Nothing To Cry Over
Do you know what it’s like to look at the china afterwards? When the light catches the gilded edge? You scrape off dinner, and underneath are those little painted shells. You look at that flawless, bone-white plate or the dish with the rosebuds. You look at your hand-thrown bowls with the faux cracks buried beneath the glaze. It’s all broken, and you want nothing more than to shatter it. It’s ephemeral, and it’s permanent. The scalloped edges and the machine painted leaves. Every vessel stripped down and unable to do its job. No more containment. It’s haunting. That ephemeral dish sitting so permanent. Just reminding you. Once she was here. Once you ate your meals together. You shared this table. Her feet resting in your lap. You can see her hair fall across her eyes and her smile when you catch them. And you want to destroy every reminder. You want broken glass. The metallic flakes in the glaze scattered across the floor. Nowhere to put the food. Just the debris and the wreckage. Raw glass and glittering sharp edges. And no more reminder. Just you and the broken pieces and the floor and the empty table and the empty house. And it’s not permanent. It’s ephemeral. And it’s gone.
There is Fire
There is a fire inside us,
We can see it in each other's eyes,
It is there until we die.
Someone once told me,
Not to let my fire,
Burn out or flicker away.
I told another the same,
To hold onto their fire,
That it will light up the world.
Someday my fire,
May go out,
But it won't,
This isn't much of a story,
But a message,
To those who may understand.
Don't let your fire burnout,
Or take over your life,
It can be dangerous,
But a necessary beauty.
On Our Fathers Grave
make a conflagration...
....And be consumed in the fire of this desire
for the fatal knowledge to which we aspire...?
with Sir Anthony Hopkins...
...broach the reel to real to probe how sick we'll feel
pulling the wool to see what the Soul will reveal...?
rewrite world history...
...to better amuse ourselves in our life fun park
locked in the vernacular of Western Thought...?
#Challenge #WeekLXXIX #FromAshesToAshesToAshes
A crowd gathered in grand number in front of the witch’s cottage. They feared that this old woman had come to the village to bring chaos. Little did the crowd realize they were the ones that were causing & bringing all the disorder. The group shouted and raised their torches in one accord.
‘She’s got to go,’ cried the carpenter.
‘Yeah,’ said the baker.
‘We do not want any of her kind in our village!’ one of the shepherds exclaimed.
Suddenly, there was a hush over the crowd. The front door of the cottage slowly opened. An old lady stepped out from the shadows, and was now standing in front of the massive crowd. She pleaded with the crowd to calm down. The people stared at her & some started tossing pebbles, and twigs in her direction.
One of the men at the front of the crowd approached the witch in a steady manner. He looked into the witch’s eyes and he thought he so her eyes twinkle like the starry night sky. Then the rest of the crowd all instructed him to tie the witch’s hands together. So, he did.
The witch was led to a pole that was placed firmly into the ground. She was tied to the pole. The crowd all gathered around and jeered.
‘Filthy witch!’ remarked one person.
Others glared at her. A few ended up even starting the death by burning punishment. They gathered hay and placed it around the witch’s feet. Then a couple of the people got their already lit torches and placed the flames near the feet of the witch. They also set the hay ablaze.
The crowd waited to see the whole process happen. They all watched as the flames rose & the witch’s entire body was on fire. They waited to hear her scream. But nothing happened for awhile.
Until, there was a sound of a howl. A slight growl. The crowd shook and were startled. What was going on?
They looked in horror as the witch closed her eyes for several minutes. And after a short while she opened them. Her eyes were dazzling. They shined like a katrillion of stars.
Then her body transformed. She changed from her human form into a werewolf. Her body was, at first, blue in colour. It later changed to match the fiery blaze.
The crowd scattered. The people ran in many different directions. The witch howled & escaped from the flames.
Some of the men of the village could not believe their eyes. They glanced at the pole. The witch was gone. They panicked and told the others to search for her. They went back to see if she might be at her cabin. But she was not there.
They searched the entire village and the forest. They scanned the entire area for hours. The witch was gone. No where to be found, or even seen. The search party went back to the village. They all hoped that the witch had fled. She’d never be heard from again. Who knows. Maybe she’s still close by. And just waiting for the right time to strike unexpectedly on the crowd that tried to kill her...
We are constantly withering away every night just to rise again in the morning and brush the ashes off our shoulders. The world is cold at night. Thoughts are unforgiving. Mistakes are made and regrets plague our minds with the venomous sting of apprehension. But as the dull warmth of sleep creeps in, the fire of dawn comes like a new beginning, a blank slate. I am no longer who I was yesterday, a scared shell afraid of my own shadow. I am older now, and I am ready to make better mistakes. We are not weak because of the things we allow ourselves to feel. We are strong because we were brave enough to live through them, to fall and then rise again from our ruins and let the fire mold us into something cleaner, something a little more beautiful than before. So everyday I live life until I am weary, collapse into myself, and wait for the sunrise.
The Beast Within
“Good for nothing, that’s what he is,” Kwan leaned in closer to hear. His dad had just gotten home from work and already, his mom was talking about how their son was worthless. “Comes home from school all mopey and then doesn’t help me with anything around the house!”
Kwan winced. If she knew why it hurt his back to bend down, lift things, or basically even move, she’d understand.
“But she can’t know,” he reminded himself. She already had enough on her plate without him adding to it. After all, she was still grieving the death of her daughter, Kwan’s sister.
She had died in a car accident. She’d been coming home from a friends house when the car was hit head-on by another car. She was killed in a split second.
“I’m sure he’s just tired, Lily,” Kwan’s dad tried to soothe her but it only added gas to the fire.
“He has no right to be tired! What does he do that wears him out? huh?” The words hung in the air as his dad tried to come up with an answer.
“I’ll talk to him later,” he finally said. Kwan shook his head.
That’s how it always went. A long talk from dad about how he lives here and he should help keep up the maintenance. Kwan would make an effort to help, he really did, but sometimes he was just physically and mentally tired of the whole world. What happened at school never really helped either. No, Kwan didn’t want to think about that right now. He had the rest of the day to himself before he had to face that all over again.
The bus. Kwan hated the bus. It was like a taxi to hell for him. When he stepped on the bus, every morning, the bus driver would nod at him as he made his way to the back. When he’d get there, he’d sit down in the far corner, leaning his head against the window. He’d watch the trees and cars flash by until the bus stopped again. Then, Brandon would get on. He was the principles son, acting as if he was the sweetest kid in the world until the teachers looked away. Then he became the devil’s son. In a way, he was. Kwan hated him to high heavens. It was as if the kid’s face wanted to be punched. Kwan held his breath as Brandon sat down next to him.
“Hey, kiddo,” Brandon greeted him. Already, Kwan felt like whacking him.
“I’m older than you.”
“Not mentally,” was the response.
“Oh, yes, because you just know everything,” Kwan huffed. He rolled his eyes and looked back out the window.
“I know more than you do,” Brandon said after a minute.
“Just because you skipped first grade does not mean you’re smarter than me,” Kwan said with some force. “And just because your parents were a little too hasty to send their son off to school does not mean you’re better than anyone else in this bus.”
Brandon didn’t answer. In fact, he was quiet the rest of the way to the school.
“See you at lunch, kiddo,” Brandon said as he stood up to get off the bus. “Don’t forget. Lunch.”
Kwan’s heart stopped for a split second. Lunch was the most important time of the day for him and now he’d have to put up with some pathetic brat for the whole time. He was the last one off the bus.
“Kwan Jengins!” the voice scared Kwan half to death. “How have you been?” It was Brandon’s dad, Principal James.
“I’m good,” he answered as he eyed the folder in the principals right hand. On the front, in big black letters, he could make out his name. “Just headed to lunch.”
“Can I talk to you for a moment in my office?” Of course, it was in his office. That meant he was in even more trouble.
“Um, sure,” Kwan didn’t want to tell him no and he really couldn’t anyway.
Principal James turned and marched back down the hallway with Kwan following him. When they entered the principal office, Kwan took a seat across from Principal James.
“I need to talk to you about your behavior,” he started out. “The teachers say that you’ve been acting very hostile towards my son, Brandon.”
Kwan almost choked on his piece of gum. “Hostile?”
“It means you’ve been very unkind to him. Very antagonistic.”
“Just returning the favor,” Kwan answered with a shrug.
“My son is not antagonistic in any way shape or form!” Redness had crept into Principal James’ face and he started to yell. “He is a perfect student, all A’s and no tardies. Do you hear me? Nothing is wrong with my son!”
“Someone is very prideful of their son,” Kwan muttered.
“What?” Kwan knew he shouldn’t be talking back to an adult but he’d had enough of it all. Didn’t anyone else understand that nothing was as it seemed?
The principal adjusted his tie and opened the file in front of him. “You have two hours of detention after school.”
“Yes sir,” Kwan went to stand up.
“Stay were you are.”
“I went to school with your dad,” Principal James started to tell him ignoring his former question.
“Please not this again,” Kwan silently begged inside his head.
“And your dad was very much like you. Unmotivated, very antagonistic, everything you are,” he sat back in his chair, almost pleased with himself.
“I go to school with your son,” Kwan cut him off before he could continue. “He’s prideful, thinks he’s Mr. Perfect when he isn't, unmotivated, etcetera. And then I realized something.” Kwan stood up and leaned over the desk. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!” He shot out of his office fast as he could but the receptionist stopped him and handed him a note.
“Give this to your parents,” she ordered. He just nodded and pushed the door open and jogged back into the school hallway.
“Not going to happen,” he stopped inside the cafeteria doorway and shredded the envelope. He dropped it into the big trash can and adjusted his backpack strap.
“Ah! Kwan!” Brandon called to him from a table. “Come on over.”
Kwan was tempted to turn and walk away but he knew that’d just make it worse. If he put up with it in the cafeteria, they couldn’t beat him up. He stood there, mentally calculating his options.
“Why don’t you just give them what they deserve?” a girl over on his right asked.
“Who are you?”
“They’ve terrorized you long enough, why don’t you show them you’re tired of it. Show them the beast inside!” she urged.
“Are you crazy? I’d get expelled!”
“They’d stop,” she pointed out.
“You’re crazy,” he muttered. He looked away when he saw Brandon and his group of brutes standing up and walking towards him.
“Do it.” he heard the girl say. He shook his head no, but his body did something else. It moved forward, towards them.
“Kwan, kiddo,” Brandon reached out and grabbed his upper arm, fingernails piercing his skin. “Let’s go to the library, check out some books.”
A chorus of laughter came from the boys behind him. He heard the girl say something else. He felt himself turning around and going with them, out into the hallway.
His mind fogged over. All he could focus on was the smile on Brandon’s face-- it’d be gone in a minute. He’d had enough. All the sudden, Kwan stopped. Brandon took a few more steps until his brain registered what had happened.
Kwan was ready. He leaped up in the air and came down right on top of Brandon. A yell of shock burst out of the boy beneath him as a war scream came ripping out of Kwan’s throat. His fists rained down on Brandon, shocking the boy even more. Fist after fist, hitting the target. Blood started to seep out of Brandon’s nose as he screamed out for help.
His buddies just stood back and watched for a split second until they saw a teacher running down the hall towards the fight. They quickly fled the scene. Kwan continued to rain punches on the boy. Adrenaline rushed through him, fueling his punches even more. Teachers tried to pull him off Brandon, but not until he got one last punch. He put every once of anger, bitterness, sorrow-- he put it all into the last punch and hit Brandon as hard as he could, causing the boy to go unconscious.
The teachers finally dragged him off the limp boy. One held a hand on his shoulder while the others rushed forward to check on Brandon. Kwan spotted a girl, on the inside of the circle around them. It was the girl from the cafeteria. They made eye contact and she smiled and she said something.
“And he opened the door and he let the beast out.”
He smiled. Yes, he’d let the beast out.
“You’re going to be in big trouble,” the teacher standing next to him said.
“But it was worth it,” he said with an evil smile. “It was totally worth it.”
Rebirth Shakespearean Sonnet
A peach clothed in the gaud of life and spring
Its downy skin glistened with beads of dew.
What better image for the fleeting zing
Of youth, and its pressed hope for life anew?
A peach which holds within itself the tree
And hundred more like peaches too. Alas,
Within its flesh and seed does death tarry.
For sacrifice is want for life to pass
From one to one and keep the scales aright.
This I know and contemplate it often.
Whilst searching fruits or viewing birds in flight
This I know and say with soul unsoftened
To our precious child that you left me
With eyes like yours and skin bright and downy.
She was beautiful. Dark, flowing hair that brushed her ribs and caressed her back with every step. Eyes like twilight, full of sun and stars and impending night. He had watched her for months, compiling mental lists of every moment he wished they had shared. He wished there had been more than stolen smiles in passing. If he wasn't such a coward, he would have proclaimed his love to the world and asked her hand in marriage.
She was beautiful. She didn't waver once as she glided up the stairs onto the platform. He watched as she faced the crowd. She had sweet serenity in her smile and lullabies in her voice as she spoke one final word, even as the ropes caused her wrists to bleed. He locked the image of that peaceful smile in his mind as he turned and walked away from the crowd gathered around the gallows.
She was the most beautiful witch to have ever graced those stairs.
Echoes of the past
The bushes rustled noisily in the darkness until Eli's head broke through the hedge into the inky midnight light of the half moon. Eli squinted into the darkness ahead until he could make out the silhouette of a small bush located on a hillside across the clearing in front of him. He waited patiently looking at the bush until he saw a light appear to the side of it, then he launched himself off his knees and ran bunched over, as if anyone would see him at this hour, until he reached the bush.
The light beside the bush was actually coming from a hole in the side of the hill just big enough for an average size man to shoulder his way into.
Once in the hillside, the tunnel ran a short distance and widened into a hallway high enough for someone to walk while hunched over and just wide enough for two people to pass if heading in opposite directions. A small torch was stuck in the dirt of the tunnel wall flickering smoky shadows as his eyes adjusted to the light.
A figure wrapped in worn burlap robes and a loosely wound turbin, waved him forward to move further into the tunnel.
As he made his way down the passage, which had begun to slant downward going deeper into the hill. Eli began to make out the faint muttering of voices. The muttering slowly turned to chanting as the walls abruptly changed from dirt to stone which had obviously been worked by human hands, creating a smooth even surface.
Further into the tunnel the walls were carved with images of people. Mixed with the images was lettering that Eli wished he could understand.
The tunnel opened into a round chamber with the same hand worked stone walls and torches evenly spaced around the room. In the center of the room were two tables.
A figure stood between the tables, dressed in burlap similar to everyone else in the room with the exception of faded symbols following the neckline of the garment.
Eli knew him as the leader of the group, but could never remember his name. He only knew it kind of rhymed with cantaloupe, so that’s what he called him.
Cantaloupe held a long dagger in his hand. If Eli was close enough, he would have seen symbols on the blade matching those on the walls. Eli took his place in the back row and joined the chanting.
On the table to the right was a body wrapped in worn burlap with symbols stitched along the neckline, down the arms around the waist and along the bottom edge of the robe. The lower portion of the face, not covered by the robes hood, was wrapped in bandages that were far from recently placed.
The second table held another body, which was not dressed in burlap, but rather a beautifully made white gown with decorative lace at the neck wrists and hem. In the lace could be seen more of the same symbols on the walls. The girl in the gown was in her early teens, her dirty face streaked with tears. She looked back and forth from the body on the other table to Cantaloupe, short sobs escaping her lips.
The chanting changed and began to get louder. Cantaloupe began to speak over the rest of the group, in a tongue that Eli did not recognize. It was different than the language of the chanting, having a harsher more gutteral sound to it.
Eli was becoming excited like many of the others in the room, his breath quickening As he felt the energy in the room growing. The hair on his arms began to rise and his skin broke out in goosebumps. The chanting began to pick up pace but remained lower than the speech of Canteloupe, who was growing louder with each sentence. He began motioning toward one or the other of the tables and then toward the sky or the group in general.
Eli noticed that the room was getting hotter as the ceremony went on, to the point that sweat began to trickle down the back of his neck. He quickly wiped it away as he proceeded to chant, not entirely certain what was happening.
He only understood that this was something important and that it would change the world. He was both excited and proud of being involved in a world changing event, but he also didn't truly understand what this ceremony was supposed to accomplish.
The robed figured on the first table represented Brynn the Black, a figure from the past who, if the legends were to be believed,was more god than man. He lived in a time when the world was in chaos and he somehow brought order with his deeds and actions.
But that was such a long time ago, who knows what is true and what is fairy tale. Eli didn't care, the world was in bad shape again and needed a hero. If believing in Brynn the black would help the people work together that was fine by him.
The heat in the room was becoming unbearable, sweat dripped into Eli's eyes with a salty sting that caused him to squeeze his eyes tight. In the moment that happened, the chanting ceased and cantaloupe screamed in the center of the room. Eli opened his eyes just in time to see him plunge the knife into the girls chest. Eli screamed out, but no one seemed to notice.
As Cantaloupe pulled the blood soaked blade free of the young girls lifeless torso, the symbols on her gown began to glow as did the symbols on his own robes. He looked in amazement at this, obvious to all that this was an unexpected occurrence. The glow grew to the point of becoming painful to look upon, but none could turn away.
The heat in the room unbearable already, grew even worse as the symbols glowed white hot.
Cantaloupe began to tearing at the robes in a frantic attempt to remove them but could not. Soon, he was screaming in agony at the searing pain the symbols now caused him.
The worshipping group looked on in terror, as Cantaloupe began not to burn, but desiccate before their very eyes. Only after the dried out husk of his body hit the floor, did anyone notice that the robes of the the Brynn figure had begun to glow now. Softly at first then with a growing heat just as Cantaloupes robes had done.
There was a soft stringy glow flowing between Cantaloupe’s body on the floor and the body of Brynn the Black on the table. As the glow in Cantaloupe’s robes faded, Brynn’s grew brighter.
Just before the glow went dead on Cantaloupe, a new string of light shot from Brynn. It hit one of the men standing near the tunnel entrance in the chest, he screamed in agony. When his screams faded another string shot out into the chest of the next man. This rapidly escalated until the room was awash with ropy lights and the agonized screams of the worshippers. Eli was stricken with fear and fell backwards over the man behind him who writhed in agony, the mans skin took on a subdued shade of the light that sucked at his chest. Eli's fear nearly unhinged him, as before his eyes the man’s cheeks began to pull back into his face and his skin took on the texture of leather too long in the sun.
Eli pushed himself to his feet then, with a strength he hadn't realized he possessed, he forced his way through the panicked mob of worshippers toward the tunnel entrance. Throwing men bodily from his path.
He made it to the tunnel and stumbled for a moment on the dessicated husk of the man with the turbin, a whispy curl of smoke issueing from his gapping mouth.
Once free of the body, the tunnel was clear and Eli made a mad dash to the crawl space entrance. He paused for a moment and looked back, the continued agony of the group remaining in the chamber, pouring out like so much venom. The air felt tainted and almost took on an acrid taste. Eli recovered his senses and began to crawl out of the tunnel.
Eli's head and arms pushed out of the entrance and he fell freely onto his stomach, his breath coming in ragged gasps he sucked in the pure night air, the screams muffled but still audible from beneath the hillside.
Eli pushed himself to his feet once again and began stumbling blindly through the underbrush in the direction he thought was home.
He had only gotten a short distance when a rumbling vibration felt through the ground made him stop and turn to look behind him. A thundering crack and blinding light erupted from the hillside in which the chamber had resided. The concussion from the blast knocked Eli off his feet and slammed him to the ground completely knocking the wind out of him. He pulled himself into a sitting position while fighting to get his breath. Just as he did, a robed figure enveloped in a net of ropey light climbed from the crater that had been the hillside to stand atop the rubble with outstretched arms.
It let loose a peel of laughter so evil it made Eli's skin crawl. Eli was so overcome with fear, he began to sob like a child. Then he realized the broken and battered bodies of the worshippers began to appear. Some had lost limbs and either hobbled or dragged themselves from under the dirt and debris of the hillside explosion. Others had lost sections of torso or half their faces but still seemed able to function. The bodies emerged from the dust and debris all moving in Eli's direction.
His fear was so all consuming that all he could do was sit and cry in a puddle as he wet himself uncontrollably.
The twisted bodies surrounded Eli, and as the they closed in, his last sounds were screams of the purest terror.
The inferno was inticing. Staring into the chaotic swirls made all the mundane drudgery somehow more unbearable. The smoky smell reminded him of how much he hated the daily nine-to-five life he was living. The feel of the lashing, licking tongues of the flame against his skin was somehow more pleasurable than a hug from his mother, a kiss from his wife, or the laughter from his children. The burning in his eyes and the wavy aesthetic of the air reminded him what it meant to live, more than survive. Was this nostalgia? Or was it an infatuation? He didn’t care, as long as he had hell. Could no one else see the beauty of what he had created? Could nobody see the dazzling destruction he had given them? Each time he stuck the match he heard the call that was his nature, the call to greatness. He could not empathize with the lowly ambitions of other lesser men. They dreamed to small. Each time the accelerant ignited it was harder to return to his tiresome life. This time he could not resist, this time he had changed. He had sacrificed everything to make sure that he could never go back. He had loved his family but they were stifling his art. Even now their screams were adding to his work. He would call this piece, Pheonix. He would never again be the nine-to-five. He would be the Arsonist.