Resplendent consumption

Though the dark spreads doubt and fear.
It is in the light where she creeps near.
For shadows and gloom she leaves in her wake.
With mournful tunes and deathly ache.
The light is what she needs to feed.
A pulsing urge, like a sprouting weed.
She sucks the light like marrow from bone.
And crawls inside that place called home.
She splits the joy and hope in two.
Suckles each like morning due.
Savouring each fantastic pleasure.
That shrivels for you, but to her is treasure.
This dark and heavy visiting member.
Will drain the light to a dying ember.
And leave you feeling almost dead.
While she licks these words inside your head.
That if darkness fades and you feel lighter.
If hope does spread and things feel brighter.
She will return, like a rolling cloud.
To kill the light with her consuming shroud.

Everything (in time)

The earth subsides.
Transient thoughts of escape.
Dissipate.
Pick the petals from my mouth.
As the mourners avert their eyes.
Death, was no surprise.
Yet this extension, a spark inside.
Flutters like a butterfly trapped.
The decades wash over me now in waves.
Heady and fragrant.
Crashing coral like beauty through my soul.
Leaving stains like memories in my eyes.
How long was I there, what was left?
Do these bones show rings if sliced in two.
I feel born anew.
Trembling and naked like the first day.
Yet now, covered in the embryonic fluid of knowing.
That tomorrow is just the beginning.

Somewhere in this memory

The snow had begun to fall early that evening. Though the sun had long since slumbered down, it was around six o’clock when the few flutters of winter dusting started to whip past his window. Daniel had left the curtains open like he did most evenings, watching the wild sky drip away beyond the horizon. It had rained lightly that day, and it took a while for the snow flurries to leave any impression on the ground. But as he watched from his small window, his face illuminated by the Christmas lights, he noticed as people came out of their houses to investigate the snow.

A few kids ran about under the streetlights, already bunching up snow into cold balls to throw at one another. It was a shame, Daniel thought to himself, that Christmas had passed already, and the snow had waited until after it had passed. Another bleak grey day that offered only the magic of the season, rather than from the endless possibilities of the weather.

He went to the kitchen and made himself a spiced tea. The smell of cinnamon and spices hung in the air, warm and inviting. He then went into the main room to where the Christmas tree was, sipping the tea which burnt his lip. He’d put it up alone this year, the first time the ceremony had ever been performed that way. He looked at the huge golden bell that sat a top of the tree; sparkling, like everything else did, in the strung Christmas lights that dotted the place. He couldn’t remember ever buying that bell, yet it appeared every year to top the tree they always had.

He sighed and placed his tea on the side, pulling one of the boxes towards him. He hated taking the tree down, or the Christmas decorations. As a child he’d always pleaded to his parents to keep them up longer. But they were bound by the laws of the season and the far away court, and all the decorations had to be down by the twelfth night. Why? No one could ever tell him, that was just how it was. Yet this was how things were now, every year it seems. Him, alone taking down the very things that were put up to enliven his life, if only for a few weeks.

He started to take off some of the ornaments, some of which he remembered putting on the tree even as a child. These must be so old he thought suddenly, vaguely aware of his own descent now into adulthood. His phone began to hum into life nearby, but he ignored it. He wasn’t in the mood to argue again, and that’s the only thing that phone was offering to him this evening. He placed some of the baubles carefully into their homes, snug in a box that would keep them safe for another year. He turned up the music he had playing, his new tradition; Christmas songs to ring out in the stripping of the tree. In a way, such a violating act. The trauma of the season.

He hummed along to some of the carols, there religious message washed away now he thought in the progression of the years. He felt old, and tired. Like his youth had slipped away without him even noticing it. He might as well be boxing up his memories instead of these decorations, freezing all he ever wanted and all he dreamed off in these magical days of Christmas. Spun up like candied sugar and placed away safely, to be removed once a year along with his heart.

He sat down on the rug; patches of glitter peppered the tufts still from the wrapping paper that had been destroyed last week. He closed his eyes as the choir music filled the room, taking him to a place in his memory. He watched as his younger self ran down the stairs, eager to see if Father Christmas had been. His parents, holding hands and smiling as they watched their children tear at the presents that had been carefully placed hours before beneath the silver Christmas tree. Though the tree was fake, over time it had faded and fallen apart, much like the marriage and the moments he now saw in his mind. The presents, along with this love within the family had been torn apart and forgotten about also. Thrust up each year like some special spectacle. Packed away when all were done.

His phone rang again, bringing him back. He opened his eyes and looked at his phone on the table, lighting up and convulsing in an epileptic dance. He ignored it again and went back to the tree to finish off. The lights were always the trickiest. It was easier with someone helping, and fun too he thought as he remembered how they had joked around putting the lights over one another, pretending they were trees themselves. The time when one of the fuses had gone and the whole house had been plunged into darkness, not before the sparks had succeeded in frightening them both.

Lights were always a pain to put away, but he resigned himself that it would be another year before he had to worry about them, and balled them into the old shoebox he kept, sealing the lid and the doom of the lights till next year. The rest of the decorations found their way into boxes relatively quickly, only a few things were placed around the small house as it was. He nearly forgot about the wreath on the door, only remembering it when he glanced outside to see how the snow was. It had come down pretty heavy now and he thought about going for a walk later when he was finished, to enjoy the winter landscape.

He finished his tea and snatched up his phone, looking at the missed calls. He sent a message quickly and then stood back looking at the barren tree, back now to its natural coat. They usually had a fake tree, but this year they had gone for the real thing. It stood now, just a hair smaller than him, shedding pine needles below itself like some defecating potted creature.  He closed his eyes and could smell the aroma of the tree, the fading pine of a dying spirit. He wondered where it had grown, what bird or beast had called it home in the time it grew to its seasonal perfection. To be adorned and beheld for a few weeks only to then be thrown out with the other junk of the season, left to decompose in the street awaiting to be whisked away to somewhere out of sight. In that moment he saw the death and cruelty of Christmas. How things were cherished, only for the moment, then forgotten about and placed away. His phone nearby rung a reply, and he glanced at the preview from where he stood. A small tear appeared, and rolled down his cheek, the air leaving his lungs before a gasping inhale.

Daniel went to the French doors and cast them both ajar dramatically. The cold winter wind swept into the room, and some snowflakes fell onto his carpet. He snatched up the tree by the middle trunk and took it out into his garden. His bare feet sank deeply into snow that had settled already, but Daniel did not care. He went back inside and picked up matches that rested by the Christmas candles. He returned back to the garden and struck three matches at one time, letting the oxygen breathe life into the flame. He threw them onto the tree and lit some more. The snow whipped around both him and the tree, but eventually the flames took, and it began to burn. Flames licking the innards of the branches as he stood in the snow that numbed his feet. Drifting from his living room, ‘O Holy Night’ lifted into the air and encased them both in that moment. Frozen for that cold blink in the eye of Jesus, who watched on in seasonal despair.


Taken from ‘Impermanence of things

Sparkle

In the trees, no; in the sky.
The veins are hiding it.
The light shining like the eyes of God.
It’s there all the time, do you never see it?
No, but I feel it.
Washing in my bloodstream, collecting like wax.
Divine.
Sublime.
Yet I see it now, the great orb above.
We came from it, that far off place.
Its essence coats our skin like angel dust.
A pleasant peppering, are you sure it’s those shores we stole from?
Can you not tell, does the rock in your pocket not breathe like that mountain?
Torn from the mass, yet special in it’s size.
It’s like a pebble in my mind.
Like an egg, beautiful and full of life.
It shines too, like gold.
That is the light, that is what we are.
Then why is it sometimes dark?
Dark you say?
Yes, black sometimes like oil.
That would be your own fears, covering what needs to be free.
Then let it be.
Yes, let it will be.

Death deserves a witness

Quietly, lay me down.
Shutting out the light until the fears vibrate.
Onlookers shuffle, whispering like the clergy.
Greasy eyed and apathetic.
Coughing on incense and strings of my childhood.
God strokes me into calmness.
Tenderly, like a plant struggling to grow.
Needing the care.
I whisper grace, and slit the throat.
Letting the eyes glimmer in the dying light.
The ghosts shudder at the demise.
Fluttering ethereal remembering eyes.
The air turns foul, and I gasp into life.
Sucking in sweet alpine air.
Death spirits away such needless past.
Life offers such beautiful future.
Words tiptoe across my skin like those across a gravestone.
They fade in your light.
And you blink away the past.
Taking my hand.

Into the night (story reading)


It was cold, the floor was always cold. Bare foot or with socks. The coldness seemed to spread with each step, like walking on ice. But it didn’t matter so much tonight.

He flung the duvet back and they woke with a start, their eyes suddenly ablaze.

“Is it time?” they asked, sitting up and pushing back into the deep plush pillows.

“It is, let’s go.” He spoke, calmly but with an urgency…..

 

Read on

Conspicuous by its absence

Welcome to the survival.
The nest in the mind, padded with gold and turpentine.
Cleansing the stain of a life lived in regret.
Galvanising all that remains.
Precious in its circumstance.
Your uniqueness burns like a church candle.
Sacred.
Cherished.
Sanctified and blessed by its very existence.
Placed there by someone who cared to care.
What is lost, can be forgotten.
The darkness leaves little space.
We fill this void with flowers.
Where the teeth once were rotten.
An ivory tower of hope now climbs.
All inside.
Built back upon tears and upheaval.
Pulled out from the most terrible of histories.
Yet still breathing, a product of now.
Electrified by the thought of change.
Scatter your sparks into the spaces that ache in emptiness.
And save yourself, for only you ever can.

Forever winter (Part 30 – The End)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


The Lady of Europa

The snow was falling, coming down in huge puffs that peppered the trees that surrounded the cottage, adding another layer to the white blanket that silently covered all. Sleigh bells jingled, turning on the bend that took the path over a small bridge and brought the cottage into sight. The river had frozen over in parts, but little trickles of running water struggled through, flowing under the small bridge that the sleigh now crossed. The children were running alongside the great wooden beast, hopping on the back, and riding along with it. Along with the snow clouds, came the diminished light and the great silver lanterns of the sleigh twinkled at the front and back, catching the white expanse like pockets of tiny diamonds.

The gentlemen of the boxes pulled the sleigh, his huge bulk doing the work of any animal and with seemingly little strain. He watched as one of the children threw a snowball, ducking at the last minute as it sailed by and caught one of the other’s smack in the mouth.

“Close one Benjamin.” He said, laughing heartily, gripping the rope tighter that pulled the sleigh, turning it around the bend.

”You’re so big, it’s amazing he missed you!” Chu said, giggling as she jumped up onto the sleigh which was somewhat empty. They had travelled with the gentleman as he passed through the village and the neighbouring cottages and houses, delivering much needed items such as food and firewood to those stuck by the snow. The children were cold, but happy, eager to get to the cottage now and warm by the fire.

The cottage stuck up like a yellow tooth in a mouthful of white teeth, topped by the snow with its layer of icing. The gentlemen pulled the sleigh to a stop by the gate, breathing out a warm breath into the cold air.

“You’re coming in, right?” Samuel asked, already taking off his mittens. The others stood silent, waiting for his reply. The Gentleman looked into the sleigh, noting the remaining items, and deciding he had some time still and could stop for a little while.

“Sure, as long as there is cake.” He said, smiling and rubbing his hands together for warmth.

Stacey rolled her eyes and sighed.

“You know there’s always cake!” She said, matter of factly. And they pushed through the gate and made their way towards the small cottage door. The lamp that stood illuminating the path glowed with a blue light, casting a magical glow across the garden, now hidden by the snow.

“Can I do it this time?” Victor queried, running towards the door.

“You did it last time, it’s Rachel’s turn.” Gina pointed out, flicking off some snow from her shoulder which had fallen from the alcove above their heads.

“Ohhh, fine!” Victor said and stood back a little, allowing Rachel to shuffle to the front. The gentlemen joined them by the door, his mind taken only briefly to times gone by when this place had meant something most different to him. He watched as Rachel reached up to a glass jar. Its contents were red, almost like a curling smoke which moved around the sphere. She tipped it upside down on its bracket, and the contents began to bubble and swirl, emitting glorious little golden sparks. The smoky substance seemed to slide and move downwards in the jar, turning to a vibrant aquamarine.

“I love this bit.” Victor said, watching the sparks now as they trickled out of the jar and washed over the doorframe. Around the bracket of the door, a stone archway began to glow, the sparks of light drawn to it and creating a magical entryway.

The lady of the jars sat by a small swing in the back of her cottage as the sun shone down and basked them in tangerine light. P’erl was going higher and higher on the swing, smiling, and closing her eyes as the wind washed over her. The lady of the jars smiled as she watched P’erl, who more than once rode the swing around a full rotation, then returned to the book she was reading, or at least trying to read. She had been learning Europan, but she still struggled with many of the symbols of the alphabet.

“A half flower type one?” She called to P’erl who whizzed on by her.

“Sacred or sanctify.” P’erl called out, closing her eyes once again and allowing the strange gravity to pull her up and around.

“Ah, yes; that works. Thank you.” The lady said, popping the remains of a sandwich into her mouth as she continued to read. The book was huge, but weighed next to nothing, the paper thin and almost translucent. She loved the books on Europa, they had a magical element to them. She had spent hours already in the huge libraries there, filling her mind with the wonders of the universe.

“You have guests!” Came a voice from the window of the cottage. Ezra shook out a duster as he called down to them both.

“Oh, is that the time already. Wonderful!” The lady said, and she shut her book, carefully placing it down next to the now empty plates, the remains of a light lunch she had just enjoyed with P’erl.

The swing slowed, and P’erl hopped off, joining the lady of the jars as they made their way to the back door which stood ajar, letting the warm air inside. A grasshopper fled from the mat as they reached the door, hopping off into the grass.

“Any room for biscuits?” The lady asked P’erl as they stepped inside and entered the kitchen, going across to the counter where an array of cakes and tins of biscuits stood, ready for the guests.

“Always, especially homemade ones.” P’erl said, helping her get some plates and cups from the shelf.

Ezra appeared at the doorway, looking dusty and sweaty. He’d tied a bandana around his head to keep his hair out of the way to clean. and was wearing a cleaning apron that sported bluebells on it. The sight of him in full view made them both chuckle.

“Laugh all you want, but a bit of elbow grease is always needed around this place. It’s falling down you know! Why it’s only me who seems to do the hard work I do not know.” He said, despondently.

“Thank you, Ezra, for doing the cleaning, you don’t have to you know.” The lady said, plonking some gingerbread on a tray.

“Down to me as always.” Ezra replied. Coming across to help with the plates and trays.

They made their way through to the front room, the light pouring in through the windows. Ezra had tied the curtains up during the cleaning, little motes of escaped dust now speckling the room.

“Please could you start the fire P’erl, I hear it’s pretty brutal there at the moment.” The lady said, putting on a huge jumper and making her way towards the door. A jar next to her front door was bubbling with a blue substance, the insides jumping and glowing like a spluttering firework.

“Of course.” P’erl replied, and she knelt next to the huge open fire and conjured a brilliant blue and green flame which roared the area to life and cast a brilliant heat.

“Ready?” The lady asked, and she tapped a little script of words by her door frame. With it came a flash of white brilliance, the transformation happened.

For many one house is enough, one thing to take care of, one thing to clean and keep tidy. She loved her cottage by the river, she loved the children who came to hear her stories and listen to her amazing tales. The lady of the jars also loved Europa. She had fallen for the beauty of the planet, the kindness of the Europans, and the pull of something within her which told her that is where she needed to be. P’erl had been a missing piece in her life. Her arrival and her changing nature over the lady of the jars; and indeed, those around her, had given her exactly what she needed to grow and to be of use. To pass on her knowledge and to help make the change that was needed on earth. The world was better for what had taken place, and as the dust had settled; P’erl had explained to her the need for that process and how it was also required on other worlds, on other planets.

The Lady of the jars had stayed. As the gentleman of the boxes had returned, back to a world with regular seasons and weather patterns, he had shifted in his own soul, but she had also. She remained on the moon and with the help of P’erl she had replicated her cottage there on Europa, with the help of some magic. She lived in both places, learning, and growing, planning to help others in the great cleansing and returning that had so benefitted where she lived on earth. Using the power of the stones, she was able to build them into her little cottage, transforming it into a portal back and forth between Europa and Earth. Captured in a huge bubble on Europa under the ice, almost like a giant jar, her cottage in its own wizardry sat like a pocket of air. Many Europan’s fascinated by the types of weather that could be displayed in that little sphere. She was happy to share ranges of weather that could be displayed, no longer stuck with only winter and no longer fearing the sunshine.

As the sparks and the dust fluttered off into the snowy wind, they all bundled quickly into the cottage to get out of the cold. A few took off their shoes by the door, but many of the children rushed to a spot by the fire, closest to the heat and the treats which had been placed with care and attention by P’erl and Ezra. The lady of the jars hugged the gentleman of the boxes as he entered, a friendship now strong there and respect engrained. He couldn’t stay too long he’d explained, the tasks for the day not completed yet. Malthrop was on his list of deliveries, and Ezra said he would join him when he left to go see him also. They all settled cosily into the front room, thankful of the heat and eager for the wonder.

“Hello all, and merry Christmas!” The lady of the jars said as the children, their mouths already full of cake and gingerbread, listened quietly.

“Not just yet, besides you’ve not got any decorations.”   Benjamin said.

P’erl laughed.

“Well, yes but it is very nearly Christmas and the wintery weather I imagine is making you all festive.” The lady said.

“Can we help with the decorations?” Stacey asked, she sat properly on the mat by the fire, not helping herself to any cake just yet.

“Of course, how about this weekend? You know, I know some Europan children who would love to learn about the season too.” The lady said, and the eyes of those there in the room bulged in delight.

“Oh, and do please tell us a story about Europa.” Chu said, eagerly. The others chorused in in agreement.

The gentleman of the boxes had sat down in a huge chair opposite the lady, Ezra handing him a mug of hot chocolate. He passed around mugs for the children too, and as the fire spluttered and shone, P’erl looked at the lady and nodded her head.

“With the help of P’erl then I will tale you the story of K’lmatoi, the great ice creature which is a bit like a dragon, and who came to Europa in the tail of a comet.” The lady said, and above the children a small cloud appeared, hovering there in space. P’erl lifted her hand and out shot brilliant light which projected images and movements that helped tell the tale. As the images played out, and the children’s eyes danced in wonder, the lady of the jars popped some coconut ice into her mouth between sentences, following it with the hot chocolate that everyone seemed to be enjoying; letting the delicious drink warm her insides much like the good feeling that was burning brightly there in her little cottage. And was something that continued for many years ahead.

The snow, which had once fallen in it’s forever perpetualness before had now slowed, and the warm glow from inside flowed out of the windows, casting a bright hugging light to all around as the last few snowflakes tumbled. Winter no longer prevailed, but a forever feeling of love and joy certainly did.

The End


snowflake up close

Conjured darkness III

PART IPART II


The small wooden cross Mary had on her wall had slipped, tumbling free from the crooked nail which was driven into her dark small cottage. She noticed it now in the candlelight, her attention brought to that empty space on the wall by a reason she could not place. She went across and picked it up, holding it in her hands, remembering her mother who had fashioned it from the wood that surrounded them there in the village. Her mother, so capable. Cooking creating, tilling, mending. She did it all, for it were her and her children only. Mary, now half her mother’s age when she died, looked at the small cross, her thoughts snatching a prayer somewhere in her mind.

It was then she heard it.

Going to her small window, she looked up into the sky at first, the screeching wails sounding like birds fighting. In the night it was odd, maybe owls she thought. It came again, this time lower and more awful, drifting over the trees which lay all around. A candle flickered to life in her neighbour’s house, the village being awoken by a noise that seem to come from another world. Mary saw it then, a dark stain in the sky looming over Pollux Hall. It was like a smudge in the sky, a dark oil seeming to leak and spread from the tip of the tower, the only part visible from where she was in the village. She clutched the cross tighter, the evils of the world now loose in the land it seemed.

A thump on the door startled her, and she called out in alarm.

“Who is there?”

No answer returned, but the sturdy wooden door suddenly swung forth revealing Jacob, out of breath and eyes wide, hovering on the threshold.

“Mary, it is time.” He heaved as he tried to catch his breath. He had run from the church, the wolves following him. His eyes were darting all around, but he did not enter her house.

“Jacob, come inside. There is death in the air tonight.” Mary said, coming towards him. Jacob ducked inside and slammed the door, the sound of a wolf howling nearby followed him inside.

“Wolves?!” Mary asked, surprised. Jacob nodded.

“Did you hear the sound before?” He asked her, his eyes fixing on the cross then back to her eyes.

“Yes, and look, Pollux Hall.” She said, drawing him over to the window where the darkness swirled above the tower.

“It is time Mary, it is tonight. I’ve seen them all, I watched them gather. They go to free Agatha from the hall.” He said, almost gleefully.

“All of them?” Mary asked, a gasp in her words.

“All of them, tonight is the night. We must hurry though. They must be there already and who knows what is happening with those men in the mix up there.” He added. She stood for a moment, as if unsure of what to do next. The darkness spluttering over her candle and her mind taken to many places all at once. She then put the cross on the side and went across to the small cupboard in the corner.

“It is ready, though?” Jacob asked her.

“Yes, it is ready.” Mary replied and took out a black sack from the cupboard.

“We must be quick; the wolves are thirsty for more than just our blood.” He said. She nodded, taking a cloak from a peg.

“I know what will help.” And she took down from above her door some sprigs of flowers and herbs, intertwined with twigs and string. She handed them to him, and he smiled.

“I hope so.” He said, and they both left quickly, their path hastened as they made their way towards the hall through the village. The wolves, watching, but kept at bay.

He rubbed his eyes, the glass that had showered down had covered them all. He felt a sharp pain, a piece of glass caught at the corner of his eye, his vision on one side flooded with a crimson lens.

The room suddenly froze, the temperature dropping like snowfall. A sound and wind flurried inside, scratching at their minds and souls.

Agatha stood, her bonds now gone, and her stare fixed upon those men before her.

A blackness began to pour inside through the broken windows, a thick oozing smog as dark as charcoal flooded all around them. Some of the men tried for the door, but it would not yield, and in the trapped panic thye left-out yells of fear and weakness.

Jonathan watched through the only eye that could now see, his mouth mumbling prayers and sacred words which he hoped would protect him and the others there. God was not listening it seemed as a demon like figure began to mass there in the tower, the smoke filling into a being that sucked the light from the room. Outside they heard yells and calls, the others being attacked and laid upon by the other witches who had travelled there that night. Their identities still hidden, even in those dying moments of breath to those guards.

Inside the tower a voice began to utter the foulest words to those righteous men. It seemed to creep out of the walls and all over their skin, echoing in the chambers of their mind. It spoke to them of a reckoning, of a day which had come to pass when all would see for what truth was abound in the land.

Margellwood hunched over Agatha, a towering figure now behind her, seeming to fill the space they shared. Jonathan slumped against the wall, the others in their panic and fear huddled on the other side, clutching tightly to their crosses. The voice rang out still, the rain now pouring in from the window and splattering the wooden floor with rainy tears.

“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words.” Jonathan said, an anger rising in him.

Margellwood stopped suddenly, flicking her head towards him.

“He speaks now does he, he acts now against his own demise.” She coughed, the words sticky and heavy.

“You have no power here, and you will not banish us into the dark. You mistake your actions here for power.” He bravely retorted. Margellwood laughed, her cackle fading to a hiss.

“You are not important, and you will not succeed. I can wither your heart Jonathan Prose, splinter your bones and send you mad with voices. But now, you will watch as what you hope for the most to disappear, and for you to lose.” The Witch said, placing her hand upon Agatha.

“You are the mistaken and forsaken one.” He said, and he pulled out his book and began to recite lines from it. The air swirled and hummed, a greyness suddenly buckling the light in the room. With a snarl Margellwood vomited out a sludge, hissing words bubbling and exploding out of it. It oozed and rose up off the floor, floating towards the men and coating the walls. The words seemed to battle one another, caught in a fight to overrun and devour.

Agatha turned, she looked up to the creature that Margellwood had risen into. She found her eyes and searched there, for only a moment. She turned and looked at the room, seeking something that seemed to be missing.

“Come, we must go.” She suddenly said to the witch, and she clapped three times and the room burst into flames, the darkness slithering out of the high window above like steam leaving a dead body in the cold.

Jacob and Mary could see the tower now, fire licking out of the high windows, illuminating the dead night’s sky. They ran on further up the hill, the trees clustering around them like lost souls coming together. They stopped suddenly seeing the dark shapes appear from the air in front of them.

They hadn’t been seen, and they ducked down low, a thicket at the side of the path covering them. They heard the voices now; it was Agatha and Margellwood. Mary took Jacob’s hand, not out of fear, but to steady his heart.

“You came.” Agatha said, her voice sweet and low, almost a whisper.

“They are done taking. Tonight, it all ends.” Margellwood said, running her hand through the woman’s hair gently.

Around them, coming out of the trees and with pops of black smoke the other witches appeared. Hooting and wailing, clicking their fingers in rhythmic unison.

“Tonight, we shall dominate and lay a waste to this rotten land!” Margellwood called, seeing the others appearing around them.

Mary and Jacob felt a kick behind them, and they both fell forward out of the thicket and back onto the road. They both stumbled to their feet, and the witches encircled them, leeringly.

Agatha came towards them, her eyes wide with an unusual light dancing in them. Off into the tree the howl of wolves was heard, and as the tower behind them burnt, the screams of men rattled through the sky.

“Over. It is over.” Agatha said. The other witches began to chant, a horrible, gurgled incantation that they rumbled and shouted. Some of them leaping into the air, the space now alive with movement and sound.

Jacob clutched Mary’s hand and they stood forth defiantly.

“You are not lost to us cousin.” Mary said, her free hand outstretched.

“Death shall take you master Jacob, Mary death will spirit you off tonight.” Margellwood hissed, coming up behind Agatha. “To see your sister, down in the ground.”

“Keep your vile mouth shut you witch.” Jacob roared.

The all laughed around him, bar Agatha. She looked at the small sack that Mary had at her waist. Her eyes flashing there in a moment of realisation.

“It won’t work, it would be folly to try.” Agatha said suddenly, stepping backwards in alarm.

Mary caught her stare and realised she had understood. She snatched at the sack, and Jacob reached quickly into his pocket.

“Tricks and toys is it?” Margellwood snarled, mockingly.

Agatha turned and ran, back up the path towards the hall. Margellwood turned, watching her, a confusion now spreading across her face like a setting sun.

“What’s thou….”  But in that moment an engulfing light had sprung from the black sack and the words that followed from Jacob seized all of those present in a captured state. The skin on the witches became taught, and they rigidly creaked and cracked as if water were being squeezed from dead wood. Their faces contorted, spasms of anger and horror flashed across them until they all collapsed to the floor. All except Margellwood who seemed to be trying to resist the most. Jacob pressed on., reading aloud from a small book he held in his hand. The light and the sound now coming from the sack danced and glided around them, bathing them in an ethereal glow. The sound, at trumpeting call of another world, seemed to kiss upon the skin.

Margellwood snarled, her eyes leaking a blackness now. Oily tears staining her face. She fell to her knees finally and dove her hands into the earth and seemed to be pleading, begging for something. In a final move she had bitten off part of her tongue which flopped from her mouth now as the rest of her body crumpled to the ground. The witches all now lay about the road and by the trees, still but not dead, a change overtaking them as their souls silently came back. Mary looked at Jacob and smiled, they had succeeded.

Agatha ran, her heart pulsing now in her chest. She could hear the blood in her head, the river of red rushing around her mind. She ran up to the hall, the tower now completely engulfed in the flames which reached up towards heaven. She could see shapes moving in the courtyard below, dark images seeming to smoulder in the cold air. She ran onwards, past the hall and down through the garden to the stream which flowed at the back. She stopped by the banks, looking all around, hoping not to find what she was looking for.

It was there though, across the stream. It’s hunched shape dark and threatening. She fell to her knees and closed her eyes. Little spots of white floating in the space before her as she heard the flames, the voices of the men and the sound of a trumpet away from where she rested. She bit her lip, to feel something, to see where she was still and if it were really true. Opening her eyes she felt a warm feeling across her cheek, like sunshine catching her skin. The creature beyond stood, a rotting smell seeming to float across the water towards her from it.

“I take it back.” She threw the line out to the figure. Her words quiet and having much less weight than she’d hoped.

The figure looked at her, saying nothing.

“I can do that, I can choose!” She said again, desperately.

The figure took a step towards her, a groan emitting from it’s very centre. Agatha clutched her chest, frightened now and loosing hope. She closed her eyes again, despite the figure moving towards her, a ghostly groaning heaving out of it. Her hand still on her chest, she sighed. Light tears coming to her eyes.

“I am sorry.” She said, meaning those words more then any she had meant in her life. Repeating them unknowingly, waiting for the fade.

The village was bright as the sun speckled the thatched roofs withs it’s afternoon rays. A light rain had just fallen, and the sunshine shimmered off like beautiful diamonds. Though the market town nearby was the great hub of activity for selling wares, the village now bustled with the same energy with many people passing through and stopping to gather by the church and small the circled area in the centre of the village. Colourful ribbons were hung about, and the place had a May festival feel to it with laughter easily heard above the chatter from those who lingered. The church’s doors were wide open, and music flowed out of the huge wooden box, luring people towards it with the promise of food, entertainment and joy.

Mary and Jacob stood by the door, bundling little sprigs of heather together and handing them out to those who wanted them. Inside the church, the pews had gone, leaving the space open, where people came and went. In the far corner Agatha sat on a stool next to an old man, the sleaves on his arm rolled up. She was shaking something in a small vile, watching the amber liquid separate from the water within. He grimaced as he looked at the bench next to them, all manner of instruments and potions set forth. She caught his stare, and patted his hand reassuringly, he smiled back at her as she popped the lid from the vile and got to work.

Outside in the cemetery, fresh graves had been dug and recently occupied. Those who had not survived the events had been buried with rites and a service not before seen in the village. With their passing though, came a peace it seemed. One of the graves, not far from that of Jacob’s sister which sported fresh heather and flowers, was large and it too bore fresh flowers. Milada Margellwood, now at peace. A swirling triquetra symbol proudly, and almost defiantly, pride of place on her grave marker. Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

END


 

Forever winter (Part 29)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


PARTLY SUNNY

They could hear the music flowing down the huge vents that seemed to puncture each room. A crystal symphony fluttered over them as they sat in a small glassy space, the ice on the floor moving in dark solid colours. It was comfortable and warm, the air hanging with a lovely woody scent which seemed to drift by along with the music. P’erl was talking to someone as the lady and gentleman sat together on a large chair in the centre of the room.

P’erl’s voice sounded strange and intriguing, slipping it seemed to them both, between Europan and earthen dialects. They didn’t understand much of what she said, but they seemed to feel the conversation, as if the sense of it all crawled under their skin. The gentleman was quiet, his head hung slightly low but not in shame, more of respect for his circumstance. The lady of the jars touched him gently on the arm.

“Are you alright?” She asked. The gentleman nodded. He had been scanned by a strange object upon entering the room, P’erl had arranged for him to be checked over both for health reasons, and to peek into the soul that lay inside him. Europans were able to view the soul elements of the body as clearly as those who practised medicine on earth. They could see where the bonds were weak, where the darkness had ravaged the light filled nature that they knew all beings had. “Things will be better from now on, please know that to be the truth.” She added, patting his arm to punctuate her intent.

“I am….” The gentleman began quietly, but at that moment P’erl came over to them.

“You are both invited it seems to the great festival.” She said, smiling warmly. The lady of the jars beamed back at her.

“Oh, how wonderful. I do love a good knees up, and there is much to celebrate. Urm, what is it all about then?” She said, curiously. P’erl put her hand to her heart.

“I thought you might have sensed. The emanations are pretty strong, and you are highly tunned I feel.” P’erl said. The lady smiled, casting her eyes all around the room and sighed.

“My dear, I think all my energy has been exploited, stolen, and fluttered away. I can just about keep my eyes open.” She said, and there was but for a moment a wink of loss in her eyes.

“I can help with that.” P’erl said, and she went across the room to where a small set of box like objects sat in the wall. They looked like mother of pearl shells, the light catching the colours which twinkled out of the many things in the room. She spoke over them, quietly and breathlessly making the boxes open like an oyster. P’erl took out two items and returned to where they sat.

“Please wear these.” She said and offered two crystals to the lady and the gentleman.

The crystals were small and blue, out of which a small gossamer thread looped around like a necklace. “These are Ranoang stones, they will heal and revitalise you.” She added, watching as they took them and placed them over their heads. The threads tightened lightly, and the crystals seemed to glow as they touched their skin.

“I can see how you all remain beautiful.” The gentleman said, not looking at her. The lady of the jars smacked his arm playfully.

“You old cad.” She said, smiling. The crystals seemed to instantly work, with a renewed energy flowing now in their hearts. “I’m assuming they do more than heal.” The lady noted, touching hers. P’erl gave a twinkle in her eye.

“They…rebalance.” P’erl finally said, the silence hanging a moment too long. The lady understood. “Come, Othrox is the celebration of our time lived and gone. A remembering of who we were, and who we are yet to be. It is the most festive of events.”

The lady and the gentleman stood; the gentleman looked back towards the inlaid boxes in the wall.

“The people we were… I’m not sure that is merry in my case.” He said, his head hanging slightly. P’erl came over to him and touched the crystal now around his neck. A beautiful sound escaped it, one only he could hear. It whispered words to him in delicate song, words from his own heart.

“We all look back in the remembering, knowing where we have been and who we are now because of it. No matter what we have been through, it has gotten us here to this place now. Tomorrow is yet to be after all.” She said with a smile and turned, leading them out of the room and towards the Koddoah.

Ezra and Malthrop had made their way back to Malthrop’s little house. Patches of snow lay about the forest, and much of the roof to his cottage was weighted down still by a white blanket. The sun was bursting through the trees, speckling the watery drips of melting ice and snow, and refracting little rainbows all around. The sun shone in through the windows, and despite the rays, Malthrop had put his little stove on and started a fire also.

Ezra sat by the fire, rubbing his hands which were still raw and cold together to warm them up. Malthrop sat down by him, two steaming cups of spiced chai tea filling the space with the smell of comfort.

“From Chu’zin, they have the best sellers there.” Malthrop said, clonking them down on the little table which also held a book bound in a beautiful green cover, a pattern of lotus flowers decorating it.

“Thank you.” Ezra said, reaching for his mug.

“Quite the adventure I’d say. I do think this needs to be written down, a story to tell.” Malthrop said, looking at the fire. Ezra had explained it all to him, how they’d all come to be there, the challenges and the treasures which had unfolded since the arrival of the girl from Europa.

“My guess is you might just be the man to do it.” Ezra said, smiling.

“They loved stories, you know; they used to say I was a conjurer of the fantastic.”” He said, chuckling a little. He patted the book next to him. Ezra smiled too but could see the sadness.

“It must have been hard for you, and awful in the clearing. Seeing them like that.” He said. Malthrop shook his head.

“That wasn’t them, that was just the body. Their soul passed on, too much to see and do beyond I imagine. No, what had become of them was not who I love and remember.” Malthrop said, confidently.

“You know, the old boot loves to tell stories. She has the children from the village come to hear her go on and on about her fanciful tales. I’m guessing you two could make quite the team in your storytelling.” Ezra said, slurping the chai now eagerly.

“Truth telling!” Malthrop said, with a smile.

“But who’d believe you, eh? “Ezra added.

“Ah, well that is the key isn’t it. I think you’re on to something though, I may indeed apply my so-called talents to where they might find appreciation.” He said.

“I’m pleased to hear that.” Ezra said, sitting back in his seat. The light was shining in through the window now, a beautiful yellowy shine as the ice dripped off the roof. Spring it seemed, was making itself known.

It was the music that caught them by surprise. They had expected such sights, due to the nature of Europa. The beautiful ice and glassy casings in everything, pops of colours shooting around like blood through a vein. But the music, they had heard nothing like it before. It seemed to breathe out of the surfaces, swirling around their heads where you stood before moving onwards to dazzle someone else.

The great hall was awash with activity and movement. The stones shimmered above, jettisoning colourful puffs of smoke while light twinkled everywhere, like the sun catching a jewel box. Europan’s danced and swayed, stood, and sat all around the room. Hundreds of them, dressed in silvery clothes which made them look like giant salmon fish to the lady of the jars. But the beauty of the place was undeniable, and the feelings of kindness, joy and light flooded everything and everyone.

P’erl led them forward into the room, acceptance of their presence notable in their welcoming smiles and feelings of ease all around. She navigated them to the centre of the room where a sunken section tiered downwards like and inverted tiered cake. Here there were great flumes of blue water which shot upwards, freezing into ice and melting downwards in the next moment, particles of dusty light erupting outwards and off into the room.

They made their way down into the centre point where many Europans were gathered. P’erl seeming to float before them, leading the way. She stopped at a small group and presented the lady and the gentleman to them.

“Father.” P’erl said, and she reached forth touching his arm delicately. She had been with him earlier and was delighted she had returned. He knew how important it had all been to her, but he’d known also that it would have gone this way. Though he was in possession of future sight, it was not in his nature to inform those of their own destiny.

“Here are those souls from Earth.” She said, smiling at the lady and the gentleman.

The gentleman was rapidly growing accustomed to new and amazing things. Being bunkered down in the ground for so long, captivated by the darker magic and trapped in his own thoughts, now this mind and heart had been prised open, the rush inside was like oxygen to his brain. He stepped forth and shook the hand of P’erl’s father, who seemed the find it an odd way to greet. The lady bobbed her head, saying hello and thanking them for everything.

“So, all is safe, and all is changed then on Earth.” P’erl’s father inquired. “These stones and this place are, I’m afraid, one part in the great order of things.” The lady nodded in understanding.

“Our little planet is safe, and the great change has happened. Because of P’erl, and because of this magic we have made things better in our own way.” She said. “This magic, as you know, is not ours or yours. We are but the caretakers of the great ancient power, it’s an honour to handle it and to care for it.”

He nodded himself, the words burrowing deep into his soul. This is exactly how he felt. With all they did across the universe, with everything that the room they were in represented, it was all part of something they knew only a tiny bit about really.

“This is universal. Though strangers, we are all intertwined. P’erl was fortunate to have made her journey at this time, so that you are the souls she met. As it was written.” He said.

“Written yes, but it could always be changed.” P’erl added, her mind turning over a hundred things now, potential seeming to slither inside of her once more.

“Of course. And look what you achieved.” He said.

“She saved me, she saved all of us from something most terrible.” The gentleman said suddenly.

“No, you saved yourself. I merely shone the light.” P’erl said, placing a hand on his shoulder tenderly. A great understanding and comfort surrounding them all.

The celebrations of Othrox rolled on, and the room lifted and fell with energy, light and appreciation. They all looked to their former selves, giving thanks for the challenges which had changed them, and brought them all there to that spot in that moment. The Mondol Stones had begun to fade as the day had gone on. The images within disappearing and darkening as the energy was required elsewhere it seemed. Much would be remembered by the gentleman of the boxes and the lady of the jars, but that moment and that time with P’erl celebrating their lives in a most strange and wonderful place was something that stayed with them all forever. Knowing how far they’d come and what was left to be.

As the day slipped away, one day on Europa equating to three days on earth, time did its funny dance in fixing and healing, mending, and forgetting. Soon it came to talk of taking the next steps, of goodbyes and plans on returning. The lady of the jars however had some very specific thoughts on this.


snowflake up close

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, then 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.


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

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.

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.

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

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.

Forever winter (Part 26)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT

Snow, all around her. Light white brilliant snow. She could smell it, sense it. Hear the silence that always came with it. Little flecks of moisture in the air now suspended in perpetual intricate beauty. Those snowflakes had carved themselves of her heart, and she would never undo their grooves.

The whiteness dazzled. It sung in its blinding opulence, covering everything before her, around her and inside her. Fresh snow has a distinct crisp glow, untouched and virginal it lays there awaiting the drops of dirt or imprint of a foot to begin the entropic change. A great white blanket thrown over her landscape.

She saw this now, feeling the cold tiptoe up her skin as a light cold breeze completed the scene. She shivered in happiness, gone was the brilliance of the sun and the heat. That humidness which made her sweat and attracted the flies to everything. The forest and plants heaved under the weight of the fallen snow, yet sprouts and tufts of ferns poked through, not covered completely. Already adapting to their encasement, the flowers turned towards the sun, though hidden behind a grey cloth of cloud. Breathing it all in, she was amazed not only by what she had done, but the power of nature itself.

It was her first great display, her first control of weather that she had earlier bottled in a jar. She had climbed the great green dragon, the mountain at the edge of their little world. Many younger and stronger souls would not brave such a climb, but the lady of the jars had done just this. Reaching the summit to bottle the snow and cold, now twinkling in a jar left casually on her kitchen table by the orange bowl. She had succeeded, her frozen landscape stretched as far as her eyes could muster in the blinding white. She knew herself, for a first attempt, there was a limit to its reach. But with more attempts, the winter she so longed for creeped further and further from her, casting its cold hand across the land.

It was the white, the blinding iridescent collide in her eyes and mind that took her back to that first great unravelling of her power. It, like that first snow, surrounded her now. Coursing through her body and electrifying all around. The power of the stones had struck the lady of the jars like lightning strikes the sand, and inside her thoughts and her being were burnt to a crystalline liquid, where she could see through to her soul. It took only a moment, but in that flash, she saw all of time. She breathed in the life of those around in the clearing. From birth to their coming deaths, she watched as all their lives fell slowly like snowflakes. She saw P’erl’s home planet, the surroundings of her childhood and growing up with the hole her mother left. The gentleman of the boxes slid out on the ice of her eyes, his fragile boyhood, smacked and damaged by life. Malthrop’s recent pain shimmered like diamonds with drops of blood within. And even the Dimian’s all-consuming drive was spun out on god’s fingertips, showing her the balance of the universe and the need for all life’s happy accidents. She saw her own death, and she smiled seeing how she would finally leave this material realm, and who waited for her in the next.

It was these lives that were important, that was clear to her. Not the power or the control; or even the great cosmic shifts that were happening there in that small clearing. That was what came with the voice in the light, the tinkering chime of bells like sleigh bells announcing an arrival. It was strong and determined, the essence of life and its importance. How precious people and things really are, and how easily damaged and corrupt they can become without love. In the white light, she slowly began to make out the shapes, like the opposite of the dark when you can see things out of the corner of your eyes. It all came back in slow motion, materialising out of the force around her, her heart skipping not once, but twice over as the energy passed through her. She knew what must be done, and she knew that she had been given a glance at this moment before in her life. In dreams and feelings, in moments where she had felt the future but failed to grasp it, like trying to cup breath on a cold day.

She closed her eyes and allowed the force to take her. Willing her body across to where the Dimian were huddled, offering them the most divine and fused banquet for their small little mouths.

Ezra and Malthrop stood, shielding their eyes from the burst of light emitted from the stones. They had watched the lady of the jars stride forth towards the centre. The Girl from Europa had hung by the other Mondol stone, she and the gentleman of the boxes seemingly caught in the static pull of the stone nearest to them. The scene was electrifying as the white light smashed down into the clearing, out of the stones, and blistering around them. Ezra smelt the hum of static electricity and could taste the change in the air. Like glimpses at the sun, they waited for their vision to return and the white smear across their eyes to dissipate.

A soft snow had begun to fall once more, and Ezra searched the place with his eyes to where the lady of the jars stood moments before, but nothing was there. Malthrop in similar confoundedness looked to where P’erl had been with the gentleman of the boxes, but that space too yawned an emptiness that was only repeated by the disappearance of the Dimian. The clearing was empty of souls but those two, the giant stones quiet and silent now as the snow began to settle on their crests.

“What happened, where did they all go?” Malthrop asked, unfamiliar with this extent of magic and calamity.

“I…I don’t know.” Ezra mumbled back, unsure of everything himself.

He walked forward slowly, his eyes scanning the clearing as if maybe they were all hiding behind a tree. The silence about them felt heavy, the static in the air now gone and only the little flakes of snow drifting through like white embers.

“What was most likely to have happened, logically what would have taken place?” Malthrop asked, coming next to Ezra. They both stood between the two stones now, the giant rocks ached in their stillness. Ezra turned to the ground, thinking desperately. His own mind was flashing between what he had seen before, and the thoughts and memories of the lady of the jars. A parade of her life intersecting with the white flash he’d just witnessed.

“The Kahall.” He said, quietly. And though he hadn’t seen, a little spark popped out of the centre of both of the stones. He went on. “The Kahall, they were the ancients who transformed the natural magic. They siphoned the great light through everything you see, hear, touch. This life hinges on the motes of energy within. They used the stones, like a great well, plunging the depths of the world to control the magic. It’s here written on the rock.” Ezra said, pointing to the one closest to them.

Malthrop stepped closer to the stone, looking at the base and following upward the spiralling pattern which bore the knowledge.

“It’s for everyone, it does not recognise good or bad. It is power, energy; and it’s how we use it that results in what we manifest. The lady, she was…is the kindest soul. She would want to restore the balance, to roll things to a time when no one was pushing forth a need of their own. Too much of a good thing can be just as bad as too much of the wrong. P’erl was the essence of good, innocence. But her strength is otherworldly and quite powerful. Balance, she would have looked for the balance.” Ezra said, his head low, thinking still.

Malthrop turned from the stone.

“What would have made that balance possible?”

“To receive anything, you must give. She would’ve given herself to stabilise all the energy. A filament for the moment. She knew the magic; she knew the balance. She had become, herself, too needful of her control of the weather. It came from a good place, but it tipped the scales as much as the gentleman of the boxes had. She would’ve recognised this and did what she had to. She knew it was coming.” Ezra said, sadly.

“So, they’re all gone then, is that what you mean?”

“The consequence to balance, some things disappear.” Ezra said, the realisation hitting him suddenly and pulling at his heart.

“What a terrible waste, there is too much loss already in the world. Are things safe now then?” Malthrop asked, suddenly noticing that all the bodies had disappeared from the clearing.

Ezra looked around again himself.

“Yes, safe and better I’m assuming. The wrongs have been corrected, there is peace and order again in the land.”

“Then come, let us go from here if it is all complete.” Malthrop said, coming across to Ezra and putting his hand on his shoulder.

“I might stay for a while, just to see….” He trailed off.

“Come my friend, if I go, you go too. No point in remaining here alone, come back to my house and I’ll get us some much-needed food.” Malthrop said smiling, comfortingly.

It was the spark from the stones and the thought in his mind, suddenly illuminating at the same time. A Little light emitted from the centre of the stones again, and with Ezra’s realisation, there might be hope.

“If I go, you go…” He said aloud. He looked between the stones now, the sparks spluttering with a bit more urgency.

“I only meant…” Malthrop began, but Ezra cut in.

“No, it’s good. It’s good. If I go, you go. She said it. The crazy old fool must have been right. She can’t be gone yet, for I’m still here.” He said, smiling now.

“I don’t understand.” Malthrop said.

“I know, and it’s a long story. But believe me, there is a chance that it’s not as bad as we think. She’s alive, somewhere. And that probably means the others are too. I don’t know what is happening, but the stones are trying to tell us something now, look.” Ezra said, and Malthrop turned to see the stones himself, each one leaking a string of white light from the centre.

“What’s happening now?” Malthrop asked.

“Let’s watch and find out…maybe we’d better step back a little.” Ezra said, urging them both backward, away from the strings of light which were snaking towards each other across the floor of the clearing.

The strings began to whirl a pulsing sound, like two desperate hands reaching for one another. The light began to intensify the closer they got and the little sparks at the end fizzed and hissed, chasing away the dark. Malthrop couldn’t help it, but he held his breath just as the two ends met, a shower of light, sparks and white heat once again exploded around them.

With the two points fused together, a rotating blue pulse emitted from the centre, plunging backwards into the stones. As the throb quickened, the middle of the stones began to cave away, revealing a cloudy opening like an eye. The white and the blue swirled and swirled, and the centres opened up further offering the two souls who stood before them a glimpse at another world.

It is not unusual to find rock on Europa, though the types that are there are very different from those on earth. Though they indeed exist, they are not used in building or any structural elements, the Europans preferring the icy caves and hollows to fashion their world out of. Most stones and rocks hold a different set of use and practices for them, many used as the centre of some ceremony or ritual.  Lying in the navel of the great Koddoah, a huge building shaped similarly to a flower, lay five giant stones. The Koddoah is an ancient place where the energy and power of all around is recognised, but not worshipped. It is venerated through ceremonies and events that remind all Europans of the great essence of the universe. These stones are marked with the same carvings as those in the clearing on earth, and on the frozen white moon two of these stones had just begun to come alive with light.


snowflake up close

Forever winter (Part 25)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


The time yet to be

Chu’zin was known for its fireworks. Of course, the city was known for a great many things too, least of all the cherry blossoms that bloomed in such substantial proportions that it made the city look like a floating pink cloud from the distant regions of Marloagh. But it was their firework displays, and production that many new the place for. The usual festivals made use of the renowned colourful displays, but once a year in the winter they had a very special festival which lit up the sky like heaven was exploding. K’boah, the time yet to be. An event the whole city, and surrounding villages came together to mark the advent of the future. Not a new year, but the light of the future which they drew down into their hearts. The fireworks were used to signal up into the heavens, that the people were eager for another day, another life ahead. Firing rockets and colour up into the sky, drawing down the light for a new tomorrow.

The displays of K’boah were legendary, with each year new floating lanterns and arrangements set to outdo last year’s efforts. The whole city looked as if it were on fire, the energy positive and hopeful for change. A soaring section of fireworks were always kept constant, plunging upwards into the night sky, creating a ladder of light up, up and up. Drawing down the light from beyond, drawing in the new tomorrow.

These were the lights Malthrop had seen, on one visit to Chu’zin. The lights he and the others saw now in the clearing were just as intense and commanding, but they held a more magical aura. The Mondol stones shone upwards, their lights never breaking, and glowing in their beautiful hum. The green and the blue pierced the sky above, pointing rays to the stars above them. The blue misty light from one side of the clearing reflected off the snow, a white haze moving towards them like collected fog. On the other side, the spluttering lizard green which made it seem the trees were alive. It hissed like a static wave, pouring forth into the clearing with heat and intensity.

The lady watched the blue light bobbing out into the open, she cast her eyes towards Malthrop who remained on the ground, holding the body in his arms still. He too was drawn to the lights, which hypnotically weaved into the lives.

“What’s happening, is this his doing?” Ezra asked, his eyes alive with curiosity.

“No, I don’t think so. But look at the colours, the blue and the green. It’s like….” The lady said but was cut short by the appearance of the Dimian now in all their collectiveness, getting closer to the Mondol stone which shone with the green light.

“Look, look at that!” Ezra said, pointing towards the mass.

The Dimian were toppling over themselves, their little bodies bobbing up and down in the strange light that cast over them. Little sparks emitted from them as they jumped and swayed towards the stone, it too striking off arching lights that sprung forth from the edges.

“It looks like they are charging up or something, being fuelled by the stone.  Why is it doing that?” Ezra asked, his eyes glued to the scene. Not many people had ever seen a Dimian, and never in such numbers; least of all surviving to tell the tale.

“They are feeding off the energy, but something else is happening; it’s not their usual source of power. It’s reacting differently with them it seems.” The lady of the jars said, equally fascinated. She knew a lot about the magic of the world, and indeed of the Dimian. Seen for their destructiveness, they were also the cleaners of the world, the insects of the realm that mopped up any extra magic that was lying around.

“Look there!” Ezra said, pointing off over to the other side of the clearing where the foggy blue mist made contact with the other stone. “It’s P’erl.”

They all looked over and they could see the girl from Europa now, a cocoon of light swam around her, beating like a heartbeat. Next to her they could see the gentleman of the boxes, falling down to his knees now as the blue mist touched the other Mondol stone. Unlike the sparks from the Dimian, the light here seemed to wash them like waves, little tides of blue flowing from the stone over them, the intense white from P’erl unfazed by the ripples, like a diamond poking out of the ocean.

“What the hell is going on!” Ezra asked.

“I think we are here for the end.” The lady of the jars said, and stood forth and commandingly, as if announcing herself to the clearing, the stones and to the world at large. With a loud crack of thunder above, they saw a lightning strike of ice burst out of the sky and rocketed down to where she stood, little flakes of snow hissing all around them as they melted in an instant in the heat from the lights that encased them in the clearing.

The Dimian are necessary creatures in the world, though many would wish them to never be. They are seen as dangerous, evil and selfish. The locusts of the underworld, consuming and collecting, caring not for what they destroy or what consequence they leave behind. They are dormant for many years, consuming vast quantities of power and energy to sustain their sleep periods which can last generations. They are creatures on Europa also which follow a similar pattern. The Lankaripii are small little clouds that can fit in the palm of your hand. They move through the ice caverns, sucking up the nitrogen that bleeds out of the ice and rock, the stuff of comets. They then gather, en-masse, in giant cloudarys, a type of funnel, which hang from the roofs of the deeper caves. They pulsate a purple radiance when they hibernate, the nitrogen sustaining their sleep while they slowly oxidise and expel powder particles which line the walls and allow for the Europans to breathe at such depths. All a cycle, all part of the process.

But unlike the Lankaripii, Dimian do not discriminate in their source of fuel. They consume whatever is powerful, whatever energy source they can devour. In turn, it can have a subtle effect on their nature. Negative power can cause them to be volatile and unstable. But the opposite is true of the positive nature of light, in which once it is consumed, the Dimian will emit rebuilding molecules in their expelling processes and be more collectively beneficial; and usually seeking slumber quicker. The negative power seems to aggravate as well as stimulate.

The gentlemen of the boxes had fed them dangerous magic, an unstable and corrosive form which only sought to destroy. They were encased and rattled, unable to be their true state of being. Once his power was broken, and they were free to escape, they had exploded angrily into the clearing, hungry for more of the dangerous elements.

The Mondol stones themselves are neither good, nor bad, but a collective balance of power. Like a lightbulb, they work on both positive and negative elements to exist. Generating an energy from the world around them, feeding into a new power. They have many properties of course, and many uses, though most people revere them too much to investigate or know. That is to say, just the one stone, for the other had been hidden for centuries. The lady of the jars knew what power the stones held of course, she had read about the old magic and knew of the balance it could create in the world and beyond.

As the Dimian were frozen in their state of consumption, they all watched as P’erl moved towards the other stone, the blue light emitting from it suddenly surging towards her in an arc. In a flash the two stones connected themselves, the blinding white light exploding all around them and sending a white pulse up into the sky above them. The whole clearing was bathed in the brilliance, the white snow evaporating in an instant as the heat and light melted it all around.

“Should we do something?” Ezra asked, casting his hand over his eyes and turning to where he thought the lady was. But she was striding forth now, towards the centre of the clearing between where the two stones and pillars of action were. “Wait, is it safe?” Ezra called after her, sparks and cracks of light emitting themselves in little hissings snakes all around the stones, the girl and the Dimian.

Ezra spotted the gentleman of the boxes now, on the floor of the clearing over where P’erl was by the stone. He was cowering, holding his hands up against the light which must have been blinding so close. He watched as P’erl floated on the spot, her eyes open and transfixed on the stone before her. Swinging his glance to the other side, he saw the Dimian throbbing and shaking, slowly building themselves upwards, atop each other as if climbing up towards the stone, slowly arching over towards the light which shot through them. It was an awesome scene, the frazzled smell of heat with water lifting all around.

“Do we do something?” Malthrop asked Ezra, who kept his eye on the scene before him.

“I think we have to see what happens; she knows what she’s doing.” Ezra said, watching the lady of the jars striding into the centre of the clearing.

She strode forth, watching the light arc above her head, mindful of all the knowledge now coursing through her mind. The magic, the memories, the pain and the joy. What her mother had told her, what she had learnt from her book. What she felt in her heart. A great connection had been made before them now. This was no accident; this had been planned. P’erl was here to bring a balance, the Dimian were driving the negative side. P’erl, from the other side of space had come here to give herself to them, to correct what was wrong. But what was so wrong? That thought stopped her now, caught in her head like a bit of toast caught in a throat.

What is needing correction?

The world was difficult, painful and hard sometimes. Her own life had taught her that. The pain she had experienced, which had led to her control of the weather, to banish those sunny days. The pain she knew about deeply. But there was joy and wonder too. She saw the hope and love in the eyes of the children, in the souls of the village near to her, in books and stories that she read. She looked over and saw the gentleman of the boxes, and she felt pity. She had driven him, in part, to his deeds. She and her control of the snow. She had sought her own comfort from something outside herself, without the consideration of others.

Had the painful events in her life not have happened, could she be the person she was today? The lady of the jars, who read stories to children and baked gingerbread. Who helped those who needed it and bottled, not just weather, but things for others if required? The plants in her jars, the essences for medicine. Helping those in the village. A kind soul who had turned the dark of her life, to the light she bottles and gave away. Was life, this world really in need of such a correction? Or was it as it should be.

These thoughts coursed through her now, mindful of prophecies that dripped in her bones also. P’erl, the girl from Europa who she had come to call a friend. She was here, she’d been sent for a purpose. But it now seemed distant to her, as if she was unsure of what to do. She knew she was here to do something, and she knew that all this had been aligned. But she was suddenly unsure of what she herself needed to do. She listened to the frantic static of the light, coursing above and all around her. The pulse of blue, green and even dapples of red illuminations speckling her eyes and popping in her mind like the fireworks of Chu’zin.

As if sensing she needed a little prodding, a giant strike of light exploded from the side of both of the stones, finding the body of the lady of the jars and funneling thousands of years of knowledge, power and magic into her. As her eyes exploded in white light, she saw what the future held, and knew then that everyone was invited to join her. A light given for tomorrow.


snowflake up close

What you find inside

It’s not like they could tell he’d been crying.
Pomegranate tears had evaporated on his cheeks.
Left to circumstance and suspicion.
The usual vulnerability crept in like the cold.
He’d wanted to disappear.
Pull his bones from this earth and take the plane westward.
But that knowing.
That fundamental chorus of doubt kept him seated.
Wounded and defeated.
The table was set for him and god now.
A devil on his shoulder painting the walls in his mind red.
Each word that drifted from his mouth.
Drew out feathered lines of inquiry and distaste.
In the mouths and minds of others.
With that future transparency, walking away again.
It was like, schoolyard mornings and lost mittens.
Passing cares, wrapped in their own silence.
The truer placed words that smelled ugly.
Circling the whole.
An inevitable destination, posing as something great.
Through distinction and the dying light, he now understands.
He was never greater than.

Forever winter (Part 24)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


Lights shine the way

He was able to subdue the water, it was slowing off anyway as he uncorked the little vial and let the rays of sunshine beams out into the tunnel. The water evaporated in an instant, the light’s rays almost making the water disappear before his eyes. Such power, he thought to himself as he then sped on through the tunnel, sploshing in the occasional puddle that remained on the muddy floor.

He passed a broken box, the remains wedged into the side where a little alcove cut into the walls. A hand buried partially into the sides of the wall which looked soft and wet from the water. The magic seemingly nearly gone from the body, he wondered why it had not lasted. Still, no matter. He rushed on through, knowing the tunnel system well, weaving and slithering down the tunnels; back to where he had left the woman and the boy.

He suddenly came to a fork in the tunnel, which was not a part of his memory. It looked as if the water had burst through from another section, a ghostly side of the tunnel system that he was unaware of. He poked his head around the side, looking deep into the darkness. The light from this vial, which he’d bottled back up, cast a glow and a line which he directed downwards, the tunnel sloping slightly. He thought he heard something. He held his breath and listened. There! That sound, what was it. Singing, someone was singing down here. The lady of the jars, what did she, or any of them have to sing about?

For some reason, this angered the gentleman of the boxes further, as if in the face of all his plans that endeavoured to betray and harm them, they had a cause to sing.

The song grew steadily, echoing now around the hollowed-out tunnel. It sounded choral, enchanting. As if little fairies were whispering delicately into his ears. He shook his head, trying to think straight. But the sound grew stronger, and he was suddenly aware of how tired he was. His eyes now becoming heavy. He looked down the tunnel and saw a little blue light weaving and bopping up towards him. It was like a blue candle as it swayed his way, lulling him along with the ethereal voice of song.

Before he knew it a blue mist was swirling all around him, little hands seemed to be stroking his head, his back and arms. Comforting, calming. The touch of another that he’d not had in so long. He closed his eyes for but a moment, allowing the soothing state to take over. But then he snapped back, his mind present in the now and assessing what was happening. But he couldn’t move, his arms were glued to his side, his eyes couldn’t even scan around him; stuck looking forward as he saw the girl explode forth from the candle like a dam breaking.

He tried to speak but found he could not. He was at the mercy of her now, the girl from Europa; the one he wished to consume and then destroy. She looked at him, her sapphire eyes gleaming in the glow from all around. His muddy eyes glowed back, an anger rising in him much more potent than he’d care to admit. For the gentleman of the boxes no longer knew where he and the magic ended and began. Indeed, the cells of his body were encased now in the darkness which had corrupted like a cancer. She sensed it, she felt it now as she hovered her hand above his heart. The oil inside, dripping and sludging through his soul. He tried to shut his eyes, but it only made them shake and puff out of his head slightly, as if he was holding his breath.

She leant forward and placed her finger on his forehead, and his world turned inside out.

They both breathed in the cold night air as they burst out of the ground. Ezra and the lady of the jars found themselves surrounded by mounds of snow many feet deep at the base of the huge trees of this part of the forest. They also found themselves at the feet of a man that they thought, for a moment, was the gentleman of the boxes.

“Are you alright?” Malthrop asked kindly, extending a hand and pulling them both to their feet.

“We are now, to be out of that damn warren.” Ezra said, dusting off his clothes of the soil that had smeared in their ascent.

“Thank you, yes.” The lady of the jars said, rightening and taking in the sight of the new soul before them. “A pair we must look like”. She added, knowing they both must look like they had been through quite an ordeal, and indeed they had.

“It’s late to be out, do you mind if I ask if you know anything about the light.” Malthrop asked, smiling with his eyes, letting them know he was of no danger.

“And who are you when it it’s at home?” Ezra said, rather curtly.

“Ezra, manners.” The lady quickly added. Malthrop shook his head apologetically.

“Oh, I’m terribly sorry. My name is Malthrop, I live not far from here. I noticed the strange light from the Mondol stone.” He said, pointing off over through the trees. Just as he said this, Tanker came bounding over the nearest drift of snow and tumbled down to their feet, woofing and hollering. He sneezed where he landed, the snow fluffing off into the night air and then he turned his attention to Ezra, jumping up at him and barking, a friendly bark.

“Tanker, down. Get down.” Malthrop said, starting forth to pull the dog away.

“He’s fine, as long as he’s friendly.” Ezra replied, lowering down to calm the dog, petting his cold fur.

“The Mondol stone you say, is it alive, shining?” The lady asked, excitedly.

“Indeed, it is. Well, it was when I set out. But just as we came across that bank there.” The man said, pointing behind him. “Another light burst up into the sky. Green this time.” He finished. Tanker skirted to his feet now, circling the man before going up to the woman and sniffing her clothes. She stroked his head, soothingly.

“Wonderful. Just wonderful.” The lady said, smiling to herself.

“So, you know what this is all about then? Are you a witch too?” The man asked, though no alarm rippled through his voice.

“Well, I’ve been called that before, but I assure you I’m on the good guy’s side.” She replied.

“Then there’s a bad side?” The man asked.

“There definitely is. And he’s a right old bastard I can assure you!” Ezra added indignantly.

“Ezra, language.” The lady said. “Though I admit, he’s been quite the pebble in our shoe I must say. The gentleman of the boxes.”

“He is no gentleman. What kind of gentlemen goes around trying to kill people!” Ezra cut back.

“He dangerous then?” Malthrop asked, concerned.

“You got that right bud, and he’s about in this forest doing deeds and wanting to make things pretty miserable for everyone around here.” Ezra said.

“I see.” The man said, taking in this new information. He looked up through the trees to where the lights were beaming up from the stones. “And the stones are a part of this? I usually avoid the area, but they seemed to call to me tonight.” He added.

“They are ancient and knowing, they speak to the deeper souls. Though who know love and loss, right and wrong. I sense your heart is recently heavy, I can see it in your eyes.” The lady said. The man was silent.

“Well, we best go and see what all the fuss with the stones are about then, if you think this is the answer to all of this. Would be nice to have a rest and let things be for a while.” Ezra said, rubbing Tanker’s back.

“Come, let us go through together. Safety in numbers, these woods have been pretty dangerous as late.” Malthrop said.

“Dimian.” The lady replied.

“If you say so.” The man said, smiling at her, helping her up the bank of snow that led deeper into the trees.

The boxes and the bones washed their way out of the tunnels and into the clearing, smashing over one another and the stray rocks that strew the area. The slosh of water and snow made for a freezing scene, the blue and green light emanating from the Mondol stones made it look like a giant lake, glittering in an atmospheric hue. As the water flow finally ceased, it seeped away back into the soil, staining the ground with it’s rush of recent travel.

It was down in the ground where the Dimian were still trapped, encased in the power of the gentleman of the boxes. They twitched and murmured, thronged and ached to be free. Suddenly, like a spark of light, freedom overwhelmed them. Their invisible chains were cast aside, and they exploded in movement, their minds frothing and hungry for the power they could feel all around them and could now devour.

Pearl learnt it all then, his memories and thoughts rushed inside her like icy water. She saw and felt the pain, the disconnection, the hatred. Yet deeper, longer back she saw a love, a lighter energy that had never been extinguished, but merely buried in an inner box. He felt no pain as she walked through his life in her mind. Instead, it was as if a boil in him had been lanced, gushing forth all the toxicity.

She looked into his eyes, and she saw humanity. She saw a love for another that had followed her from one planet in the solar system, to another. The eyes that looked back were no different from the eyes of her family on Europa. The light that shone there was made from the same cosmic dust that illuminated those souls on her home planet. The same light, just in a different vessel.

She moved her hand down to his chest and felt his heart beating. Spasmodically thumping in fear and uncertainty. She knew he felt remorse, but there was something else there, something hiding in the dark shadows of his soul. She searched, sending her vibrations through him like sonic waves. It was there, lurking. Something that didn’t want to be found. She pushed on, desperate to find it, her hand feeling the way over his heart. There, a flash of crimson. She nearly got it, her mind hurrying now past trauma and loneliness.

Her eyes flew open, and she gasped.

It was as if it had bit her, little teeth snapping at her soul. She let go of him and he shook his head, shaking off her aura that had swelled around him like a fine mist.

“What, what are you doing?” He coughed up, dry and hoarse. When had he even spoken last?

The girl looked at him, assessing him still.

“It’s too late, it’s all too late.” He said and hung his head.

“Then you need to put it right.” She said, turning her back to him and stepping forward into the tunnel. Like a rope pulling him, he was tugged forward and with a blink of an eye they were suddenly rushing out through the tunnel, the walls blurring as they sped past in the blue stream of light.

“Look, there.” Malthrop said, coming out of the clearing.

They had seen the lights of course, two beams pulsating upwards into the cold night’s sky. But now, coming to the clearing, they could see the Mondol stones, both of them at once. The original stone stood where it always had, cast down from the skies like the mythical peach pit discarded. The other sat across from it, on the other side of the clearing, about twenty strides apart. It’s green light too pulsed up into the sky. It had been forced up out of the ground, as they had seen, now stuck in the open as if it had been there for years.

“They look exactly the same.” Ezra said, as he flicked some snow off his shoulder which had fallen from the nearby tree.

“Perfectly the same.” The lady said, smiling.

“You know about all this then?” Malthrop asked, they all were entranced by the lights given off by the stones.

“A little, that I hope helps.” The lady said, casting her eyes around the clearing. Her smile evaporating.

“Look at all that.” Ezra said suddenly, referring to the boxes and bodies which they could now make out on the floor of the clearing.

“Are those bodies?” Malthrop asked, stepping forward.

“Yes, they are.” The lady said. She had not moved, the wind catching a tear that had crept at the side of her eye. She watched for a moment, as Ezra and Malthrop stepped forth, out of the woods and towards one of the nearest broken boxes. The sound from the Mondol stones echoed around them, like a crackling fire, the light splattering disconnectedly around the scene.

“Who are all these people, all these things?” Malthrop asked, coming across the body of a badger. The fur had been sheared off in places, and a strange little wooden frame had been placed through the skin, forcing its arms and legs outward, it’s eyes swirling with a strange dull red light.

“Don’t touch them, not yet.” The lady said, coming over to him. She knelt down, looking at the creature. “The magic is faint, but still there slightly.” She shook her head.

“People, I can’t believe he did it to people.” Ezra said, standing near to them over a mangled body face down in the grass. “Building some unnatural army!”

“We need to set all this right.” The lady said, standing now and looking towards the stones. “We need Pearl.” She said. “If we all spread out…..” The lady stopped. Malthrop had moved away from her, towards another body which stuck up awkwardly from the ground. The box it was in had crumbled around it but was still intact slightly, the body lulled half out of it like a tongue out of a mouth.

“Malthrop….” The lady said, a sudden realisation coming over her as she saw the scene. “Oh, no.” She said, her heart sinking.

Malthrop bent down and picked the body up into his arms, a sob extended out quietly where they were, but spread quickly and painfully around the clearing, like a pebble dropped into an agonising lake.

It was sudden and explosive, two lights very different from each other tracking silently in the woods suddenly flared on either side of the clearing. The blue misty glow on one side, and the greeny red bubbling on the other. As if it had been planned by some twist of fate, each burst through the trees together, showering those within the clearing with confrontation.


snowflake up close

Delayed doxology


DELAYED DOXOLOGY

The pain turned to gold as the moon rose.
The loss of self-control and the shedding of time.
Dropped like leaves over a diamond lake of soul.
Always late, but now just on time.
Peeling away a skin that once bound.
A body so rooted in the now.
To each side there sits an angel.
Close enough to touch.
Calling me higher, yet I remain.
Being good, being whole, being of service.
The dark begins to melt into light.
The kiss of god, and the whisper of the divine.
Reaffirms my mind, that it all was meant to be.
Now I shudder in doxology.
Praise not just the creator for the air in my lungs.
But the lungs of god, which breathes new air.
I have lost my religion.
And found god where I least expected.
Hidden away, yet smiling at my fall.
Knowing the rise was good for all.

MORE VIDEO ART HERE


 

Forever winter (Part 23)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


Discoveries at the edge of chaos

She sensed it; she could feel the power of the water charging beyond in the tunnels. The flow and the power, the energy coursing, and of course her friends. She knew they were safe, so to speak, currently riding along beneath her feet somewhere. P’erl stood before the coffin box that blocked the tunnel in front of her. She could see the gaps between the box and the walls, a little light dancing beyond in the tunnel somewhere. There was movement beyond. There was movement too in the eyes that watched her now, flicking back and forth.

P’erl was tall, and she stood with a stoop in the tunnel, her head bent just below the roof. The coffin was wedged into the space, but the thing inside was smaller than she. She knew what it was, she knew what he’d done. The man of the boxes. He’d taken a body; she did not think he’d killed them himself; perhaps removed it from a grave or found a corpse somewhere in the forest. A traveller caught in the white storm. She knew it had passed, the energy of life that she could sense in other beings was deadened here. But she felt the other force, the other magic. The reanimated spell he had put over the thing. She stepped towards the box just as the lid slid open, falling towards her like a gang plank.

The yellow eyes were swift, but the body was slow. Unaccustomed to its new lease of life perhaps. The old man, his clothes ragged and covered in soil; lurched towards her with outstretched arms. She watched as if in slow motion as it stumbled over the lid, the limbs moving at odds to the intended direction it seemed. The eyes though, they were rabid. Frantic and angry they dug into her, and it was then she felt it. It pinned her in place, the eyes streaming a force over her like a dreadful ray of sunlight. The sickly yellow glow seemed to glue her arms to the side, covering her in an invisible wax that seemed to hold on to her. She felt the hatred from those sockets, the one and only intent was to hurt and conquer.

The smell of the body engulfed her then as it approached, like a spider attacking a caught fly. The waft of death circled her, and she closed her eyes just as the man drew up. There were few threats on Europa, but she knew how to protect herself. Traveling to different worlds had made her aware of the imbalance in the universe, where some things took a dominance over others; painfully and completely. She knew death of course, and she knew that this thing before her no longer contained a soul. There was an essence left in the body, like tea leaves left in the bottom of a cup. And she felt now the glimmer of that being who once resided within.

But the darkness and despair of this new creature was commanding, and she felt the energy powerfully in her mind. It was thick and hate filled, and she knew that within that, it would never win. Around her the glow began, luminous like a lamp slowly coming to life. The blue aura lifted off from her skin, phosphorus and almost sticky. The thing crashed into it, plunging forth in its hatred. It screamed in horror as the blue clung all around it, spreading like a river across the deadened skin. It wailed and shrieked in place, like it was being burnt; yet the soft blue glowy light slowly progressed, encasing the creature.

P’erl did not move, she did not open her eyes until it was over. Once she did, the thing before her had dissolved away, leaving nothing but a small white ball the size of a marble on the floor of the tunnel. She bent down and picked up the ball, looking at the detail on the surface. She could see marbled streaks of gold, the essence left from the man and the deeds of his life. Golden and permanent there in the ball. She smiled at the many small veins that coursed all around the tiny sphere. The hope she wanted to find on this planet, the goodness that shone out in gold before her. She placed the ball in her pocket, and she once again made her way down the tunnel, smashing through the coffin with such ease the splinters exploded in an instant as she passed through, still glowing her blue aura.

“Ezra are you okay!” the lady spat, swallowing a huge wave of water as they rushed through the tunnel. She tried to steady herself, but the force of the surge bobbed her back and forth like a dry leaf caught in the rain. She caught sight of Ezra’s head behind her, poking out of the torrent, followed by clutching hands.

“Of course…I’m bloody not!” Ezra called back, he too swallowing copious amounts of water in trying to talk.

They sped on, the dirt from the walls mixing with the crystal-clear water, creating a muddy flow. They jostled and spun, slamming into the sides, the roof and the forks in the tunnel until finally they came to a large open section where the roof soared upwards.

They slowed slightly as the water filled up the huge space, and in that time, Ezra was quick to lunge forth and grab a giant root that dangled from the ceiling. Quickly, the lady saw what he was doing and turned herself, pushing against the wall and leapt forth, grabbing a hold of his legs.

“You can do it!” She yelled at him, his trousers already starting to slide down.

“You need to keep out of that damn biscuit tin!” He wheezed, trying hard to lift himself and her upwards away from the flowing water below.  She rolled her eyes and pulled her feet up clear from the water as a huge row of boxes suddenly washed into the room and below them.

“He’s been busy!” Ezra said as he pulled onto another root and heaved them up higher. The lady looked at the boxes, all different shapes, all painted red and black.

“He’s been planning this a long time it seems.” She said, pulling herself up onto one of the roots, relieving Ezra. “Look, there.” She said, indicating a small hole which seemed to lead upwards.

“I’m on it.” Ezra said, and with a swing on the root he was holding on to, he spun his body upwards and dove feet first into the hole. It was relatively secure, an old fox warren which was compacted around the sides, and he lent out backwards into the chamber, reaching down for her to come up. Surprising him with her agility, she too was able to spring across the dangling roots, as thick as her arm, and spun upwards for him to catch then heave her up out of the chamber.

Moving up a little further, away from the hole they both stopped to catch their breath and fling out some of the water which weighted their clothes.

“He’s not just after you, or the girl. He’s been doing things to others and packing them away in his damn boxes!” Ezra said, shaking his head.

“Yes, I didn’t think it was as bad as this. He must have slipped further over to the darkness.” She said, shaking her head, dislodging a large dew drop of water which had begun to dangle from her nose.

“Crazy. He’s got to be stopped now. Before I thought I just thought he was annoyed by all the snow and had it in for you. But he’s lost it, he’s killing people.” Ezra said, alarmed. The lady shook her head still.

“No, I don’t think he’s killing. Or at least, not yet. Something tells me this isn’t as it seems.” She said.

“Oh, come on, you’re defending him? Why do you always give people the benefit of the doubt?” He replied, annoyed.

“Everyone deserves that, we never truly can see the whole picture. But something in me tells me this isn’t as it seems.” She said, wringing out her sleaves which were soaked.

“Well, you can if you like. But when I see him, I won’t be taking any chances that’s for sure.” Ezra said, almost petulantly.

“You may get that wish sooner than you think, I know he’ll be after the other stone.” She said.

“Good!” He replied, clapping his hands together. In a flash of light that exploded in the tunnel, they were both suddenly dry and a few embers sizzled and faded away as they began their ascent once more, this time only a few feet from fresh air. A few feet from fate.

He stood at the opening, peering into the dark. He imagined the comfort from the underground, the silence and the heaving warmth from the soil around him. Though the snow had stopped, the cold wind blew about him there in the woods, and despite himself, he shivered. The moon shone down on him, speckled through the few tree branches that hung over the entrance to the tunnel.

It hadn’t been too long, and he wondered now how long it would be still. How long would it take for the creatures to bring the girl to him. He knew she was powerful, but he anticipated her passiveness and surprise. The creatures below, for there were many he had placed, would follow his orders and bring her up and out. He worried little over the woman and the boy now, they were secure down beneath and the girl would not find them. The Dimian were secure too, ready and waiting for when he had her.

Now, he wanted that power now.

He swung forth a bag and reached inside, extracting the book that had changed his life so many years ago. He crouched down and leaned the book on his knees as he scanned in the light of the moon. His creatures in the boxes, that was a good step. It had taken him a while to master it, but he knew they would come in handy. They were immune to the hungriness of the Dimian, their power dead in their hungry little eyes. He could trap and keep them where he wanted. He had planned this all of course, but he needed…

He heard it then, a rumbling coming from the hole. He wondered why the creatures would be making such a noise, but as the sound grew louder, he began to back away, unsure of what was about to charge out of the tunnel.

In a flash he was covered in cold water which had burst forth from the hole and smashed him to the floor. The ice and snow all around swamped him, sending freezing chills over his body as he struggled to push himself up. What had happened he wondered. He rolled over to the side, away from the plume of water which continued to surge from the ground.

“That old woman!” He cursed up into the sky. Her and her meddling weather. She must have created some sort of flood, some manipulation to the natural scheme again. Cold and wet, he was enraged with an anger which raced through him. Every step she took, she controlled the things around her, affecting everyone else. He stamped his feet and threw his bag which sploshed against the trunk of the tree. He remembered it then suddenly, and quickly went across to his bag, tearing it open. Inside he pulled out the bag within the bag, the one that belonged to her. He had glanced in it before of course but he had not taken much notice. Now he plunged inside, rummaging frantically for something, anything……ah ha.

His hand drew out of the bag, clutching little vials that raged and hummed. Her weather. Little bits of it contained in the glass. He peered in, looking at thunder and hailstorms, blinding sunshine and cyclonic winds.

“Time to fight fire with fire.” He said aloud to only the woods as he moved towards the entrance of the tunnel which still spewed forth the ocean of water.

Malthrop had been sleeping, it was late after all. His little house in the woods was surrounded by the creak and winds of the trees for which he’d been accustomed to after so long. He hadn’t lived alone, his partner had died only a month ago, and the grave and the pain were still both fresh in his mind. Death had taken them, probably for the better as the disease within had brought about ungodly pain already. Blessings in disguise, veiled relief as his friends would say.

Now it was only he and Tanker, his trusty but very lazy dog. Black as the nights sky, Tanker woofed and barked noisily, his nose at the door of the cottage. Malthrop had seen the blue light, off just over the trees. Reaching forth like the fireworks he’d seen once in Chu’zin. That had been a glorious day, the fireworks had mirrored the feelings in his heart.

This light seemed pure and magical, and though he’d not had much involvement with the mystics and the witches that roamed the wood, he knew their deeds were usually good. And this light, this almost Luna spectacle seemed to penetrate deep within his soul. Calling him.

He donned his jacket, and though surprised by Tanker’s eagerness; was glad that his dog wished to join him as he set out towards the Mondol stone, a place he usually avoided but was always respectful of; knowing the power that surged in this spot.


snowflake up close

Particular illusions

To sleep under the stars, and to count the heavens.
A result of you burning my bed.
I lie on the cool grass and watch out for comets.
Racing from Olympus to Paradise.
I pulled off the ropes and entanglements.
Escaping with my life, but not my soul.
And now the clouds that cover the milky way.
Blotting out the moon.
Is just the smoke, from the ashes of our home.
Yet suddenly you appear, covered in moon dust.
With starlight diamonds in your eyes.
And you take my hand, and tip the sky over.
Shaking out the stars.
Promising me treasure to be found from our ruins.