Falling on a bruise

Engulfed in sweet delicious fires.
The needling and licking of moments in time.
Spread out and traversing dimensions.
That lead me ever closer to home.
It shook us momentarily.
A pain that marched along the spine.
Crumbling each vertebrae.
Making its way to the heart.
A fall for the nine thousandth time.
Crumbling the scabs not yet healed.
A rise, for the nine thousand and one.
The bruise, disappearing in the dark that surrounds.
It all felt distant.
Told perhaps, by someone else.
Yet lonely births space and freedom.
And the marshes and reeds whispered an awakening.
The pain, transformed to knowledge.
The bruise, fading in light of a new dawn.

Glitter in the cement

It thronged and thumped, vibrating in the earth.
Echoing the stamps of dinosaurs long since departed.
Within and captured, like watching eyes, it waited for the moment.
For the fall of the moon.
The death of the sun.
A complete blackness that inked all over, choking out life.
It needed to be hidden, it waited to be revealed.
The power that dwelt inside could only ignite by the fuse of a fall.
The complete shattering of a heart, life and mind.
It began to sparkle.
Breathed upon by the lips of such angels.
Pulsed and sparked.
Vibrating through like the whispers of a distant time.
It turned the gravestones to dust.
Set the ravens a flight.
Filled the veins once more with milk and honey.
It lived in you, all along.
Always knowing how to win, when to begin.
To never banish the darkness.
But instead, to transform it to light.

A Universe to devour

Dreams ignite like a Chagall construction.
You and I, flying over rooftops.
Exploding in colour.
I lay you down and crawl into your skin.
Kissing you intimately, feeling my way.
Your body entices and your heart entraps.
Yet it is your soul I’m after.
The bruised, damaged, fraying thing.
Shaking and asking to have life breathed in.
Frantically unable to be cupped in my hands.
It runs from me like a feather on the breeze.
Escaping like a Bharatanatyam movement.
Colours and light, burning my sad lonely grey into nothing.
Love on your fingertips, sticky from the centre of me.
Though this may be transitory, I give in and go under.
Falling for you again as the waves crash over.
Disappearing in such wonder and the perfumed smoke of you.
Coughing up clouds of devotion, and descending like the setting sun.

Retreat

I cannot go outside.
They will not see.
I lock the doors and turn the world down.
Set the moon to wake me, so I can dance in the dark.
They cannot know, they should not look.
I came to disappear discretely.
The void is my own.
Yet a consequence is not from a lack.
The love and respect weighs me down more than you will ever know.
But I have to go, I have to depart.
Sailing out on silent ships that leave you all in fog.
Not a death, not a dim.
A recapturing, of self.
Until I’m stronger to hold back the waves of the world.
Stronger, to survive the sun.

Lune à l’esprit

These moments, like pearls on silver lips.
Gently spun and mouthed in wonder.
Consumed by the burning fire of solar saturation.
A golden treasure that I can sit beneath.
Counting coins and constellations.
Never equalling my love for you.
We are but pieces of a shattered moon.
That fell to earth when the world was sleeping.
They never knew how I kissed you, pioneered your love.
Discoverer. Sweet foreign terrain.
Unknown to them in the quietness above.
We are blank space and white noise in their muddled worlds.
Silent, like the dawn.
Tiptoe with me now, to the edge of the unknown.
These transparent moments.
Into the corner of god’s pocket.
Un-stitching fabric and time, eager to breathe the space of the infinite.
And air that sets my soul alight.
Burning the past and dancing on the surface.
Of a moon that those below can only howl towards.

Particular illusions

A result of you burning our 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.
Now these clouds that cover the milky way.
Blotting out the moon.
Are really 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.
Blinding me with Midas light.

Majesty and the mystery

Stolen time which seeps out of blackness.
Returned like pearls to the sea.
All we know, we have forgotten.
Clearing the realms for wonders to birth.
We close our eyes and catch the breath that escapes.
The Sustaining mist of God.
As this mind coughs up havoc, with its mystery of the unknown.
That pulls with a gravity to the dark and tragic.
God cradles us in feathery hope.
Kissing promise once more into our blood.
Gravitating away from grief.
Running water of certainty in our blood.
For we never truly know what exists.
Beyond the curtain of our eyelids.

Everything (सर्वेषां स्वस्तिर्भवतु ।)

When the world wind weeps around you.
May the universe dry your eyes.
And happiness make you smile once more.
Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu.
I cannot keep you safe from the conflict.
Or the wars within you.
But I offer you peace, from that of which I’ve known.
Sarveśām Shāntir Bhavatu.
You are taken from the mountain,.
You come in pieces.
And I too, but together we are more than less.
Sarveśām Pūrnam Bhavatu.
And if you fall, I will not catch you.
But I will watch as you rise again.
And applaud your strength, with an outstretched heart.
Sarveśām Maṇgalam Bhavatu.
We are but pieces.
Love is the is the whole.
Versions of the same form, spun from the same gold.

Pale

Clouds of inconvenience drift over into view.
Casting shadows that scream a doubt.
Pips of truth that stick in-between our teeth.
The cool water of correction I offer.
Flows over you like mercury.
You glisten with your own metallic brilliance.
Pale gold that detoxes the night air.
Sucking out the flow of the moon.
I speak too soon.
The waves follow the clouds and love pushes deep under.
As crests pummel the pallid skin that I long to kiss.
A sea sickness takes hold of my heart.
Turning my skin to cadaver colourations.
Love sick and racked by emotionally violent nausea.
My insides, turning, tumbling and freewheeling.
Pale like a moth.
Dead like the dawn.
Waiting, once more, for your decisions

Beached

This picture of you, drawn out of such a moment in time.
Chiselled out of the clouds and into my eye.
I reached inside of myself, only to find you there.
Setting up a place for us.
A home, deep within the fathoms of my uncertainty.
Placing sticks and rugs over deep old wounds.
Silently you swell.
Sweetly you settle.
Patching holes and broken pieces of the past.
I radiate out a pulse, searching for something to slip away into.
But I’m strung up in your willowed reaches.
Your horizoned heart.
Your memory beaches.
Ultimately I relinquish and peel off my skin.
The fuselage of fear splinters away and we brace for impact.
Washing ashore of this Elysium dream.

Abiding to the calls of an immutable fate

Wiping smiles that smear.
Sticky and iridescent on this soul.
Spun up in a tangled web of dreams.
Ones that glowed in the ashes.
Tumbling embers.
The moonlight and sunlight trapped.
Sparkling like forever diamonds of wonder.
We place ourselves in the centre of this covenant.
A vessel, a conduit of hope.
Where you crack and splinter.
The gold of our love drips in and fuses shut.
That Japanese way, all smiles and bowing.
Head towing, heart directed towards the seventh heaven.
Cupped in our hands.
Precious, fragile.
Determined, defiant; as strong as religion.
You kiss, I receive.
I slip inside that familiar soul.
Rearranging the furniture within.
A place to rest bones and desires that flutter like butterflies.
Ones that freshly taste the air of life.
Dipped in tears of God.
So that they fly forever.

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.

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


 

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.