Wordle #147 “March 20th, 2017″
Angry clouds rumble. The faint swirls of the remains drift through the knoll. Smoke fingers break and disperse. Front winds clean up the last of it. Embers of trees sizzle as the brush of drizzle arrives. The work of the lightning quelled by its rainy shadow. Still angry clouds rumble. Unseen hands throw rain bitterly to the fields.
Stephen runs from the woods. His young eyes hope to spy a break in the weather. Instead the weather spits harder. He tucks his head within his jacket. It’s turned collar worthless. Innocence of young eyes glow with a dull sheen. His eight years are enough to know the way but unable to get by the bridge.
“Davey! Davey!” Stephen raises his face to the rain. A voice ripples in fear and wavers hope. “Davey! I know you are here! Come help me!”
Stephen looks left and right. The darkness of evening has married the storm. Scrapes of light imagine trees bending to point the way home. Past a simple bridge. Stonework arches and cobblestones rich for the beat of the hoof. Passage home, a shilling. A pound of gold couldn’t be harder to find. To an eight year old, at least.
A solitary figure haunts the bridge. Two little eyes glow in the distance. He can sense fear. He can sense silver and gold. He has a taste for lost children. His dark face knows no light. It’s twisted pointed nose of ebony hooks toward an uneven mouth. Sharps of teeth wickedly part. A bright red tongue flicks like a snake. Tasting the air. Salivating.
He knows what comes next. His tortured fingers with spiny barbs rub the sharp chin. He stretches out angled thin arms. Impossibly long arms. They match the tree trunk legs. By standing taller than a mortal, he keeps his post. Watching always watching.
Stephen meets eyes with him. Torrent, the troll holds fast. Stephen drawn like candle to flame takes the first step toward the bridge. A zombie walk where steps make links of a chain. Torrent knows the game. For silver they walk. He can only eat one or two a month. Greed of metal or greed of food, same curses inside.
“Sir?! Torrent? I need to be home. My brother and father…. they follow me. Please.” Stephen stats twenty feet distant. His arms pull forward, palms up. His nervous shake has valid reason.
“I taste you from here. Yes, you have family. I’ll eat them too. No metal, no passage. You come to my bridge! I don’t come to you. Yes?” Torrent picks at his teeth with his fingers. “Got a bit of little girl left from breakfast. You children are stringy here. They should feed you better.”
“Sir, my brother and father are much bigger. I’m not enough for you to eat….” Stephens voice fades.
“Save it child! I have been fooled by goats and people. But today, I see you served with fresh straw from the underside of the bridge. My claws will quickly shred your flesh. You won’t be concerned much longer. Finish that walk…. Stephen. Oh yes, I know who you are.” Torrent smiles a teeth grin. His tongue flashes and disappears.
“How? How is that possible? I’ve only seen you once.” Stephens jaw forgets how to close.
“Davey, he told me. Let him go then, his brother and father will be right along. Your father has two boys or metal. Davey went home first, young Stephen. So you are mine now. Simply put. Your brother does speak for his older brother? Right?” Torrent reaches out his hand. “Come boy. Do as your told!”
Stephen looks behind him. “Davey! Father! It can’t be?!”
The rain continues to pelt him. The trees lose the color in the dark. An eight year old walks to the bridge.
“Stephen, I’ll let you pass for the silver. Or well, dinner. Come here little boy!” Torrent sees the eyes of the child are glazed. The bitterness in his soul relaxes as he sees the prize for his learning of the treachery of man.
Torrent grabs Stephen by the throat.
Under the cover of the rain, a faint voice calls “Stephen!”
Davey looks for his younger brother. His father follows behind him. They pieced together a hobbled cart. The bridge is the only way left. They will find the price paid.
“Daddy! Daddy….” Jackie Paper huffs deep breaths. ” Dragon in the Oak tree… He knows my name!”
Six year old, Jackie looks up at fifty two year old Jackie.
The son a ripple in time version of the father. One cropped black hair barely as long as the ball cap not the other barely any hair and little black amongst the grey.
“Dragons, you don’t say? I had one… One fall. We played every night. Damn thing would wreck the house. He was huge. Emerald green with big eyes.” Senior talks while fixing a toaster than won’t pop up the toast.
“There’s one outside! He knows my name! Dad! He knows my name!” The junior is beside himself.
“Of course, he is your Dragon. You make things up. They have to know who you are….now don’t they?” Senior Jackie looks up long enough to push his glasses up his nose. “Just leave it outside. Mom won’t understand if things get broke in here. Girls don’t believe in those things much. Sad to say. Go play now boy. Things to do.”
“But Dad, he’s still out there. He’s a dragon they eat people! You have to cut the tree down and throw it out. I’m not going outside without Patches. My dog will at least believe me!” Young Jackie is partially red. Chubby cheeks and watery eyes waiver.
Jackie, Sr looks at his son walking away. “Kids. We used to have to do all the imagery work ourselves. I don’t think I was ever inside except to eat.”
Jackie, Sr looks out the office/laundry room window at the offending Oak. He shrugs. Then sees a twinkle of green.
Part 1 – Here be the Dragons
“It’s right there. Come on! Come on look!” Alex yells at Jackie. His arms thrusting violently toward the tree.
“Alex, there’s nothing there. It’s an old tree. You are stupid. Dragons don’t love here it’s not ugly enough. My dad says so. He had one as a kid!” Jackie tugs on his ball cap. His mind is on throwing a ball around. Big kid stuff.
“Your dad was going to build you a tree house. You said. I bet he knows the dragon lives here.” Alex kicks the trunk of the tree. “I saw him. The dragon is green. Shiny green, kinda dark like. Sparkly. He is shy dragon.”
“Did you hear it roar? Everyone knows a dragon roars to tell you it’s there. If you scare a dragon they torch you with their breath. But I told you. They live in ugly places. They need mist and something called gloom. We ain’t got that.” Jackie throws the ball on the air. He missing it and it bounces toward the tree.
“The dragon did that. He wants you to go see him.” Alex flashes a smile at Jackie. His little heart jumping out of his chest.
“They can’t do that!” Jackie stands his ground.
“You are scared! Jackie is scared! He is so scared.” Alex spins around telling the world.
“AM not! I’ll show you. I’ll show you! ” Jackie doesn’t move.
“Chicken! Or do they need gloom too!” Alex crosses his arms. His stiff body says ‘I dare you’.
“Ok. I’ll do it…” Jackie slowly walks over to the tree.
The ball rolls closer to the tree. One green flash comes from the tree. An eye clear as day blinks twice.
“Little Jackie Paper?” something in the tree speaks.
Two boys run.
“There’s a yak. The thing is huge, as tall as a windmill. I’m asking it about the used bookstore down the street. The one with the green exit doors. So this is where it gets weird….” Larry pauses to recollect the thought.
“Not weird at all. You fell into a MC Esther print. Did you take the upstairs to the basement or fire escape to the roof?” Penny hates the dream game.
“I’m talking to the yak and this hand appears behind him. It is closed like there’s something in the hand. The wrist flicks up and marbles fly everywhere!” Larry moves his hand to demonstrate. “Then this Viking goddess starts winding a old phonograph that plays a song about doing absurd things to achieve impossible things. Oh, the goddess has only a head and arms.”
“How do you know she was a Viking goddess? Maybe she was part of a dance troupe. Would a Viking goddess have a record player?” Penny knows this is the way it goes every time.
“You’re right. She would have done kind of stringed instrument… Wait, she’s a goddess. They live forever.” Larry stumbles on reason.
“Good, you figured it out. Don’t sleep again, please.” Penny answers “I have tried the absurd and haven’t accheived any impossible results.”
Written as part of a challenge details are available at https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/writing-prompt-189-bonus/
“There are fresh prints. You can see the gap between toes is clear. The ball of the feet is deep. Definitely running. I’m not sure we have enough daylight to head up into the woods. You really won’t to follow a wounded animal up there in the dark?” Gaines looks at his partner.
They are mud and camouflage covered hunters. Large brimmed hat cover Thornto’s face. His desire to kill covers his mouth from speaking the obvious. Long shadows of bare trees and pines crawl out from the forest. The cold breath of the woods pushes at the hunters.
“You see blood?! Ain’t no fucking wounded animal without blood! I’m killing that critter. Gut it where it falls. Come on Man, sack up.” Thornton stands up. His six feet looks bigger when he’s pissed and hunting. It’s killing to him. Deadly serious. He loves the blood.
“You saw it raise up. It about fell over. Shook off three shoots and bounced off on a Sunday morning jog. I got the torches. Let’s get it over. It’s your party.” Gaines draws out two flashlights tapping them against his hand.
“The path is straight ahead. You won’t need those. I’ll kill that thing in a hurry.” Thornton spits and walksv like a possessed man into the woods.
Gaires follows closely. His head on a swivel The pines choke out the fading light. The path grows dark. The breath of the woods becomes musky. Branches pile up on the path. The fresh breaks add pine scent to the growing darkness.
“Stop! You hear movement on the right. Draw out the torch but don’t turn it on til I say so.” Thornton tries to whisper against his deep voice but it carries.
“Got it. You just take that beast out clean.” Gaines is a half step behind.
The darkness clings to all but these two. Sounds of birds saying goodnight havec speed since they entered the woods. The trees seem to sense what’s unfolding.
Two twigs snap in front and behind them. Two more to the right. Two branches fly in front of them from the left.
“Mother…” Thornton pulls up the shoot gun and fires into the woods blind. ” What the fuck is that shit?”
A crushing sound comes from ahead of them. The first boulder rolls by to the left striking a small pine. It staggers to the side and collapses. The second boulder finds Gaines. It glances his right hip pushing him a dozen feet sideways.
Thornton fires again and again, side to side. More boulders come at them from the left and right. Branches take flight in their direction.
Gaines pulls on Thornton. “Hey, let’s take them out of the woods! We can’t see them and know where we are!”
The next boulder takes out Gaines leg.
“Help me! Get us out. ..” Gaines words end with another boulder silencing him.
“I’ll kill all of you! You just keep doing what you’re doing. He was easy. No guns sitting on you! I’m killing some of you. I’ll gut you where you’ll fall!” Thornton fires a couple more and starts to reload.
The boulders stop rolling. The woods grows quiet. A distant wood knock calls to the night. Darkness wraps the scene like a fluffy blanket. One dead. The prey wins this encounter.
At the top of the hill, a small band heads home. Their party all in good health. The young ones get seen to easy.
“Ok listen this time! I’m from Erie, Pennsylvania. We are in Colorado. I didn’t walk here!” The voice leaves bare lips.
“The where and when are coming from different places. You will search for why! But the where simply changes” The chocolate Buddha speaks. “Hearing and listening aren’t the same.”
“I didn’t come here by my own free will. I was thousand miles away. And boom! I’m here talking to a statue! This is where thing. I like to know where exactly I am now. And if you don’t mind what day and time is it. I’m not lulling myself into believing in was beamed here.” I’m openly hostile. I point to the ground like it matters. My heart is full of fear more than rage.
“You came here to free yourself of the chaos and chains you have forged. Everyone does. That’s why we have the farm. We grow here. If you open your mind more than your mouth. You will see there’s no fear necessary here. Walk the paths. Concentrate on where you are attempting to go.” The Buddha changes arm position so to show the symbol of the message.
“LOOK! I want to go back to my home. Now, tell me how I got here!” My reasoning with a statue hats the wall quickly. My head looks for cameras. Someone is controlling this thing. They know. They have taken the wrong person.
“Free, you are not bound here. The only person controlling you being here is you. Are you experiencing paralysis? My eyes see no strings on you! I asked you to take a path of your choosing. I didn’t force you to move. Your choice stay here and ask something I do not control. You found a path here. It is my place to give answers that open your mind and heart. Do you know your mind well enough to find your way?” The statue returns to original form.
“So, do the little guys help me too? I’ll walk a path. But I’ll be back. Unless the way opens before me.” I sink into cyincial territory.
The statue fails to respond.
I stroll toward the gate. Above the sign reads “A PLACE OF HEALING”
I am unaware of the wounds that brought me here. I don’t forsee understanding the purpose of being here. I could use another pill to control the manic swing grading hold of me. They must have taken them away from me.
Written as part of a challenge called Tale weaver, details at mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com
They said that they did not die but woke from a dream that they had lived . Aztec netherworld legend
I awake. Barely conscious. The long drawn out haze parts slowly like morning fog on a lake. I am confused by my location, not by my surrounds. The path of mental resistance is strewn with boulders of my own making. The sterile smell hides hospital reality from noone.
My eyes reach for the familiar faces. I know the judgement waiting. The ruddy glow of relief I have not perished. The moral compass of why on earth is do this over and over again. It’s self fulfilling. Who amongst them coves to see the rebirth. Broken people understand. Fixed people never will.
Today, my comeuppance has arrived. My family isn’t here. lI can’t rationalize what I see. A man… His features dark and stern. His eyes are not human. His head starts human but more rounded and drawn back with a hair wrapped in colorful feathers falling over the shoulders.
“I don’t know you.” My voice rough, breathing tube having something do with it. “Who, or what are you doing …here?”
The figure raises up to some seven feet tall. His head and feathers extend into a fierce display of strength. His dark eyes and dark tanned flesh seen to burn into me. He turns rather than look straight at me. He paces around the bed silent. Three times he circles.
“You are mine. I’m not happy. I admit this. You have entered my house. You are not scheduled for many moons to come. You are not deserving of this spot. What have you accomplished to claim on eternal place? I search. I destroy. Souls like yours are feed for darkness. Here we sit.” He that has no Earthy name speaks in deep rumbles.
“I didn’t ask for this… Really. I ..” A voice rises from within.
“Silence!” The voice causes lights to dim. “You do not need add nothing. That’s all you have added to this point. Take, use, look for more. Ask for pity. Blame others when pity does not met you. Why should pity waste time on self loathing? Does not people who try deserve pity? Can a designed fail get noticed when the free living struggle? You are a lead weight. The stone at the bottom of a well.”
“But I am suppose to be dead. I took a bottle of pills and drank” I try to reason.
“Silence! I have a black obsidian knife. It’ll make cubes from that tongue. You have cruised into my world. I’m your master. I control ever breath. I will control every motion henceforth. You will wish you succeeded. Because you only suffered in your mind. You only thought of the struggles. Never tasted your own blood. Never felt your heart bruise! Do you want to feel the bruising? I can lift it beating. … I can hold it high. Your eyes can witness the last beat. It releases both of us.” His demeanor is the blackest darkness. He holds the scabbard of a sheathed blade, hoping to produce it. There’s a nervousness and eventuality his motion.
I pass out. Cowardly of self preservation. The hope that this was dreamland run a mock. Please, this time let the illusions be just that.
My eyes see an elderly woman. Way too tried. Her eyes are clouded. Her senses dulled from the routine of it all. Her shadow has feathers.
“I’m awake. The dead won’t claim me anytime soon. Sorry, but I got lost.” I find a voice reminiscent of Kansas and little dogs.
“Remember, you belong to me! How are you doing ? I was worried.” Mother’s voice slowly returns to where it should be.
My heart pauses. My eyes search for the obsidian knife.