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to yearn for a mythI am not afraid of the Grim Reaper,
the hollow-eyed bone man in the night black cloak
come to collect me with his scythe
and let me, without the burden of my flesh,
twist myself around his gnarled fingers
or press my face against his ribs and inhale the ashes
the empty odor of an autumn chill.
But I am afraid of the absence of a Reaper,
the fact that there is no man like him,
no one that will hold me close
and take me where I need to be; there is
only a tall pine box and dirt and the Conquerer Worm
and the fact that I will become in body
what I have always been in mind:
nobody and nothing at all
to be like this to be like this is
to walk a living death;
or to die again with every inadvertent breath
while rigor mortis petrifies the bones,
useless muscles under pallid flesh,
every breath is slow, is w e a k,
digesting rotten air in
and I can't s p e a k with you
any more than satan speaks with God
I'm too - -
too tired to maintain this
He decorates graves with stolen flowersI watched from nearby.
He was here again, and he was sad. Flowers of all kinds wilted in his grasp. Tighter, tighter he clutched them as tears prickled his eyes.
"You're choking them," I told him, but he didn't listen. He hadn't listened to me in years (though he certainly spoke to me a lot). The flowers' frayed stems told me he hadn't bought these. He never had the money to spare, anyway. I wanted to tell him not to waste his time ripping flowers from the neighbor's garden on my behalf, but it probably wouldn't have stopped him.
He kneeled in the grass. I smiled, though I wanted to cry (and would have, if I could have).
"I'm right here," I whispered. (All he heard was a fluttering leaf in the gentle breeze.)
"These are for you," he said. He wiped his face with the back of his sleeve and gently placed the suffocated flowers by my head.
"You crushed them again," I laughed. (All he heard was the creak of the black gate.)
Just as the wind began to pick up, he leaned over and ki
The Traveler and the PoetThere was a poet on the train that evening. At that hour, he was the only one in this car. Only one train ran this late into the night.
(On occasion, it would thunderstorm, and the raindrops pelted the train like a drum. Drrrum, drrrrrrrrum. Accented by the thunder, it was practically a symphony. The poet did like those nights.)
There was a time when the poet could sit alone, gaze out the window, contemplate the darkness. He could dream. He could nightmare.
(His eyes never stopped wandering. In the daytime, they ran to the horizon and back; they skipped among flowers, climbed trees, met new people, greeted old friends, and then returned to their owner on the train. At night, they plunged fearlessly into the abyss, not really looking for anything. And the poet saw everything.)
His alone days came to an end when the words began to overflow. They practically oozed from his pores. They ran from his lips every time he spoke. They graced his ears when he listened. They lived in secret places
My Tin SoldiersIt was a raindrop symphony
Performed on roof shingles,
Accompanied by thunder
And sweet wind chime jingles.
Plagued by monsters behind
Tip-tapping tree fingers,
I fled from my nightmares
Where the real beast lingers.
I ran to my toy chest that
Lay off in the distance
And sought the tin soldiers'
Defense and assistance.
With their tin hands and rifles
They fought off the noises;
The tip-tapping and splish-splashing
And whispering voices.
Battling on the windowsill,
I bundled up with a sigh,
So glad my tin soldiers
Are much braver than I.
MadnessI handed him the "Help Wanted" poster with quivering hands. I needed this job. I screwed up everything, and this was my chance to get back on track. In the silence, my mind wandered, dragging my thoughts to hope for the best. I peered over my glasses at the old man who was scanning my résumé.
At last, he looked up at me and laughed. "No experience?" he asked with his white moustache waggling as he spoke.
I shook my head. "Sorry," I said, a sheepish smile pasted across my face. I couldn't have wiped it away if I tried.
"Good!" cried the old man Alfred.
I heaved a sigh of relief.
"Thank you so much, Mr. Tanith!" I exclaimed, reaching out to shake his trembling hand.
"Not quite yet," Alfred Tanit
FFM24: It's Raining MenShe's finally done it, Dani realized as lightning streaked across the sky, the damn writer had lost the last bit of grey matter keeping her from the cuckoo bin. The forecaster had predicted rain, but not this kind of rain. The first drop to hit the pavement was six feet tall of glistening, rippling sex beast. He should have died instantly, but since the writer was out of her vulcan mind, he landed gently beside the first and just as shirtless.
“Love me,” he said, holding out a hand.
Dani groaned, pretending not to look. This was so wrong.
All around the world, people stopped to watch this mysterious rain. Traffic stalled. Inside, the forecaster who had predicted a wonderful summer shower hid in his office, studying the readouts. It just wasn't possible. Men don't fall from the sky like rain.
“You've done it now,” Dani shouted, “Don't pretend you can't hear me. I know you're typing this right now. You have to stop this.”
Kaleen, the writer, ignored he
The Grave of GodThis crater marks the place where God and the adversary annihilated each other. No more God. No more adversary. There's nothing here now. Just me.
If you were to head west from here and climb the lip of the crater, you'd find yourself in a desert, where the sand dunes gather against the ruins. There are mountains on the horizon, pale blue. They look as distant as the moon, and they very nearly are.
In those mountains lurk creatures, ancient and colossal, constructed at the adversary's behest. They barely move anymore, for there is no-one left here to kill. Though their bodies have become part of the landscape, their eyes never close. They will lie waiting for all eternity.
Beyond the mountains are the riverlands, where used to be settlements and forests, all of which have long since rotted. North you might find what remains of Telassar, the capital city of the angels. Half underwater now, with its mighty bridge broken, only the palace stands proud of the sea, and it too is dead.
The Earth-Queen's SorrowThe earth-queen's son was born in springtime, and his birth was heralded with crocuses and fresh green and a splendor of sunlight. Through summertime he grew, golden and beautiful, dearer to her than the wind itself.
Then autumn came, and the leaves ran red with his blood. He fell, and withered, an empty husk of brown.
Winter came: in her sorrow, the earth-queen swept the world with white. Snow would be his shroud and his finery. The chill in the air would mirror the cold emptiness in her heart. Ice would cover her lakes and rivers and the wounds of her soul; and her frozen tears would fall from the heavens as tiny flakes of crystal.
The winter drew on, and many died under the cold weight of the earth-queen's sorrow. At last the people chose a hero to go to her, to beg for mercy.
They fitted her with fatted leather boots, with a thick leather vest, with fur-lined gloves and a fur-lined cloak. “You go into the heart of winter,” they told her. “Give no quarter to the co
FFM29: August 5thJuly 27th, 2013---Karl Whitney is arrested for the kidnapping and suspected murder of Elsie Waters. Ghostly figure is spotted on the beach by local crackpot. Might be legit.
July 28th, 2013---Dreamed about roses in the water. Kauka needs more kitty litter---
Noelani snapped her notebook shut. The ghost had no name, but he floated above the dock like he owned it. She wasn't impressed. It was well past the witching hour and her damned cat was getting persnickety.
“Mreow,” Kauka said. He clawed at the boards, ears flat as he cat-growled. He kept both eyes fixed on the hovering phantasm. Once again, Noelani was glad he couldn't speak English.
“You're a nut, you know that,” Noelani said, “He's dead, he can't hurt you.”
Kauka flicked his tail and sat glaring. Like all cats, he knew a lie when he heard it. Most ghosts couldn't hurt the living, but this one could. This one was different. Noelani had a feeling Kauka was going to punish her later for suggestin
FFM 23: Trophies“And this one, I got after I slayed the vampire of Gershon,” the Hunter announced, pointing at the two holes tattooed on his neck. “When I battled the Odd Ones in Goblith Forest, I got this one back here.” He turned to reveal chaotic black spirals twisting up his spine. “These ones--”
This had been going on too long.
Aloric stood from the bar, shrugging the furs off his shoulder. The tavern went silent as the audience’s gaze shifted. Ragged claw-marks tore down his chest, and his right bicep was encircled with a jagged ring that could only have been jaws. A cluster of arrow-sized dots marred his side, and a net a thin lines wound up one side of his face.
Leaning within inches of the hunter’s face, Aloric let out a low growl. “Anyone can buy tattoos. Scars are earned.”
FFM27: She Probably Meant WellI stared at the room from all angles while Martha, the real estate agent, stared at me in unmasked horror. She rubbed her palms against the sides of her black pencil skirt. She shifted back and forth from left foot to right foot, ready at any moment to sprint out of here.
I didn't really blame her. I got that kind of reaction from everyone. Martha must have needed the commission pretty badly to have stuck it out this well. She'd showed me the entire house, from the immaculate cellar to the spacious attic. She'd even answered all of my questions without screaming.
“I'd like to make an offer,” I said. I tried to move very slowly as I turned back around to face her. The eyes bobbed in the air. They followed me with the same extreme slowness. Big Blue, an eye the size of a tennis ball, floated in front of me. It spun in place, keeping its gaze fixed on poor Martha. The sight of it must have been too much for her, because she fainted.
“Great,” I said to no one in par
There is a Happy Land“Do you see the light?” Millie asked, elbowing her brother and pointing across the dark field.
Steven pushed his braids behind his ears and his eyes followed the line of her finger. At first, there was nothing, but then he spotted the small flash over the grass. “Fireflies?” he asked.
“Fairies, she whispered back.
Grabbing her younger brother by the hand, she dragged him towards it. Steven dug his heels into the dirt, pulling back. The field was full of weeds and sticker plants that would get stuck in his purple princess dress. “Steven!” she whined.
“No,” he protested. “It’ll ruin my dress and Dad ‘ll never let me have another one.”
Millie pulled harder, forcing him forward. “Then hold up your skirts. I can’t go without you. They said so. It’s all of us or none of us.”
The young boy gave up fighting and grabbed hold of the satin play dress. He gave a glance back at the dark house. Mom
The Prettiest StarShe touched the stone, and the stars fell down.
The world seemed to come crashing down with them, the storied tales in those fake glass stars tumbling and twirling, beautiful beacons that had brought faith to thousands; the whistling as they fell sounded like the cries of the newly hopeless.
The woman at the pedestal stood without a single twist of regret. Her posture was certain, her hands steady. Blood soaked her face, matching the crimson of her cloak as it billowed around her in the darkness, as the air filled with the white explosions of the stars around her, shattering as they sent glass splintering across the huge domed room.
"Seline, stop!" a red-haired woman screeched from the doorway, too late to stop her. She stumbled backward, shielding her eyes.
Bodies lay in the room around the pedestal Seline had just touched, broken. Their white capes were stained red, and their red-crossed shields lay shattered and abandoned. Seline's sword was stained with that blood, steaming in
FFM 2014: Day 25Jenny was seven when the first ladders appeared in the sky. No one knew where they’d come from or what they were for, but they were clearly impossible. Extruding into the atmosphere at ridiculous lengths, their tops lost in the clouds.
“It’s a sign from God.” Said her Great Aunt Mathilda. “These are the end of days and the Lord has provided us with direct access to heaven.”
Jenny was only little, but even she though that sounded a bit silly. Whatever the ladders were, surely if God was bringing about the end of world he would have had something better up his sleeve.
After a while, they became part of the landscape. Air traffic routes were greatly inhibited, but above a certain height the ladders seemed to disappear, slipping through into whatever dimension they had originated from.
Scientific expeditions were sent up, but never returned. The government tried blocking them off, but there were just so many of the damned things, so in the end they issue
That Christmas EveThere was snow blanketing every inch before us, white and soft while it crunched softly beneath our boots. We sniffled while our noses turned red from the chill, and suddenly everyone could sympathize with Rudolph. Rosy-cheeked children slid past on anything from brand new sledges to garbage can lids, laughing while they spun in the cleanest mess of ice, dodging trees and rocks and patches of dead weeds. It was not a pretty place, and yet it was beautiful, for the evening was beautiful, and the faces were beautiful, and the laughter was Christmas itself.
Father Christmas watched closely by, and a million tongues uttered his name while the sun touched the horizon, and its all-encompassing rays were blotted out by treetops and sticky snowflakes.
You may have caught the sound of bells, had you been standing where I stood on that Christmas Eve. You may have seen a flourish of red in the sky, carried by winter winds and reindeer of fantastic majesty. And you may have, for a moment, believed
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