If you would like to submit a drabble (a short work of game-related fiction exactly 100 words), please @mail Ellis with your submission, the title, the name you would like it to appear under and which category you feel it belongs best in.
296 String Theory drabbles written — and counting.
Human After All
There are no threads to twist around her little finger any longer. No sensation of time flowing over skin, through her mind.
Even the absence of all that now is absent.
There's hunger. (Not that.) It causes rabbit-like snacking throughout the day. Added weight. Healthy.
Home doesn't feel like a home, past a checkpoint meant to keep "her kind" in more than keep others out. Only she doesn't belong here in this place. With these others. Others that she was like once.
Somewhere between half-sleep and dream, it occurs to her:
She's no longer a member of the persecuted species.
Don't Stand So
You don't remember the time you bought me a dirty magazine after I asked you about something m'dad said at visitation. But you swore 'cross your heart not to tell Mum and she never found out because she never went looking. And I was mostly away besides.
I reckon I was a little young but no lasting harm done. I thought it was nice. The lady in the centerfold even looked a bit like you: perfect sine curve of ass, hips and pussy, calves flexed firm over spiked heels.
Eyes narrowed, pale skin silken soft on the page.
It's Totally a Word
I hate these moral quandaries. To do what is good for you or to do what is good. The distinction implies that to choose the latter is to choose what is not good for you. For you. Who are we kidding? For Jane.
I was a lawyer, you'd think I'd be better at pragmatism. Of course, I was also a solider, which is not a job for those with good survival instincts.
But the fact stands, I've never been one to let injustice just sit there, being all injustical.
I am going to be so fired after all this.
It was hard enough to admit it to myself. Harder to tell someone. Nearly impossible to tell him. I'm sure he knows by now.
I'm not so sure that he understands how difficult it was. Is. How awkwardly painful that it is to look at people and know them, and you look at yourself and see something so foreign that it speaks a language all its own.
He's smart, but he's only a man-
-and I've learned to not give them too much credit. Still, such credit is deserved where it is deserved. Of anyone I know, I think he deserves it most.
Samson Thirteen: Walter
i dont get to be rough anymore. i will be like hahcheekoh and i will wait for him to get big every day more. i dont know what that means but i will do it because i love him.
he still is very tiny but she says Walltur will get big like me. i hope it comes soon. when winter is gone i think.
we will play on the beach
i show him SqueaksSqueakseeks he likes them. when he yells i lick his face clean. when he is sleeping i stay there too. i am a good dog.
i am a good dog.
He can't walk, or talk, or even crawl yet, but I think he's quickly becoming my best friend. I don't think I've ever had a proper one, to be honest.
I have friends, and lovers, and family, but there's never been someone that-
Friends listen, lovers hold you, family consoles you if they must-
-but none of them have that immeasurable bond.
I always imagined having a new family to replace the one that I lost, but I never expected just the two of us. I think we're a pretty good pair, though.
I hope my old family thinks the same thing.
The Tip of the Iceberg
It's not like sleep, though I think that I dream. Then again, much of this has been like an endless one. I'd like to dream about somewhere that isn't so cold. Though to me, it's always warm.
I go places that I could never have, and it isn't as bad. When you're normal, you can't experience the things that I do now. More than once I've gone as far as I can, though never south- north, or east.
I would never see myself here if I weren't like this.
I would not have thought twice.
Whalesong is so very beautiful.
If he'd remained behind,
like she asked him to.
He tokes alone, oily smoke compressed in his lungs and spent in a draconic wind warm through his sinuses
The ocean forbidding black for miles, cloying cloud cover smothering low with acidic humidity, he sits and watches and thinks to himself
indian style atop the edge of a skyscraper he has no right to occupy, through too many locked doors
brow hooded and knuckles bent to scruffy chin, city light an industrial smear of orange and bruise brown, jet liners coasting over a kingdom that doesn't belong to him
When I was a child, I wanted you to come back. Whoever you happened to be; I didn't even know. I imagined someone who had very important things to be doing, like piracy or heroism, too important to father a child, to husband a woman. Romantic movies and love songs made her sad. My hugs around her waist not enough to reach the emptiness inside.
I grew older.
You left emptiness with your presence too, and I think that must be why you went. And although she never could, I did inherit spine enough to blame you for it.
The tart fruit are protected by gossamer-fine cases that are more fun to peel away than the prizes inside are tasty. It's why she lets him help, with the kitchen counter as high as his chin and hands reaching to shuck the gooseberries clean. They'd go well in a pie, she had said. He'd wondered how old you'd have to be, to know things like that.
She smacks his shoulder when she catches him sneaking a couple to eat, but he sees her pretend not to see just as many times. One day, he wishes he had paid more attention.
She's my Professor X.
No wheelchair or baldness. Her hair is long and beautiful. But like Professor Xavier, she taught me how to use my ability; she trained me until I mastered as many aspects of it as we could find.
Every book she could salvage that seemed to involve my ability, she made me read, until the words all blurred together.
The first time I faltered during a lesson, I got a burn scar on my shoulder and stern words about concentration followed almost immediately by encouragement and caring.
Because of her, I know exactly what I can do.
At the Dinner Table
Watching them, it's hard to believe they had their own lives before, independent and autonomous. A life before me. There’s an easiness between them now, kinship and understanding. They’re comfortable. They’re best friends. They’re not in love.
I don’t think they’ve ever been in love. Not with each other.
They could split up now. I’m old enough. But Life has worn ruts and grooves into their hearts that make it hard to fathom a life apart. A life without.
There’s more than one kind of love. They’ve found one. They’ve made a life of it.
Hopefully it’s one without regrets.
A father should be proud of his son…
Mine is a rebel, has been since birth, will be when he dies I imagine. I didn't get the choice to be in his life, didn't get the opportunity to be a father. When we finally met, he'd already made up his mind about hating me. I don't blame him.
He took up a rebel's name, wears it proudly.
I watch him from afar, watch the struggle make him stronger. He'll become strong enough — become what is needed — because he's my son. I wouldn't expect any less.
And if he finally kills me
I'll die proud.
Living in Shadow
Your name is whispered with reverence reserved for saints and legends. How can I live up to that? In every way I'm lesser. Smaller. Weaker.
No one has to tell me so.
I am your legacy. Do you see you in me? Flawed and raw as I am?
I want to see myself in your refined grace, your fierce power. I want to fulfill the promise of your blood beating in my veins.
But I'm afraid; if I become more like you, will I lose that which makes me me?
Can I be a legacy and still be me?
I'd only ever seen her in a picture. She died years before I was born. The second woman he truly loved. The last woman he truly loved. Hidden away in a desk, the picture only came out when the decanter had nearly been emptied.
The first time I noticed it I was six, mother had thrown it across the room, breaking the glass and cracking the frame. My father bought a new one the next day. A memory, a regret, the love he could never have. A face he could never get away from. A regret that slowly destroyed him.
She isn't mom, but she is.
I can't remember what she looked like when I was little. Can't forget her eyes, they're still the same. She can still make me sit up straight and behave. I'm afraid to touch her, hug her, tell her how much she means to me.
I'm afraid to tell her she raised me as best she could, that she took an impossible task and succeeded. I'm afraid because she'll reject me. She's my heart when I feel less than human.
I guess I'm just afraid of showing her what I've become.
A heartless machine, conceived in a lab.
People talk about heroes like they're all gone.
Growing up, people talked about my father. Told me he was a hero, told me he died to protect his student. Now he teaches me, tells me about the man that molded him.
People talk about my mother, they say she died a hero too. Day I was born, it was in a fountain. Mom had a gun out while she was in labor, the battle was so loud they couldn't hear me cry. First sight were tracer rounds streaking through the air, first smell was cordite and gunpowder.
Heroes aren't gone.
We just needed time.
Leather pressed cool and close to the long flanks of his face
he wakes on the carpet, black matted in thick against the grain, gumming cheek to shoulder. Guts turned, bitter crust white at the corners of his mouth. Knife a dry file on orbital socket, metal tweaking to bone
when he pries them open with a wet crunch and pop, steam sweet and warm in the winter fog that
into a dull roar. Manageable as the gas heater's hiss at the foot of his bed when he rolls over and reminds himself drowsily
not to remember.
There Is No Escape
I can't let things be. It's just not in me to walk away. A vacation would be nice. Some time to sleep. I can't remember the last time I slept without nightmares. And there are more horrors to come. Did we cause them? Is this our fault? I hope not.
I dream of what could have been. Should we have left Arthur — and well enough — alone? There has to be a way to mend it without making it worse. Without becoming monsters ourselves.
I used to think we might eventually be able to leave the fight. I know better now.
Flashing Through the Grid
A burning smell, a flash, and I was gone again. Back into the labyrinth of power, of electricity. Walking, nay running, through seemingly endless tunnels.
The occasional intersection told me it wasn't endless. At times, the tunnels seemed to split a thousandfold. I knew those places were the most dangerous, the most likely to get me lost again.
But I knew this split, and recognized this path I had to take. Onwards, crawling through that tiny hole between me and the goal of this journey.
A light at the end of the tunnel, I stepped out, rematerializing yet again, naked.
At (Her) World's End
Give her back to me! Don't do this to her!
Back against the wall.
I won't turn around. I want them to look at me. See my face. Watch me shout my curses.
Cheek to stone. Arms at my back.
My baby! We lost her father, don't make me leave her, too!
Blood in my nasal passages. In my mouth. On my tongue. Slicked to my teeth. Spat on concrete.
This can't be where it ends!
Trying to twist around. Trying to duck free of grasping hands and pinning limbs.
Cold and lackin' emotions. Feelin' no pain or worry.
I envy the drone.
Wishin' daily I could be like it, no cares or feelin's. Just cold metal and programmin'.
Daily I have to deal with beings of flesh and blood, feel their aches and pains. Listen to their bitchin' about such little things. Looking to me to fix their problems, when I can't even fix my own.
The human race is just a bunch of wimps, lazy and selfish.
A robot doesn't have to worry about all that, just execute programmin' and not care about the rest of the shit.
Growing Old Again
Water streams down his face in rivulets as he looks up at the mirror, hands bracing at the edge of the porcelain sink, as he leans over the basin full of water. Turning his head a little to look at the silver that has started to thread it's way through dark hair.
Did he remember showing the signs this early?
Finger tips tug down a little at the corners of his eye, watching the lines smooth, but hints of creases remain. Didn't he already do this dance before?
The dance with time.
He get's to do it all over again.
Tiny hand red from cold is held out to her, snow clings to fingers, shaken in a gesture of 'hurry!' She kneels to brush the clinging ice crystals away and then presses her own hands over tiny ones to warm them.
"I told you it was cold," she chides softly, with deep affection. The older blonde suddenly remembers her father echoing those words.
Pale eyes only stare up to her, no voice to offer comment. Only thoughts of how it felt when picking up the snow.
She wonders what her family would think seeing her caring for a child?
New and Familiar
It was almost like the first time all over again.
Each touch of his work roughened hands and brush of lips on her body was new again. Yet each brings a lingering sense of familiarity and knowing. Sense of something she missed and longed for. Too many years had faded and blurred the memories of their bodies twined together in the darkness. Intimate moments lost to time.
She marveled at how she had forgotten the texture and warmth of his skin under her fingertips or the sensation of unspoken words or thoughts passed between them.
How could she have forgotten?
Two months. That's all I got. Less than that really. A full month was wasted. Wasted by misconceptions and hard feelings. Wasted by the past, the present, and fears of the future. I can't even say they were needless fears.
We both could've done things differently. I came on too strong. He came on too assholish. No one person is to blame. Not for that. Not really. But I wish it could've been different. I wish that we'd gotten more time together. That I could've gotten to know him.
I just want another two months. I just want him back.
1. “Mom says I’m fat,” she says, pushing the chocolates away.
“You’re not,” he retorts.
She giggles and leaves him one.
2. Calvin dies because he doesn’t know about the bomb in her mouth.
3. “Why would I bet on the twenty percent I can’t see coming?”
Walter laughed. “Me,” he said, leaned in and left him swearing.
4. Ingrid. Maybe.
5. Everybody assumed it was merely night terrors because it started at eight, before the other symptoms, and he even stopped screaming in a year; so Mum simply kissed his forehead before bed, for four years of that nightmare.
In my dreams, memories flash, the past vibrant and technicolor, brighter than the moments ever were in mundane reality.
The scent of lavender filters out the acrid stench of sweat on my damp pillow. Red hair brushes my cheek, blue eyes gaze down as I feel a gentling touch, a cool hand on my febrile brow.
The fever makes everything blurry, but in my dreams, in my dreams within my dreams, everything is razor-sharp and loud.
I dreamt of her just once, delirious and drunk on fever. In my dreams, she was dark and fierce. A lioness.
Stories from the Past
You’d think beach or mountains, right? Maybe a treehouse I’d had as a kid (if I didn’t live in a slum)? Wrong.
My favorite place? Antique shops.
Every antique has a story waiting for the right person, someone who isn’t just looking for knickknacks to fill space on a shelf. Someone who isn’t trying to strike it rich like those people who find a Ming vase for $1.
Someone who can tell, although the people who owned a particular object wanted a different one, they loved it eventually, because it belonged to them…
…that being loved trumps being wanted.
You say I’m naive because I have hope.
Let me tell you something.
It’s fucking easy to see this screwed-up world how it is: dark and cruel and heartless.
It’s easy to see smoke in the skies and taste blood in your mouth, shrug your shoulders and say, “That’s the way things are, kid, grow up. Life ain’t fair.”
It’s not easy to see what isn’t: how things could be, would be if everyone fought for their beliefs.
I come from a long line of believers. Their lives weren’t easy; my life sure isn’t.
But it’s worth fighting for.
The Human Condition
The boy died in his sleep. Being of a strange nature and relatively unimportant, there was no funeral held and many failed to even notice. In the nights following, she lit a candle for him, but it was difficult to feel sad. Flame-light beckoned in the grey-winged moths to keep her company, and cast plain wood and brass into a queen's gold. It shone like a beacon from the river-side house.
They came in on boats tiled with paua shell beneath the night sky, summoned by the jasmine, and their luggage weighted with memory. Loneliness being only a human condition.
The Corpses of Fireflies
When I was a little girl, I used to collect fireflies in a jar.
I thought it was fun, holding them tightly to my chest, watching them glow and buzz around. Then one day the glowing stopped, and corpses of fireflies would litter the bottom of the jar. I cried the first time I saw it happen, felt like I had become a terrible person.
It was the first time I ever really understood death, and understood that my father was gone. When my mother found out, she took me aside and told me something I'll never forget.
"Everything lives to be free."
When I was a little boy, people used to tell me stories of my mother.
They said she was brave, kind, and loved me.
As I grew older, I came to realize that none of the people raising me actually knew her.
They just told me what any child should think, and never spoke to me of my father.
It wasn't until he stole me back that I learned the truth; that my mother never wanted me and my father was a monster.
I spent the next few years resenting them both, praying for death.
Instead, I was saved.
Now I just resent you for saving me.
Freedom isn't all it's made out to be. The freedom to run and set fires and wear what y'like, even if it's 'nothing.'
But freedom of rational choice is the real killer.
Freedom've choice entails accountability for actions taken by you,
in a context wherein independence is more accurately akin to
and so the absence of any culpable entity to blame beyond the civilized persons of messrs you and yourself for the utterly fuckin' retarded shit 'you' gets 'yourself' into when there's nobody qualified around to say 'No.'
'There isn't always a next time.'
My mother is gentle, kind, told me stories of heroes and myth and she taught me how to jump on and enjoy the ride.
My mother is aggressive and free, and taught me to always fight tooth and claw for the people and things I want.
My mother is fearless and strong, taking on the world like there's nothing she can't do, and she taught me that there's nothing I can't do if I try.
My mother is fun-loving and energetic, always finding the enjoyment in everything and she taught me to find the best in anyone or any situation.
My parents were miserable. My father took his pills with his alcohol, and my mother did the same, when she wasn't taking her anger out on others. Never me, but always someone. The hired help. The people next door. Herself. They slept in separate beds for so long I didn't understand parents were supposed to sleep in the same til I was a teenager.
He regretted lost loves. She regretted lives discarded.
I wouldn't be here, if they hadn't been together. But they would have been so much happier apart.
Am I selfish enough to be grateful that they suffered?
Everytime he held her, she felt the world go quiet. All she could hear was his breath against her hair, his heart beating in his chest, his hands touching her skin. The big scary world became small and simple when he touched her and she loved him for it.
She wanted to bring his children into the world, but her body could not hold them. They withered before they drew breath. He loved her, always. She never doubted he loved her. Not once. Her only regret would be that she could not be his shield, as well as his foundation.
Le Roman de Renard
He can't remember who gave him the picture book because it was gifted when his hands were still too weak to hold it. He'd open it to check the note scrawled on the inside of the cover in someone's handwriting, but he doesn't have it anymore.
Hasn't since he was nine or ten, too young and stupid to realize that just because you're small enough to squeeze through a hole doesn't mean you should. That foxes don't walk on two legs and animals aren't people, but sometimes the opposite is true.
They caught him by the scruff. Lucky someone came.
When he called her a dyke for wanting her own motorcycle instead of riding on the back of his, she hit him hard enough to break his nose. That had been an accident.
The hitting. Not the breaking.
There's still blood on her knuckles when she sticks out her thumb and hitches a ride out of Friendship (a ridiculous name for a city) on her way to Polk County (ridiculous too but for different reasons).
In the passenger's seat of the 1987 Dodge Dakota, she empties herself on the dash.
She's drunk. Angry.
Frightened by how often these things coincide.
Where She Knows She'll Find It
By the time you read this, I'll already be
I'm gone. I know you forbid didn't want me to do this, but it's like Dad said. Sometimes you have to take a chance and not be afraid to make mistakes if you really want to live. That's why you married him, right?
I don't think I know this isn't a mistake. And I really want to live.
And want you to know that I love you, too.
And that I forgive you. For what you thought you had to do everything.
I miss you already.
A Thousand Words, Part II.5
In 1954, she marries/married her fiance. They live/d together for fifteen years, she bears/ed him exactly one son, and one way or another, the man that stayed at her house is gone from her life long before then.
Francois is/was an impatient student. The details are what he remembers/ed, desiring to fill in the light shading of his eyes, the curve of her lip — not proportion, not perspective. But she is/was a patient teacher, and showed him the circles and lines' necessity. People begin as their skeletons, she tells/told him.
Draw their bones.
Reworked in the Margin at 2 AM
"What is it?"
"Some one has died. You did not say it had broken out among your people."
"I did not know! Come with me!"
After that, appalling things happened, and the mysteriousness of the morning was explained. It had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies.
She had been ill in the night, and it was because she had just died that the hidden had wailed in the huts. Before the next day three others were dead and others had run away in terror.
There was panic on every side, and dying people.
All fawns grow into stags.
She's proud of the way these two carry themselves. Gone is the clumsiness of youth, their soft bleating voices and downy hair. Many seasons of hardship have wept the innocence from their eyes and supplanted it with understanding that's still several years shy of true wisdom, but like their antlers did, this too will come in time.
Both are her blood. One born from her womb and the other born from her chosen sister's. Love is their milk. Knowledge, too.
It has made them strong and in a word that once embarrassed them both: beautiful.
He wasn't there for either of them when she was born.
On her first birthday, her mother blew out the candle and made a wish: come back to us.
On her second birthday, she blew out two and decided to forgo the wishing and take the advice of her friends. There is a time to grieve, a time to mourn, a time to move on with your life—
A time to find him on your doorstep not long after that and tell him he's not allowed to see her.
He gave up that right when he gave up being there.
Little Frank Abagnale
Her mother doesn't let her out much anymore. Something about being scared, or at least that's what her sisters say. It's not much consolation when they're the only girls — women, really — there to brush her hair, pinch her cheeks until they're pink and tell her she's pretty.
She read about the Piltdown Man in a book when she was twelve and the Tanaka Memorial a few years later. By fifteen, they were calling her Little Frank Abagnale and put her to work doing something both her parents would've approved of.
Stupid to think that allowed her to leave.
They say the end justifies the means, and after seeing the way she died, I call bullshit. That wasn't no heroes death, but that's what she was, it's what she tried to be, and hell. Girls can be heroes too, shit kicking gun toting cowboys. I can introduce you to some, but I can't promise they'll like you — they probably don't even like me.
And I dunno who 'they' is anyway. 'They' need to go to hell. 'They' probably never got their fuckin' hands dirty and 'they' probably weren't around for the beginning anyway.
'They' didn't watch her die.
The last time I saw my daddy, he was resting in an unfinished pine box, and I remember wishing that when they closed the lid it could've just stayed that way.
They let us keep it for the wake. For the procession to the hole we carved outta the earth with our weighty old shovels, but they lowered him into the dark in a heavy canvas bag tied at his feet and head because it was the last casket and my second momma told me he would've wanted it that way.
He wasn't selfish, she said. And neither are we.
Dad, it's me. I'm fine, I'm fine! Tell Mom I'm fine.
No, Dad, really, it's important that I stay here.
Yes for my job, Dad. Yes, I understand.
Christmas? I- I'll have to-
I'm sorry, Dad. No, I just-
Okay. Okay. I'll be there at Christmas. Even though we're not Christian.
Solstice rite, fine.
I- what? Um- no. No, I don't think so.
No, I- really, it's just-
I'm not going to lie, but I don't have to say.
Yes, a father has a right to ask, and a daughter has a right not to answer.
I promise you, I'm okay.
Seeing Is Believing II
It was a flash. A moment. A vision. Maybe a hallucination. Maybe stress was to blame. Maybe it was all a dream.
She wondered, would wishing make it so?
Did she want to make that wish?
A lot of people get hurt.
He wasn't lying, but it was all the right people this time. Or, at least, the people on the other side, which is right enough for her.
She had to be there.
She had to see.
It was a bit like Spider-Man, she thought to herself. And wondered if those writers knew something we didn't.
Ode to Vincent's Pate
It makes one yearn to know if it is indeed a solar panel for a sex machine.
Is that what makes Lancaster belt out aria's from across Sarisa's desk and leave charr'd marks ceilings.
Is it why you frown with the mien of a Kenyan lion that stalks across the Sahara, loosing that antelope that was just a hair, pun intended, faster than you. The lack of a glossy mane to shake at the other Lions.
You are Lazzaro. You own it. Why have hair when you can have Lazzaro's pate, newly sprung from it's smoky depths.
He got me — let me off easy.
I'm probably the worst kind of person he's ever met. Humanis First, hated evolved people. Hated myself.
Those smoky eyes saw right through to my soul, chilly but hot at the same time. I wonder what sparks his fire. He just sits there, smoldering, smoking. The bright red ember glowing brightly for one puff before it dies down again.
I wonder if he has a family. If he does, is his wife like that cigarette? Does she burn up every time his lips touch her?
He's old enough to be my dad.
Chelsea. Bella and Deckard's apartment. The living room.
A series of three paintings.
He stands upright before them because it hurts to slouch, ropy muscle cast in cords of stripped wire through the slack suspension of his forearms at his sides. Shirtless, all tattoos and bandages that don't hide blotchy bruising up his back half as well as they hide other scars.
It's been a couple of days since he's been awake, he thinks. The sun seems unnaturally white through the open window, bleaching denim's weathered sag away from his boxers.
They still don't make sense.
He should probably shower.
The real problem comes with the 'What next?' It may be that the feeling summed up in those two little words is precisely what gets her in so much trouble. There must always be… something else. And if it's not something she wants, it's something she doesn't want and thus she wants to get away from it. A push, a pull, some new worry or regret or wish or desire. And all of it just… 'what next?' Both fearful in anticipation, and hungry for more.
The present painful, unless you obliterate concern for the future, and thought of the past.
Laws of Inertia
An object at rest will remain at rest until acted upon by an outside force.
Fingers slide over the red fabric. It's not soft. It's not cashmere. But as far as symbols go, it works pretty well…
An object in motion will remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force.
Those fingers wrap the scarf around a delicate, pale neck. It's never carried a symbol like this before.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Lynette doesn't aim for equal reaction, though. She aims for extremely disproportionate reaction.
With apologies to Newton, of course.
I am ashamed of myself. I am un-happy. I am ashamed of myself. I am depressed. I am ashamed of myself. I am guilty. I am ashamed of myself. I am heavy-hearted. I am ashamed of myself. I am sorry. I am ashamed of myself. I am distressed. I am ashamed of myself. I am immodest. I am ashamed of myself. I am immoral. I am ashamed of myself. I am wretched. I am ashamed of myself. I am reprehensible. I am ashamed of myself. I am delinquent. I am ashamed of myself. I am UN-HAPPY.
I am not me.
If I were going to be rescued, it would have happened already. I'm all alone. He will never let me go. I'm too important to him. Every day this continues, I want it more and more. I started to look forward to the visits, and the injections. Just because it hurt the longer they didn't happen.
I hate him. I hate him for doing this to me. I hate the needle and the black liquid. I hate the power that comes with it.
The chance will come. He will not use me anymore. No one will.
Gillian Childs is dead.
To feel at home. I am not sure that I know what home is. I do not think that I ever did. I had no childhood on which to develop a concept of what is home.
I see these people gathering together, I see them as families. I do not quite understand, though I seem to be getting the chance myself. But I still cannot tell if I am home.
I once heard that home is a place where there is love overflowing.
I do not think that I have that place yet. And will I ever have that place?
There Are Many Like It
My home is cramped, noisy, up four flights of stairs, and recently had a hole ripped open in the roof. But it is cheap, and it is convenient, and it is mine. I am starting to share it with someone.
My home is cramped, noisy, blown up, frozen, baked, and recently had most of its people black out all at the same time. But it is famous, and it is challenging, and it is mine. Some people are starting to share it with me.
This time next year, I will have a home. I hope it is the same one.
He'd heard his mate's mother whisper it, using the word for his home. She'd whispered to another parent, both eyeing him with pity. Later, he asked his teacher what it meant; she smiled sadly, explaining it meant his parents weren't together anymore.
He doesn't think that's what it really means. Standing before his mirror, he counts bruises on thin ribs and frail arms. How much longer can his body endure before he breaks into 1,000 shards? A home cannot break, but bones can, he knows. A look into his little sister's eyes tells him that hearts can be broken, too.
Brick on bricks, a theory of guardianship, and it keeps things out (in theory, because Francois won't forget what happened when that failed, when nightmare-memories got in). For a long time, home was a suitcase, a car he'd bought or stolen, the crowded, shared bedrooms, and it's hard to cultivate a particular concern for how well it keeps things away.
It's how it fails to keep things in, how it fails to trap what's important and keep it preserved, keep it close. Theories and strategy paper his bed in blue prints and Xerox journal copies, cold every night.
If You Lived Here
This place feels alien
though I've stopped stumbling into the night stand in the dark.
I feel like I should pain the walls, put up a poster, make this space my own
but I'll leave it all behind before too long anyway.
I wonder if I made the wrong decision.
I dial your number at night and think to ask you
but I never press send.
I should've been a better girl.
Would you have caused me to do anything different?
In all my foolish yearning, I left behind something I've never been able to reclaim.
Would I be home now?
Always and Forever
Home is many things. To some, it's a just a place, to some it's a place they dread, to some it's nothing at all.
But to me, home is one of the most important things in the world.
Home is where comfort lies, where love is found, and where I can come to rest my eyes after a long day. Home is where friends come to be, lovers come to stay, family comes to see, where solace is found in the music instruments littering a room.
But most of all, home is where I can be me, always and forever.
What is Home?
Home. I'm not sure I know where it is anymore. It was never where I was born. That was just geography, nothing more. It wasn't any of the safehouses I stayed in. They were just geography. Now I have a house, and I have roommates, but is it really a home? Or have I just began another safehouse, one outside of the realm of the Ferrymen? Would these people stay here with me if they weren't in danger or had somewhere else to go? Or do the people matter? What is it that turns it into a home? Tell me.
Samson Twelve: Lullaby
she has been doing good. i have been doing good too.
she sings to him even though he is not yet. i put my nose by her when she sleeps and i know he is there still. i do not make too many notes these days because-
i want to be here forever but i cant so i try to take what a dog can get. i have the puppies now too so i have been teaching them lots. some of them are not so smart.
she has such a pretty voice when she sings to him.
i love you.
Freezing, from the inside out- feeling my skin splinter with crystal, feeling my muscles rigid with ice. The pain- oh- the pain- The pain was unbearable. When I tried to stop it-
The pain left and was replaced by the feeling of nothing.
To not feel the weight of your own shoulders, to not feel the prickle of nerves under your flesh when honing points from stone.
To not be able to touch another, for fear of penalty of death, to remain capable of making human connection behind a crag of face.
Another, colder form of hell.
Pain washes over me, pulling me from the darkness of unconsciousness. Reaching carefully, I touch the bandages, IV line tugs at my hand. My eyes blink open wearily, focusing on a clear bag of fluid above me. I feel relief.
How long had I been out? I feel worn and my head fuzzy.
Looking around, the room is small and run down. A safe house, no doubt. It's so dark with the window boarded up and I am alone. I don't want to be alone. So I close my eyes and allow the darkness to swallow me again.
She started to sweat and shake only hours later. Wasn't so bad this time. Wasn't bad at all. She liked it. She… wanted it again. Reliving the best times over again with just one… little… shot… It was all she could do not to bang on the door and demand another turn. Their tests, their prodding and poking… she didn't care, she just wanted that little blue vial. God, how she wanted it. But this would pass. This feeling, this desire, this hunger, this desperation. It would pass. It can't last forever.
Dear god don't let this last forever…
Isabella. Bella. Bellabelle. Bebellezebub.
She does not question that her father loved her. She questions love as a concept, as a notion worthy an investiture of meaning greater than that of any pathology. Any other irrationality. Sometimes it brings you joy. Sometimes it brings you pain. It makes you act against your own best interests.
She's abandoned her apartment. She wasn't safe there anymore. There were people who would like to kill her.
She's sick of it. She's done. Does love exist? Doesn't matter. It's better than the alternatives.
But she asks:
Is it too late to play being human?
Once upon a time, there was a path, seemingly straightforward and well lit, beneath her uncertain feet— as long as she didn't stray, she would make her journey's end safe, a happy ending to her story.
But life is no fairy tale. Forked serpent tongues split the road, with no sign posts to point the right from the wrong, the good from the bad, the just from the unjust.
Brambles and thorns tearing at her legs, the path is long lost. With nothing but wilderness to stumble through in the blinding darkness, she has to make friends with the wolf.
Hey, God? It's Monica. Monica Dawson. You and I don't talk much, but I'm on my own now and…
Look, I don't know what I'm doing. I just need to know if I'm doing the right thing. If you could just… give me a nudge in the right way? Actually, a big, bright, blinking neon sign would be better, if you've got one. 'Monica. Over Here. God.'
We can't sit by. The right thing to do is never the easy one. Isn't that how it goes? I can do something. I can fight for what's right.
An introductory tour.
This is where the sick people go, and every day is a bad day, concentrated in a city that is one long bad day. This is where other men have walked in your shoes. Francois doesn't know his name, the one in his head from St Luke's, but he suspect it's the one whose handwriting he's adopted.
He wonders what happened to him, after his eyes go scoping in the mens' mirror for silvergrey shot through his hair.
When the pager goes off for the first time, he thinks he might die. Then he goes to work.
Chase Fear With Love
When the shadows grow too menacing, when the settling of the building sounds too much like a door creeping ajar or footsteps approaching, when the nightmares— no, the memories— seem too real, too close, she shakes me awake.
I kiss wet cheeks and hold her trembling form, my own quivering with the startle of three a.m. awakening. I murmur promises that it will be okay. I kiss salty lips and try to chase away fear with love.
It works, sometimes. But it's temporary. The nightmares return.
I hope, someday, my love will be enough to chase them away forever.
Fires of Destruction
I am destruction.
I watched the timbers fall all around, on me, through me. Watched part of my livelihood and my home go up in flames around me with only myself to blame. I can hear them call for me outside the burning walls but I'm afraid to leave. Afraid that I'll hurt them.
Ironic really, that Izzy's legacy should die likely in the same way she went out. I hear the sirens, can see the water when it hits spots, changing from red to eventually blue.
What have I done to myself?
I'm sorry Richard, I tried. I failed.
When he wakes, it is to the sound of trucks running along the ascending roads.
When he wakes, it is to the smell of dust and sweat and sun-baked ground.
When he wakes, it is to the sight of a pock-marked cityscape on the opposite side of his windowpane.
When he wakes, it is to the smile of her on his small face.
When he wakes, it is to the new day in an old place.
When he wakes, it is to the calling of his name.
A dark sky during a heavy rain.
When he wakes, it is to the bright day after a cleansing rain.
November in Yerevan
The stairs outside the Matendaran are the highest the girl in the white headscarf has ever climbed, and she's been up and down the four thousand, four hundred and forty-four steps at Lysefjorden above the sea and communed with the emerald doves of Chand Baori.
Neither altitude nor number makes them so tall. It's the nuclear fire at her back and the unforgiving man standing in Mkhitar Gosh's shadow at her front, but Tyr sees the terror in her eyes. Lets her pass.
When she finds their god-king, Munin alights as she has been taught and, weeping, tells him everything.
Five Things Teo Wants For His Son
- A good, if flatteringly indistinct impression of his father, described within the stencil of somebody a mother like Li would’ve wanted to keep a piece of.
- Returns in investment. Reason to thank God, but having earned it. (Most of it. To be born red and perfect are gifts.)
- Lots of meaningful sex.
- Italiano. What English names 'stone' becomes pietra. Pi-e-tra— cadence, weave, feminine as the Earth instead of one nub of a monosyllable. Uno, due, tre; 'one' same as 'a,' less lonely; 'two' like 'duet,' 'three'— crisper. Pila: 'battery,' should your heart run empty.
Fight or Flight
It all started with burnt sheets and fear. My father's gentle acceptance, his firm protection, that all came after. It made it easier. But it all started with burnt sheets and waking up from a nightmare. I hate that moment. That… dream. It's just a dream. That it still frightens me at thirty-two… it's humiliating. A grown woman crying because her father isn't there to hold her… Jesus. These people have taken my clothes, my hair, my blood and now my dignity, too. Have they taken your fight, too, Lynette? Did you ever have any?
Maybe I do now.
She climbs the trunk with the tips of her fingers, finding footholds where his vertebrae meet the yielding oak of his spine. A broken nail's edge traces each branch, crooked and threadbare, before it alights somewhere in his canopy and she presses a kiss to the fist-knot where his shoulders meet.
When he shifts, the earth moves. His breath is the wind passing through the memory of leaves. A voice creaks in the dark and she wraps arms around him, rests a cheek against his roughness.
Sap tastes like salt. One breath fills her with the loamy smell of him.
I threw my world away like crumpled paper. Shed my skin and left everything I knew to come here. No one knows my name here, a voiceless nameless face in the crowd. It isn't so much leaving my life behind that bothers me, it's the anonymity of it all-who knows me now? Here is a fresh start, freedom and safety, but it all starts over again. Now, I have to rebuild from the beginning. Faces and names, books upon books. Maybe I'll change colors this time. Red, maybe? New York could be red. I think it would like that.
It's never silent in New York. Even at 3 in the morning, there's the rumble of the subway beneath asphalt, the shrill whistle of someone hailing a cab, the howl of a siren, the thrum of electricity and energy everywhere.
From her perch on a roof, she watches this time of transition.The lights in the buildings flicker on and off like the blinking lights of a Christmas tree. The windows of those going to bed go black, while the windows of those just waking suddenly fill with light.
She rises, blur of light herself, to make her way home.
Keeper of the Dead
The body is heavier than it should be, and smells bad too. It looks so wrong wrapped up in the cheery blue tarp. But then, everything about this situation is wrong. A man in my basement, dead, bricked up behind a wall. Who knows how long he was down there. And I can't even put him to rest like he deserves, not if I want to keep myself and Kendall safe. At least I'm not alone. She's here, helping. She carries one end of the tarp, I carry the other, and we drag it upstairs. And then we are off.
Sumter fell asleep first.
Security assured in the wilds of former suburbia. Nocturnal ambiance, sheets stirring soft around the broken window and Flint sinks onto his haunches in a blue wash of moonlight, nose nearly at the pastor's. Whiskey on shivery breath. Subtle warmth, steadier now that he's crouched in bare feet and tattoos and the scarred ridge of his spine.
Three bedrooms. He selected the largest for himself and now he's hunched on the floor in the smallest, measuring brows and nose and cheekbones softer than his own.
The kind've mug that won't mind if he sleeps here too.
Skip of My Heart
You were found missing again, my heart skipped a beat. All those memories hitting me at once. I worried that this time we had lost you for good. You were taken by someone that was much too powerful to stand up too.
Then the phone rang. On the other end your voice spoke my name. My world stilled and my heart skipped a beat. Emotions and feelings, I thought I had gotten past, bubbled back to the surface to haunt me.
And though the call was cut short, I was left with a smile. You were not lost after all.
Just when I decided to give up the fight, another door was opened. I wasn't looking for it, but it was there. A group of people, gathering to fight for us all. To be active rather than reactive. Taking the fight to THEM. We are not hiding, a single log in front of a raging river. We are strong, and willing. Someone has to be the force that opens up life to the evolved. Someone has to stand up and fight for our right to live like everyone else. And this time? This time, that someone is gonna be me.
A Little More
Lord, I know you ain't there. This is just me talkin' to myself. Only, as I don't wanna sound crazy, I'll address You with this particular fuckin' request.
Understand, Lord, that I ain't askin' to be dealt a better hand. I've never asked f'r that, as You well know A man c'n win with whatever goddamn (beggin' Your pardon) whatever set of rags he's given. He wins on wits 'n' grit.
But I'm askin' (not You, since You ain't there), just this once, f'r somethin' a little more than wits 'n' grit.
Lord, I humbly fuckin' request some luck.
Hailey was gone.
Mind says to wait for backup, to take an army. Heart says to hurry, go now, don't wait.
She'll be cold; she'll be afraid. The tears will freeze to her eyelashes before they fall. Her lips will turn blue as they tear at her flesh.
She can't wait.
So Gillian followed.
A few guns the only back up, no army at her back. Out the door, into the snow. Feet hurried, no waiting.
She's cold; she's afraid. The tears freeze to her eyelashes before falling. Lips turn blue as they tear into her.
She should have waited.
Her lips are stained with my blood, as they curl into that seductive smile. I hold the limp body of my partner in my arms. Her tongue runs over her painted lips and my shoulder throbs from where she took that 'taste'. It'll scar.
We stare at each other across the distance, two predators, sizing each other up. Waiting.
I'll never ask what stopped her, what kept her from finishing what we started, but one moment her blood tinted teeth flash in a wicked smile, the next she was gone.
My lost target. That dark panther of a woman. Huruma.
A Missed Moment
"We should meet. Today for lunch. I— I want to see you. I— want to tell you about your siblings. You've got two, I'm sure they would like to meet you, too. Maybe… maybe we can do the holidays as a family."
"I dunno… I have class…."
"I need to talk to you, Kaylee. It's important."
Sigh. "Fine… I'll meet you at one.
A chance to meet him, I took it for granted and the Midtown Man blew it away. Now, I may never get that chance again.
At Seventeen I prayed:
I am His hand. Through me He shows His love, His power and His might. Through my hands, He works His earthly miracles and displays the awesomeness of His intentions for this world. I am His love for all cradled in these palms and with a prayer, He takes away your hurts through me. I am His to do with as He see's fit and He see's fit to place me where there are hurts. I will take them all away, for Him, for them, for myself. This is my path in life, set by Him.
Can't Turn My Back
Why can't I turn my back on them?
They never turn their back on me. They took me in, sheltered me and protected me at my weakest. They didn't look at me as a bad person, showed me that there was much more important things in life.
I owe them for lifting me up and teaching me to be someone better. Who knows what I would be doing, if they hadn't taken me in or if I would even still be alive. I owe them for the second chance I've been given.
More importantly, Peter… I owe them for you.
The other Teos never asked You for anything, since Gia. Didn't want to know the punishment would be for the audacity of asking.
Well, times change. I'm here, now. It occurred to me of late (possibly while listening to Natalie Grant's duet) (possibly), there's as much praise in asking more as there is in giving thanks. I remember being in love before, but it's different this time, as it is different every time, but differently. This time, I'm staking claim. No agony over deserving. Not thieving a ghost out of time's locked jaws. He's mine.
Don't take him. Per favore.
There are so many things in this world, the haves and the have nots. You were always in the haves.You got the new clothes. You got the first bike. You got the rollerblades. You got the grades. You got to go to Paris. I got to stay behind. I hated you.
You always get the last bit of milk in the carton. You had everything, have everything. I'm jealous. I've always been jealous. Compared to you; I'm always the red ribbon, the silver medal. Unless we're alone, then you always give me the blue one.
You're my best friend.
Bedroom's dark between bands of city light slatted flat across the wall, but it'd be grey even if it wasn't. Familiar neutrality fossilized for one night in a vermiculate smear of seamy hotel rooms and surveillance stakeouts. The sheets stir; a restless killer lifts himself up, lists left — fuzzy skull blotted thick with shadow, eyes too slick for the hour.
Misery gnaws dull through his bones, begging cold comfort from the knowledge that he can't be alone. Even if there's nobody there.
He might've made it personal.
But any soldier worth a damn has principles.
He's not like them.
Your power doesn't surprise me- not one bit.
When I was a kid, you were there: solid and sturdy, someone I could look up to. Someone that made me proud. Someone that I wanted to make proud of me.
But you slipped away slowly, fading until I could no longer feel you there for me. My small hand grasping for yours came away empty. Eventually I stopped reaching- I could not feel you, though your voice claimed you were there.
Now I push you away.
The memories of what we once had are just vapor trails left in your wake.
I enduring time, still and silent, like a statue. Never really speaking of the pain. I try to keep it all inside. To harden my skin against life.
However, even the statue cracks with time, despite any attempted to preserve it. Bit and pieces, that make it what it is, fall away exposing the raw core. Weakens it and eventually the statue will crumble.
How much time before I crumble? How long before the cracks of time break me?I can not say, but til then… I will continue to endure, be like the statue. Hide all the pain away.
The waters of time push me along, tumbling along to my fate.
It erodes at my surface, constantly changing me.
I am forced along, not really knowing where I am going, not having complete control.
This way and that, rolling across the bottom of the river.
Failing again, I tumble through the rapids, wishing for the calm again.
Hoping I can find a peaceful place to lay for a time.
But when I finally do, the river waters tug at me and pull me along again.
Changing me… Changing us all.
How will my journey end?
Only the river knows.
There are so many things that I don't have that I wanted. So many things that I have that I didn't ask for. My life is full of give and take, of questioning and being questioned. I feel like a mix of contradictions. Nothing ever goes in just one direction. There's no black, no white. No good, no evil. Everything comes at a price. Nothing is gained without something being lost in the process. Sometimes it feels like I've lost more than I've gained.
It's hard to see what you have through what you do not have.
Three thirty three. That was the moment I realized I loved him. For every touch, every simple word. For all he did for me. Because he was going to leave it all behind and go with me.
Three thirty three. That was the moment I realized I hated him. For every ache, every false word. For all he did to so many others. Because he murdered my sister.
Three thirty three. That moment can never be fixed. The clock will be broken forever. Trapped on that time, unable to move on.
I wonder if I am trapped there, too. Broken.
They can't see him in the shower.
No mundane lens can focus through the plastic sweep of the Company curtain and he's already spent a lot of time in here
in the scorching prattle and steam. Runoff wound hot off his back, cagey muscle and bone sunk lax under fading ink and knotted scars.
He showered at the Y before. Remembers bare feet and brown thinning to crimson through the grate between them, clothing swaddled cold and heavy and dark around his rickety frame
puddles like infections on clammy concrete, everything damp.
But he still misses her.
The facility is an incomplete thing, but contained and functional. Whites and greys, bleach-bone edges and cold surfaces. He only gets to know the people and the voices to a fractional degree — Joseph becomes better acquainted with the institution in which he is kept and wonders why it feels so familiar. He has not spent so much time in hospitals, and this isn't rehab.
He sees Emile Danko's eyes in the stare of the doctor's light, the grey of the cement ground and the utter callous disdain and indifference of the locked doors, the sealed walls and mechanical routine.
One of the first things she said was that his voice sent her back home. Though Joseph couldn't hope to hold up a mirror and see any of Abigail reflect back at him, not anymore, it doesn't deny that she's a pleasant memory herself. A cadence of the South in her words that land him in better times, a pleasurable hit of worthiness when meaning is shaped, the dizzying warmth of a generous soul.
That she doesn't have addictive qualities is and is not a blessing. You can still buy Refrain on the street for thirty bucks. Joseph has checked.
My Favourite Accessory
You're too much cologne — overbearing and not the least bit complimentary. I dunno if you know it, really. I'm certainly not going to enlighten you to the fact that for as much as my things amuse you, you're the amusement. The gold-plating, the novelty diamond cufflinks, the leopard print satin lining beneath the charcoal-silver three-piece pinstripe. A thrift store Bedazzler.
In other words, you're very me.
Essentially, questionable taste and very annoying, but I make you look good — the only one that does. A little self-awareness might go a long way, Toru, but it's not nearly as fun.
April 28, 2010
The sun has as much light as you have love: they turn to you for it as flowers twist to benefit from whatever quality it is they gain — you share the same charisma, mon ami. And you have your night times as well, you have your distance and danger and cautionary tales. A blameless quality, a brightness, an inherent inability to be properly claimed.
The days I must steal what you give are as frequent as when I do not need to. Time will tell if you are as constant, or if you go supernova in your destruction.
As Your Dog
The lady might admit it herself, just as one princess in Shakespearean works proudly proclaimed: I am your spaniel. That he does not have to lose Odessa, does not have to neglect, beat or spurn her. Doesn't mean she doesn't do this on her own through chemical, a change of mind and master before she brings herself to heel. She's an excerpt on a midsummer night.
There are no happy endings in this city, but there are as many tragedies as there are comedies. Do I not in plainest truth tell you, I do not, nor I cannot love you?
She's porcelain; white, brittle always cool to touch. Fingers as delicate as this material, with glass fingernails ending in milky crescents, knuckles making hard angles. She turns into it when mad, mouth pinched and features bleached, a threat in her make that she'll splinter apart if you don't handle with caution, split into stinging fragments in all that she is perfectly still, composed, together. It isn't big eyes and small body that make her into the doll people think she is, but the fact that when she breaks, she'll slice you to ribbons going down, that turns her into china.
The Once and Future King is a masterpiece of nostalgia. That is its power, its genius and its failure. It longs for a better, imperfect but still noble age. An age where tragedy was possible, and where doomed wars were waged for doomed love.
The lesson, though, is that there can be no return. That, while we seek the past, and we know that it was, it forever eludes us.
Wisest is Merlyn, whose past is the future.
Finest is Lancelot, who can only go forward.
Weakest is Arthur, trapped in childhood dreams.
And the past is a questing beast.
Statues are not born. They do not age. You can not love the statue. You can only love the image.
It will never love you back.
One of the only things I possess of a child I can never have is the memory of a statue.
A statue in a warped dream. The cherub from a rooftop, which had a bullet in it's heart. A bullet which I fired at the man who would have been his father.
That memory is as fleeting and intangible as he is. Eventually that will disappear. It will be as if he never existed.
A Delicate Thought
Yeah, some songs make me cry. I think that's fuckin' healthy as a musician.
Some songs cheat, y'know? Like, some chord progressions give you shivers like… y'know. Those kinda shivers. And some just make your eyes prick somehow, put a weight in your chest. But that doesn't count. It's like an onion, it's just what it does.
There's a saying on this Alan Parson album. How music and a pleasurable idea together are poetry. That's not the whole thing, but I like that first part.
But songs that make me cry, the idea's gotta give pleasure and pain.
You've heard the saying, about 21 grams?
The weight of the human soul.
Horseshit, of course. Actually, that's unfair to horseshit, which is very real and is maybe useful as fertilizer, I don't know.
The first death I saw was a coronary victim. Shouting and fast chatter from the EMTs. Made me want to hide behind a crash cart, tiny med student that I was. But the crash cart is what they needed, so I wheeled it over.
They couldn't revive him.
I knew it was a first. I felt him get cold.
Man to carcass. A matter of degrees.
Is this what it feels like to be loved?
Was the mirror a delusion, or am I deluding myself?
She's my mirror; soft and shy, awkward and adorable, her smile makes me melt.
I look in her eyes and I see the girl I was, and I just want to hold her so close.
She my mirror; rebellious and tense, sensitive and sweet, her kiss sent a chill down my spine.
There's so much to love but so much to lose, I'm terrified of breaking her heart.
I just wish I could tell
Without this uncertainty
She's fire and sparks, heat and energy, burns you up and spits out the ashes. But what a magnificent fire it is when it's lit.
Fire consumes, but it also lights the way, and even in consuming a part of my naivete she showed me something in myself I couldn't see.
She's arrogant and brash, not very classy, but no one had ever said the things about me she did. Even if she just wanted something in return; fair price.
Opportunity's past and she's following behind, and I don't know if I like the way the flames are chasing me.
She and I stand back to back.
She's always looking ahead at what's coming our way, and I'm always looking back and wondering what could've been.
I see that the grass is greener on the other side, and she sees how the grass will be green where there's only soil.
She saved my life and I still don't know why, but it's because I just can't understand the way she thinks. She's an obsession, a mystery, a love and wound; it feels amazing when she smiles at me.
I wish I could see what she sees.
In someone like me.
The place I call home reminds me of you.
A silent sweeping beacon of light in the distance, giving hope and promising comfort.
I wish I'd known that you were leading me straight into the roughest tides, where the fog is thick, the waters freezing, and the wind harsh. Straight into the sharpest rocks. The sweeping light moved on, to shine on someone else, leaving me alone in the dark, to find my own way through the rough and icy waters.
Sometimes I wish I'd never seen that light at all.
But I'm not sure who I'd be without it.
She is all startle and leap.
Too long, too thin limbs flail and quake. Too large eyes widen and roll. Kinetic, frenetic, and hyper-energetic, she's like a colt that has not yet been broken. Not quite tame and not quite wild, she frolics somewhere in the in-between. She will never fully belong to the manmade world.
Sometimes she grows still, a statue. For the most minute of moments, before something throws her into motion once more, she stands regal - beautiful and powerful in ways she does not yet own.
But not today. Today, she's all startle and leap.
Two months ago it was storming. I'm remembering that it was raining both times- both funerals. Raining during the plane over to the United States. I only think of it now because I wonder what they'd all think now.
My dad would be bursting angry, but my mom would be like honey in tea. Everyone else too. My dad was always kind of pissed at everything.
He'd be happy in the end. So will I, I think. I just need this coldness to be over. I gotta feel the warm sun again, to feel like a yellow daffodil in the yellow springtime.
What Will It Be
What will it be?
What has god chosen for me, what genetic blueprint harbors a surprise that heats my forehead and makes me lay awake while my ribs ache beyond the drugs and wonder, pray, please manifest soon. Another depends on it. Telepath? A holy fire from my hands? Will I fly? A touch laying bare all a persons secrets. Will it be Richards salvation that springs forth from my hands like once it did not long ago.
Sing to me lord of what it shall be.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless this bed that I lay on.
Words for Peyton
Whhhang is the sound of a golf club hitting its mark, but the object knocked dwindling into the snow-black horizon isn't a ball but a Coke can, shot off the Sweat Lodge's rooftop to sail over the next street.
Chuckles steps closer. Watching, but there's no applause. He says, "Hey. You get… uh. Scared, about what God thinks? Seeing all our— shit?"
"Shit like hitting trash hoping you'll concuss one of those gang-banger motherfuckers driving up Winslow Avenue?"
"And worse. We'll do more."
Jericho doesn't answer. Then, "Yeah. But faith goes both ways, 'specially when you can believe your eyes."
Perception is a funny thing. It can blind us to the reality behind the illusion. Make us do foolish things in the name of what we perceive to be truth. It can make hell seem like paradise, and paradise seem like hell.
I've seen hell, the various levels of it. I've been in hell, seen it in the faces of people I know. And I've seen paradise. I stood at the precipice, ready to jump, and I faltered, because of what I thought it was.
Next time, I won't falter. Next time, I won't let anyone stand in my way.
No name. No address. No connections.
No way back.
The walls are closing in, ready to suffocate me as the walls whisper to me my shortcomings and the edges of my vision grow dark. All the lies I've told cannot undo the things I've tried to do right. Can't make me what I wanted to be.
I'm close now to something true, maybe. It cannot change my past. Paint it a different shade of grey-blue perhaps, but never make it right. The truth is always more disappointing than the fairy tale.
It's the lie that I can live up to.
Delicate white petals of a dozen roses are like silk against my fingers.
No one has given me flowers before.
My nose is to stopped up to catch the delicate scent.
I wish I could smell them.
The cellophane crinkles in my hand as my arms tighten around them.
Their so beautiful. So thoughtful.
I cradle them close and give a content sigh.
I've never felt this way about someone.
No, one other, just not as deeply.
I close my eyes and a tear slides down my cheek.
It's going to hurt when he sees the truth and walks away.
Happiness for me is paintin'. Pickin' up my paintbrush, loading it with colour, and puttin' it to canvas. Oh, let me tell you, that is a moment of creation, as I give birth to images in my head. There is no better feeling then watching that simple smear of color slowly become something of absolute beauty.
Well, unless you black out in the middle of it and wake up to something completely different. Then it's like someone slipping a roofie into your Guiness and you waking up the next mornin' knowin' you had a shag, but didn't get to participate.
Have you ever gottin' close to an old paintin'? No? I have. It is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. When you get close, you can smell the age, you can see each stroke. Your eyes can follow the delicate dance the brush took across the canvas, and see the thought and care shown as it was moved.
There is much you can learn from those brush strokes. A paintin' is a moment frozen in time. A moment of pure genius captured for all the world to see, but most just bloody well don't give a rats arse.
Five Reasons Bolivar Is With Raquelle
- If I sleep with him, it'll take him longer to leave me.
- Who the cunt's asking? There aren't enough sweet, precocious, Eurasiatically hot bitch-queen fruitcakes to go around? You've checked? Maybe that's just you.
- What it isn't: I'm not lonely without him. I don't grocery list his girls' cereal brands above my dog food. Don't save him stories from work, don't practice telling them driving home. I'm not afraid he's afraid of me; I'm sure as fuck not afraid he's afraid for me. It's not like I can't fucking live without him.
- Not exactly.
Why should I fight? Why should I suffer for those I've never met. For those who will look at me in anger and hate rather than murmuring a single thank you. Why should I risk it all when things will never change? These people don't care. We're the minority. Maybe we'll die out, one by one, or get 'cured' by those who would control us. It's the holocaust all over again, though there's no war to save us. No country invading to protect us from those who believe us inferior.
So tell me? Why in the hell should I fight?
I'll get you my little pretty, and your little dog too. I know what she means, I say it to myself in the mirror every morning when I check to see if I have any new freckles. I'll get you and your little dog too. Has more meaning these days. I'll get you and your two little dogs. You're little clones. I can see the one, parked in the lighthouse, sitting in an orphanage nice and safe. Bide your time Sylar, hide behind the image of a dead girl and play house to brats. I'll get you my little pretty.
My mother used to sing a lullaby to me, and I yearn to sing it for someone else. The kids may like it, but I doubt they will truly understand the love that I can feel in it.
I will have to keep it on my cuff for someone else. It's such a beautiful song.
Sleep, my child, for the red-bee hums,
The silent twilight falls,
Aoibheall from the Grey Rock comes,
To wrap the world in thrall.
A leanbhan O, my child, my joy,
My love and heart's desire,
The crickets sing you a lullaby,
Beside the dying fire.
It was never personal. The two of them finally cornered me in Angola. Between a rock and a hard place, the only way to break free is through.
The second man- I never say his name from respect- He was not the first to lock horns with me, but I could tell that he was doing it because in his heart he thought it was Right. I can respect moral duty, if not practice it duly myself.
Benjamin does it for his obligation to man, as well.
I do not regret making an example of his partner for his sake.
Samson Eleven: Gray
people have told me that i see black and white- i dont know what those care but i havent seen either one of them ever.
i remember the first one to tell me that, it was not long before the snow! he smelled like animals and he had a big coat. he said to me, he said-
"dogs are lucky to see black and white. to you, there is good and bad, it is simple. someone that hurts your human is bad, someone that feeds you is good. i cannot recall ever thinking so simply."
i like black and white.
He met her on a road; he'd fallen from his horse, and she stopped to dust him off. The horse was gone, but she stayed. Even through the smoke of many adventures and labours, she would be there to hand him his sword or wield one herself.
Most heroes have noble steeds or squires, little boys with daggers and eyes for golden crowns- he had her, and though he got many a jeer, he would not have had it otherwise.
While the fire burns down to embers, she is there to shed his armour, mop his hair- kiss his battle-scars.
I stand upon the rooftop, my face tipped up to the sky. Though my eyes are closed I can see the flash of lightning, the brilliant glow of it. Seconds later when the thunder booms and shakes the very foundation of the building I stand upon, I smile. The rain begins to pour down on me, soaking my hair and clothes, washing away all my fears, my worries. At least for the moment.
I stand in the middle of the storm, and I abandon myself to it willingly. Life is wild, and untamed, just like this storm. Just like me.
Shades of Gray
What would I do? That is perhaps the hardest question ever asked, Abby. How could I refuse to reclaim a lost part of me? How could I pass up the chance to do something as natural and necessary as eating or sleeping?
On the other hand, how could I give myself over to having an ability I want to use so badly, when it hurts people? Does it make me a bad person to want something like that? To want to want to use an ability that hurts?
I live in shades of gray, but fear sliding into the black.
I thought I wanted the excitement. The thrill of the chase. The warm glow of helping someone like me. Saving them from the same things that I endured. And it is exciting. It is fulfilling. I hate being idle. Idle hands are the devil's playground. Though I don't believe in the devil.
But I need a release. Something that isn't life and death to focus on. I need to dance. I need to drink. I need a warm body to lose myself in. I need someone to share myself with. Even the darkest parts of me. Before I lose myself.
Sexual contact with me must be a curse. I should come with a disclaimer.
Gabriel got shot, sent to the future, shot again, lost his power, shot some more, was "killed", split into pieces.
Cardinal swallowed a nuclear bomb and "died" heroically, only to end up trapped in his shadow form in pieces.
I never even had sex with Peter. A kiss was it. I can't even list all the things that happened to him. The list is too long.
Now Leonardo Maxwell's gone and died in a plane crash.
My next tattoo? A disclaimer.
Enter at your own risk.
Five Ways Teo Never Had Sex
- Vertically, one partner upside-down.
- "I love you," orgasming inside her. (Too late now.)
- Hand-gagging Francois.
- Afterward, his wrist branded by a bruised dashed circle.
"Why're you stopping?" he asked. Teo didn't answer, staring. He couldn't explain: this rare need to remember exactly, for one experience prevailing without nostalgic reinterpretation, abridging, or flashy rhetoric. This curly cursive of red eyelashes and inarticulate toes, white thigh sleeked taut as a bowstring, expertly drawn. The exquisite fear endemic to the trust constricting his pupils. Eventually, Teo knew already, he'd regret doing this; just not more than forgetting.
It was easy to pretend I wanted nothing but the touch of your lips and your body to mine. It was easy to see you loved someone else. In your pale eyes, it was always her I saw reflected, not me. In your dark room, there were not two of us, but three.
But the irony is…
She led me to you, in dream and in body. She gave you the power to call me back.
With her haunting your heart, an unrequited love, the odds were against us.
Now that she haunts your conscience, I don't stand a chance.
It's like I was born without the manual that everyone else has. How to say I love you , when to, should you even say it. How to know when to touch someone, when to kiss, where to kiss, when to hold, the etiquette of dating, the do and don'ts of love. Or maybe I'm just at the first chapter after I skipped to the end and I'm reading it backwards. Breaking my heart. Someone slipped that chapter in early, Teodoro probably. Sicilians know all about breaking hearts. Baptists just know about saving them. Maybe someday I'll un-break mine. Please.
I have had just enough liquid grief. Someone comes up and buys a shot for themselves and one for me and I can't pass because I don't want to drink anymore. Maybe that's why I sighed softly when he pushed me against a wall and confessed that he feels he's disappearing even as our hips met. He doesn't know that he isn't. That he's very real beneath my hand, his heart beating in his throat when I palm his neck. When we were sliding against each other. When my lips are pressed to his and he says Abigail like that.
I'm soooo drunk
Hello kitty comes on thongs. I never knew that till I met Xiu.
Xiu has a great ass.
I'm sitting here and looking at it when she's looking somewhere else or she's going to get more alcohol or the pizza. I don't care how much my wrist hurts, but she has got hello kitty, squished between her butt cheeks. Rising up above her short shorts. I think my momma'd kill me if I wore them. No, Momma's gonna kill me for the blue hair, and the blue nails, and I think she did something to my back.
I'm so drunk.
Damnit, I Do
If I didn't know better, I'd turn around and follow my parents back home to Louisiana. I'd find me a good Christian boy to marry and give our parents bouncing babies by the score. You'd find me in church on Sundays in prim white, elbow deep in dishwater and a smile on my face as sunny as the apron I'd wear and setting back the feminist movement by a couple decades and play at being happy homemaker. Behind my picket fence with the climbing ivy and the cat in the window at night watching the fireflies.
But Damnit, I do.
Samson Ten: Runaway
we had to leave, she had to stay. i am with Dafnee and Koorbinn and-
-there is a cat here. his name is Gayberee-ell and he has eyebrows. it is kind of disturbing. he hisses. he lets me drink his water bowl, and Koorbinn told me not to eat any of his food but i am very hungry! i smell things in the little kitchen.
i can smell other things too i think bad things happened here, there is a little room that i dont like but the books smell interesting.
i hope i see everyone again soon.
A Carnival of Sights
Pavement spins. Faces blur.
Corpses weep blood on hospital's bleached linoleum.
A gun lifts, its barrel blocking vision until brain and skull splatter glass.
Blood trickles from bullet shattered limbs,
dripping on dark and cold concrete floors.
A body splayed like art stares down with sightless eyes, a clock behind it a cryptic clue.
Water distorts men in white coats who stare back through thick glass.
Bodies shining with sweat entwine, something like love confusing hatred.
Blackness chokes. Whiteness blinds.
A bird's eye view of the city dizzies.
A fist shatters the mirror reflecting a face that's not mine.
I can feel your fingers in my mind. Not your real fingers. Those are on my shoulders squeezing gently. I mean the ones that you use to realign my emotions. Feel them run over the sadness and the guilt and dig in. Take those feelings and work them like some grand piece of art. Guilt transforms into calm. Sadness to delight. You paint on joy like a rising sun to dominate my mind while you stand there with a hand on my shoulder and watch everyone else around me like some dangerous glittering creature. My emotional guardian and Nubian queen.
The Equilateral Year
We three hung out a lot. Before the oracles went blind. Before I left her a message on my bastard son, after Jesse died. After me and her, before him and her.
For his psychology PhD, Deckard learned the WISC-V. My IQ totaled 135. Deckard's was 139, but he pretended he'd cheated. Abby drawled about embarrassing herself, and we didn't push it. "You're the wisest anyway," I said.
I asked: "Would you rather ride on a train, dance in the rain, or feel no pain?"
I know I'm still right, but I'm scared to hear her answer now.
Folie a Deux
Teo's been watching them talk. Like Prior Walter with bedsheets up to his chin as the ghosts of ancestors past squabble over bloodlines and bastards, except these are from the future and the dregs of his imagination.
Watches Ghost's hands go out and snag another pair sheathed in creaking leather gloves. Turns clothed palms up to the sky as if inspecting them. "You're going to get older, quicker. I wouldn't put my cock in Kazimir even if I could."
"Ah." The Frenchman's eyes are azzurro over a sharp smile. Teeth flash in the dark like knives. Amusement. "C'est la vie."
Ode to J
You'll find your voice again.
You'll find the words that you need to say to inspire the masses. To bring them back to wherever you settle yourself. I have faith. It is going to take time, and patience and belief that what you do, even if someone else's uses it to hurt others, is still good. Nothing bad can come of following your call.
But it's your call and I can only wait until the day when you find your voice. When you do take the pulpit and speak his words. Till then, I have the faith enough in you.
I forget about them sometimes, startle when I catch a glimpse drying off after a shower. The scrolling of words along my side that makes me turn and look at them all, crane my neck in the mirror. Each has significance, reason and meaning. For all that I always rolled my eye at being called an angel, I like the look of them on my back. I love the look on Roberts face when he saw them. Like he can't believe they're there. The feel of flints fingers tracing the letters or Brenda kissing the cross as she goes by.
Samson Nine: Teeth
i hear them talk about what happened sometimes, they dont always go away from me so i hear a lot. they think i dont know.
there are dogs on The Island that hurt people- they killed babies they said, and came to hurt Dee's people they killed a baby killed a baby a baby.
no no no
we do not no no no
that is not what we do
we are best friends and princes and knights and sisters and brothers
we are man's best friend
if they come i will use my teeth
i will be a good dog.
The Seeds Root
The greenhouse was always full- she could breathe in the smells So she spent most of her time playing inside, hiding under the wooden tables, shelves, and slats.
She would sit under the dripping tables of garden flowers, with dirty knees, hands, fingernails, smudges on her nose and cheeks.
Walter would often kick her out.
But her fingers were tracing peepholes before she would be discovered. Delilah found herself peeking past little grimy holes on the other side of glass.
Grandfather was such a magician! Oh, what magic!
One day she would be that good!
I didn't mean to make her mad. I was just so lonely and bored! I saw a squirrel outside. It got to play in the snow. Why can't I play? It's fun! It's wet and cold and kicks up nicely when I run through it.
But I didn't mean to make her mad. The leather just smelled so yummy. How could I resist a nibble? And after a nibble, I couldn't resist sitting down for a snack.
Why did she keep leather around anyway? It's meant to be chewed on! Just like that bone. Mmmmm.
Besides. I'm just a dog!
It's such an unassuming place. Hidden beneath a butcher's shop and in an abandoned tenement building. No one thinks twice when they walk by. It's not there, it's not worth paying attention to.
But so much goes on here. We shelter those who need it. Keep them safe from the government that should be doing the protecting.. We care for the sick, who are forced to hide rather than seeking medical help.
We do important work here, in my place. I know I must share it, but it's mine.
And everyone who steps through that door becomes mine as well.
The land of the damned. Where the souls of the most evil, the most depraved go to spend eternity. That's your name. And slowly you're forming into a place that resembles the name. Or at least gives a hint of the meaning. The red lights, the darkness, the bleakness of design.
But it's missing something.
It's missing the crush of people. The heavy heartbeat. The screams of the damned.
But I can't see you as you're meant to be, not yet. It'll take some time yet, before you can properly welcome the damned.
Except here? Here we call them Goths.
Mouth breathers. All of them.
Do I know 'em? Do I need to know 'em? Let me tell you something. I know everything about these people because they're Kershner's people and Kershner's people all have one thing in common, and that is failure. They're not scared enough, just like Kershner's not scared enough and never was. They call that sociopathy, kids. Heroes are sociopaths.
Unless you gave them to me. I'd scare the hell out of them, sic wild dogs on them in their morning laps, and they'd be the best damn flea control the world's ever seen.
You know I used to think my life was pretty good.
I had a job where I wasn't accountable to anyone.
I traveled the world, I had a team, I had a family.
Then the bomb happened; Jensen disappeared.
Then the Evolved were revealed; Sarisa disappeared.
Then the Linderman Act came; Adrianne disappeared.
Then the Vanguard showed up, and suddenly the world needed us again.
But Jensen never came back. He was one of them now.
I lost a friend and a brother.
I lost my purpose.
I lost my fucking eye.
I'm losing my fucking mind too.
You know, I've started to notice I have a weakness for certain types of woman.
The real ball bashing types. The type of woman that makes men tuck their genitals between their legs and run the other way. Those men were the smart ones.
Me? I married two.
I couldn't even begin to tell you what about them gets my motor running, even when they slap me down and I snap right back. We treat each other like crap and obviously dislike each other.
Maybe I'm just a damn glutton for punishment, but that Agent Hanson…
Woof, what a woman.
Happiness: Balloon Animal
Happiness is the brightly colored balloon animal!
When you've got a case with young children involved, they can be all closed down and not want to talk at all, but when you pull out the first balloon, you get their attention. Eyes widen with curiosity as you start twisting and bending the shapes, you chat them up brightly and try to look less intimidating.
When your done and you offer it to them, their faces light up and suddenly you don't seem so bad, and just for a moment you make a traumatic situation for a child a little better.
Kids are one of those things, you know? I've got three myself, right now, maybe a fourth on the way, can't say for certain. They're a real handful, and sometimes, I wonder what the hell I was thinking. It's a pain to keep track of all of them. Especially when they go running off unsupervised so frequently. They can really drive a guy up the wall.
But there's an odd sort of comfort that comes with kids. Maybe it's the comfort of knowing they'll come charging through gunfire if it means saving an old man. There's your Kodak moment.
Fear and Loathing
Logan might imagine he's made people feel like this before, which is rather Deckard's point.
They discussed power. Pain and fear help, and the older of the two had had a name to scream. But also the removal of rational thought until the world is constricting, the world is flesh, and all John can think about is the knife and its ecstasy and what it's doing to him. He wants to beg. Let me give you my eyes, let me use my hands on you. Because slicing to the heart was always going to be a big disappointment.
You said I needed to love myself before I could love anyone else. You should look in a mirror.
You said I didn't belong in Argentina, or any position of authority. I saved our lives and you wouldn't have belonged there if not for a Nazi ghost.
You said we weren't ready to be with anyone until we figured out who we were. Sure figured yourself out fast.
You said you wanted to be my friend and that I wasn't capable of it. From the way you treated me, you wouldn't know friendship if it punched you in the face.
Happiness: The Couch
Happiness is curling up in the dark. The lights flickering from the movie playing on the TV. The sound of screams and laughs and explosions. The smell of buttery popcorn heavy on the air. The taste of it. The feel of the warm body pressed against you. The strong shoulder that your head rests upon.
It doesn't matter what type of movie we pick. Whether we laugh or cry. If we cringe in the dark from the horror on the screen. That's irrelevant. What matters is that I'm happiest when I sit on a couch and watch movies. With you.
The beat is heavy. I can feel it in my bones. In my soul. It's addicting. But no more addicting than the press of people around me. Knowing that I'm crushed in the middle of a sea of humanity. And we're all there for one purpose.
It's primal. Natural. It feels so right. So good. So freeing. It's something that we've done since the dawn of time.
I close my eyes and tilt my face up, smiling as I bathe in the atmosphere. As I soak in every second, as if I could always remember?
How it feels to dance.
Sometimes I'm not sure if I like myself. What I've become. I can't be carefree. I can't just dance and watch movies. To make friends and find someone of my own. Someone to love. Maybe to begin a family with. To grow old with.
Instead I'm not sure I will grow old. I don't regret the fighting. I believe in the cause. I believe it's right. But sometimes I regret the things I'm forced to do to try to win that fight.
But in the end, it doesn't matter if I like myself or not.
I am who I am.
Mom and Dad
I don't expect much from you. I never did. I never expected to be praised when I did well in school. Or punished when I got in trouble. I didn't think that you would ever sit down with me and ask me if there were any boys I liked, or if I had any problems that I needed advice on.
No, I didn't expect any of that, though most people would have. Most people don't have to expect it. They simply receive it. It's not asked for, simply given when it's needed.
The one thing I did expect? Your love.
Fuck My Life
The rain fell as you kissed me, soaking through the clothes that you grabbed at. Fueled by envy and desire, the thunder rumbled over the ground, shaking the side of the car that you pinned me against. Deeper and deeper. Your hands grabbed at my body, my hair. I grabbed back. Your mouth went to my neck, slick with rain. I wanted you, I wanted to feel you under the wet clothes. I wanted you to feel me.
But everything went wrong as the touching stopped and you tried to bash my head open with a wrench.
Fuck my life.
Teo doesn't acknowledge his leg until he's bodily hauled onto the dresser. Francois scrunches up the gashed pant leg to stare.
Maladroit, he says. Robuste, Teo retorts.
Pain stings gooseflesh into his calf when Francois scrapes and irrigates, angrily describing infection. Scars. Teo lolls his head. Pretends a long, elaborate boredom. He gives up neither charade, even when he's abruptly shucked bare-legged. Not at pulling mouth. Nor when Francois stops.
You're tough enough. Happy?
Then a pang. Teo kisses him, and makes a production of grimacing at the taste. Allows himself to be kissed again, and his knees hiked. Better.
Mad Dogs and Fist Fights
Look at this asshole. Just look at his eye, with all that bruising. All me, baby. Serves him right, he knows what mad dogs do to me. The vodka kind, not the furry kind.
Look at this blonde bimbo. Her own fault for backing up this asshole. She knows what mad dogs do to me.
And look at this crazy bitch. Why's she mad at me? It's not like I hit her on purpose. She knows what they do to me.
And in ten minutes, we'll all be best friends again, like it never happened.
We should fist-fight more often.
I had a future destroyed; I will rewrite it. My heart was broken; I will put it back together. I lost my family; I will make a new one. My body is scarred; I will heal. I lost myself; I will find out who I am.
Once, I wanted the world to revolve around me, cater to my whims. Now, I will move my own world in any way I can.
A prophet said I would die, I wouldn't live to see my birthday. My body's in the ground, but here I stand.
I will make the most of it.
The song on the radio is Satisfaction, but Meredith can't get any. She thinks back to her nightmares, to her promises and realizes they spawn each other. What is she, but an out of control blaze? Once, she was a merry campfire built to keep people warm and now she is all devastation: a forest fire, causing the loss of homes and lives.
Yes, she beckons to the innocent and well meaning moths, come closer and let me singe your wings. They can't help themselves, can't be anything but the sum of their own follies. But, then, neither can she.
"They are all that I have now, and you come with this?"
"I'm sorry, Walter."
"Get out. Now."
Delilah doesn't like it when he gets angry; it is the kind of anger that seethes out of him. The man in fine clothes leaves the greenhouse. Delilah, tiny and hiding in her flowery dress, studies him from her spot behind the door. He had a stern brow and a big nose.
She goes to moon over Walter as she always does. There is a ribbon in her red hair that he fusses with, smiling weakly, warmth in his piercing blue eyes.
Done by People
"Dick." Name or insult, neither are sure.
"Nic'. You look good."
"Spare me." She won't do him the same courtesy. "You were supposed to leave her alone."
It sounds so simple. It was never simple. "You got old."
Old at seventeen.
Blues flash. "She stood a chance." He took that chance from them both.
"You never said stop," he sneers. She reveals her gun. "What're you gonna do with that?"
This time it's the muzzle that flashes. She's disabled his weapon.
He screams. "You liked it, you whore!"
It's why she empties the rest of the magazine into his chest.
My clothes smell like fresh rain. They always give her away.
I don't think she's realised it yet.
We're too much alike sometimes. We both think we know better, and we're both stubborn. She's the light to my dark. It's why we couldn't stay together. I'm too angry and she's too full of hope.
I promised to break her arm if she had me call her aunt. I wish she had become, for her sake and his. I wish it had worked out, for all my misgivings. I wanted them to be happy.
I want my jeans back.
When I am around them there is no good girl, as they tend to bring out the dark side in me. I have so much respect for them, even if Raith wouldn't hesitate to kill me, if given the right reason. Despite knowing that, they are the ones I turn to when I need people that can get the job done. I can only hope that I can learn from them, to be better then I really am. Even if misguided, a part of me thinks, learning from them, fighting by them, will help me protect those I care about.
I miss it at times, it was simpler back then. No relationships to tie me in knots, no family nagging at me. There was only five main things I had to worry about.
Shoot. Get shot. Die. Get up. Repeat.
In Madagascar I left a part of my soul behind, not just parts and brain matter. I lost so much and gained even more, not just incurable malaria.
I left a cheerleader and returned a war tested soldier.
With the lessons I learned there, it is a miracle I came back at all.
Or have I even truly left it?
As the copper colors of the morning sun filter in, specks of dust glint and sparkle as they float through the light, I wake up with your arms around me. Body curled up along my back, keeping the chill at bay. Warm breath stirring the hair at the back of my neck.
A smile touches my lips, a soft sigh escaping. For once, I don't feel disgust in myself. I don't hate myself the morning after. I feel content and even happy.
I don't want it to end, I want to stay there in that moment just a little longer.
Your hand on the small of my back, other clasped in mine, my fingers play lightly with the hair at the base of you neck. Nervous smiles shared and shy glances.
Only a single spill of light to illuminate us, as we turn across hardwood floors, in the privacy of your home. You guide me along in familiar footsteps, pulling me closer.
While Sinatra croons about the blue moon, we look into each others eyes, blue to brown, realizing for a moment there might be something more.
A tender kiss, a gentle sigh.
So this is what it is like.
In a puff of smoke he'll be gone, that cocky son of a bitch. Floating away like dust on the wind, acting as if he's better then everyone else.
He gets under my skin, like so many thorns poking uncomfortably at my tender skin.
However, I will never show it, I won't give him the satisfaction of knowing what he does to me.
When it comes down to it, though, he is still on the same team with somewhat similar goals, even if in different departments.
For that, he gets some respect, even if I would rather just punch him.
Your dark hair made the sky as you moved over me. Your dark eyes shined, paler than they should be, nearly golden, then darker than the space between the stars. Your pale skin all the light in the world. Everything but us would melt away.
Sometimes you would say my name, others only whispered, breathy, unintelligible sounds.
In the dreams, you said my beard was too scratchy; when I shaved it off, went to work, you laughed and said I looked too young.
I never knew if the dreams were my own, you, or some reflection of your fractured self.
You're the living embodiment of a dead girl. A weapon so powerful and a tool so innocent, you know not what you do, how it can be used. Don't be stupid he begs me even as we stick to our ten day schedule. You ask me when you're going home and I have to delay because I don't know. I ask the darkness that every night and no answer. Soon we'll have the answer to your question and I can take you home. A matched pair, dead girls for a crazed but brilliant scientist. It'll hurt to give you over.
If more people knew about us, they'd think it was rape, and although this makes me a worse person than the one I am for spreading my legs in the first place… I might let them.
They'd say you plied me with drugs or alcohol, accuse you of forcing my consent, ability dragging your name from my mouth—
Well. Somebody's name. It doesn't matter whose when it's leaking hot and wet into your ear or when I'm opening myself for you regardless of the history we share.
The truth is that while it wasn't always good, I was always willing.
A Greek word meaning: purging. Ours is a ritual, though no two times are ever exactly the same. It starts with my mouth on yours or your mouth on mine, terse words hissed past front teeth that bite and catch and pull. Escalates from there.
I like to pretend that when you hurt me, it's because you can't forgive my body for being separate from yours, or you have some way of understanding the desperate noises I make at the back of my throat, begging for release and demanding you allow yourself the same.
Whenever you go first, I follow.
Tattoos draw paths, mimicked with fingertip touches, and Francois would not write his name next to the eagle or the chess piece. It's not how he operates, and his touches remain random and exploratory. There are few things in the world he would try to claim, and Teodoro isn't an exception, even if the world tries to draw parallels between love and possession.
He mutters something against the nape of Teo's neck, and it's French for you flatter me, though Teo hasn't said a thing, nor yet woken up.
Youth is wasted on the young, in most cases. Not his.
Hours, days, weeks and months tapping keys and watching imaginary lives and people take shape on the screen before us. Living lives that we can and do only dream of. An escape from the real world and place to vent real emotions. RP with me? Open scene in the park, all welcome! We need volunteers to have their lives ripped apart so can be cobbled back together. Gala's, fist-fights, mass slaughter and evolved prisons. A handful of people who cater to our whims with little thanks, approval sought and fingers wagged when we err. Refreshing that window every five minutes.
Occhi azzurri, Capelli rossi
When her hands, soft and firm, are entwined in his paws of long digits and rough palms, she always remembers the gentleness in them- him; the brushes of coarseness along the curves of her thighs, the fingers to her hair. Lips touching gingerly over the arches of her neck, her own to the scratchiness of jawbone. His heat seeping into her muscles, her touch to the chill surface of his skin, cold from rain, crisp on contact just like his eyes- which she can only try to warm with the earthen heat of her own. Fire and water make steam.
You're so cute. That little half-grin and the awkwardness. How much you try to pretend like you're a good little boy with a girlfriend. Like you don't want me. But the act is all too apparent, darlin'. Even before I kissed you, I knew. The way you avoided touching me, and flinched when you did. Because it was wrong. You shouldn't like it, not if you really were faithful. But why pretend? Acts never make people happy for long. After a time, the illusion breaks down, and you're stuck with the truth.
And remember. The second time? You kissed me.
At first you were just a responsibility. And a frustrating one at that. But you are so innocent. More innocent than anyone else I've ever met, of any age. Too innocent. You don't know that what they've done to you is wrong. You don't know the difference between right and wrong at all. I find all I want to do is to help you. To make your life better. To introduce you to the world and let you experience it through a child's eyes while you still can.
Childhood is too short as it is, my dear. Don't waste it.
I took you under my wing, Luke. Into my house, to be protected from the same people who would lock me up as quickly as you. It was my job, but more, it's my calling. We're different, not wrong. But sometimes you make it hard to prove that. You're a poor example, my microwaveable friend. And you make it so hard to keep you under the radar sometimes. Do you want to go back to the hole? Do you want to be their little experiment? You accept my protection, this much is true, yes, but?
You blew up a bridge!
Delicate sensibilities beware.
We do not strip (You want Burlesque).
We will kiss and press hip to hip in short skirts, writhing above that wooden bar and grabbing poles while we dance to whatever blares from the jukebox. Legs will intertwine and alcohol will pour from the bottles that we will tilt tantalizingly from above in exchange for cash.
Kama Sutra on the walls, a couple pant, fondle in the alley while someone waits to press a gun to their temple. The Nun will look away, Red blatantly stares, Izzy screams approval from heaven.
One step above a strip joint.
Dodo, l'enfant do
Dodo, l'enfant do, L'enfant dormira bien vite. How much time passed between when he saw the child before he saw the grown woman. Dodo, l'enfant do L'enfant dormira bientot. Pink hair, body fleshed out in hips, bust, but still that same girl. Une poule blanche. Est la dans la grange. She came to him twice, untouched by what he gave her, offering to help him. Qui va faire un petit coco. She thinks that long ago her mother sang it to her, not a dying Frenchman sure his fate was sealed by cherubic cheeks. Pour l'enfant qui va fair' dodo.
What is in this box, has stood the test of time. It once belonged to my great-grandfather, it supposedly saved his life. It has been in the thick of war and it has endure the furies of mother nature. It has witnessed everything; love and hate, Joy and sadness, birth and death. And despite everything, it has endured. It might not be shiny new, and it has quite a few dents and chips, but it still continues to give meaning to so many people.
Reminds me of some one… and so I think he needs this crucifix more then me.
I didn't think I liked you, the first time we met. You insulted my clothes, or perhaps just me. Corsets are clothing, you know. But like a mold, you grew on me. Each visit you seemed a little less uptight, a little more human. A little less a girl I'd like to avoid, and more one I could spend time talking to. Someone I could go to when I needed to vent about work or guys. Always guys. I don't even have to censor my words. That's not something I ever would've expected.
But then, I have always liked surprises.
I'm not your mom. I'm too young for one thing. I'm not even sure I know how to be a good mom. Aren't you supposed to start when a baby, so you can learn even as the child does? I don't know how to be a mother to a teenager. I still remember ten years ago when I was your age, though the memories begin to dim.
But how can I deny you? Your own mother failed you. You didn't fail her. You deserve to have a normal family.
I'm just not sure I know what that is. What's normal?
When I climb into bed at night, I go there alone. With just a dog to warm my feet, but not the bed beside me. I reach out for you in the night, hoping that a passing dream has turned into reality, and you will be there next to me. To take me into your arms and hold me while the pitch black of the night fades into the gold and pink of sunrise.
But every morning when I wake, you're not there. Just cold sheets and a pillow still fluffed. So I sigh, roll over, and return to dreams.
There's something about that month, month or more that I don't want to forget. I'll never tell him, never tell anyone what it is. What came after the green flare. The way happiness and warmth bubbled up from infinitesimal point of origin in my body. It crept forward like a warm blanket pulled over me and after the first time, I never fought it again. I can see why they love him. I loved him too for that. I confess when I hit him, I wanted to feel that again. He disappointed me and gave me only pain. You bastard.
Happiness is just beyond my reach. I grope for it with out-stretched and blood covered fingers, but don't quite make it.
I know there was a time I knew what it was, before Sylar stepped out of the shadow and into my life, but lately it seems like it was all just a dream.
Will there be a time I can touch it and hold it and remember what it was like again?
I hope to feel the warmth of it again, so I keep reaching for that happiness, no matter how long it stays just beyond my finger tips.
Happiness used to be fingers of sunlight reaching through the tangle of Kudzu and tree's to splay it's weak warmth on my face while I laid on the moss while water burbled around me and I daydreamed about the children I would have. Now, happiness is being at peace with myself, my place in the world, people around me and my faith in all things. Happiness is a dinner table groaning with food and those I love and care for seated at it's table. Our hands grasped in each others and prayer's for safety. My happiness always changes with age.
"Je t'aime," he says, and maybe this time he means it. The Sicilian's hands are rough, weathered, his palms made callused by long months spent at sea during arduous cross-Pacific passages more demanding than the compact press of his mouth sealing around his. He smells like salt and sweat and the slow burn of tobacco wrapped in porous brown paper — in South America, he remembers that they used plantain leaves to roll them. His lover is almost as pliant, and unlike the medicinal herb relieves nothing. He aggravates his condition instead, making him want love more than he loves wanting.
The first time you touched me in that way, a hotel room in Milwaukee far away from everyone we knew and nothing but anger at the world and unresolved sexual tension that should have come out in rough handling and bruises that make us groan in other ways afterward. You slid under my skin like your hands slid over it in places never touched before by anything. The smell of whiskey winding through my senses, tasting it on your lips, smelling it on your skin. Instant arousal. I don't know if I want to do it without that smell again.
There's just something that seems to just ripple from his toes and all the way up to his hair when he sees me or hears me coming. The way every strike of my heel reverberates through him, the momentary look that flashes across his face. Like a rabbit that's been caught bounding right through that sunny meadow by a badger. Or a hunting dog. He thinks badger. The fall of his face when I take the last powdered donut and the hound dog happiness to be given even half back. God. The power that the man gives me without knowing.
Kick in the Head
Martin was quite on the game.
Chang, the children- the dragons- after a time I simply came about to leave things to happen. For that the ghosts- in all senses- leave me be. Then the nightmares came- and frankly- honestly- they were like nothing I had ever experienced before. I do miss them. Even though it was painful, it was certainly revealing.
Now the reason for it is gone, just like everything else that comes too close. I suspect that I should stop trying to reconnect to the world where it provides me opportunity to do so.
It never works.
Samson Eight: Upside Down
sometimes i like to lay on my back and watch them. they think that i fall asleep like that! how silly.
i sit and watch them do things when they think i am sleeping. not many of them do interesting things. Franswah comes to check and this time he brought me food. so many of them feel things that i do not think that they notice they are feeling. most of them. guys like Teeoh even have several things!
so i watch them and see what is wrong and then i try to make good! everyone cept Franswah likes kisses.
Samson Seven: Future
i wont last forever, i know that much! but i dont know how long i will be around. i know when i go, Dee will be sad- she calls me her baby, but maybe she will not be alone forever! she makes a good mum for me.
but one day i will die-
but before that i will protect her pup like it was my own, yes- and she and her pup can sit with me when i leave so we can be happy.
for now i will be her baby.
it is a small price to pay for love.
I would fuck you but
I would fuck you
but I think you might be gay
with a fake ID.
You probably don't approve of murdering innocents either, although
when we met, you were working with that one guy. Maybe you still are. My memory's going. For instance
I can't remember if I've seen you looking at a man before. I mean, really looking, breathy and wet and thinking about his hands on you. I watch too often while you're on stage. Narrow hips. Your eyes are dark and you've never looked at me that way
but a lot of sober women don't.
Happy endings only exist in fiction, and that isn't because Gabriel has a cynical outlook on life. He does know that endings are quick and unexpected. He's orchestrated enough of them. So when he looks at her, he doesn't see a happy ending, no matter what the time travelers have to say about the matter. When he looks at her, he sees grey eyes, soft mouth, tiny hands, and challenge.
The bad guys aren't supposed to get the girl and psychopaths aren't supposed to know what love is. But in the words of the ghost of a friend: fuck permission.
Sharp words out of her soft mouth. To be honest, Joseph even liked it. You can't stay married for a matter of years without enjoying your honey's flaws too. The next blonde over was like looking in a mirror, except that Abigail figured out how to be a Christian in this city.
The only reassurance Joseph has for Kaylee is that he's forgiven murderers before she came along.
He'd thought of his wife when he'd looked at Harlow— blame the psychoactives for that. No excuse when it comes to Meredith, though.
"What are you lookin' at?"
Nothing. Not a thing.
I've been staring at this blank screen for fifteen minutes now and oh God what if I cant think of anything? They're counting on me to know what to say, God, all the kids who come up to me and tell me how much they admire me, and I cant let them down, can I? The words have to come, because if I don't have them, I'm going to disappoint everyone, and I don't think I can bear that. People need to know that they have choices. They need to hear the truth. Oh God, the screen is still blank.
"There's a hole in the bucket, De-lilah, De-lilah…"
Those aren't the right words.
But it doesn't matter. Helena sings them in her sweet mezzo as she moves through the kitchen. She smells of citrus and baking things; when asked she just laughs at Dee and flicking some flour at her, tells the redhead that she just likes to stress bake. Wiping her hand against her cheekbone, Helena leaves a smudge there and Delilah wonders what Helena would do if she touched her face and then wipe it away with her thumb.
"There's a hole in the bucket, De-lilah, a hole…"
The room is cold but it doesn't matter because she feels like she is drifting in honey. Her arms and shoulders hurt from the awkward way that her wrists have been cuffed to the pipe, but she has long since learned how to tune out such discomforts. What disturbs her most are the visits, when she's brought what little food or water she's permitted, and she has to look at familiar faces, most especially his face. She can pretend not to see the others, but there is no way she can avoid him. She kneels before him, an ungrateful child.
Happiness: The Medal
Happiness is the way her mouth appears to get smaller instead of bigger when she smiles. It's matchstick-thin arms cinched around his neck and the press of her handsome face against his chest through the olive brown of his uniform.
It's the abrupt revelation that she's gotten very tall.
Large but feminine hands built for playing scales tease the ribbon between their delicate fingers and explore the gold star's five tapered points. He would wear it on the left side of his jacket if he hadn't asked her to hold it for him.
Герой России. A title he doesn't deserve.
Happiness: On Top
According to the best scientists in the world (probably), happiness is stimuli, neurological response, a release of flooding chemicals into synapses and then the body's stupid-dog tail wagging response. Happiness is also making her blush and making him shudder, and being on top, and a really nice pair of Versace blue jeans. Happiness is usually expensive for how cheap it really is.
But it's nothing without euphoria, snowstorm endorphins, without the finer tunes of dopamine and serotonin, the tickle sensation under flesh, the race of hot blood, the ache in loins. Surface giddiness, damp skin, unseeing eyes. Happiness is chemical.
My girl's got a heart like the sun cut through the sea. That's like a song. One from the past, not the future. Drinks on me, if you can figure out which one (except not really).
She took care of me. Still believes in me. Should have married her. I'd write about her tits— you'd like them, even if small areolas aren't usually your type, but she would prefer to hear poetry and this is neither superficial nor girlish. It puts the heart in hearty and deigns not explain why.
There is her motion in the play of lambskin clouds.
In the world where Teo tries to and actually saves Alexander… he has to break a mirror to find it, first. There's no rabbit hole, no reality flip, only dumb blond panic. Slippery glint of bone, serous-bunched skin, arterial blood sliming insurance card and staining loose bills black. One cab driver pulls him in anyway. "Ah've seed worse, son. Keep pressure," but the gauze—
—it's holding itself. Teo just thinks: already hallucinating.
The radio begins fiercely about PARIAH, but the driver jabs it off. "Family?"
Teo chokes mid-prayer.
Empathy looks at him from the rearview. "I'll stay with you."
Happiness is a word that Judah Demsky doesn't associate with himself. He prefers content and generally refuses to desire more than what he has: stable career, two little girls who are not so little anymore, and a dog with medical bills too expensive for him to talk to anyone except their veterinarian about.
His 2002 Ford Taurus, oxide yellow: incidental.
The lease he's considering breaking for a twenty-year mortgage and a two bedroom duplex in Brooklyn or Queens he can leave for Colette when he's gone: slightly less so.
When he watches the three of them sleep? Everything else: forgotten.
Black and red, like the bottom of a dying hearth, and there's a certain burn-heat too to the repeated needlepricks darting in and out of his flesh. Lying as if sedated on his stomach, arms folded beneath his chin, and strangely nervous about this, this scar, a deliberate injury though it might be. There is little he plans to own up until his imagined far away death, but he will have this.
This is a token of facetious patriotism, even after his accent dims, even after he forgets how to speak the language, and even after he never goes back.
To one man, a daughter.
To another, the sister he never had.
To yet another, a pawn he could maneuver as it suited him.
One saw her as an annoyance he might have to kill one day, but if he did, he'd reap the rewards in the doing of the deed.
She never really understood what she was to the one she chose to love, just ultimately not what he needed.
Most look to her as a would-be martyr.
All this one sees is an ass that fills out her jeans and a nice rack.
Helena likes it that way.
The things you do? They drive me crazy.
Like how you insisted on calling them Homeland Satan.
Like how I cant seem to convince you that there's any music of value in the twenty-first century.
Like how you put all that faith in me.
That's the craziest of all, you know. It keeps me up at night, makes me wonder if someday you'll start to think you made a mistake. Makes me worry you'll realize that I am not deserving of your friendship.
The things you do? They drive me crazy.
And I don't know what I'd do without you.
She can't look into a fire without thinking of him.
The irony didn't escape her that all that remained of him was so much ash. Shed never believed that there could be a crucible too hot for him, but that night shed been proven wrong. If he'd been burned by his own flames, would he have risen again?
There would be no rising from those ashes. Only memories are left, but those memories were powerful enough to have built something. She's scared that she doesn't have enough of her own fire left to sustain it.
In the end, everything burns.
The wind in my face. The salt on my lips. The shifting textures of water, sand, earth or asphalt beneath my flying feet. Feeling that everything chasing me grows smaller, tiny and insignificant with each forward rushing step I take. Knowing that I can leave my problems behind. Knowing that nothing can catch me unless I let it. Knowing that while danger may lurk, I am always one step ahead of it. It isn't fast enough to grasp me, that it can only grip the blur and wake of me, always coming up empty handed as I sprint toward freedom.
Happiness isn't the sleepy smile of a lover as sunlight sifts through the blinds. It isn't knowing she's done the right thing. It isn't protecting people who deserve to live. It isn't falling in love for the first time. It isn't in the way snow gently falls, or the stars twinkle up above. It isn't in the way dawn kisses the dew.
It isn't scar across her throat where she allowed him to prove himself. Ones less severe at her wrists where she cut herself free. Faded lines under ribs.
It's tracks on her arms, the absence in her veins.
There are things which forge a bond between two people who might otherwise have ignored each other. Things which make them as close as best friends or sisters. Or, in some case, even lovers. Tragedy is one, and perhaps that which is best known. Secrets are another. When you're an evil mastermind, your confidants become your bosom buddies. Who else can you brag about your devilish successes to?
But what happens when you share a tragedy? When you add a secret on top of that? The tie becomes tighter. It can strangle if you're not careful.
Am I that careful?
I said, "I'll never leave you," and I meant it. But I lied.
He showed me what Christmas could be. Bought a tree, and we decorated it with lights and tinsel. He put a golden-haired angel atop. "Because it looks like you, Joy," he murmured into my ear as I surveyed the soft glow of our creation. He created a brighter glow in me after dark.
I kissed the dusk of his lips, his dark lids and darker hair. "Last night was the best of my life," I whispered into pre-dawn, "I love you." Told him something true.
When I first saw you, I was smitten. You weren't the prettiest of the bunch, nor did you have the best form. You weren't even the most charismatic. So what was it that drew me to you, I wonder?
Was it the smile?
The way you moved?
The haunted look in your eyes?
Whatever it was, I knew that I had to know more. I had to discover what made you smile. How to make you move to me. How to wipe that look from your eyes.
Now I must ask. What did you see when you first saw me?
When I think of Mother Nature, I think of a younger woman rather than an older one. She is always young, because the years since her creation are a thumbprint compared to the universe. I picture a young, strong woman, with hair and eyes that catch the sunlight and hands that hold me steady. Arms to embrace me, and lips that tell me about the sins that mankind ought to fix. Sins we ought to fix, and how much she wants to do it for us.
When I think of Mother Nature, do I think of Helena? I think so.
The world will never know it was saved by shadow- how Darkness embraced Death to protect this unkind, thankless planet.
I know. His presence— inky, tattered as it is— humbles me.
But even before he saved the world, he saved me. He gave me a purpose. Saw something worthwhile in a spoiled, scared uptown girl. Would I have made it otherwise? Or would I have slipped, succumbed to the madness that beckons to so many victims? Every moment I spend in his dark world, I learn what it means to be brave.
And I'm no longer afraid of the dark.
I can't call you one of mine because you're not, but if you were I'd wear you on my arm, let you press your face into my cheek and feed you from my fingers, thumb braving the curve of a hooked mouth carved for killing.
Instead, I settle for blunt nails and revel in the graze of sharp teeth, always wishing my smallness didn't compel you to be so gentle with me; when I look into your eyes lit gold it's impossible not to draw the comparison between man and bird. My Garuda, my Aquila, they name constellations for you.
I've Never Known
Not mirror images, not really. Her shoulders are narrower, eyes greener. Already she looks more like an adult, if the other knows where to look. Blue eyes stare back, arms entwined and noses touching gently. Green eyes close for just a moment, body leaned into another and a head rest onto shoulder, breath is warm. It's not normal for people to have relationships like this, but they have always been so desperately far from normal; it suits them. Mirrors looking to celebrate newfound differences. "What is love like?" Green eyes ask wordlessly, and their blue mirrors reply, "I've never known."
Mio Caro Fratello
Leonardo da Vinci: Italian polymath.
Galileo Galilei: physicist, astronomer, philosopher.
Valentinus: patron saint of happy marriages, affianced couples and bee keepers.
Teodoro Laudani: saved a little lost girl.
Unless you go before me (I feel in my heart that you won't), no one will remember to attribute this to you when you die. They'll swathe your body in black and wash your face with warm water, dutifully scrub under your nails and maybe if you're lucky you'll have someone to kiss the blood from your mouth, brush closed your eyes and whisper, "Grazie, mio caro fratello."
I wish you were.
I stand alone on the brink of war. A war that has already begun in places. There have been casualties on both sides, and I'll fight to keep from being the next.
But I don't want to fight alone. Is that why I try to take him? Is it nothing more than loneliness? Or is there something there? Something real? How do I know the difference? I've never been in love before. Never had someone to call my own.
Part of me screams to fight, always to fight, but the skeptical side? it tells me to wait. I'll find someone.
Huruma was never partial to staying in coastal countries. She was never one for the seaside. Being in Angola during the heart of the civil war was purely luck.
The marines were always in and out. Something about Savimbi.
Only a few of them seemed remotely invested, only one interesting. Huruma had seen him several times before, though only spoke to him once before she appeared in the camp that night to raise an alarm.
Such a sweet name for a man so ruthless. She loves to say it, and he probably still hates when she does. Emile, Emile, Emile
Who am I now?
I used to know who I was until I met you. Now it feels like each day is a mystery waiting to be solved and that mystery is me.
Do I fight or do I run away? Do I give to those around me or do I only take? Can I hold on to what I am or will it all disappear like you did? Did I truly love you or did I just want you to love me?
And do I even know which one of you I'm talking to?
I don't think I do.
Eileen snips the final thread of gauze, peels off the third gooey cross-section of a finger. He grimaces. "Is it bad?"
"Wouldn't wager Abby'd come if it wasn't." Way-jah.
"There's your accent."
"I miss yours," she teases. (They're both right.)
(She's been in the States forever; he, in Israel too long.)
"I'm… I'm thinking about quitting."
Silence. Then, "Surprising, how few do."
"Think about it, first."
"Thought Abby sees the veterans."
"I comfort their children."
(You see, she had promised too: No bringing ghosts home. Not Danielle's. Not even Munin's from the well.)
Honestly, then. "You'll make a good mother."
If she knew, she would leave.
Never would he be allowed to marvel at the size of her small hands when they sit in his or compare the lily smoothness of her skin to his coarser leather.
Never would he take her hair between his fingers and rub the cornsilk curls over his thumb like a flower petal, releasing their fragrance in order to inhale her sweetness and intoxicate himself with it.
Never would he slake his hunger through her mouth or bury his nose in the soft hollow of her throat just to hear her pulse fluttering there.
Storms at night- that is what reminds me of him now. I would have agreed with that even before.
He is dark in the way that night can be; sometimes lit with reflections of his world and twinkles in his eyes and smile- sometimes pitch black when his spirit is sore and his eyes aim down to the ground, lips downturned at the corners.
The thunder that he's got inside only shows when he strikes out. Warm droplets of water that hug me close, smooth and clinging to my hair. The static in the air, buzzing impishly in my heart.
Sophia made her stay in the waiting room alone with the woman whose husband stepped out in front of the lorry. She holds her hand because she feels as though that's what she ought to be doing but cannot bring herself to meet her eyes when she asks what happened to her brother.
A man in a white coat comes out, tells them that the woman's husband has passed and suddenly: Eileen is afraid.
The surgeon puts Nick's jaw back together with metal plates and fine screws. Much later, she'll wish he'd been hit by a lorry and died too.
She knows she should feel some guilt for using threats to frighten her into compliance, but what she feels instead is a grim kind of satisfaction that leaves a taste in her mouth which, while bitter, isn't entirely unpleasant.
It's not because they're in love with the same man, and it's not because she slept with her father, draped herself in his shirt and wandered the apartment like a lost little lamb sheared for the first time.
It's because she looks at her and she sees someone who reminds her of what she remembers she once was. Desperate. Needy.
This Quintessence of Dust
Photographs whisper a story the world already knows- a little girl lost, and lost again. Did he fail her, or was it the other way around? Would it have been better (easier?) had she not been found? She cannot know.
A picture's worth a thousand words, they say, but she will never hear that many fall from his lips. Twenty-one years' worth of words cannot be spoken in mere moments.
Dust and photographs are all that remain.
He was intangible as dust, invisible in the darkness.
In the light, dust glitters like fool's gold— illusions of what could never be.
Normal is his battlecry. His plea with every breath. "I want for normal. For the world to stop knocking on my door and begging."
Normal, is not possible I say. "Normal is an unattainable state of being that we were not born to or born for. Bombs threaten, Viral plagues, shoulders heavy with the burdens. Cries of 'HELP' coming from all corners to be saved. That is our normal. This is our world."
We don't get normal dashing from one apocalypse to the next. You want normal? Shoulda become a mailman Peter. Not a Paramedic.
You're still saving the world.
He watches her through a fire that belongs to other men - darker men — eyes cut silvery, wet through the silt slashed and dried grey across his hollow face. The way she moves. The way firelight radiates fluid warmth off her skin but never catches hold in her soul the way it does in her smile.
The way she watches him, so mirthfully aware
that in a war like this one, it's the little things that matter most. Rigor mortis loosing its grip to the noonday sun. Desperation in a drowning man's face. Sticky leaves and sucking mud.
The Lies of a Father
I raised my girls to be honest to never lie. That lies were bad and would only bring hurt to you and those you love.
I am a hypocrite.
Do as I say, not as I do.
I have lied to them their whole life. I have lied about what I did to keep a secret.
How long before my lies hurt the ones I love?
The only lie I haven't told is how much I love them and that I will do everything that need to be done to protect them.
Even if it means I have to lie.
Ask me what I regret the most.
It isn't refusing to fight him when he used his hands to cover my nose and my mouth.
It isn't breaking myself into pieces like bread, stale and unwanted, and throwing it all away to a flock of thieving birds.
It isn't signing an execution warrant with my tongue every time I whispered a name into his ear.
What I regret the most is showing strength, resolve and restraint the one time I should have succumbed to temptation and given you strychnine with your water when you were too weak not to drink.
I looked for you, I fought to find you and bring you home. I tried to give you hope, when things seemed so bleak, and to give you an shoulder to lean on.
All because you said I was a good person.
I wanted to prove you right, to be what you thought you saw in me. It forced me to look at myself and see just how truly misguided I was.
You were my salvation.
Then I told you everything about me. Spilled out all my sins.
Do you still see the good in me?
Do you see me?
She was always bright and fast, like a shooting star. Always moving, always running, always shining. Even when she tried to hide away her light, he could still see it. Even when she tried to run away, he still found it. Even when the sickness took her, she still had it.
But now he's the one hiding. He doesn't want her to see what he's becoming; the light of the Star he once was is failing.
A star that dies collapses on itself, swallowing all nearby light. And the last thing he wants to do is steal her light away.
My mother lied about who he was.
How bad did he hurt you, mom, that you would let your daughter think he never cared?
I had to find out from strangers, who my father really was.
Only to find my father lied to me and let me think he was dead.
Why do they continue to lie to me, instead telling me the truth?
I want to know the truth, I want to see my father. I want them to quit lying to me, and thinking its for the best. I am not a little girl anymore to be protected.
A well placed suggestive word, a subtle use of my ability, and they would be all mine.
Mine to hold.
Mine to use.
Mine to toss away.
They would love me and never hurt me.
With each persuasive word the black coils of temptation would tighten their hold on me. Whisper to me sweetly of what I could have and make me want more.
Then I learned how truly happy I could be if I let those men stay free. Learned what love truly is.
Now the black coils of temptation holds no sway over me.
But for how long?
What I remember most was his smile. It was kind, gentle, fatherly, attentive. I knew he was old enough to be my father, if not more so, but he made me feel safe. I wanted him to see me through his camera, capture me from all angles, find the beauty that I didn't see in myself. It started out innocent. Pictures and smiles. It turned intimate when I took him out on the boat for the first time, the sky and sails captured on film. I knew it couldn't last, but I never regretted it.
He gave me my daughter.
The Puppet Man and Me
They tell me he is a bad and that I should stay away, but when you look inside we are not much different.
The Puppet man and I have both killed with our power. Made people do what we want with a flick of our wrists, and found satisfaction in it.
Yet, we would do what we can to protect the Ferrymen kids and our friends.
That's why I consider him one of my best friends, because we are alike.
I know one day he could turn on me, but till then, he'll be my friend, someone I will trust.
Is it true? What they say? I don't want to believe it, but part of me wonders. Part of me fears. If it's true, I don't know if I can stay. I don't know if I can trust you. It isn't something that I can easily forgive, and certainly not something that I can forget. It's horrible the things you may have done, the people you may have hurt. But how can I know for sure? If I ask, you may lie, and I would accept the lie, because it's what I want to be true.
Spare me the truth.
The voices of babies were never as harsh as they are now, storms rolling thunderous overhead and the smell of roses amidst Lagos garbage twinging her nostrils when she moves through the ward. She knows that she cannot keep them. Neither one of them.
They'll be better off dead.
Better off dead.
Though she returns months later to leave them behind.
Maybe she was wrong?
But she can't take it back now.
She remembers to sing the lullaby now. To sing to his baby boy, his little treasure, his lindelani. The little man in the Moon, listen to the birdsong.
Alone in his apartment, she touches his possessions. Books. CDs. A watch. A pen. A framed photograph of him with another woman— one she knows, but does not know. One she's seen, but not met.
Her fingers drift over the photograph, as if she could read by Braille just what she means to him. What he means to her. Are they in love, these two? Are they fated to be? Despite all of her promises that this is not serious, is she keeping them apart?
Part of her hopes not.
Part of her that knows she loves him doesn't care.
He likes her on top of him.
That way it feels like he isn't forcing her.
Afterward she molds herself gently to his side, stale with sweat and old panic stirs cold in his gut against the natural brush of her arm across his scrubby chest in the semidark. Subtle like the cool, tender tease of an anaconda's forked tongue before the rest of her affectionate coils loop in to smother and crush.
He should say something but everything is the wrong thing.
He should touch her.
He apologizes instead
never sure exactly for what,
but she's already asleep.
A lab coat dwarfing her body, a stethoscope hanging down to her knees, the child holds the device to her father's chest, tilting her head to listen to the thumping in her ears.
"What will you be when you grow up?"
This, asked by a matronly relative, finding the antics charming.
Most four-year-olds' answers are outlandish dreams: cowboy, spaceman, lion tamer. Hers, precocious words spoken with a baby's lisp: "A neurosurgeon. Just like my Daddy is."
"Will you be Dr. Veronica?" the aunt asks.
"Dr. Sawyer, silly. Just like my Daddy."
Her dream? Turned out to be outlandish after all.
Would That I Could But I Can't
Would that I could turn back time. Not hop back and forth at whim to set right what is wrong. I would turn it back and see all that I missed with my own eyes. See the time when our hands touched and shared something divine. Rewind and watch that exact moment where the illusions broke and I saw the world without it's shine of naivete. Watch him watching me. That I could see this dead future of what could have been and a happiness that he swears we had. Where I still had it. I can wish. I dream.