Tenderness

Don’t let them touch you there.
Not in that fashion.
You are not a tree stuck in their path.
Or a lump of coal by the fire.
To warm them on chilly nights in their frozen situations.
Devoid of obligations.
They must show us some tenderness.
A little honey with the bitter.
They should not lay their fingers over.
The precious gold, the spotless soul.
Who knows when they washed those hands last in holy water.
Who knows where those thumbs have been.
You are not pulp of a fiction with crumbled pages.
But a silky bible with a sacred taste.
Smelling as divine as Jesus’s spine.
All words of resurrecting what’s dead.
If they tried a little tenderness.
These doors would open.
To a chamber splashed a gaudy red.
And we would pray together, incomplete forever.
Cherishing what we found.

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Red #3: Red like my heart

If I cut myself, will I find you?
Red, like my blood.
Swimming in ecstasy.
When the darkness prevails, you abandon us.
Leaving me alone with such lonely beats.
Of a heart struggling.
Like a clock unwinding.
You think this heart naïve?
It knows, but is unready to act like you wish.
To thump and rise, as you bang then blame.
Or tell it to stop completely.
Naivety makes way for inability.
Of acting against this sabotage.
Yet you are beyond such human fragility.
If I cut you, do you even bleed?
Would you leak a love all over me?
Flooding this space with such sweet honey.
Or should I let you fly.
And find you only in those heartbeats.
That synthesise a disappearing.
A pattern of a death so complete.
That it stains the world forever.
And heard across your universe.

The Last day of sanity

You burned the books. Too many pages and insights.
A paper mountain of truths you couldn’t climb.
Ripping out the hearts of those lonely men who confessed everything.
In unintelligible writing.
How you move through us now.
A pulsing fire like the sacking of Troy.
You leave them restless and weak.
Numbed by those empty regions of your mind.
There is a fire in Heaven tonight.
A blaze that the tears of angels could not extinguish.
Yet it floods down here on earth.
A holy water that washes everything clean, but you.
That fire above reflects in your velvet eyes.
An empty pit of pity, where not even the righteous can escape.
But you pay no mind, for there is no mind to offer.
Flashing snow white bones to all who see.
As you move through once more, the Helen of your own making.
Laughing, as the Heavens fall.

White/Blue – where are you?

‘It was snowing. It always snowed. That’s how she liked it.

The swirling white that enveloped everything, dusting and smothering all in a wonderland. There was more variety in snow she’d always thought. A sunny day was nice, for a trip to the beach or a stroll in the park; but sunny days were predictable, ordinary, and what everyone wanted. Snow, on the other hand created such chaos and difference…..’


With some housekeeping and changes to this blog, this is an update for the ongoing sci/fi short ‘White/Blue‘. Fear not, the lady of the jars has not gotten lost and the girl from Europa has not returned to her planet yet. This serial short story has lain dormant a bit too long over the winter months, but has recently been seized by a new wave of investment. As such, their temporary home has moved to my other site ‘MarkryanHavoc‘. If you haven’t checked this out, there is new content there and more of a showcase for my other works. New projects are underway and a lot of creative plate spinning is happening.
Updates will continue here for their ongoing tale, and it’s about to get pretty interesting. So please be sure to take peek through the blizzard, and refresh where you left them. Enjoy.

(A final copy of the completed tale is now looking to be published in the near future.)

Harder to fly

The coffee had spilt over his leg. He noticed that now, a dark brown patch like a cancer spreading on his trousers. The material clung to his skin as he moved, like a small wet hand pressing on him. His cup was broken of course. His favourite mug. The pieces of which lay off somewhere under his desk. Broken and useless now. Maybe good enough to put pens in if he was lucky. He would remember to get it next time. Next time he was at his desk working and typing. Listening to Grace at the desk opposite talking to her mother on the phone. She’d been ill a while, in and out of the hospital. Her kidneys giving up on her. He’d catch Grace tearing up sometimes, long frustrating conversations to the carers, to then hang up the phone and return to the emails, the have tos, the work that filled her day. Disappearing to get a coffee and to cry no doubt in the bathroom stalls.

He couldn’t see Grace now. Her desk was empty, but then the smoke was filling the office fast and it was hard to make anyone out. Bodies moved in the miasma like shadows and the yells and screams of the unknowing were constant. Daniel lay near the stairs, he’d stumbled across him as he moved towards the exit signs that illuminated like little green eyes in the haze. A dark wound had haloed on his head and he was pretty sure he was dead already. He’d never liked Daniel. The little shit was always passing other people’s ideas off as his own. He checked to see if he was breathing as people jostled passed him to the stairwell. He closed Daniel’s eyes and gently moved him to one side like a sleeping child being put to bed.

The impact had been deafening. It had shorted out the electronics on his floor and his computer had exploded with a glistening rain of sparks. Fires raged sporadically, little hot pockets all around him with the devil licking flames. He had his phone in his pocket, but he did not reach for it. He noticed the coffee stain once more as he looked down to the floor, making his way into the stairwell. The screams were hard and fast, and he could see the fires raging below. The thick smoke hung and moved like a malevolent ghost, consuming everyone it could. Casey passed him, coughing and spluttering like a seventy year old smoker. The smoke had stained her blonde hair to a dirty tarred colour, and she moved about feebly with her eyes barely open, groping for a way and a slither of hope.

He coughed a little himself as he watched the flames reflect in the computer screens all around him. He’d never heard anything like it before. The sounds that scratched and attacked his ears. The pity and the pain, the desperation. He loosed the top button on his shirt and made his way over towards Bobby’s desk. She’d always claimed she could see her house over the Hudson from her chair that faced west towards Newark. The glass had stained now, the black smoke bellowing up into the ceiling and blocking out the light from the outside. The widows looked like black teeth in a row against the walls, a rotting site of decay. Bobby was nowhere to be seen and a lot of people were scrambling around the centre of the building looking for a way through. He heard phones ringing out, and momentarily reached for his own in his pocket. His fingers touched the tip before retracting hastily. He couldn’t do that to them.

He sat in Bobby’s chair, the huge thing had been altered progressively, expanding along with her growing little girl she had inside of her. They had all joked it was to be twins. He had seen her making her way in each morning, she would heave across the room like a small elephant. Wheezing in and out of breath. The smoking years catching up on her. The chair felt nice underneath him, plush and cushy; but he was struggling to see now as the smoke was making his eyes sting. Then he was there, stood at the beach with his family only ten years old. The huge bonfire blazing away as the Fourth of July fireworks exploded above him in a rain of colour and patriotism. He’d tripped, or stumbled, never thinking he could’ve been pushed. His ass of an older brother always messing around. Too close to the heat, too close to the flames which screamed and burned into his eyes. He’d always hated smoke, those damn smokers who lurked outside buildings, puffing out their smoky venom which greeted you in a wall as you left. That awful feeling of something grappling inside you.

His eyes were searing now and he coughed profusely as the flames and the smoke rose and fell around him. The building beneath creaked and rumbled. The shouts of help had eerily tailed off, now solemn and sporadic like lonely calls into a distant forest. The horrific realisation perhaps descended that there was no support or rescue from this. The trauma that had fallen from the skies had landed on them completely, suffocating out the fragile hope that only grew like snowflakes. Useless in the face of such fiery hatred.

That great red dragon now breathed and raged around them, spluttering out the smoke that covered them like oil. In its grip, they sweated and froze inside with fear and pain.

The breath now was harsh and coarse. Coming in waves of sickness and coughs. The eyes were burning, transporting him back and forth to that bonfire on the beach and hell of the world around him, where the terrors and the pain of the people he knew where rising and falling like that of the tide. The blistering paint was making it all toxic, and the windows had begun to buckle and bubble in the heat.

He smashed Bobby’s window. He rammed everything he could through the fragile glass, gasping for the fresh air that promised to rush in. At first, only more smoke. The floors below, trapped in their own nightmares bellowed up acrid plumes which flooded in to their admin vacuum. But then light. Sky. The world above and below beckoned like an angelic hand. People flocked towards him, stumbling still like shadowed zombies in the volcanic office. Relief mixed with horror as they once again rationalised in repulsion. He tried not to catch the eyes of those who came. He didn’t want to see the hopelessness in those who he had known for years. The rivalry and solidarity had swung back and forth on that New York pendulum. Trying to get ahead, trying to be good. Now everyone in the room reduced to just being here. How many were loved? How many had dreams simmering inside only for the lights to be turned down. The fires now creeping towards them in their lifeboat in the sky.

He never did reach for that phone. It sailed with him as he launched himself out of the windows. His lungs expanding as the fresh air drenched his body. Life in his lungs once again. He thought of them of course. The people he loved and hoped loved him back. But these were just flashes of images and thoughts that he tried to cling to as he soared into the sky above Manhattan. It was the coffee stain on his trousers and trying to see Bobby’s house that took him away. The anaesthetising process to deal with the horror that it was such a long way down from here.

The rushing wind, the failing debris around him hung like a moment in his descent. Those who followed would have their own moments in time. Their own desperate fight for flight from that blazing inferno. Trapped as they were, the choice of escape was their own. He’d hoped to fold, to slip inside the envelope of heaven while the machine of god rolled on. Hearing his heart beat and skip he closed his eyes, knowing that the take-off was easier than the flight. Feathered and falling. That the birds who sung and soared were marked by a promise to one day return.

W/B – Chaos crackled

The beam of golden light illuminated the front of the cottage. He saw it like a rising sun, casting deep shadows now over him and the wreckage. His pockets were full and his hands were numb. “Curse this coldness” he muttered, the snow continuing to fall. The light now snaked around the side of the building like a moving body, banishing the dark and the evil shadows. It crept closer and closer to him. He naturally began to edge backwards, as if a creeping hand of light was reaching for him, threatening to cast him into the open and explain himself. He backed up more and more before falling backwards into a huge snow drift. The cold condensed snow stung his face and he scrambled to be free, like a cat stuck in a bag. “Curse you and your snow!” he spat towards the house. He turned hastily then, and sped off into the woods. His pockets heaving and weighted down as if he carried gold, for the sapphire tears of the girl’s cocoon were heavy and clung to him like weights of guilt.

Ezra made his way quickly to the fire that still roared away in her little living room. Strong white and blue flames danced in the grate and he rubbed his hands hastily to warm himself. The girl watched him from the stairs, the small little boy in his pyjamas and his feet covered in snow.

“Next time, I’m wearing the coat before you freeze me back!” he grumbled. The lady hovered in the doorway smiling, the light from the flame in the jar dappled her face bringing forth a deeper warmth. Ezra concentrated on the warm fire. “So you’re what all the fuss is about huh?” he said, not looking away from the fire. Theatrically shivering away. She was surprised he’d seen her, but answered swiftly.

“I’m sorry for your coldness, I can help if you like.” She said, descending the little stairs and bringing forth a huge overcoat. Her skin shimmered in the light of the flames, and the closer she got it seemed to cascade away in huge chunks, repairing back like a tide of cells in different colours.

“Don’t go spoiling him now.” The lady said, going over quickly to the sideboard on the other side of the room. “A little cold never hurt anyone.”

“Thank you, glad someone has some manners.” He said, turning to her and taking the coat. He slipped it on and stuck out his hand. “I’m Ezra.” He said. She looked at his extended little hand curiously. He waved it a little impatiently.

“Nice to meet you Ezra.” She said, swooping down upon him and giving him a hug. This was unusual for both of them, but in the moment it seemed like the better thing to. Ezra was warmed further by her touch, and she was able to dive into his life in that short moment. She saw oceans of adventure and wonder, and little pools of sadness too.

“Well, you are the damsel after all. Even if you are much larger than usual. I suppose it befalls me to save you, and the old crone over there.” He said, stamping his feet now by the fire. The lady ignored him.

“Thank you.” The girl said, bowing humorously.

“My name is many things, but P’erl is one I wish for you to have.” The girl said, touching her heart with her forefingers and then touching his forehead. He smiled at this graceful and generous act.

“And you’ve come from the stars?” He asked. She nodded, smiling.

“Very well.” He said, as if used to the unexpected. “So what is all fuss?” He asked, turning to the lady, warmed now and eager to get started.

The lady of the jars was fumbling in the sideboard, reaching to the back of the cupboard now. She stuck her tongue out in an extended effort to stretch and reach into the very heart of the wooden beast.

“Well, we have to make our way to the Mondol stone. This is where the energy in this area pools and the magic is deep and expansive. You my dear will begin to change the closer we get,” she said, looking to the girl “layers will begin to lift, and meanings will come forth. You will evolve and reveal. Once there, I shall perform a rite of sorts, and if all goes to plan; what is meant to be will unleashed.”

“What do you mean, what’s meant to be? And that doesn’t sound too difficult, a quick trip in through the woods. Why do you need me?” Ezra argued, half-jokingly.

“Well, excuse me mister but I’ve never done this before you know.” He lady snapped, suddenly succeeding in her retrieval of a small box from the cupboard. “I’m not too sure what is to happen. I’ve only read about this in the book.”

“Well, that’s helpful.” He said. The girl laughed, she could see the ease the between the two of them. She didn’t know it then, but Ezra had once come from of the lady. A manifestation of a small part of her that she had conjured into being. The arguing, questioning side of her youth that was a source of strength and safety.

The Lady frowned.

“It will be some opening of portals and minds, a great wash over the land that will lift us all to new heights and banish that darkness. It will also bring forth her true purpose.” The lady said, peering now into the small box before putting into the bag she had over her shoulder.

“In other words, you haven’t got a clue, but it’s something to be getting on with.” Ezra said, walking over to the door where a row of boots and shoes stood. “Sounds like a wild goose chase to me.” He picked up the brown hiking boots and begun to put them on.

The lady ignored him and bustled about the room putting things into her bag. The girl followed Ezra and choose a pair of boots also. She hadn’t need for them, but if she was here to explore and try different things, she could start by wearing shoes for the first time.

“Dimian.” The lady suddenly said.

Ezra looked over to her.

“Not them again.” He said, his brow furrowing.

“And the gentleman of the boxes.” She added.

“That old goat, what’s he up to?” Ezra asked.

“And I hadn’t mentioned it earlier, but we are also going to have to hurry.”

“Hmmm, because two challenges weren’t enough. Why the haste?”

The lady stopped and looked at them by the door, dressed now and ready to leave.

“Because, in in two moons from now; I will have died”.

Between the jars: ‘In space we dream’

‘P’erl’ came the voice. Softly, like a snowflake landing on her ear. Her eyes were closed still, she felt the webbing around her body, keeping her in place. She was hesitant to open them, such dreams she’d had, and they were in danger of slipping away if she opened her eyes. It was so rare for her to sleep, and when she did, the night flashes came, robbing her of any peace. She was unusual for her kind. The rest of Europa never had dreams, never suffered the nightmares of other worlds parade across her mind like she did. Calling out in despair and anger. She’d learned not to sleep. She had learned a lot just to live.

It came again ‘P’erl’, a little stronger; this time the other side of her head. Her eyes flickered apart and scanned, she found no-one there. Her room lay beneath her empty and quiet. She hung up in the rafters, encased in the white webbing that held sleep, and dreamless sleeps for everyone but her. She knew the voice now, she had known it before. Her inner self telling her, it was time to go.


They are coming back....The lady of the jars and girl from Europa. New entry coming soon. To read the previous installments check out the story so far.

Broken blossoms

Heady vacant leaves blow in from the past.
Caught in the teeth of wisdom.
The coldness of a touch, when war has begun.
Leaves all but the strong shaking.
A flattening of houses and trust that was built.
Crumbling and grumbling in the ruins of despair.
Who takes you there?
To the banks of a river now black like tar.
Awash with the rubbish and junk of petty squabbles.
This fighting is good for only the undertaker.
Who buries our souls and dignity at night.
When no-one is watching to see the sad failure of hope.
A scab of regret will build and tower over this land;
this heart, and this space we’ve placed ourselves in.
The devil lines the walls with sickly cement of apathy.
Only god can peel it back and flick away the decay.
Letting the scars heal in the light and air of tomorrow.
As we bathe in holy water and the tears of trying.

Set the birds free

Where are you going to?
The voice asks, cold like decision.
To set the birds free.
And act, long forgotten.
It had covered over into memory.
By the tide of life.
What will happen?
I do not know, I replied.
Opening the veins, so god could peek inside.
They did that once before.
And we never forgot.
Yet this now seems strange to you?
Yes, because the birds usually nest in the garden.
Not in your heart.
This morning, I will set them free.
Then do it quickly, for I cannot watch.
Does the action bother you, the flapping of wings?
No, not that.
I cannot stand to see freedom, when I’m still locked inside.
The birds inside you I fear, have died.
Yes, but yours can still fly to heaven.
They will fly free at least.

Leviathan: Of the soul – Out Aug 25th

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Out Aug 25th

Lurking deep within all of us, even those familiar to the stormy seas, dwells the leviathan. The monster in the soul which takes hold when the sun is so easily burnt out. It is the bringer of the darkness, the chaos and the nightmares. Threatening your little raft of life, cast out into the world.
Journey here out onto the sea of poetry and short stories that explore the waves of emotions, horror and sadness. But keep an eye on the horizon, for that little splinter of hope that breaks from the sky.

‘Leviathan: Of the soul’ is a poetry and short story collection covering topics of death, mental illness, suicide and redemption. Hold on against its onslaught.

joojo (1)

Book – Little Black Horn

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“He’s a wounded animal. A dying breed who I keep here with me. I never intended him to stay after the first night.”

A woman struggles to hide the truth from a creature she believes to be her lover; a man journeys to Southern Italy in search of a witch; a child makes a pact with a voice he hears at the bottom of his garden. From adult fairy-tales to suburban horror; dark intentions seep through this collection of tales from the imagination of Harley Holland.

​-

‘Little Black Horn’ is a collection of twisted short tales from a talented writer and wonderful human being who I’m happy to call a very good friend. Bias aside, this book is really good and is sure to offer something for everyone. This is the second edition with a new design and format. Check it out, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

·        Buy it here

·        Review it here

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 in our ruins.

Angular resolution

Lost to everyone but myself.
As I stream through the cosmos.
Touching the stars with my fingertips.
Pausing by the swirling galaxies that shine like glistening pools of diamonds.
Would I find you here?
Carved out of something seen by no-one but God.
You speak words of another time and place.
Resting softly in my head like feathers from the future.
Plucked from a comets tail which snakes back to earth.
Threatening the order.
Teasing from above like angels dropping thunderbolts.
All around but absent.
Could I lose you there?
In that place only you and I know of.
Cut in half if you begin to forget.
Faded in the half light of a dawn you once promised.
Erasing the earth like a solar eclipse.
Yet I feel you, on this night.
In this skin that’s cratered like the lunar surface.
And I touch the place you once kissed me.
Believing once more in ghosts.

Journal – I had to grab a suitcase

I’m all alone and I can’t get back. Get back with my wanderlust.

I am very fortunate to be able to travel. It’s a freedom that I do not take for granted and one I appreciate greatly. My recent wander-lusting has taken me to Australia, the land of vegemite sandwiches and killer spiders…..
Read the rest over at the journal

MR

W/B – Fishing for light

To read the previous installments, click here

It was not the nature of the lady of the jars to be idle. Though she lived a somewhat idealised life, she was never one to shy away from work. Though her magical abilities helped in many ways, she believed hard work and action were the ways to get things done. She respected the powers that had come alive within, the knowledge that had been entrusted with her. Which is why she was keen to spring to action in helping the girl who had fallen from the stars.

There in her small kitchen, she watched as the girl curiously looked over her book of magic, wondering what they could both share with one another before the end. For she knew an end was coming, and every end had a start.

“Right, I think we’re going to need a little bit of help.” She said, looking deep into the azure wells that seemed etched with blue veins, the lamp light catching her eyes in a hauntingly special way.

“What do you mean?” the girl asked, no fright or reservation gave way in her voice. Just curiosity.

“Well, though we are protected here in my little cottage; and the snow will offer us more protection, there are things outside that I’ve begun to notice that might try and make things a little tricky for us.” The lady said, looking out the windows into the darkened grey beyond.

“Where are we going then?” The girl asked, holding her wrist the lady noticed, her hand spread like a small mirror. The lady hesitated.

“Do you sense them too?” the lady asked suddenly. The girl blushed purple, or seemed to blush, for she was actually in the process of travelling beyond the walls of the cottage. Projecting a version of herself outside to look around.

“I see a man, and things I do not know of.” The girl replied, the colour draining now away from her face.

The lady sighed slightly.

“He will never learn I fear.” She said, going over to the window to take a look for herself. But the snow was thick and heavy, and obscured much of her view. She turned back to the girl. “We need to go to a place where the energy centres collide. We need to conjure something which is much beyond what I can store in a little jar. It’s a place not far, at the centre of the forest. There is a clearing and you will feel it before you see it. It’s a very special place but I’m afraid it does not hold the type of protection my cottage has. This energy, this magic is not owned by anyone. It’s powerful and magnificent. Like the electricity that runs in the big cities. Anyone can tap into it. We can light a room or power a bomb, it’s how we use it that matters.”

The girl looked on, thinking suddenly of her home planet Europa. Where the ice coral was used to power and give life to the subterranean cities. This power was never abused, but cherished; a blessing that had come to them. And then she remembered the coral she had taken the day she left. That which she didn’t need but had spirited away with her. Why she had, she still was unsure of. Something within her had told her to. The same conflicting voices that sometimes forced her to act in ways she knew were different from everyone else.

“Are you okay?” the lady asked. Noticing how the patterns on her skin had changed suddenly, taking on a metallic colouring, covering the skin in an almost armoury sheath.

“Yes, I’m fine honestly. Sorry, I was thinking about something…..This place we need to go to, is it far?” She asked.

The lady watched as the metallic colours shimmered away, and the aqua blue hues began to dance and sway once more. She was concerned, it was the first moment she had seen as if the girl was frightened.

“No, it isn’t far really. But we will need some help to get there, and to shake off that man who is outside and who you have now seen. He’s the gentlemen of the boxes and he thinks you are here to help him with something.” She said.

“Can I help him?” The girl asked.

“Yes, you can. But you shouldn’t my dear. For what he wants helps no-one but himself. Before this is over, I think he will learn perhaps the biggest lesson. For wheels are in motion now that cannot be stopped, even if the destination is still unknown.” She replied, going now to the cupboards in her pantry.

“Oh, I see. It’s funny how we slide so precariously on destiny’s string.” The girl said. The lady turned and smiled at her.

“Indeed, destiny brought you here. And it’s destiny that we can still have a hand in. Come, there are things to be done.” She said, grabbing a bag that was tucked away under one of the chairs. “We need a few things, but I must quickly go and wake Ezra.

The lady of the jars opened her front door, pushing aside the drifts of snow which had built up during the day. Out of habit, she kicked off the snow which had collected over her doormat, revealing a ‘Welcome’ that had been hidden by the snow that the overhang had failed to protect from. Stepping outside, she got a greater sense of what was now out here. She had known the gentlemen of the boxes was around, she had sensed him earlier. But now she felt something else, and she reached quickly into her pocket and took out two coloured vials. They glowed there in her hand and in the dark. She took the red one and popped the stopper out with her thumb. The contents rushed upward and dispersed into a small cloud in front of her. In the blink of an eye the red vapour sped away and around the house. It collected back in front of her and she could see then in the smoke what it was. They had left their mark, staining the ground and the space where they had been.

“Dimian” she said, her breathe dispersing the red cloud in front of her which drifted quickly up into the sky, lost suddenly the in the snow which continued to fall. Dimian were old, ancient creatures which dwelled in the ground. They weren’t necessarily bad creatures, just all consuming. They gobbled and swallowed all the power they needed for their epoch slumbers, consuming vast amounts of previous ancient magic to keep themselves sustained. They did not discriminate on who or what they devoured. The Lady of the jars had her own protections against these creatures, but the sheer number of what she had seen in the cloud gave her pause for thought. Clearly the landing of the girl, and her cosmic concentration had woken them, fuelled them to seek out this treasure trove of power. She would have to be careful.

Inside the cottage the girl went about collecting the items the lady had asked for and adding further layers to her clothes in preparation for their journey. The lady now walked swiftly to the middle of her garden and took the other vial she had in her hand. This one glowed strong with a yoke yellow light. She reached a mound in the middle where a small stature of a boy stood, a fishing rod holding up a huge lantern that flickered out a warming flame in the dark. This was one of her protective elements to her cottage. The boy stood as a guardian, casting his light and power around her little home. But he could also do more than that. She cracked the vial over his head, sending the snow that had collected there up into the air like yellow dust. The vial smashed, but like that of an egg, as the yellow contents dripped down his head and covered his body. With a final flash of light the stone broke away and the boy came to life.

“Ezra, good to see you.” The lady said, as the boy swung the lantern on the fishing pole over her head.

“Brrrrr, it’s always so cold! Don’t you ever have a taste for warmer climates?”

The lady laughed. “Well, you are only wearing pyjamas. But you know me…” She said, a twinkle in her eye.

“That I do.” Ezra said, smiling a little and looking around. “Which usually means there’s a perilous task me for me, right?”

“Got it in one, but this time there is a damsel in distress.” She said.

“Really. Well, I would have put you more in the spinster in danger category myself.” Ezra said, putting the fishing pole under his arms so he could rub his hands together.

“You know, I could move for a more Grecian theme to your statured state, sans pyjamas!” she said, mockingly. Ezra looked around into the billowing snow.

“Alright, alright. Who needs saving this time?” He asked.

“Come, you can meet her and then I’ll show what we need to do.” She said, taking the fishing pole from him and opened the little door on the lantern. She tipped out a little flame which she hurriedly captured in a bottle she retrieved from her pocket. And placed it on the ground where Ezra had stood just before. It glowed in the dark and gave a warmth which melted the snow slightly around it. Looking like a sparking amber jewel in a sea of white.

to be continued…. 

A Quieting of souls

It was raining…
No, actually I don’t think it was. Stories always begin that way. The weather playing an integral part. The rain slashing at the windows, the eyes to the soul. From what I recall it was a nothing weather day. The ones that blend and blur into the stretching days of the week. Important by its unimportance, as time drips away in huge heaps. How many of those days have I been witness to? Sloshing back and forth in a maddening storm of banality.

There’s that weather again. I guess feelings are easily expressed through the elements.

His heart was like a rock. Nothing metrological about that only that his mind changed as much as the weather. A rock hewn from some mighty mountain full of pride and ego. It sat there, darkening the earth around it, blocking out the sun.

Bitterness does not belong in the tale, bitter people are weak, and after all I have endured weakness is not a trait within me.

No, I was not bitter by things. Embittering, but not in a nasty way. A useless endeavour besides, for the guard was up now and the rock grew stronger. Covering itself now in a gaudy shell of diamonds, harder than its innards. Tacky as rhinestones, but known to be genuine for its talk of money. I wish he held me that close. Kept snug in his pocket like a twenty pound note.

So that day, a Wednesday…it had to be really. A hump of a circumstance that found me at home. Pacing my bedroom and rearranging my clothes. Perhaps rearranging my life on some distant astral plain. Parting and subdividing atoms into a new river course. One to take me back to where it was brighter, lighter, and out of the woods. But there, in that existence I was to be found emptying draws. Kicking up dust and emptying the bins.

He let himself in. The key to my heart along with the apartment jingled in his pocket, next to his sweaty thigh. Calling out at the bottom of the stairs, I came to see him there. Framed in the hallway. Beckoning. His mind all talk of departure. Of spiriting himself away for a greater good that I had no right to be a part of. But his mouth did not utter these constant thoughts yet.

I would not descend. Calling out that I was busy upstairs and for him to come up. A grumble, a mumble of words strung together in irritation. Yet he came. Trouncing up the stairway like Melelaus into Troy.

The music from my world surrounded us, light strings of an orchestra hastening the end. I knew it then, with that look in his eye. The thousand ships of pain launched to plunder. Endings start at loves divergence. And though I sat and listened, my heart was collapsing. How much is justified? What is dredged up in departure? He touched me, needlessly. A patronising positioning of a hand on my knee. Asking me if I understood, asking me to have self-respect enough to let things be. It was then my soul grew still. Flanked on each side by a hurrying wind. Yet more weather. But it was the eye of the storm. A static electric hum encircled our souls, waiting for the collapse.

And it came. And they both remained silent. Mine, broken and shattered from an arrow to the chest.
His, laying crumpled at the foot of the stair. A twisted mess of bone and bruising. Seeping a love, that was no longer mine.

Of course, the day changed then. Going from the mundane to the maddening as I set ablaze to rival the burning of Troy. Maddening only for those caught up in the chaos. The firefighters and the old woman who lived in the apartment next to mine. The concern for the cat that always used to come and shit on my balcony, and who at times doused with water. I don’t know if it ever turned up, though everyone got out fine. As the smoke filled the sky above me, new clouds threatened to keep me under a strange world.

Fugitive is a rather ugly word. It implies something has been done wrong against a system which is good. What did I flee really, a broken heart. A life smashed into a thousand pieces after years of toil and care.

No, I would not say I am criminal; though my mind may have easily slipped into narcissistic notions of self-survival. But just that instead, a survivor. In the dark and in the quiet, while all around me life creaks to an unknown day; I hear the tiny clink of my soul, slowly coming back to life. Tiptoeing carefully back into the orchestra pit, hoping to make beautiful music once more.

And obviously, now it is sunny. The rains never trouble me.

White/Blue – Part II

(part I here)

Ice on the edge of space

She slept of course, that’s how she’d gotten there. Trapped in a dream that travelled across sky and time. It wasn’t far really, not within her scheme of things. Europa was really the backyard to Earth’s green and blue house; compared to the places she’d been and seen. The trip was quick, a blink of the inner eye for her. Sleeping, forming, and settling into something new in which to emerge from. No-one knew she had left, she made it that way. It wasn’t sneaking out the backdoor or running away, merely moving to the place she knew she would blossom. Unfold in the weighted gravity and expand like the sea coral in her mind.

Getting there was the easy part. She would not miss her home moon, she was not one for looking back. Too many shards of ice poking her into a position she knew she’d outgrown. She had breathed her last and stepped into her waiting transport, bidding a silent farewell to her gods, before becoming one herself. She had shaken her teeth out, burying them deep into the subterranean ice, like planting a seed without the expectation of growth. A silly ritual, one from her childhood. Sealing overt the past and welcoming a new dawn. She’d marked the spot with taldium stones. Smooth onyx rocks that looked like fillings from a gigantic beast. This was all she left behind. New teeth grew inside her as she’d slept in the transport, hurtling across the cosmos as the milk teeth grew and fused together in the depths of space.

Her heart had guided it. The comet that buckled and flayed in the pressures of the vast unknown. Steaming up in the re-entry to a land she’d never entered before. It had lit up the sky across a remote part of china, heralding change and ill omens to the many onlookers who captured it in their eyes as they gathered around their small communal fires. Her heart beat, her skin stretched. Her mind collapsed a million times only to be reborn and steer the transport to that spot. A spot chosen, not for its ease or any strategic opportunity. It was chosen for its sole reason alone, the reason she had left Europa in the first place. It was where the one was, the one who could change her and perhaps, even save her.


Detach and connect

Steam began to gather around them now, the snow and air evaporated temporarily while the remains of the comet and the contents hissed and spewed in the hole in the ground. The lady of the jars didn’t hesitate, she hoped into the hole and began pulling away at the stray tendrils that had not joined the body. She pulled and heaved, working it free and pulling it away like a tooth from a root. Her hands were raw from the cold, but the blue liquid quickly covered them and the pain subsided. She was resourceful, years of chopping wood for her fire and toiling her own yard had given her strength and determination. She lifted the body like a doll off the floor, heaving it over her should; the doll now a sack of flour to be carried into her cottage. Snow began to cover the hole, the marked earth smeared black and blue began to be covered once more in the blanket of white the lady of the jars had always cherished. Soon there would be little evidence of any visitor. It was a secret she was eager to keep to herself, and with that thought she hurried quickly inside.

Closing the door, she took the body over to the fire in her living room. Her house was sturdy, and she could only just hear the howling blizzard outside, the fire crackling over the sound of the perpetual winter. She placed the body carefully, then stoked the fire before taking off her cardigan which was now wet with melted snow and ice. The blue liquid began to slacken, but it did not pool off onto the floor; instead it collected into droplets which lifted up into the air, disappearing like tiny ghosts.  She stood back and watched the transformation, the cocooned being separating into the body of a girl. The hair and skin humming to life with a florescent radiance which faded to healthy glow. The girl’s eyes suddenly blinked open and she sat up. Her eyes, those azure wells that pierced the room flashed and opened up a doorway to another space. A land beyond the stars. The lady of the jars handed her a throw which she kept draped across her good chair, and wordlessly the girl surrounded herself in it. Embracing the warmth and kindness the protection it offered. They sat there in the quiet for some time, having a conversation with no words but levelling out their worlds.

“Tea, that always helps a situation.” The lady said, standing up slowly as not to frighten the girl. The ageless entity that sat on her rug in front of the warming heat. “You stay by the fire, I’ll bring it in.” she said, bustling out into the kitchen. She boiled the kettle and took down the jar of green chai, tipping the leaves merrily into the giant teapot she always had on the side. Though she lived alone, she always devoured copious amounts of tea, and the giant teapot was a testament to it. She filled it up with the bubbling water, and added some crushed almonds, swirling them around inside. She grabbed some small glasses and returned to the living room with the refreshments; popping them down on the side. Though it had been snowing hard and the day was dark, it was now growing darker she noticed, finding the light from the lamp post at the end of her path gaining more strength in the encroaching shadow.

“You must have travelled far, here drink this; it’ll help.” She said, handing the girl a small glass of the tea. The girl reached out with her swan like hand and the lady noticed it then, the etching on her arm. It was a pattern, words even, in some sort of languages; she was sure her book could tell her. These weren’t just dead prints like tattooed skin. The pattern and words swam with life, like a moving aquarium dance of blue hue and light, rippling across the skin, growing strong then faint like a conflicting idea.

“Thank you.” The girl said, reaching for the glass. Her teeth split apart for her to speak, having fused together on her journey. The words were understandable to the lady’s ears, but anyone else from anywhere else would have understood, the language fitting the ear of the listening, wrapping around the mind and settling in the soul. A sweet whisper of a voice, like a feather landing on a petal. Delicate, but hiding a secret strength of flight.

“Are you…” the lady began, but was interrupted by an abrupt and determined knock at her blue door. It wasn’t the pheasants this time, that she knew.


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