong.
For it’s much further to go on.
And this tree is desperate to reach up to heaven.

Readying recovery

Trying to find lucidity.
Cupping thoughts in my hands.
Fallen from my eyes.
Lost treasure.
Stolen preciousness.
The soul acting like a window.
Allowing them inside to steal, to rearrange.
Feeling lost, yet knowing where I’m trapped.
Ghosts lay upon my skin.
Licking at the wounds.
Drinking them all in.
The moments and memories.
Webs of pain strung up by circumstance.
When was I ever allowed to breathe.
To feel the sun on my skin.
Without the chill from a passing cloud of consequence.
Must we break free from the circle.
Or does it allow us to begin again.
Lighter than before, once all demons are dropped.
Lifting to the sky where we once belonged.

Forever winter (Part 28)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


CHOICES AND CHANGE

Rushing inside, the gentleman of the boxes had to catch his breath momentarily. This was not due to this strange new world in which he’d found himself in, but instead due to a physical reaction he had when entering the illumination station. His heart had double thumped, the air seemingly pulled out of him in a quick rush which left him struck for a moment. He looked inside the huge space, blue spikes of ice jutting up from the ground, a static electricity pulsing from one to the next. The spikes glowed, little lightning strikes coursing up and down each one as the room hung with an energy and weight.

No one was around, he quickly flashed his eyes across the space, checking his solitude and registering his fear. He was shaken, disturbed to be on a different world, far away from the underground soil and clutches of earth he had come to know well. This displacement had rattled him, his plan of consuming the power of the girl, and finally overcoming the lady of the jars had been taken from him. He felt little anger with these thoughts, a flash of opportunity perhaps settling in his bones. This place, this cold world was alien, but he knew and felt a source of power and control here, in this room and in this time.

Going across to one of the spikes, he automatically put out his hand to touch the icy surface. The energy within junction-ing at the spot where his skin touched. His mind flashed to his book, the incantations seeming to scroll through his mind as if he had memorised them. He pulled his hand back, his eyes wide.

“No. Not now, not after.” He said aloud, surprised at his voice echoing around him.

The energy seemed to pull his hand back towards the iced spike, the white light coursing up and down beginning to bleed a red hue, like blood poured into water. Suddenly he gripped with both hands, and his eyes crashed shut.

In his mind boxes thrust upwards all around him. He could hear the splintering sound of broken wood, crashing about and smashing together. Boxes made, assembled all around. He spun in his mind, the boxes being filled over and over with these stranger creatures, ones from this planet, ones that looked like the girl. The eyes shut, their faces contorted in a pain and despair. The boxes packed up on themselves, stacking higher and higher until they touched the roof, bursting forth as the sky seemed to open. Down flooded the Dimian like rain, their green phosphorus glow consuming the boxes, the ice and everything they touched. Finding their way to him, they started to devour his feet, quickly bubbling up to cover his legs, their rabid hunger devouring him and his soul as he silently screamed.

His eyes flew open, his hands still on the spikes. The energy inside seemed to have gathered, flashes of red and white streaks eager to break out and go somewhere. All on his direction, he knew. He could feel the power beneath the cold ice in his hands. A little fleck of ice fluttered down and landed gently on his nose, it looked like a snowflake. He pictured the forest back home, swathed in a blanket of white. The perpetual winter. He shook off the ice, and the feeling which was rushing through him suddenly and uncontrollably. He pulled his hands away just as he heard a shout from behind, calling his name. His real name, one he’d not heard for many years.

Back on earth, back in the clearing the mist had swelled and seeped steadily, covering everything. The Stones shone like giant eyes in the foggy conditions and Ezra could only just see Malthrop, though he stood close. It had happened in a blink of an eye, all around was covered with the unusual mist and very faintly they could hear something out in the otherness.

“What is happening now, this is getting a bit too much for an old man to take.” Malthrop said, quite unused to these courses of magical happenings. Ezra stood, looking and thinking, piecing it all together in his skull, his mind that of the lady of the jars, turning over the magic like a mixture in a bowl. What was this?

“The correction!” He said suddenly and enthusiastically.

“Tell me, is that a good or bad thing?” Malthrop asked, unsure.

“It’s good, trust me. This is what she needed; this is what P’erl was here to do. It’s the correction that the world needs.” Ezra replied. Malthrop looked on, seeing only the dark and fog, shadows moving about beyond.

“If you say so, I hope you’re right. To me it looks ominous.” He said, pulling his cloak in a bit tighter to him.

“It’s all an illusion. Have you gone through a day ever feeling a bit off? Like something was missing, or kept you from enjoying a moment? Have you felt the coldness in someone’s voice, or seen an emptiness in their eyes? It’s how the world has slipped over time, with everyone putting their needs first, their actions of comfort being the central theme to their life. No one said life should ever been easy or comfortable. Everyone pushes against the difficult, burying it when it will only sprout in other areas. This world has amassed a great underground burial of darkness, it’s what keeps everything never quite right.” Ezra said, rather impassioned.

“And this correction will fix all that, for good?” Malthrop asked.

Ezra shook his head.

“Not forever no, but it resets everything and gives us all another chance to start over. This mist is sweeping through and absorbing all the darkness, all the negativity and pain. It’s quite an amazing event. It needed the girl; it needed the power of the magic and the energy that came from Europa.” He added.

“But what will happen to the darkness, surely it can’t just disappear.” Malthrop said, taking it all in. Ezra turned to him; his eyes alive with excitement.

“The brightest light of course comes from the darkest places, it will transform it, and I think we’re about to see that happen.” Ezra said, and just as he did, they heard a sound off in the distance but close too as if it tickled their own ears. An ethereal sound began to grow, like water washing inside a shell, it spread outward and inward at the same time, a beautiful sound like prayers caught in the ceiling of a temple. On the horizon a small light burned into existence and grew outwardly, it was one of only two times in Malthrop’s life where his breath had been taken away in wonder.

“Quickly.” The lady of the jars said, rushing forth towards the illumination station. They could see a sparking light emit from the place through the icy shell. P’erl had left herself for a moment, hurrying off in her mind to a place she had known from birth. A Library is a rough description of where she went to in that moment, but it best fits what the place on Europa was. A place of knowledge, or guidance, of help. The power in those frozen words, collected and stored for eons, etched in water which flowed and froze in memories recorded in time. She left, only for a moment, to find in that place all that was needed.

The lady called his name, it sounded odd to them both there in that moment, a million miles later. Few knew him, few could remember who he once had been. Back at the start, where it needed to end and begin once more. He turned to her, his hands pulling away from the ice in that moment, the energy stuttering, not knowing where to go.

“Come back, back from the brink.” She called again, her voice traveling with speed to surround him, on the wings of tiny invisible creatures to pop by his ears. He looked at them, a desperate calling in his eyes, a darkness and sadness which leaked outwards in the bright atmosphere of Europa.

“I hate you.” He said, the darkness spilling from his mouth. The lady laughed, knowing there suddenly they had finally won.

“You hate the snow, that is all. The darkness hates light, but it needs it to be. You may have chosen this route, but you can always choose a different course. Come, it is the end.” She said, stepping forward and holding her hand outward. He reached for her, the darkness dispersing like smoke in the wind. He broke away from the connection with the ice and turned to her, he reached out also, a smile and warmthless appearing there on his face. Behind him a great surge in energy fired through the icy spikes, all of them erupting now with giant flashes of sparkling white light.

The lady turned to P’erl, uncertainty there only for a moment. P’erl held her own hands out towards the gentleman and the lady.

“There is no danger, this is as it should be. Your earthly energies are strange but not unknown here. Choices and change are more powerful than many see.” And with that, they all grasped each other’s hands, the ancient magic of the lady of the jars, the transformed darkness of the gentleman of the boxes and the cosmic swell of the girl from Europa joined there in that moment, sparkling the ice all around them like huge shattering diamonds of light.

The clearing was still and quiet. Ezra and Malthrop found themselves on the floor of the clearing, the snow beneath spreading a chill. Malthrop opened his eyes, lifting his body upwards to sit and look at the view before him. The mist and fog were gone, and he could hear some early bird song off in the distant trees.

Next to him, Ezra stirred, rubbing his head as he too sat up.

“I’m getting pretty tired of all these surprises you know.” He said, looking around also to see what had happened.

“It has been something that calls for a good write up I think, a story to pass along to others lest they don’t believe.” Malthrop replied, smiling.

Behind them the Mondol stones continued their connection with Europa, the transportive image showing the moon on the other side of space.

“So, all has righted itself then?” Malthrop asked, shaking off the snow from his hair.

“I believe so, this world needed a great correcting.” Ezra said, looking out into the clearing.

“Changes to come then, for the better still I hope.” Malthrop said. Ezra nodded his head.

“Much will change and has changed. We all need to be mindful that what we do affects others more than we usually realise.” Ezra added.

In the space between the two, a clump of snow fell away and up through the white covering a sprout was pushing its way upwards searching for the light. Before them the green, struggling against the pull of gravity, burst forth into a yokey brilliance. A daffodil smiled back to them; its yellow petals dusted with the snow it had needed to escape through to be.


snowflake up close

Life is a circle

A tragedy laps at this water’s edge.
Dark oily waves.
Flotsam of time scattered.
Moments bobbing in their crystalline freeze.
Like jewels sparkling on the neck of God.
Broken Christmas decorations on a dead tree.
How do you see?
This water, once pure, travelled around the world.
Circled and familiar.
Dipping your mind in to see this all before.
Teaching you again, yet you choose to forget.
Life is a circle.
It comes around, reminding you over and over.
What to loose, what to cherish.
To drop away what pulls you down.
Looking in to see your own reflection.
When you should hope to see the face of god.
For the divine is a alive and breathes through your skin.
Yet we forget, the states we are in.
Beginning at the end, missing the arrival as we depart.
Life is a circle.
It starts and ends in your heart.

Blue of a bruise (again and again)


THE BLUE OF A BRUISE

Idling of the blood stream.
Brightening those nightmares that shudder.
Twisting in and out of focus.
The mind finding reference points.
All chalky talk and eye darting.
Searching the door to find new weather.
Trust seems lost again.
Blue skies clouded like the eyes of God closing.
Tearing in the rains of revelation.
Words struck the vein.
The devil tastes the pain.
What part is called to be diminished?
Swallowing in a rapture, that unpicks the scars.
A lie to curdle the blood.
A pain to feel alive once more.
Do you know the lungs want to sing?
Padded with angel feathers they heave in lament.
The soul siphoned away, bottled like wine.
Death’s most beautiful throw.
Snatching things, before they grow.

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Saints (attached)

The blankness of the shadows that pass.
Yet wonders dwell underneath.
Hidden stories that flow like lava mines.
Emotions running deep.
Eyes that meet on the train.
Skin that breathes all the same.
We are each a spark of light.
Glowing intermittently in the cold expanse of now.
Reduced down as the 20th century folded.
The devils may click their tongues.
Hiding in caves and pits of pain.
Dipping into those darkness pools.
But we are stronger in the sun.
It burns away the filth of forever.
Shedding the past so the wings can rise.
Renewed and burning with our soular flame.
So you may move with purpose and an elevated heart.
Often reminded of the angels you’re among.

Distant thunders

The Glittering eternity of the night sky.
Finding heaven as a reference point.
Powdered divinity dusting my soul.
The glowing ebbs of long dying embers
When the fires swept through, it stole all.
Finding hurt as its oxygen.
A great engine of pain.
But my fortress could not be burned.
At it’s centre, a well of strength.
Plumbed by the depths of my existence.
My being.
The only reason, is you.
Why I walk the earth and breathe air once recycled.
Brought to me by northward currents.
The smell of eucalyptus and heat.
Entering my eyes and skin.
Reimaging the smudge of a memory.
The red smeared mark of you.
You.
The reason I battle forth.
Carry on in your unending war on love.
Though these wounds we bleed cry red tears.
I know you will be there at the final fall.
Soaking everything away with love.

Kill ’em with kindness – Out now


To err is human…

Forgiveness can be the most impossible. How many wrongs can twist inside a heart to make it a victim? How many grudges must we carry, pulling us down like gravity? A life led in ordinariness attracts its fair share of hurt and trauma. But to dwell in the oil, will only make the soul dark and heavy.

To forgive then, is what we must do. Here lie letters sent to those who can be forgiven, composed in all honesty. But it’s the forgetting which is the trickier part of healing. With a splattering of poetry to wash the wounds clean, these words hang like olive leaves on tough branches, soaked in blood from the scars that are still healing. Forgiving though, of course, makes us divine.

Kill 'em with kindness book cover

OUT NOW


Conjured darkness I

The night loomed like a blanket of opportunity, the dying sun snuffed out hours ago to make way for the moon and mischief. They had all been called, they had all answered in their own ways. Creatures carrying messages, slithering in the dark spaces so the people of the village would not see. The answers quick and decisive. It had been long enough; they had waited too long. Now was the time.

They came like puffs of brown smoke, the dirt and the earth puffing out in a cough. Misshapen things with rough hands and suspicious eyes. Dark features with tongues that clicked, the idling hands of late, eager to begin. Twenty of them in this seemingly small space, yet they seemed to suck the world in further in their placement around the barn. The horses were outside, braying and huffing to the activity which now disturbed their night-time.

Witches gathered.

They had come with one intent, one thing only brought them together. Their coven strong, but usually displaced. This power concentrated for too long brought about strange energies which alerted many to their location. They had been hunted of course, many of them escaping the iron wrath of the witchfinder general which pummelled the land. It had taken a lot of their power to evade him, and they were cautious to gather in such a mass, their own limitations to the power they craved ever evident; for Lucifer gave only what he wanted and never too much to be disadvantaged. His kisses were tinged with a poison which held the knowing and forgetting of all. Which is what many sought. To forget.

The candle hissed and three loud knocks on the ground quietened them all. They were gathered in a circle, as was customary, the croaks and silent screams of their souls hushed as the caller of the event moved into the centre.

“We know why we are here. And we know what we must do.” She breathed, a coldness hanging down now from the rafters where two little eyes watched.

“About time!” A voice came from the group, flicked out from a forked tongue.

“Time is no consequence. But it is indeed the hour in which they must fall. He has said to me not to be afraid.” She said, to which the group reacted loudly.

“Afraid!”

“Fear?”

“Cowardly.”

A disgruntled ripple came from these words. The two eyes in the rafters watched on, belonging to a little boy no older than eleven.

“You are fools to not be afraid. We have given the souls of our being, but there are dangers which lie in an empty vessel. Do not let it flood you now, do not waver from the road into the woods. They will pick you out, they will trap you with their words of heaven. He has warned me that some of you are weak in this regard. Be afraid of this and be guarded.” She said, her eye scanning the barn as if knowing the weaker links. This seemed to settle them though, some nodding in agreement.

As he watched, Jacob ran his finger around and around the red string on his wrist. His eyes alive, but his hand fidgeting in fright. He had known they would come here, being close enough to the village but hidden by the clump of woods which curled around the north side where the church was. He tried not to breathe as he watched those below, swaying and naying like the horses which usually stood in the same spot. He had come, because he had known. Watching one of the witches for some time, her best efforts on protection falling to his superior senses and cleaner soul. He’d trapped her familiar, a horrible grey cat with one eye which prowled the village, extracting what he needed and releasing it, none the wiser, to carry on its deceitful deeds.

Now he was here, and despite his good intent; he was but afraid.

“We must bind ourselves first, it has been too long since we have all been present.” One of the witches offered, her crippled hand reaching out into the space in front of her. The witch in the centre nodded.

“So be it, come.” And she knelt down on the spot, and reached her hands out, the others quickly following suit. As the words tumbled out of her mouth, the candles around them seemed to grow low, a horrible sense of death and despair creeping inside the barn, swirling around like the breath of a corpse. A vine, thorned and rotten, sprung forth from the outstretched arms in the centre, quickly ensnaring the witch directly in front. It coiled around her arms and leapt to the one next to her, doing the same and proceeding quickly around the circle. The words came in their awfulness and the binding of the witches seemed complete as it plunged into the ground, making the spot where it entered dark like soot, and evaporating from around their wrists.

“This commitment to the coven binds us all, so tread warily. Our deeds are pure in their deceit, but do not stray from the black blood which now binds us. If one falls, we all shall. But as we rise and grow more powerful, so too will all of you. It is done.” The centre witch said, concluding the spell and standing once more. She clicked her neck awkwardly, the sound of broken twigs cracking around the barn, and she began to stretch upwards, growing slightly larger than she had been previously. The bones in her hand cracked and she pulled at her fingers, breaking them and stretching them forth abnormally. The sound was horrible to Jacob, it reminded him of his grandmother cracking nuts by the fire. That awful woman.

“They come and go with their sheep like minds. They breed and die, bringing others to our land. They swill the poetry from the trough of that church, washing it down into the land. It tries to bleed into our bones. The othering that we chose, the distancing of self is always besieged by their self-concluded righteousness. Sisters we have seen hang and burn. Stripped naked for them, poked and violated. Our ways are dark and dangerous, but they are our own. Yes, he has his plan, but it is all written, even in their own books.” The voice seemed more human this time to Jacob, despite the abnormal appearance of the witch now in the middle of the group. He noted their names of course, all but her; she still alluded him. She was someone he did not know…. yet.

“Agatha. You know whom I speak of.” A large exhale seemed to come from them all. The reason they knew they were there.

“Agatha. They took her, as you know. They did not burn or hang her. The fools who think that destroys us inside. They took her, and she was strong, she told them nothing of us. They tried of course to trick, to tease the information out of her. Beauty in their eyes is betwixting. Agatha’s bones do not lie in some place, scorched and dismissed. They took from me….” Here her voice cracked. “…us, a sister who they keep to themselves. In the house beyond the rise of Drample hill.” At the name, many of those present spat on the floor.

“She will return to us; we will bring her back. We have the means.” Said a witch who stood close to one of the candles, the silhouetted figure seemed to dance in the candle flame. They all hissed with agreement.

“Yes, she will. And yes, we do. But we must go beyond retrieving our sister this time. We must come out of the shadows, into their awful light of delusion. We must teach them this time that we will not be plucked, fucked or destroyed. This time, this land will all be ours to come and go freely. This is the time for our great aftermath.” She said, her hands rising upwards much like the preacher would in the church not far from where the barn stood.

They all cheered in their own witchy ways, some thumping the floor with their feet bringing up dust and disorder. The noise startled one of the magpies which had sat quietly on a beam next to his master, the familiar took flight suddenly up into the rafters, coming to rest on a beam just by Jacob. It’s eyes finding the boy, it’s call yet to cry out.

The Ballad of Nancy Stokes

Clouds rolled in, all over the small town.
The air alive with the smell of chip shop grease and cheap aftershave.
Saturday night, alive and loud.
But not Nancy.
At least not by the end.
Down in the canal.
Left to be found by old Mrs Clarence, off to the shops on a Sunday morning.
Her small dog Terry, sniffing at the banks where poor Nancy rested.
Her head covered in an old carrier bag.
But that night before, she’d dressed up to the nines.
No Tesco tiara threatened her styled hair.
Scraped back with moose and anticipation.
For the dancefloor awaited, and the eyes were wet.
Leary sockets soaked in her moves.
The jostles and gyrations of decade old motions learned to entice.
To ensnare.
Those oiled men, with receding hair.
The smell of socialisation and modernity.
Nancy left her friends, who’d found Jesus in the bottom of a vodka bottle.
And in the stall of the toilets which stank of desperation and piss.
Where sticky kebab hands soiled their jeans and youth.
Where Nancy went, nobody knows.
But they left her some of her clothes at least.
Soaking in the green waters of the canal.
The old Robinson factory looming over her grave.
Passer-by’s flicking cigarette ends into the water, sizzling near her empty soul.
Not knowing she was there.
In the sludgy brown surface.
Where Mrs Clarence found her.
Nancy Stokes. The 40-year-old girl who loved to dance.
But never learned to swim.

Heaven is shut/open (Story reading)


The plane took off, soaring into the sky as the sun died on the horizon. All was safe, all parts working. Wheels stored safely as the streaming sound of pressure encased them. He looked out of the window and watched the ground give way. He sighed. He’d hoped for a failure. Maybe later when they were out over the ocean, no chance of rescue there. No one ever survived a plane crashing into the sea….

Read on


Waiting with winter

The oil and the dark.
Pooling and yawning around.
For waiting is the hardest thing.
Stuck inside a circumstance while the world moves on.
Trees stripped of life as seasons pass.
The moon spins on, grinning and fading.
Changing and evading the sun.
What was love was frozen into a moment.
Carved into the ice, and buried until you lived for us again.
I stand, waiting for the sun.
Waiting for the fire to hurl forth once more.
To melt that place and warm my vision.
A place of smashed clocks and flowers.
To ignite our cold hearts.
Trapped inside their cages of bones.
Where we may love again.

Calling you higher

The saints who watched with silent eyes.
Unrolling the clouds in heaven.
They know you tried, they watched the break.
Bones adjusting to the weight of the world you bore.
They smiled when you continued onwards.
Knowing that the wall was part of the plan.
The fall, part of it all.
And in your dreams they slip feathers into your soul.
Cushioning against the silver spread of the galaxy.
Mercury in cosmic form, washing over the moon.
Falling into your broken cracks.
When you lift and rise, carrying on into the darkness.
The feathers float, and the sparks flare.
Taking you away from there.
And the darkness retreats like the ocean at night.
So you may walk the sand with god and me.

Forever winter (Part 27)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


HALL OF GIANTS

Danuna was grumpy today. He was tired and he was late, two things he hated being. He was late because he had overslept, and he’d overslept because he had been so tired all day yesterday, having only half of his usual sleep. He’d been up later the last few nights, setting up Othrox chimes in the festival arrangements. It wasn’t just him of course involved in the celebrations, Othrox being an event to remember the time of each person’s lives already lived and passed. An acknowledgement of things gone. The chimes were the trickiest, each one containing over a thousand sandor stones, thin crystal-like stones which looked like shells. When the wind passes over them, they would circle and swirl, emitting both a colourful mist and beautiful sound. If hung correctly of course, each one requires much careful placement and checking. Though others were helping, Danuna had a controlling nature.

He made his way across the great surface, the huge platform at the centre of the Koddoah would take someone nearly ten minutes to cross from one side to the other. He strode briskly, his skin flashing silver and green with each stride as his mind spun on a thousand things. Worry and concern weren’t unknown to most Europans, but few gave them much worth, reactional and unprotective elements it had been concluded. The green flashes on his skin set Danuna further apart from his brethren who were quite excited and joyous over the coming festivities.

His mind elsewhere, he walked completely by the great stone which had begun to hum and shake in its electrical activity. It was only the sound of the other, hissing to life that made him stop and look over towards it. The stones in the Koddoah were similar to the ones on Earth, not exactly the same. The story of the giants and peach pit explained away the oval, almost crude shape of the Mondol stones. But here on Europa, these same stones hung off the ice slightly, at about head height. They were cupped on one side, and larger, fitting neatly around the Mondol stones if they were ever joined.

The stones here were used for many things, in many practises. The Europans, masters of their power and capabilities. So Danuna’s surprise was not of the stones coming to life on their own, but without his knowledge.

The shot out of the stone closest to him made him leap backwards, alarmed by the intensity of the light and the sharpness of its connection. The two stones, hanging above him, sizzled into brightness, the spark connecting the two quickly widening until the holes into space and time appeared at the centre of them both. It took only a moment, and suddenly his busy morning became further complicated as he was suddenly surrounded by a sea of crazed little creatures, two humans and a fellow Europan who was glowing in what the mystics of the moon would call the ‘Flaze’.

The Mondol stones back in the clearing were illuminated now by the brilliant white and blue light that the doorway to Europa made. Ezra and Malthrop who stood some distance from the stones now, could see into the hole which stretched over the stars. The opposite stones pulsed in a violet haze, offering entry to an unknown place and one that, just by a glance, made the hairs on the back of Malthrop’s neck rise.

“Where is that?” Malthrop asked, referring to the stone closest to him, though Ezra assumed he meant the one that took them to Europa.

“It’s the planet, moon…whatever; Europa. Have you heard of it? It’s up there, millions of miles away. It’s where P’erl is from.” He said, jabbing his fist to the sky to indicate the blanket of space that hung above them.

“Europa?” Malthrop replied, puzzled.

“It’s a pretty wild, and long explanation. But that’s where they’ve been taken to, it has to be. Come on.” He said and made his way towards the opening which promised them the moon.

Malthrop, confused but committed followed him, both approaching the stone. They hadn’t noticed, but out of the stones, a mist had begun to pour from the bottom. Slight, almost transparent. If they had been standing further away, they would’ve noticed it more, but as it was, they gave it none. The mist swelled like a foggy tide, rippling outward away from the centre of the clearing.

“Look at that!” Malthrop said, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing through the stone.

Ezra rubbed his eyes like a child, though used to the wonder he too was surprised by the scale of it all. The doorway indeed led to Europa, right into the Koddoah where the other stones were. But the view fractured at the edges, like many eyes glancing all around the space. They could see the huge domed ice roof, the vast empty space that hung below it half decorated in ornate ice crystals. Giant blue iced columns rose and fell like waves all around and they could see the other stones.

“There, look it’s them!” Ezra said, pointing to a spot where P’erl, the gentleman of the boxes and the lady of the jars were, dark and small in the blueish brightness of the iced space.

She had felt a feeling at the tips of her toes, like dipping into warm water. Pleasant. It took her away suddenly to a memory from her childhood, dipping her feet into the warm spring that bubbled by the black rocks of her village. She remembered her and the other children would hold their noses at the springs, the sulphur making it a smelly but exciting time with the naturally warmed water. Here the feeling flowed upwards, her ankles washed with the warmness. It pulled her down as much as it rose upwards, until her whole body was soft and warm, like a comforting hug. She opened her eyes then, as if allowed to, the warming feeling almost whispering her to keep them closed until finished.

She had travelled millions of miles in moments, swept through the portal that the stones conjured, bringing her to Europa. But not just her, and she could see that now as P’erl stood beside her, glowing brightly, and turning to her.

“You are safe, it is home.” P’erl said, flowing her arm out to show the space, and hoping the lady would take it. She did, grasping it tightly she stepped forward and hugged her.

“Oh my dear, I’m so happy to see you. I knew it would be alright.” The lady said, her heart only there in that moment with the girl.

“What is this, what is happening?” A voice spoke from the other side of her.

Turning, she saw the gentleman of the boxes, almost shrunken now from his boldness of before, diminished in the difference and uncontrollable nature of his new surroundings.

“This is my home world, this is Europa. And you are all most welcome.” The girl said, almost inclining her head into a bow.

“All?” The gentleman said, but then he saw them, the Dimian were massed beside him now, though they seemed to be frozen in a shaking group.

“All, yes.” P’erl replied, blinking delicately, little flashes of light emitting from her eyes.

“I personally would like to say you’re not that welcome this morning, though I’m sure we can accommodate.” Came a shrill voice.”  Danuna stood, his arms flat by his side, a sign of annoyance on Europa.

“Danuna, oh it’s so nice to see you.” P’erl said, a smile appearing. She went across to him, and though they made no physical contact, the auras around each of them seemed to hug one another, though his was much more diminished than her own.

“Your father said you had gone. The journey from within, you must be proud. Are these friends of yours or is that part of the great correction?” He asked, shrill still but with more of a warmth in his tone.

“Friends.” She replied, inclining her head as was appropriate.

“Well then.” Danuna said, casting a quizzical eye towards the Dimian which were still huddled together in a mass. “We mustn’t linger here, there is much to do in I’m afraid they’ll only be in the way here.”

Suddenly a small stick hit him on the side of the head.

“What the…” He said, turning to see where it had come from.

To the other side of him, the lady of the jars had stridden across towards one of the idle stones, hovering above her head. The gentleman of the boxes seemingly stuck to the spot, watching everything around him perplexed.

“Where did you say you’d been, which planet?” Danuna asked, peering now into one of the stones which had brought them there. The doorway still open, and the light still pulsed within.

“Earth.” P’erl replied, almost like a whisper.

“Anyone you left behind at all?” He asked, offering his hand up to the stones so she could see. Down the tunnelled view, waving frantically was Ezra, another stick in his hand.

“Oh, yes!” P’erl said, her eyes alive more so.

“If they could reframe from chucking things across the expanse of time and space and into my head, I would much appreciate it.” He said, crossly now, examining the stick which he’d picked up from the floor.

“It all happened so fast.” She said, turning to the lady.

“Are they okay, oh Ezra…there he is. And Malthrop.” The lady said, coming across and peering into the stone. She waved back, seeing both of them now millions of miles away. Her heart warmed in the knowing.

“Urm, where is your friend off to may I ask, he mustn’t disrupt the Othrox chimes waiting to go up.” Danuna said, interrupting.

They all looked to see the gentleman of the boxes running across the huge space, aiming for one of the decorative tunnel openings on the other side.

“That man!” The lady of the jars said.

“We have to get him; he still needs to see.” P’erl said and taking her hand they started off after him across the space. Danuna calling after them too.

“Your other friends, what of them?” He called.

They could see the Dimian huddled and shaking, grouped together into a huge cloud of frantic energy. P’erl suddenly had an idea.

“Please take them to the cloudarys…the Lankaripii will see them right.” She called back but sped on with the lady of the jars who was breathing harder, her lungs adapting to the air on Europa.

“Fanuk.” Danuna muttered to himself, shaking his head, his morning now quite displaced.

Back on earth Ezra and Malthrop watched as the girl and the lady ran off across the hall. They called out to Danuna, but their voices could not travel as easily as bodies it seemed, and they watched him go about the business of removing the Dimian from the Koddoah, whirls of icy mist and colour swept them away through huge pipes which he brought about with ease. Danuna took no more notice of the stones that remained active, nor of Ezra and Malthrop, his own mind now back on the preparations and tasks before him. He bustled about as if P’erl would return and sort the things from another world out.

“What do we do now?” Malthrop asked, less panicked now knowing the others seemed safe at least. Ezra had explained about Europa, and he knew now what he was seeing through the stones.

“I think we’ll just have to wait for them to get back. I don’t think we should go through, not yet.” Ezra said, thinking things over.

Malthrop nodded, but something made him turn around quickly.

“Urm……Ezra. Have you seen what is happening here?”

Turning his back to the stone and the glare of the light, Ezra was met by a wall of mist towering upwards and out from where they stood. As if held in the eye of a storm they stood there, the top met with the clouds and snow, sprinkling in little blue sparks as a rumbling magic within illuminated the snowflakes.

“Now what!” Ezra said, he and Malthrop seemingly pushed down by the force of what was occurring now all around them.

“Where would he go? What is this place?” The lady asked, speeding now along with P’erl.

“This is the Koddoah, it’s a great ceremony room which we have many celebrations and markings of events. He must think we are to harm him.” P’erl replied.

“Idiot man, after all he’s seen. I guess he’s scared and unsure, both things not lending well to understanding. He’s at home underground, so he’ll benefit from the tunnels.” The lady said as they entered one themselves. It was nothing like the tunnels they had been trapped in earlier. This tunnel was like slipping into the ocean, the deep blue and turquoise that rippled into disappearing, outwardly and all around as it faded into the moon. The walls were lit by little pink and white lights, twinkling as if Christmas lights, they led the way with a beautiful sound like the song of a morning chorus, ethereal and almost hypnotic.

“Where does this lead?” The lady asked, struggling to take in the sights of what she was streaming past. Huge gullies and cuts in the ice, deep slices where the shaves fell like waterfalls and huge blocks twinkled like diamonds.

“Depending on where he turns, it will head towards the forever chambers or the illumination stations.” She said, seeming to float more than run like the lady was.

“Are either of them dangerous?” She asked.

“The illuminations stations are the energy points across the moon, with your earthly magic they can be powerful.”  She replied.

“Great!” The lady said. “Though I guess he’ll need to know what he’s doing.”

“The elements were silent in him through the transition. I felt the darkness be only a void now.” The girl said.

“Then that is the danger, where there is empty still, who knows what will rush in. His anger might no longer be there, but his fear is still hungry.”

“He wouldn’t destroy this place though would he, he knows nothing of it.” The girl said, thoughts now conflicting in her mind somewhat.

“We have an awful habit on earth in destroying the things we don’t understand.” The lady replied.

Up ahead, the gentleman of the boxes darted quickly down a slope and through a wide passageway leading to a bubbled structure in the ice. The illumination station hummed in its perpetualness before him. Glancing back only for a moment, he rushed towards the structure, a fear warming him against the ice all around.


snowflake up close

Diverted by a distance light

Dreaming hopeful and sifting sand.
A hollowed doubt in a burning hand.
As eyes peel back and strip the moon.
This silent feeling is gone too soon.
We count the days that fall like birds.
With tarred up feathers and swallowed words.
Two throbbing hearts break forth and run.
Leaving shadows and souls in that dying sun.


Taken from Everyday Miracles – out now

Little wounded wing


LITTLE WOUNDED WING

Little wounded wing.
You never knew how dangerous it could be.
Flying through life as you were.
Hoping others, like you, wanted to sing.

Little spark of light.
No one told you how maddening it would be.
Existing how you are, so special.
The rules never showed you how to fight.

Life it took a hold and stained.
Into your feathers and soul it pained,
you to see what this world really was behind the lies.
Through maligned and deceitful eyes.
After wandering your many trails, deserving of fairness and love.
The world is dark and mattered.
Cruel and harsh and tattered.
To a creature who sees the good in everyone from above

Little broken heart.
We all told you how not to cry.
No one cares for water spent.
The gulf between us now so far apart.

Hey little dying bird.
You told yourself in the end.
The only thing that was missing, was love.
And love was the only thing they no longer heard.

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A Dreadful something

Bridging across the expanse.
Brain before heart.
A dreadful something lurking in between.
We stumble, crawl, carry onward.
A fear in every step.
A freedom threatening.
The forest we left kept the darkness.
The sea to the north promising a drowning.
Loneliness our only company.
Hope our only guide.
Go forth and spit in the eye of Satan.
And love him for the barriers and trials.
Pray and wipe the spit away.
Keep stripping away the veils.
For the darkness and despair will not claim.
And he needs the most love, all the same.

Temporary shelter

We slipped again, into the night.
Out of view.
Known only that we were here,
by the stories they tell.
Fabrications and fables.
Drops of disillusionments that melt their trustful hearts.
We wander, as they wonder why.
All around us keeps on spinning.
Our own rotational axis that keeps on thinning.
Down into splitting heirs.
Putting matchsticks between your teeth.
Setting the enameled house to fire.
Write these reasons on the back your hands.
Staple your own destiny to your eyelids.
Then once again play that mournful song of tomorrow.
And disappear into today’s setting sun.

Provenance

How do you not shake, with such worlds inside of you.
Looking into the orbs of your soul, I see galaxies forming.
My heart swims across those burnt hazel pools.
Breathing hydrogen and life, watching comets disappearing.
Love mirrors and love remains.
It flows inside our veins.
Showing up the places that are broken.
Unconditionally we cloak each other.
Covering the scars and bruises of memory.
Cloaked in rose kissed armour.
Light as angel sighs.
Defiant and enduring, like a kiss upon waking.
For love cannot be undone.
Each part of this love is a moment.
Strung together like rosary beads.
Blessed and cherished, but never betrayed.
Clutched close when the darkness threatens.
The light of our love gleams through those cracks.
Cracks which show where we pulled our pieces together.
And I will kiss each wound with a prayer.
Devouring a genesis,  as our skin meets.
Collapsing in time.