– Shichigoro Shingo
A sign of friendship,
a dose of humanity.
Sorry for the brevity stressful day!
– Shichigoro Shingo
A sign of friendship,
a dose of humanity.
Sorry for the brevity stressful day!
That night I was unable to fall asleep.
The next morning Arius led me solemnly to the end of the world or at least the world as I had hitherto imagined it. Fractus was surrounded on all sides by invisible barriers through which I could not pass. I had often wondered what lurked beyond them and had long ago come to the conclusion that it was only vast open space. This world had always struck me as incomplete, as either dead or in the primordial stages of its development. For years I had seen no one other than my companion and by default he assumed many roles.
Fractus was not devoid of life but I could not distinguish a cow from a pheasant as every creature appeared to me faceless and misshapen. The meat they produced was flavorless and of a consistency between rubber and shredded paper. All the produce we consumed was mealy and bland. Eating was something we did strictly out of necessity and then only just. I say this now only that you might have some reference for comparison.
Once we’d walked as far west as we could Arius’ turned his inquiring eyes to me for confirmation of my resolve. I nodded feeling that my head might fall off my shoulders. I felt in a single word unhinged. Arius placed his fingers against the wall and a section sufficient for passage materialized without the fanfare that a miracle may be accustomed to provoke.
I shielded my eyes with my arm to block the sun’s rays and it was several moments before I could see well enough to distinguish shapes of any kind. This place was so unlike the 300 acres of wasteland to which we were confined. The fields were positively drenched in colors from the crisp green grass to the dainty blues and golds of blossoming flowers. The air was sweet and slightly musky, it must be Spring I mused. There were fences along the road and animals of discernible type in the fields. The old barn was bright red and standing ecstatic against the backdrop of a brilliant blue sky. In the distance I thought I saw the shapes of men stooped in the fields and my heart split in twine with a mix of joy and terror. I wondered if God would strike me down for my trespass into heaven. For it seemed to me then that I had been living in purgatory.
The house, though the same, appeared as it must have appeared mere moments after its construction. The yellow color recalled images of baby chicks and daffodils. I gasped hand nearly moving to cover my mouth. Arius turned to me with an apologetic gaze and I let my hand drop like a stone.
I stood behind Arius unable to satisfy my anxiety with any occupation. I held my breath when he knocked on the door. I held it until my lungs burned and the color fell from my face like a discarded peel. We were greeted by a 20 something man with black hair and eyes. It took me several moments to realize that he was a human like myself. “The master has been expecting you…” He spoke only to Arius and I felt that he was deliberately avoiding my eyes. “Will your servant be accompanying you?” I considered the man’s words and determined, with dismay, that they were in reference to me.
“Servant?” Arius’ obvious confusion provided more confirmation of my position than even denial would have done.
“The human…” The butler said trying to repress his astonishment/distaste at Arius’ ignorance.
“My brother doesn’t keep servants…” Just then a face emerged from the darkness that was the house. The familial resemblance was apparent at a glance but I found no familiarity in mannerism or expression. Zagan’s horns and the tips of his hair were black. His features were slightly more angular and he stood perhaps a good couple of inches taller which was to say that he could not stand strait in the door frame. “I never imagined that you would bring your lover here…” He said turning his mocking gaze to me. For several moments he appraised me sparing no part of my anatomy and although I was dressed I felt that it was not so. “Yuki prepare our guests some refreshments…” He said his tone leaving no room for discussion or objection. Neither I nor Arius disputed the man’s assumptions. I, for one, could not be depended upon to say anything in that moment.
Zagan moved to the side to let us pass through. I crossed the thresh hold at Arius’ heels just the way a child might cling to his mother’s skirts in the presence of a stranger. Zagan led us into the sitting room. The layout was much like our own sitting room but the furnishings where new. I sat together with Arius on a sofa which was slightly too small for the two of us together. My right knee bumped his thigh and for a moment I considered moving to the chair but chickened out when Zagan sat down in front of us. “Are you so scared of me human?” I felt Zagan’s laughter through the entire length of my spine and for a moment I even mistook the sound for my own pulse. “Prudent choice…” He continued gaze darkening.
The butler entered then with a ornate silver trey on which there was a full service tea set and several delicate pastries. I was grateful for the interruption as it forced our host to break his gaze. Zagan plucked an apple turnover from the trey as it passed near him. The butler served us in order of our perceived status which was to say that he served me last. When it came time to pass out pastries he kept the trey deliberately out of my reach, a slight for which I felt too much pity to protest. “Don’t be rude Yuki…offer it a pastry…” Zagan scolded without heart. I was rankled by his use of it, instead of the appropriate pronoun but I knew deep down that this was not the worst he could do to me. Reluctantly the black suited man passed the trey in my direction. I took a fruit tart and placed it on a napkin. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had anything sweet. Arius took three small cookies of different configurations and placed them on his napkin. Zagan dismissed his servant as soon as the transactions were complete.
“I acknowledge the loneliness of your position so if you’ve come to ask me to make an exception for your lover I have no objections so long as you don’t intend to procreate.” Zagan offered his tone moving seamlessly from nonchalance to disgust. The loneliness of your position invoked sympathy for I knew it must be so and yet I could not truly say that I felt alone when we were together. Procreate invoked an entirely different reaction. There were so many things wrong with that statement that I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it.
“I’m not an it. I’m a he and I have a name it’s Daniel.” I stated firmly, my irritation providing, momentarily, what confidence had failed to produce.
“Ho ho…so you are…my mistake…” Zagan did not strike me as particularly apologetic but I doubted he would suffer much more in the way of my insolence. “Well better that you are male…” He seemed relieved and I understood in a moment that his relief was a testament to his prejudice against human kind. I was too young to have adequately considered children but his words cemented the fact that I would never have any of my own. Not that I wanted to bring a child into what had become of my life.
“I didn’t come here for that reason nor did I come here to listen to you insult my partner. As for your offer I will hold you to it.” Arius said sitting his napkin down on the side table, two of the cookies yet remained. As for my tart I hadn’t taken a bite, irritation had left my stomach somewhat unsettled. “I came here to ask you some questions….we came here to ask you some questions.” He said having no where to sit his hands he placed them in his lap.
“Still afflicted with amnesia I see very well ask your questions…” Zagan took a sip of his own tea his eyes fixed on me as opposed to the speaker. What he thought about Arius’ reproach I could not say for he did not answer to it.
“What are we?” I recognized the question at once. Only days ago I had asked the very same question of Arius but I knew the answer meant more to him than it did to me. For him it was a matter of identity but looking at Zagan I wondered if Arius might be better off with the buffer afforded him by his amnesia. I was sick from all the hope that my own childhood had afforded me and sometimes prayed to forget it that I might more readily adapt to my current circumstances.
“What are we?!” Zagan laughed out loud. Startled by his brother’s question he turned his attention back to Arius and I felt myself shrink down a little further in my seat hoping next time he might not find my eyes. “You are more addled than I thought.” He sat his tea cup down and leaned his weight forward on his knees. “We are temptation…a lure.” He answered with a smile that seemed, to my eyes, deliberately cruel. “We bring food to the shadow and by we I mean I…you just can’t seem to part with your little pets.” He looked at me pointedly.
“Daniel is not a pet. I regard us as equals and I like to think we have always lived as such.” Arius stated in a tone that was as kind as it was definitive. Zagan looked annoyed and for a moment I feared that he might really lash out in anger.
“Equals? Hardly we are superior in every respect.” Zagan snorted indignantly. “We are immortals…I am immortal. You gave that up when you sided with our prey along with your portion of paradise.” He said and I thought, for a moment, that I detected sympathy in his gaze. Such a sacrifice I had never considered but it all made a certain kind of sense. “But don’t worry brother you have the entirety of your human lifespan to come to terms with your loss.” He said using smugness to cover up the fact that he was also affected by Arius’ circumstances.
“Did I ever offer humans to the creature?” Arius’ voice shook a little when he spoke. I sat frozen in my seat, hips pressed on either side. All the things I should have been doing conspired to keep me inert.
“You never…you have always been too good for this world.” Zagan phrased his last comment as something between an insult and an endearment. I am not sure how he achieved such nuance with his voice but as I had always found Arius’ voice richer and more versatile than my own I assumed it must be something with their vocal chords. I was relieved by Zagan’s words, relieved that Arius had never participated in the practice but simultaneously saddened at the knowledge that his life would always be a punishment. Arius let go of the breath he was holding and exhaled audibly.
“Besides Yuki are there other humans living here?” I asked trying to swallow a revived hoped that Oz might be alive.
“I keep several servants yes but if you’re hoping for a playmate I can’t help you.” My jaw tightened in response to his condescension but I said nothing. “If you are looking for one in particular I am afraid I have no memory for human faces.” He answered shrugging coldly.
I pulled a charcoal sketch from the folds of my robe and passed it to Zagan, it was a likeness of Oz. “Perhaps this will jog your memory.” He opened the paper and looked at the sketch for a several seconds.
“I’ve seen this sketch before my brother is nothing if not persistent.” He said holding the paper out for me and then pulling it back at the last minute. Zagan straightened himself and then called out for Yuki. The servants arrival was so swift I suspected that he must have been standing by the door. “Have you seen this child before?” He asked Yuki took the photo and studied it. I searched his face for recognition but he gave away nothing. The servant leaned down and whispered something into his master’s ear. “Oh really. Yes we have seen this child but he is no longer with us. It seems that he ran away three years ago.” Zagan returned the picture to me and waved Yuki out the door. My heart sank if Oz had left Zagan’s protection than his death was all but inevitable. “I am not one to offer false hopes.” He said by way of changing the subject. Arius clasped my hand and I could not tell if he was trying to comfort me or get my attention. Whatever the case the effect, I imagine, was very much the same on Zagan. He frowned deeply but said nothing.
“Well then I believe that I have earned a turn.” Zagan said the left side of his mouth curling up without the right side’s consent.
“Tell me about your encounters with darkness.” He said aiming his question at me. My heart leaped up in my throat. Was he referring to the curse? “Don’t look so surprised boy…I can see the price that your disloyalty has exacted.” His tone was sharp and accusatory. “My brother might over look your crimes but I do not think you will find me so forgiving.” His voice cut me to the core and I felt the hand in mine tighten.
“It was 2 years ago. I thought that Arius might be using fear to limit my freedom. I have since realized my mistake.” I couldn’t bring myself to look at my companion but was relieved that he continued to hold my hand.
“Your rebellion has cost me greatly.” Zagan bit back eyes narrowing to slits. “But enough of that for now…” He said irritability. I knew that for the time he would not permit us to question him further. “Since you are here you may as well spend the night. You will set off in the morning.” He said and it seemed as if matters had been settled. “I will have Yuki prepare a room for you.” He said rising, apple turnover in hand, he took his leave.
Arius was washing dishes when I confronted him next. “Are you feeling any better? Are you ready to continue our discussion now?” He asked drying his hands. I saw that he meant to put aside his work and give me his undivided attention and I was simultaneously pleased and frightened. We sat down together at the table.
“You said that Zagan’s objectives were in opposition to yours. Does that mean…” I looked down at my hands it seemed too terrible a thing to say out loud. “That he kills the children who come here?” I asked my voice buckling under the weight of my words.
Arius’ face fell, each word that passed my lips seemed to fall upon him like a physical assault. He wilted in his chair. “He feeds them to the creature in the woods or so I am given to believe. I have never actually seen him commit these atrocities.” His brows knitted together and I could see that there was a conflict at work behind his eyes.
“Do you think that he can be made to understand the value of human life?” I asked trying to swallow my own revulsion and hatred lest my listener bare the brunt of that persecution. Whatever Arius and his brother were they were not human and so I could not reasonably expect them to share my values and yet Arius had demonstrated countless times his capacity for compassion. He was not like his brother and I refused to classify him as such. As for his brother I knew not wholly how to temper my feelings except in consideration for my audience.
“I don’t know…” He admitted but something in his eyes said that he was exhausted and disheartened by his previous efforts. Something told me that he had spoken to his brother and then I recalled his long, unexplained absences. At the time I had assumed those absences were for the benefit of my privacy or his but now I wondered if their meaning might be deeper.
“Can you overpower him?” I asked I had never known Arius to be a violent man and the idea seemed almost too ridiculous to propose. Even if it were so how could I ask Arius to attack his own brother, to kill him if need be? I would never ask this of him and yet my cause weighed so heavily upon me that I could not help but inquire about his power of which I knew so little. Arius did have powers of this there could be no doubt but he rarely used them and this I imagined he did for my benefit. I do not think he could live with himself if I ever came to fear him.
“We are evenly matched…” He answered. His expression was pained and I saw that his fingers had flexed inwardly stopping just short of a fist. We had lived together as the only two people in the world for so long that I had memorized all of his expressions. When it was his own discomfort he took it in stride but this was not so for the things that brought me pain, those things he felt much more deeply.
“So you have fought?” I asked gripping the front of my robe as if it might satisfy the twinge of guilt I felt then. The guilt persisted and my fingers tightened in response.
“Mostly with words but yes physically as well…it always ends in a draw.” He answered his eyes focused weightily upon me. “What do you intend? I must advise that you do not to challenge him outright.” As much as I might have wished it I had seen evidence of Arius’ strength, stamina, and speed and I could not match him in any respect. How could I hope to defeat his equal, an equal not softened by morality?
“I am not suicidal…” I rubbed the back of my head nervously. I knew very well my limitations and I had longed abandoned the idea of death as a solution. “Can I meet with him?” I asked knowing that I asked too much of my companion but banking on the fact that he would humor my selfishness.
“You will hear his words for yourself…” He nodded solemnly and then after a period of consideration he looked at me again resignedly. “I will accompany you…” He said and on this point I knew that he would suffer no objections. I patted his hand in what I hoped was a reassuring manner and tried to smile at him but in the end I only managed a strait line. “We will set off tomorrow then.”
Jee Young Lee
The end comes with deliberation
And a good deal more emotion
Than I am prepared to admit.
We were friends, lovers of a sort
The kind that does not exchange
As an excuse for intimacy
The sort whose proximity
Necessitates the linking of shadows
A oneness that does not
Permit isolation but air enough
For breathing (at least I found it so)
And in me you became
A weed more beautiful
Than the flower overtaken.
Perhaps it is irrational
That I should want to be the one
To say those words first
That I should be the villain.
Your new life does not include me
Your ideal life scarcely
Vents my passage
Is it so strange that I should want
To die by my own hand?
To preserve the illusion
That you might return
Grateful that it was I
Who annihilated the bridge
Grateful for my oversights
For the splinters left.
The raft of my body
Remains in harbor
Waiting for your touch,
Your foot, to continue
The voyage we began.
I understand that not everyone who reads this blog will purchase the books I publish. Not purchasing my book in no way diminishes my affection for you and it will not result in discontinued patronage to your blog. I don’t even require an explanation as to why. Obviously I am over the moon when people buy my book but that’s another story entirely. Even if we are close, even if I’ve bought your books, it’s not expected so please don’t stop talking to me to avoid a confrontation. There isn’t going to be a confrontation and there is absolutely no reason to apologize. Your friendship matters to me more than anything else.
If I submit to your magazine and you don’t want to publish that piece for whatever reason, don’t, no hard feelings. While I do appreciate feedback and obviously a yes/no answer so I know what’s what, an explanation is not required it’s your vision by all means be true to it. Even if you have asked me to submit to the magazine personally, even if you’ve begged me you are not obligated to publish anything, hell you don’t even have to read my entries (though that would be a little strange if you asked me to submit lol). Will I be pissed? No, not even a little. Honesty is my preference but I do understand how scary it can be to navigate other people’s feelings and sometimes we avoid others for fear of awkwardness or retaliation but it’s not necessary it hurts my feelings a lot more when you avoid me.
What if you write an unflattering review? Or give an unflattering critique to one of my poems? Should you duck and cover then? No that won’t be necessary you are entitled to your feelings and opinions but I do ask that you be respectful when leaving comments. I am only human so I do get my feelings hurt from time to time. I do realize that no matter how much you enjoy my work there will come a time when I write something that leaves one or both of us feeling more than a little disappointed. I hope that when that day comes you won’t give up on me entirely. I try to post every single day, I am not a miracle worker, some days just suck and some days I suck. Some day I imagine I will post something out of character because as a writer I am continuously experimenting, pushing boundaries, and challenging myself. Sometimes I write from the perspective of characters, sometimes even villains so if ever you are confused about my personal views after reading something you’ve found unsettling just ask me and I will sort the fact from the fiction. Obviously I prefer constructive criticism, it’s not okay to be mean. I love my blog and I want it to be a safe place for everyone who visits.
If I leave a comment on your blog that you are confused about please ask I have dyslexia and social phobia so I find the comment section terrifying (probably why I don’t leave more of them)! I do not leave negative comments, I try to always keep things positive and encouraging. I sometimes overshare and I do apologize for that!
While I doubt I am exactly the same online as I am offline given the aforementioned social phobia I still don’t think it is okay to be a bully. I do my best to be kind and respectful and I hope that you have always found me to be so.
Do you accept awards?
I accept and cherish the sentiment behind awards. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me whenever someone shares something I’ve written or promotes my blog/book but I don’t post awards on my blog anymore. I do periodically post links to others blogs though and I do have a BlogRoll which is subject to frequent growth spurts.
Do you do interviews?
Sometimes but I am really shy and I find it difficult to talk about myself in that way. I reveal myself through poetry. I had a really hard time writing my bio section!
Can I reblog your posts?
Of course you can!
Can I quote you?
Ask me about the specific line you’d like to quote. Chances are I will say yes with credit. Please send me a link so I can visit the entry as well =) As for the photos I have taken there are scant few of them (most of the images on my blog come from Google note the credits, use at your own discretion) but you are welcome to use any that I have personally taken. Always ask first though =)
Can I post poems in the comments?
Yes of course XD
Can I email you?
Yes you can so long as it isn’t with spam haha
Do you do collaborations?
I have done some collaborative story-writing but I don’t have much experience with collaborative poetry.
What should I call you?
My nom de plume is Yves K. Morrow. If you’ve emailed me in the past then you know my real name but please refer to me as Yves in the blogopsphere =)
I was not prepared to exonerate praise
I am subcutaneous, an indelible will
That feasts on skeleton keys
I do not know how to be loved
Much less distinguished
My lips deny the passage
Of stereotypes but sincerity
Is impossible to exclude
Curious but oft nullified
By an aversion to ceremony
I am gripped by your candor
But the epithet does not integrate
With my own diminished esteem
For many, including myself, praise can difficult to reconcile with self perception. I sometimes find myself completely bewildered by compliments. I’ve even looked around the room when someone is being complimentary in order to locate the subject! On an entirely different note my vertigo had subsided to a nice generic dizziness but this morning it returned full force.
I lie face down
I am aware
Of a certain irony
I, who, never cease
Am rendered indistinct
I prefer the honesty
Of your breath
As it passes quicksilver
Into the night
The truest compliment
Lie in proximity
You are here
You are accessible
That is itself a gift
I was a little uncertain if I should do a prompt with the holidays in full swing but I decided to go for it! This prompt comes to you curtsey of Morpethroad. This week you many find yourself reminiscing about holidays past. Maybe you’re spending the holidays with family and friends who are chalk full of wonderful embarrassing stories about you. Maybe you find yourself nostalgic while elbow deep in a box of festive decorations. Maybe you find yourself feeling homesick while trying to replicate traditional family dishes. Maybe you find yourself laughing at old photographs and/or videos. This week I invite you to share a story about holidays past. I say story but of course poems, artwork, cards, music, photos and all other forms of media are welcome.
Happy Holidays everyone!
This weeks prompt is Bridge
Here are some ideas for you to ponder
The internet allows us to speak to people from all over the world.
WordPress is a bridge linking creative people together
Architectural bridges that allow us passage from one location to the next
Those emotional/professional ties which bind individuals/organizations together
Supernatural bridges- bridges that lead us from this world into the next
Bridges between fantasy and reality
I think you get the idea =)
All forms of media are accepted
If you a feel a rating is necessary please provide one
There is no limit on length or number of submissions
Please read and comment to your fellow participants
There is no time limit for the prompt if you don’t manage to get your submission in “on time” (the prompts are changed on Sundays) then post it to the current prompt with a note as to what prompt you are responding to.
There was no sign of his roommate on exiting and no means to reopen the portal. Was the his friend lost in an internal void or had he simply been refused admittance? A thorough investigation of the shrubberies offered no clues and it was with a heavy heart that he eventually climbed into his bedroom window. The alarm clock read 8 am but he knew not the day for the calender had not been changed since his departure. How long had he been away? What had become of his family in his absence? What suffering had his curiosity imposed? He changed out of his wet clothes, his drawers were precisely as he’d left them, his bed still unmade. Did they expect his return? Or were they simply catering his ghost?
He found his mother elbow deep in the kitchen sink, she was washing up after breakfast. Her contented smile did not betray grief. “Good morning…” She said catching the startled youth in her periphery. “You must have been exhausted…it’s unlike you to sleep in…” She commented regarding him with a teasing smile. Her smile soon turned to a look of surprise. “Your hair it’s so long…” She said in wonderment He reached up and ran his hands through his chin length locks shyly. Indisputable proof of his prolonged excursion. Removing her yellow dish gloves she went over to him and stroked his cheek. Her hands were warm but callused, they were the hands of a woman who’d labored her whole life. “Would you like me to give you a haircut?” She offered.
“No thanks I like it better this way….” He said shaking his head. Reaching into her pocket she fished out an elastic black band and motioned for him to turn around. Complying she pulled his hair into a partial ponytail, a consideration for work no doubt.
“I’ll get you some breakfast…the others are already outside…we’ll join them when you’re finished…” She said but before she could escape he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly. “You’ve grown…” She said noting the change in both his height and weight.
Weeks passed and life assumed a familiar rhythm. His absence had appeared to them only two hours still they noticed the changes that had taken place in both his appearance and manner. They thought him happier and most of the time he was happier but every now and then he found himself gazing sadly into his neighbor’s hedges. In support of his interest they bought him a guitar for his birthday. On finding that he could already play they were both shocked and delighted. They never spoke of what had happened.
His father was the one that had brought him the audition notice for a local band and it was thanks to his father that he stood now perplexed amongst an excited audience. In that moment he discovered the fate of his roommate. Pushing through a throng of excited onlookers he came to stand several feet away from a huge black stallion, atop which, his missing mate sat triumphantly. Dressed as a general and surrounded by cameramen he had to assume the handsome youth was filming a movie but how had he gotten into the city? His former roommate motioned for a pause on seeing him. Climbing over the rope partition he hurried over to his costumed friend. The last vestiges of his anxiety dissolved, smile weightless.
“We’ll meet up later tonight…give me your address…” Borrowing a pen and a scrap of paper from a cameraman he hurriedly drew a map and stuffed it into his former roommate’s palm.
Seeing as this was a dream I can”t rightly explain the ending but at long last I finished it woohoo! My dreams are monsters geez I basically compose full nonsensical novels in my sleep. I will respond to the prompt on Monday I have it ready I just wanted to knock Polarity out first.