It was the last weekend before Christmas and this was Gary’s night. Royally pickled from a swivel of beer and shots, he threatened to rip the Jägermeister soaked sleeves from his Christmas jumper clean off. The lads cheered him on in the donor kebab shop. Chanting his name as the cooks gave uneasy glances. All […]— HARLEY HOLLAND
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.
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.
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.
Hold your breath. Count to ten.
Join the depths of the world beneath.
An inversed galaxy that never ends.
With lotus flower eyes you can see if you listen.
The aquatic hum of a sight leagues beneath your bones.
You are the octopus that crawled back to the sea.
The Sinking ship which will haunt the ocean floor.
Poseidon blood tingles in your veins as you descend.
To the world beneath, the silent watery grave where the weeds dance.
Each wave washes away your grey.
And every day your Atlantis awaits.
Watching high from miles above.
A silent watcher, like a mourning dove.
Sees the world bend and sway.
As he cranks the moon to life each day.
And so he watches as the world turns over.
In dusty pools, while supernovas.
Crash and burn his aching heart.
For a world he loves, he sees torn apart.
Which leads him down into despair.
While comets and stars alight the air.
And move on in time with disregard.
Of his moment here, or collapsing heart.
Taken from Everyday Nightmares – out now
Dropping of veils
There is a sound that can scare you and at the same time, wash you with peace.
The blissful, fearful sound of nothingness. Not even the blood coursing through your own body can be heard in your ears. Though, for the girl from Europa, she did not really have blood as it appears on earth (hers was more like powdered crystals).
In the void of the nothing, she opened her eyes. She felt a piercing sting as something flooded her vision, like cold air on wet skin. She could see below her a vast blue jewel, throbbing in rotation. She knew it was the earth, this planet she had come to. It rotated slowly, yet assuredly beneath her, her feet almost skimming the topmost atmosphere. Her skin prickled, the scales of shapes fluttered an array of colours, but no one saw them. She was alone here, watching it all from space.
It began then, a tiny flickering. With it came little static crackles of sound. She saw it emanating from a point on the earth, a point she knew where she had just left. The flickering built more intensely, a tiny thread of white and blue light snaking its way up towards her. She felt safe here and knew no harm would come here. Inside this was what she had longed for, and now it was occurring she felt nothing but a kind of joy in her heart.
The thread of light found its way up to her, it touched her gently, little sparks spluttering off into the darkness around her. Then, quick as a flash it sped around her entirely, encasing her in a brilliance that felt magical to her touch. Slowly it began to pull her downwards, back towards the earth. Images began to be projected in her mind; her home, her mother, the creatures she had encountered on earth, her journey from Europa, and the lady of the jars. They mangled themselves into one another, a mixed dream of colour and movement. Her eyes closed and she felt herself falling, deeper and faster; descending again towards a planet she had not yet called home.
Ezra was walking around the stone, looking for something, though he did not know what. All looked the same to him, yet something felt different.
“So, what do we do now?” He called to the lady, inspecting the stone a bit closer. She stood with her bag open, digging inside for something.
“Well, to be honest I’m not sure. But perhaps, something will come to us.” She said, casually. Ezra shook his head in frustration.
“We can’t just sit around and have tea you know. Something needs to be…” He started but had noticed a tiny crack at the base of the stone. He stepped closer, almost fearful to touch the giant mass before him. As his fingers met the cold stone, a little electric pulse jumped from him and slithered into the crack, illuminating it in a blue light.
“I think this is something…” He called off to her. The lady peered around the stone to see him; her bag still clutched in her hand.
“See, I told you something would come along.” She smiled.
“Yes, only because…. oh never mind. Come and look.” He said to her.
She walked around the stone, coming up next to him. Out of her bag she pulled a little glass vial. Inside it a crackling lightning bolt hummed.
“Excellent Ezra, you might have cracked this.” She said, knowing he would love the pun.
“Just get on with what you’re doing.” He said, tautly.
She pulled the stopper out of the top, and the crack in the stone seemed to illuminate. The little lightning bolt zipped quickly out of the vial and into the crack, crackling and spreading through the stone like blue veins. It travelled up to the top, pulsing and humming. From a distance the blue veins made the stone look like a giant eye, the neon light glowing from the surrounding snow.
“So, what is this doing?” Ezra asked, watching the light dance and ripple through the stone.
“Well, years ago there was….” But Ezra cut in.
“We don’t have time for any of that. What is it doing and how can we get the girl back?” He asked. Ezra was very loyal and protective, an aspect of the Lady of the jars which seemed to shine strongly within him. He was the course of agency manifested from her, and he hated dithering or waiting around for things to happen.
The lady of the jars looked up at the stone, which shone with the blue light veins.
“Well, this Reppaehi; it’s a bit complicated, hence the explanation, but basically it is remembering the before, and repairing where possible and restoring.” She said, proudly.
“But how is that going to help when she is gone? The stone isn’t broken is it?” Ezra asked, uncertain.
“No, the stone cannot be broken, but the connection with the girl seems to have given it a power charge that has moved things to another plane. The light will repair the realms, allowing her to return back to the form she chooses.” The lady said.
“Wait, so the stone didn’t destroy her?” He asked.
The lady of the jars shook her head. “No, it didn’t destroy. The stone only ever wants to give, it cannot take. The girl I fear, was holding on to something much bigger than we knew. Her power, her need to change was stored inside her, like a huge well of energy. The connection with the old magic intensified and took her away, off this plane to a place where the worlds can find a balance. That is what I’m guessing anyway.” She said, touching the stone herself now, caressing the blue light that streaked through it.
Ezra gave her one of his sceptical looks.
“But how is this going to help us, how is this going to make things better?” He asked her. He hated not knowing. The lady then turned to him; her eyes looked suddenly sad.
“There is much darkness here, this world that I try to blanket in white lighted snow, there is still much pain and imbalance. It gnaws at me; I feel and see it still in my mind. I may have escaped my own pain, but that suffering, and sorrow still goes on elsewhere, hidden behind doors and buried under ground. Self-serving creatures, those people who have turned away from the light, those only caring for themselves. This darkness can be transformed. It was once light; it can again be restored.” She said, tears coming suddenly to her eyes.
Ezra stared at her, her heart and his were the same, and he knew what she meant and how her own pain had its own little reservoir. She wanted balance and equality; this world was still very much out of balance.
“So, she will change this?” He asked her.
“She is here to shed a veil of herself. And by doing that, will bring about a power that will be the balm to this world’s pain.” She replied.
“We are lucky she came to us then, I guess it’s been written that she would?” Ezra asked.
The lady nodded.
“For some time. This cycle is not new. But I hope this is the last time we need for it to happen. But yes, we are lucky she came to us.” She said.
“Came to me at least!” Said a voice from behind them.
They both turned quickly, to see the gentleman of the boxes standing tall before them, his arms outstretched, two little boxes in his hand. In a flash he flicked the boxes open with his thumbs and out poured a black smoke which covered them both in an instant. They hit the ground before they even knew what was happening.
The girl descended back towards the earth, the thread pulling her back towards the Mondol stone which glowed like the giant eye on the land. Her mind was racing, the images and thoughts blurring and fuzzing into one another still. Time was suspended and she had conversations there with her mother. Beautiful flowery words of hope and direction. She felt a veil begin to be pulled away, revealing another world that lay beyond space and time. She could feel and touch the wonder and was charged in the knowing that she would bring about a change of such importance. Her decline down towards the stone filled her up more and more with the knowledge she needed, whilst jettisoning what she no longer did.
She suddenly came down through the thick clouds that still hung with snow, despite early efforts to dismiss this weather, and touched her bare feet onto the summit of the stone. It felt warm and welcoming, like the Olpie rock pools they had back on Europa. Her feet even gripped to the stone like a suction, binding her to the material as the energy coursed through her. The steam which had welcomed her return dispersed, and she long fully looked for her friends. But she found the clearing empty of anyone. At the brim of the woods however, she saw a mass of green light and energy. She knew the Dimian were there now, gathered and hungry. But where were Ezra and the lady of the jars?
You will see, said the little whisper.
The sound within.
A distant whimper.
From the voice inside the cracking skull.
The quiet reasoning.
The heart’s strong hull.
That sails beyond a galaxy.
Down here on earth.
These defiant words did manifest.
And I must confess.
That I was able to walk away.
From all that trauma.
And sad decay.
And close the book of you and me.
A tired old tale.
Which you will see.
It had begun to rain, a light drizzle that peppered the people as they walked along Bradley Way. Not the prettiest street in the world, and today it was overcast with a churning grey cloud that dampened the mood and made things ever more ordinary. People walked up and down the road, seeking out the local small supermarket that had opened just last year. It was housed in a former pub, the Bull and horn; the cigarette stained walls and beer marked floors long since ripped out. Outside, the faux Tudor design was kept, hoping the inn-like appearance would entice more customers. But people shopped here anyway out of convenience. The newsagents across the street had closed a year ago also, the owner packed up and moved away after a red Ford escort had rammed into his shop and robbed him late on a Sunday afternoon. Unless you were willing to cross the giant playing field at the back of Ashen road to go to the giant superstore, the pub-turned-metro shop was the easiest option.
Just near to the store was number 46, and though it was starting to rain, Mrs Taylor was found scrubbing the pavement. She had swept and tidied already, and now she was striking the wet brush across the path like she was toiling the earth. She worked with determination, scraping and scrubbing the ground over and over. She never dressed for cleaning. She was made up in her Sunday best, as if she had just gotten back from church. Though the fine rain had settled on her hair, giving it a web like crown, her hair was in place as if she had spent an hour on it. She was an odd sight to those making their way down Bradley road. After a while, she packed up her cleaning materials and went back into her house, number 46, the one with the red door.
It was grey again. It had rained in the morning, and the streets glistened like slumbering snakes. It was Sunday again also, and the local football club had finished their practice over on the giant field. A few kids had wandered off on their way home, stopping in at the local store to grab a drink and some much-needed sugar.
Mrs Taylor watched them as they walked down her road. She was scrubbing again, hot water and bleach burned away at the pavement. The added soapy suds flowed down the kerb and washed up to the drain, down into the darkness. She watched them, and they stared back at her as they walked by. She did not frown; she did not glare. There was no smile on her face either. Just a determination to scrub and wash, and get the job done. By the time the kids exited the store, Mrs Taylor had finished and returned inside her house. She had gone to make herself a cup of tea, her hands stinking of bleach and had become pale. The kids thought no more of her, and carried on their way home, their hands a healthy peach and holding the chocolate bars like tiny swords.
The whole street knew of course. They watched her every week. She used the same bucket, the same brush. She would start by sweeping up the dirt and leaves that had fallen from the huge oak tree that loomed over the garden from number 38. Joyce, who lived with the tree, had never cared form Mrs Taylor. Joyce was a generation away from the woman, and tutted and shook her head to her antics in private. But if she saw her on the street, she would always nod her head in quiet recognition. To which Mrs Taylor would always nod her head slightly back.
It was Sunday again. No rain today. Just thick dark clouds above threatening the worst. A nasty cold breeze blew in from the south, ripping through Bradley Way like an arctic arm reaching from the poles. She resigned herself to a coat today. She had lost more weight than she would care to acknowledge, and her frail body would shiver in the conditions now. Underneath her plum coat, she wore her Sunday best again. The pearls her mother had given her hung over her dress, little eyes gleaming out into the cold. She had also decided to use some gloves, not because of the cold, but because her hands were now so raw from the bleach. She sat at night picking at the loose bits of skin around her fingers, peeling away the hangnails that had appeared, paled underneath from all the toxins. They stung and hurt.
But she did not care. She wanted to carry on, so she used the gloves to keep the feeling in her fingers to get the job completed. To feel the work.
And she scrubbed and rubbed and washed the pavement.
Bundled up against the elements, Mrs Stokes, and her daughter Ivy were walking along the other side of the road. Mrs Stokes lived down on Humber Way, but she knew Mrs Taylor from the primary school morning mums run. She had seen her at the gates with the others, a gaggle of women with their precious little birds waiting for the gates to part.
Ivy watched her as she scrubbed on her hands and knees, the warm water cascading over the lip of the pavement. Ivy broke free of her mother’s hand and crossed the street without looking, going over to Mrs Taylor. Her mum called after her, following her onto the street.
It was quiet that day, few cars littered the road and there was a peaceful calm.
“Hi.’ Ivy said to Mrs Taylor, who looked up from the floor. Her eyes were glassy and tired.
“Hello.” Mrs Taylor replied, friendly. Ivy’s mum came up to them, grabbing her hand.
“Ivy, don’t bother her. Come along, we have to get to the store. And don’t run off like that. I’m sorry.” Mrs Stokes said, looking down at the woman. With that, Mrs Taylor looked off slightly, as if searching the road for something.
“Why are you cleaning the path?” Ivy asked suddenly. They all shivered there in the cold. Ivy’s mum began to pull her away.
“Don’t bother her. I’m so sorry, she’s always curious. Come along Ivy.” Mrs Stokes said, eager to get away.
Mrs Taylor stood then, much more agile than her demeanour would suggest. She popped up like a dog ready for a walk.
“Its fine, kids are curious. I’m just doing a spot of cleaning. The council seem to neglect this part of town, and the road is filthy.” She smiled then, a warm smile as she looked at the little girl. She turned her head slightly, as if she heard something, then turned back towards them.
Mrs stokes, eager to get going smiled back, hoping it would be the end to the conversation.
“But, no one else cleans the pavement. I’ve not seen anyone do it like you, scrubbing away.” Ivy said, determined to understand. Mrs Taylor was silent for a minute and then replied.
“Well, you see there where you are standing; I just can’t get this bit clean. It’ll take some time, but it will lift.” She said, reaching back for her scrubbing brush, having looked more at the spot where the two stood.
Ivy looked down at her feet, seeing nothing but the black road.
“But there is nothing there.” Ivy replied.
“Come along now Ivy. Leave her to her cleaning.” Mrs stokes said, vigorously pulling the girl. Mrs Taylor laughed a little. A small laugh, brittle from its long hibernation.
“You kids think everything is already clean. I bet your room at home is a mess and yet you think its fine. No no, the stain there, it spreads up and across the pavement. I think it is oil, but it’s taking ages to go.” She sighed suddenly, as if reminded of the huge task in front of her.
“There you see. Sorry to bother you. Come now Ivy.” Mrs Stokes said, and this time successfully moved the girl who walked on still puzzled.
They made their way to the store and Mrs Taylor watched them for a few seconds before scrubbing a bit further and then packing up her things and heading back into her house, closing her red door behind her. She took off her coat and went upstairs. She always did this. She went into the front room of the house, the second big bedroom. Hers was at the rear and was slightly smaller, but she liked the view of the back garden. She liked the green. She went across to the window and looked down at the pavement.
“It’s still there.” The little girl said.
Mrs Taylor pulled at the sleeves of her dress.
“I know. I’ll buy the super strength bleach next week. That’ll do it.” She said to the empty room.
She looked up the street as a few people came out of the store. The old newsagents across the road had been turned into kitchenettes. She looked in through the ground floor window, a huge TV screen the size of the wall flashed away in blues and reds.
“Maybe in time, it’ll fade on its own.” The girl said.
She looked down at the spot again. A huge stain on the floor seemed to pulse before her. She closed her eyes and watched the red ford escort zoom away noisily like thunder down the road. She hoped she would never see it again, but she knew she would.
MORE FABLES HERE
To lift into a dream.
A sky that fits into your hand.
Let loose like the heartstrings of a melody,
that taps at your soul.
You breathe the air I need to survive.
Blown backwards like a northwest gale.
Billowing underneath these feathered sails.
Crystalize the weight that hangs heavy like the edge of space.
Skimming the clouds of your floating world.
To dive into the air of thought that passes between us.
That leaves me shaking like a night terror.
A heartbeat like a sleep kick.
These strings are made with each joint decision.
Tasselled and tied the rigging of a wandering star.
Leaving my hands covered in stardust.
And lungs of love full to burst.
I go silently into that pastel sky.
Watching the moments as I go.
Lifting off deep into your soaring kingdom.
Lifting once more into a dream.
In the forest, all alone.
My lonely tree feels cold as stone.
Surrounded everywhere by its branches.
That bend and twist to their own advantage.
They shake in the wind, and shiver in sadness.
Sunken in a disturbing madness.
Until one day you came into the woods.
Scared the animals and riding hood.
Yet the wolves they ran, and hid like rabbits.
Convoluted out of their own bad habits.
And into my glade you stepped so proudly.
And struck a match and yelled out loudly:
“Love is a flame that burns us under!”
And as quick as lightening, you lit me like thunder.
So my lonely tree, burned quick and sadly.
And I faded away, into death quite gladly.
4am as the world whispers me awake.
All is calm as the night travels in my veins still.
I slept the day away.
Rubbing the tiredness and memories from my eyes.
Half a world resting in my heart from where I started.
Right where I belong.
The veil is yet to be lifted from my shaded stay.
Talking to me still from the past in a language familiar.
Talks of entangled vines and harkening songs.
A call of the kookaburra who rests on my eyelids.
The red land beneath my feet.
Sticking to me like sand on wet skin.
Rub away these English oaks. This chitter of festivity.
Don’t lead me blind with your patriotic tales.
Colour me sunlit gold and let me sleep.
Crying into the night and drifting away on the tide.
Waking on shore I pray I do not recognise.
Sunken deep like forgotten wrecks.
A hate that broods, contorts and flex.
This grudge is old and just like oil.
Black with time, and within me coils.
Staining my soul with its heartless rind.
Unforgotten, despite the passage of time.
But time has come to break the bond.
That swirling hole, that stagnant pond.
I will no longer give food to the beast.
It is to the wolves I throw this feast.
A stinking blood drool of unwanted flesh.
Cut from my heart, and so refreshed.
Then wrapped in a tourniquet of letting go.
With hope that in that hole, some love will grow.
The second guessing, the never knowing;
Framing the mistakes we make.
Blessed with an ability to undo me.
Take me down, feel your way.
Leave nothing on this body to explore.
Don’t sit there motionless because you know the answer.
Over and over again.
This skeleton underneath.
This heart that beats.
A sweat that runs for you.
Mind your step as you flee the room.
(Please wait while I undress).
Address your intent.
We all want to play in traffic, but this is serious now.
Break me like a three year old would.
Love me like you were meant to.
Hold it all in your hands like i’ve come from the land of gold.
Such precious illusions as I hold my breath.
The conjuring dreams.
Of moments in time.
Love lost on your lips.
Your hand in mine.
Kicking this cactus heart around.
Fresh like mint on my tongue.
Calling you out of the clouds.
Out of my bones that feel as heavy as China.
One of those falling dreams.
Like you’re here.
But still gone.
Taken from ‘Nothing but I am‘
What scrapes at the inside of this skull?
Trying to break free from mirroring misery.
A bird trapped, or a candle with no flame.
Fighting against something that isn’t there.
Inside these reflections, dwells a silent creature.
Bound in feathers, but fearing flight.
Waiting to breathe, to fly, ignite.
How to fathom the meddlesome mind.
Which wages such war with one’s heart.
A lion on a tiger, ripping the fur and soul apart.
Though she sank into that crystal gloom.
Where memories dwell and history hangs.
She smiled, not to the departure.
Or the trauma she would never know.
But to herself.
For though her life was diminishing.
Fogging up her eyes and silently singing lullabies.
She had chosen the means, the time and the space.
She was the ruler of this small endeavour.
All on her own terms.
Absent of the eyes, or the tongues that criticised.
Or the tiny push.
She controlled the moment that quivered in her soft small hands.
Only she knew how it was to end.
An Empress of her own demise.
When the universe rests, and slumbers in my mind.
And all around me is still.
I take this chance to apologise.
For who I have become. For who I wanted to be.
An apology for me.
Within these cracks and slithers of my soul.
That remain unfettered to moral decay.
I brush the hurt away.
And send myself flowers.
Hoping to turn over those leaves, and find you there.
That Octopus, that alligator.
On heaven’s brow, god’s travelator.
Tipping the scales, licking honey.
Bring too all such milk and money.
Sipping on sweet lemonade.
Cherry wine and razor blades.
Who’s in danger?
Who’s in hell?
Count those cell phones with tortoise shells.
This computer says we are many things.
In need of love or diamond rings.
Error. Escape, with all the wrong friends.
Beatnik bars and downward trends.
Smile if you think we’re happy.
Laugh if you think we’re trending.
Certain grams, work alarms, good times never ending.
Pack your life now into a suitcase.
Sadness in a sardonic typeface.
Wash away those bruises with beer.
Turpentine and celebrity gear.
A neon fog to dull the senses.
Lowered expectations and all defences.
Forget that talk of Satan’s lamb.
The bits in-between, is Jesus jam.
Though darkness may surround.
The angels still call your name.
Blessed and crowned.
Pulling heaven and the moon, down to earth again.
These roots, once wrapped up in cotton.
Fade and break to a summer forgotten.
They twist and scorn in a marauders bed.
And wake tomorrow black and rotten.
Sweet pathetic eyes.
That shook away the fear.
In an empty heart, of a sad veneer.
Eyes, like broken mirrors.
Which steal the fluorescents.
And dulls my world of its needful essence.
I cannot repair, those sad eyes which stare.
Collaborations with the talented, startling & beautiful Nara15blog.
EFFULGENT CRUCIBLES IN THE NIGHT
In dimensions, twilight ash
And comets of agate blues,
Body language that gives away clues.
Hold the sun down, quietly untie these eyes.
Fill these lungs with a vividness of spirit metal petals
We — the crucibles of change,
Pillows of basalt.
Tiny remnants of dinosaur bones.
Suffering into existence.
The remains of relentless urges,
Floating in our eyes and
Flowing in our mouths.
Breathe and speak no more.
As the solar flowers bloom in our veins.
Suffocating these dreams into blue.
As magic spun stars speak to us in silence.
Alchemy—taking us to the end of time.
SOLAR CRADLE SOUL
Our burning photospheres
Once sprung forth to their highest peaks
The Sequoioideae of space, marveling at our lofty heights
Yet a ruin grows in our binary bark
Threatening such chaos and calamity
Inevitably to be pulled into a great nebulous stir
Overcome by the tug of war
Of fighting zodiacs and the duplicity of time
The catastrophic collapse swell into the blossomed nova waves
An ethereal outreach on god’s fingertips
As our space sediments
Brought by stellar winds
Found their way to this cooling valley
Where we rose to life
Spread about on vast lush pastures of complacency
Fertile like the Nile’s riverbed
That stream of thought
Wavering on the edge of existence
Counting the memories as they floated by like clouds
And we began to bottle up and measure time
But our greatest fiction yet was to
Forget our stardust aril souls
But now we feel the metals in our blood
The fetter of cosmonaut coins that rattle in our brain
And that endless acceleration of gravity
The only feeling we allow ourselves
Our whirling fire
The core essence to recall
Orbiting a repose and the quietening of quantum regret
Imprints as a marriage had once been
Capturing our ultraviolet ascent
Now we wait to be lifted up
Coddled once more in that stellar nursery
Suckling the teat of Shiva
Covered in the interstellar yoke of change
The depths of space.
Cold and frozen like a liar’s tongue.
Decorated with imagination, and the Christmas lights of the Milky Way.
Like kings we travel across mountains, the time valleys and the soundless desert to offer the myrrh of our hearts.
Watching the world from up high above.
Metallic buckling and inclination set us down.
Dropped onto that dusty surface.
That sunken dark side of the moon.
A whirl and snap, a titter and tap.
The astral music of our future calls out across the dunes.
Feeling our subtle energies, ameliorate with the salt intake.
To deflect the dark interference, a vast endless shriek
In the indigo star mist they barely exist, through cells of the unknown.
A flight of fancy tickling their whiskers, as the mooncats rise, out of klexy carbonize ebony.
A night call that sounds all hours of the day, as the sun passes them by.
How their lives abide, stretched and multiplied by the gravity of circumstance.
They ceaselessly divagate in the nebulous noon-shine quest.
Tunnelling in the honeycomb of a starry satellite.
Beware the fringes of the universe and the edges of the rock.
For lunar moths will dance on their nose, and call them out to space.
A grave of diamond dust to mark where they had been.
Eclipse our minds with astral sulphur, and sing us to sleep with the haunting Egyptian sounds of the gods.
Bastet tiptoeing in your ear, while the mooncats purr.
BATTLING THE SUN
I found the king in my sour patch kids.
Summoning me to him.
Inch by inch.
The patchwork of truth beneath his sweet release.
Matted and mired in the threadbare trails of my existence.
All my thoughts encumbered into one, like the great shadow occulting the sun.
Moments before the light links to the dark.
I know the iconic gestalt will not escape my mind.
Now darker, as the black spirals into the white.
The nightingale consoles all the day’s dissonance.
While the chaffinch closes his eyes as he rushes the earth.
Which hand from which god reached into the heavens?
To blot out the sun and cover us with black oil.
Stuck down with feathers and falterings that overcome one another.
Reaching across each contour that shifts and shivers in our temporary aphotic zone.
Treading water with the creatures of the lunar deep.
Beholding the moonshadow through the trees.
It splits my soul.
Dragged back towards these melancholy shores.
Running through the downpour of emotions and memories.
Slick and sticky.
Covering me completely.
The ghosts gather, licking their ectoplasmic lips.
Feasting on the flesh of a thousand mistakes.
The subtle beasts, stealing my lazy reveries.
They haunt me still.
Rumbling up and down these bones, while I shiver towards catatonic sunder.
The god shape hole is back-filled with the deeds of the devil.
A By-product of love maneuvers and binding selfishness.
The toxic waste of time.
Oh El I, El I….
Sweet and short reprieve.
What libertine hope is haloed into these thought chests?
Where ghosts hold the keys and cover the locks.
They never had the power of speech, yet their words haunt and taunt me.
They know the reasons for these tears.
Smiling at the circumstance.
With a spectral hand they reach in and catch me off guard.
Talismans dropped and facing away from mecca.
They whistle my lingo, until I’m driven into solid black and white.
Kiss me over and over again, staining my broken lips with shame.
As I absorb the white noise.
The crackle and hisses coil.
A mountain of monsters merge into one.
All names fade away, into the pinhole of the shadow-less.
IN SEPTEMBER THE DEVIL COMES DANCING
Crinkled veins that litter the ground.
My smile carved like a pumpkin crescent.
Circling the moon.
Laying down for September’s kiss.
A spiced potion that thickens my eager Heart, bone felt and embraced.
Store bought and rhinestoned.
A mask for a hideaway.
A little glint under the eyes to shimmer.
In the cooling sun’s blaze.
Turning on a dime in a year’s sigh.
Tiptoeing back in time.
Last year, to rival such memories.
365. What a year to be alive!
Smelling the dying throes of summer.
As the trees feign death,
In the rustic cinnamon crunch.
Planting poison ivy to creep through my vines.
In a day’s ramble bramble.
Tomorrow, today. Witch way? This way.
On the broom off to do mischief.
Open the door for October’s devils.
Felling my rooted heart, awash with treacle.
Filling my soul with black stars.
These tar-like sediments like shock treats to my mind.
To make me dance manic eyed.
Howling at the orange fire moon.
Silver bulleted like a ghost through gloom.
In ebony tricks.
In a bubbly brew fix.
Rotting my teeth from the roots.
Measuring out my apathy, sieving out the soul.
My senses in a state of flux, spinning off into the unknown.
This world had trapped me for so long.
Kept hidden under the bed of existence.
Blocking out the light.
The wheat fields of my mind looked for the grains.
Tiny fragments that seeped in when all was dark.
Each one a world of its own, taking seed within my soul.
And now I shake, I quiver into the unknown; yet so familiar.
Wiping gems and the precious truths on my eyes and heart.
Feeling an inward rush of an amber glow, preceding this labored love.
For fear of only gleaning, a break in my skin.
I call upon Ceres deep within me.
She sends me slumbering with the sparkling antidote of hope.
Until the bountiful golden harvest rises from my old soul.
Creeping the vines up my chalky spine to my crown.
Tin foil turned in the alchemy of tears, to forever shine in gold.
DISLOCATING THE SENSES
Pulling the earth around us.
Cocooning our bodies away from the world.
One that talks with such momentum.
Being so perspicacious, yet knowing neither you nor I.
You start by talking around the problem.
Your mouth full of diamonds and your hands with a foreign tongue.
Audic, melodic, erotic…
On reverb, as you fuck me
Sweetin’ my mind
Wrap me in silver binds
Come on, we only have so much time
Turn me over
Pull me under
Totaling in wonder
Fuse these moments, stop the clock.
These tectonic shifts within threaten such ruin.
Threaten such remorse.
The metronome of your heart pulverises my senses.
Destroying my reserves with each swing of your scent.
Dripping honey in my ear and forging silver from my sweat.
Touching what I cannot afford.
Oh, it’s so…
Audic, melodic, erotic
Caught in this sonic
Audic, melodic, erotic
On, reverb; the quickening of your heart
And the panting of my own.
My own ventricle velocity leaves me shaking.
Each swing of us of this pendulum together.
Sets my heart aflame chasing the tiger.
Down underneath; over, tumbling, cartwheeling.
Burning brighter, like the sun in your eyes.
Swirls within me
Waves right through me
Caught in this sonic
Audic, Melodic, Erotic
My heart returning to its habitual taciturnity.
Underneath. Down here where it’s calm.
Where the black beauty of the abyss touches my feet.
All is quiet.
All is still.
I’m entombed as if in a coffin.
Locked forever in my own space
Controlling the promise of my ever after.
And then you came.
Pelting my world.
Hurtling across like a comet in my stretching blue sky.
You bring the change, flowing through like a weather system.
Flourishing my eyes open like a new season.
Calling sub-oceanic flowers to bloom within me.
Aquatic forest pines that reach up to touch the surface.
To reach and touch your face.
My hands branch to catch the light you dazzle.
A sudden rush you instill within me like heroin bubbles in my blood.
Coming up too soon, bending my compression that has kept my heart safe.
Heading for the bends.
I’m a fish not born to fly with you.
High where the birds and angels soar.
Hidden in these depths for reasons.
For sins that keep me drowned.
Now it rains under water, puddling the pool of the sea that parts us.
And I drift in the stream of sorrow.
Knowing that the rain on the surface, is really your tears.