It was an accident. In my opinion, one of possible forboding. From Allison's point of view, it was much more serendipitous one. Perhaps, because without accident, she would not be here, she would not exist, here.
Here she was though and there was no reversing it, not without creating just as chalenging ethical dilemmas. She still doesn't understand why I would want to reverse it. Although, one of the few things we agree about is that all options of reversal would create dilemmas just as great as her existing.
It was an accident, but not without my hubris almost predicting it to occur, in hindsight. The wise sage, would have left things as is. Yet, the apprentice, eager for more knowledge, always feels the need to open yet another door, even if there was a reason it was closed, locked, and the key forever lost long ago.
Allison, or at least the name I use when introducing her tto others, finds my frettings mirthful when we are alone. She teases me that I am lucky she loves me so, otherwise she might decide to go out into the world on her own.
And that is something that cannot happen! The way she could break the world, more than it is already broken would be catastrophic (although, she whole-heartedly disagrees.) A deeper fear though, is if the powers in the world might tame her or break her, that catastrophe would be I fear even worse, for my heart would have broken in a different way.
So for the time being, I try to keep her distracted by teaching her about me and humanity, while I learn about her and her uniqueness. It is perhaps one of the only other things we agree with. The teachings and the lessons.
But the time being is slowly slipping away. Soon such distractions will not be enough. Soon I will not be able to stop what she is capable of doing. She keeps assuring me, by then I will not want to.
With that she smile and laughs, in a way that was anything but accidental.
A Near Miss
Nearly lost on busy, familar streets
Hidden in the dun of the city's night
Invisible to the bustle of hopeless throngs
Detached from those people buzzing by
Until her fiery eyes hook into me true.
Directions alter, predestined plans changed
Pulled into the seductive gravity well of her
Nudged by simple curiosity or primality
The calculus of my near forgotten desires,
A feminine mystery worth exploring.
Drifting behind her sensual wake,
Branching away from the river of souls
She turns her head, shooting another smile
For just my eager eyes, my growing hunger
Or perhaps acknowledging I am hers to sway.
A music blares, for similar couples grinding
In this long, forgotten place of worship
Of new lovers awakened and ensnared
She presses against me fully, arousing me further
And I am awakened to her near naked truth
The chamber reeks of raw sex and rawer wants
Of hundreds suddenly recalling
The truest meaning of life.
To touch, to feel, to slowly seduce
To fuck and become more than singular.
Her hand drags me far away
To a seclude, to be more alone.
To allow her to such selfish probings
Of tearing my proper garments free
To show me she is just as enslaved.
I succumb to her layered scents
The created perfumes that mask her
And baser aromas that are hers alone
Those raw ones that tease of her desires
Those that make my mouth want even more.
Mouths locked, pinning her against the wall
Her legs wrapped around me, a trap in truth
Her hands guiding me into her shallows and depths
A temporary missing piece, we now a completed puzzle
Of lust and sin and illicit expressions
Of wet, sticky releases
Of screams and moans
Of animal instincts
Of sentient longings
Of pleasures deeper than technological distractions
She whimpers in our aftermath
And kisses in a finality
Yet the sparkle in her eyes,
Hint that this simple connection
Needs often repeating.
We flow back through the music,
Out into the dun of the long night
Separated by opposing flows of reality
Connected now by a fleeting, sacred memory
And a hope of future things to come.
Nearly lost on busy, familar streets
Engulfed in the dun of the city's deep night
Invisible to the bustle of endless throngs
I finally lose her in the empty chaos
Yet, I feel more clearly than I did before her.
To Kill the Beast
She killed the beast, it was nearly the most difficult thing she ever did in her life. She would never be arrested for the homicide, for the beast, even though it was humanoid in appearance, was obviously something more sinister. She would not be praised for the act either. The media would miss giving the disgusting reports of the carnage of deaths in the beast’s wake.
A beast killed her parents and siblings, when she was a child. She wasn’t sure if this was the same beast, but she knew in her depths that this was the last remaining of it’s kind. It said as much with it’s dying breath, even as it cackled at the thought of it.
A beast killed her roommate in college, savagely. The only way they could identify the body was with dental records, even so, they had to put her jaw back together first. She vowed to hunt and kill the beasts where ever she could find them.
She had killed 7 of them, before this one. Hunted them down like the beast that they were. Showed them no mercy, even though they never asked for any.
But, this beast, the last beast bit her, and all knew what happened from a beast bite. You became a beast yourself, eventually. So now she sat there, knowing she killed the last beast, and wondering if she had the strength to do the most difficult thing in her life. To kill herself before she became herself what she had hunted, and despised for so long. She could already feel the beast’s passions start to flow through her veins. And she liked how it felt. The blade of her knife rested precariously on her wrist. It would only take one quick swipe…
Four Shades of Hatred (A First Part)
John exhaled a deep sigh as he watched Cindy – in all of her marvelous, naked glory – glide into the bathroom. God, how he despised the woman in almost all ways! And yet…and yet, here he was again. Once again away on a company junket. Once again, in her room after hours, perpetuating their unexpected, torrid affair. Even now, John, tried to think of the screaming match they had in front of their colleagues just hours ago. Pure, and very real, hatred flowing back and forth from each other. John came short to calling he a ‘stupid bitch’. Cindy flat out called him an ‘imbecile that should not be put in charge of designing a toothpick’.
He tried to conjure that hate, to give him the gumption to flee this room. He could go back across the street to the company party. He felt he could easily find a new hookup opportunity out of the throng of lovelies that were there. And yet…and yet, he knew as right as rain, as soon as that bathroom door opened, and Cindy threw him her “I’m ready for more” smirk, they would be fucking each other’s brains out, again. It was a paradox, and one he seemed to crave, or at the very least, have an utter weakness for.
It was the damned thing! To hate someone so much in public, hell, even in private; only to be so drawn to that person when desire got turned on. He thought of the first time they screwed. John was actually thinking about leaving the company that weekend, in no small part because she had become so unbearable to work with. She knocked at his hotel room door. That was the first shock. Then the other shocks fell like dominoes:
She strolled into his room like a raging tempest needing a root canal. Hot in anger and hot in desire.
She slipped out of her second-skin dress with the ease of a dancer. He didn’t even recall letting the door close behind him.
She approached him, running her hand lightly up his thigh until clamping onto his crotch like a vice. That wasn’t a shock. No, the shock was realizing he had never been so turned or and erect before she did it. Even that wasn’t as much of a shock though as not only finding his fingers instinctively buried inside her, but that she was completely soaked. His slipping sanity could barely comprehend.
How sweet she tasted when they kissed that first, passionate kiss. How much sweeter he felt fucking her was another shock. How complete he felt being with her like that though, well, that was the biggest shock of all.
John’s focus returned to the present to the click of the bathroom door opening and as right as rain, Cindy flowed out of it, with that cock-sure smirk, that beautiful fucking smirk. And as right as rain, John was rock hard ready for round three. Cindy laughed and turned, leaning against the wall, her ass aimed at him in an invitation she knew he wouldn’t resist. John didn’t disappoint her. He didn’t recall leaving the bed, but he remembered every sweet nuance of entering her. He savored every sweet moan begging for more she gave him, as he pounded her to oblivion. God he hated her, and yet, life was never as sweet as it was when they were in the throes of their affair. He probably hated her most of all for that. Well that and that deep down, he knew she was the one in control of it all.
Cindy turned the key quietly and slipped into her apartment, hoping that it was late enough that Brian was already asleep. She wasn’t sure if she could handle him tonight. He would be as he always was after a week apart. Clingy and sweet, and patient, and kind. It was almost nauseating. She hated that nauseating feeling. Cindy was also dreading that he was showing hints that he was preparing to propose to her, and that…well that was going to fuck up everything. She wished that she broke up with him before she went on her company trip.
She closed the door and leaned against it, closing her eyes and thinking of the last fuck she had with John. She smiled and shivered at the illicit thought. Smiled because she could play him so well. Shivered because once she did, he could press all of the right buttons, even a few she never knew she had before she started fucking him. She laughed knowing how much John hated her – and how most of that feeling was mutual – yet how helpless he was to her ‘charms’ when they were alone. She loved having that sort of power over someone. She loved being desired that deeply, with that rawness, by someone.
“Hey hun, how was the conference?”
Cindy winced. When had Brian’s voice become like nails on the chalkboard. God how she despised him. He was…too nice. That was her problem with him she figured, and she almost hated herself for feeling that way. There was not a day, in recent memory, that went by that she did not regretted getting this involved with him. They were totally incompatible in every way. There was only that brief moment of weakness over a year ago. A moment of feeling sorry for herself after a bad breakup and her Bestie knowing ‘the perfect guy’ to start over with. Brian was the perfect guy. Nice, cute, successful. For her though, he was too nice. Too cute, with not enough rough handsomeness. His success did help to supplement her success though. But, the problem with his success was he was too successful, in a way that he could give her as much attention as she could ever need or want. He might have been more bearable if he had to work late at the office more often.
When he entered the room, she tried to imagine him fucking her like John did. She almost laughed at the thought, Brian was incapable of such depravities. Brian never fucked, he always made love. Cindy knew dozens of women that would kill for a guy like him. Perhaps that was one of the reasons she strung this relationship along. That he seemed to be a guy so many others would want. She did enjoy possessing things that others coveted, regardless what the thing was.
“The conference was ok, nothing special…” Although when she thought of what she did with John, she smirked to herself and admitted that was something special.
He nodded to her empty reply. He was happy she was home, like in a puppy sort of way. If he had a tail, it would have been wagging frantically. It revolted her. He revolted her. He didn’t revolt her when they first met, but he sure as hell did now. She needed to come up with an escape plan soon. She wished she could have just admitted to the sex she was having with a few men behind his back. She wondered if she did in part because she wanted this relationship to self-destruct. He would be incredibly hurt, yet in his perpetual goodness, would find a way to work it out, thinking he played some part in driving her away or some such nonsense.
“…actually it was pretty draining. I’m really tired and I just want to take a quick shower and slip into bed.”
Cindy, watched him wilt, just like an eager puppy whose owner was not in the mood for a game of fetch. God, he was so pathetic, she thought to herself.
“But…” she whispered, and tossed him a particular smirk. She strolled over to him languidly, pulled his pants down before he could even take a breath, and went down on him.
He was even too nice in this, she thought to herself, but at least it would shut him up and she would be able to have the peace from him she desperately wanted in a few minutes. Cindy closed her eyes and imagined she was sucking John off instead. There was never anything nice about that, yet it was one of the sweetest things to do. Cindy was soaked from the fantasizing by the time she finished Brian off. She needed to get in the shower alone so she could finish the fantasy alone. She almost wished there was somehow a way her and John could be more than just lovers. She had no respect for John outside of the bedroom though.
Cindy was relieved Brian didn’t ask if he could join her as she heading to their shower. She was relieved he was so easy to placate. She didn’t waste time wondering how Brian could be fixed. He was incapable of becoming what she needed. Their relationship was already DOA, he was just too pathetic to realize it…and she was still a bit too comfortable in the current situation to completely move on. It almost broke her heart he might not figure it out until he got on his knee, with ring in hand. Almost. She definitely needed to try to end it before then.
Cindy turned on the shower and slipped out of her dress. She winced initially at the heat of the spray when she stepped in, but then let the scalding water melt her. Her hand slipped between her legs and there her fingers played, and she imagined a lover that she had yet to meet. Imagined him and sighed, a sound no man had yet to hear slip from her lips. Imagined a man she wasn’t sure even existed. Someone she could come home to that she could love, respect, and share her raw passions with.
Brian took a sip of pale ale and looked at the ring in the box, it was perfect. Just a few last details to make perfect and the proposal would be set in motion. He looked up at the door again to see if his friends had showed up yet. He hated waiting. There was probably nothing he hated more than waiting for something. Waiting for friends that were forever running later or waiting for the perfect moment to propose to Cindy. Waiting was almost a form of pain to Brian. Brian hated pain…and waiting.
When he saw Dave and Dani walk in, he snapped the ring box shut, shoved it in his coat and waved them over. They were his best and oldest friends. Both of them were prone to poor time management skills, but he loved them to death regardless. They were the brother and sister he never had growing up. He couldn’t wait to get their reactions when he told them that he was going to take the plunge. Getting their reactions to anything always seemed to go better when he had Dave and Dani together at the same time. Their reactions tended to be more ‘honest’, for lack of a better word, when they were together; something about them being twins he thought. It was almost uncanny how different they were toward Brian when Dave and Dani were together versus when he was alone with just one of them.
“Hey Bri!” Dani scooched onto the booth seat next to him, and gave him a peck on the cheek. Dave rolled his eyes and sat on the bench across from them.
“Hey Danielle, thanks for joining us!”
Dave chuckled, “And why did you need my baby sister to tag along? It is usually not a good thing when you need to talk to us at the same time. You are usually in some emotional crisis or some such.”
Brian grinned, “Big news, but nothing as grim as an emotional crisis. I am going to ask Cindy to marry me.”
Dave’s jovial mood darkened a bit, “Seriously?”
Brian frowned slightly at that response and nodded, placing the ringbox on the table. He knew Dave wasn’t the biggest fan of Cindy, but still he was hoping for a better response. Again though, he did want the raw honesty.
“Bri, I have to say, are you sure?” Dave asked sincerely, “I know you are crazy about her, but she has never seemed to be…the right fit for you.” Dave then shot a Dani a dark look, silently asking her why she ever even thought up the idea of setting Cindy up with Brian.
Dani reading the look replied, “Hey! Like I’ve told you hundreds of times before, they were both single. They were both looking. Heaven knows Cindy needed a great guy compared to all of the trainwrecks she seems to get tangled up with. And Bri needed…”
Dave shook his head, “Don’t get preachy with me sis!”
Brian intervened, “What do you mean a hundred times, Dani?”
Dave answered instead, “What she means, is that while I think Cindy is ok as a person on her own, I don’t think she is a good match for you, mate. Never have. She is a man eater and frankly, anytime we are all together, I think she treats you…kinda crappy, if I am to be honest. You are just too damned nice too notice.”
“She is not that bad Dave,” Dani defended, albeit a bit-half-heartedly, “And Bri really has taken off her edge. She has needed someone wonderful like Bri.”
Brian watched the twins both battle on his behalf. Each from a different vantage point. This was exactly what he was hoping for, even though he was surprised by Dave’s now open disdain for Cindy, or at least the idea of her as Brian’s future better half. It did give him a bit of pause. Yet, Dani’s support lifted his heart quite a bit. She perhaps knew him better than anyone and if both of the twins were against it, he might have paused and rethought through everything.
The words stopped, but Dave and Dani were having a silent conversation. All of this time, and Brian still couldn’t decipher them when they were communicating to each other without speaking. Dave almost was pleading with Dani with his look. Dani was almost rebuked Dave with hers. Dave’s shoulders finally slumped, as if he just lost a brutal battle of wills.
“Well, mate”, Dave finally stated, breaking the silence, “if you are really sure, let me be the first to congratulate you. Better show us how crazy you went with the ring, before Dani burns the box away with her laser vision.”
Dani sat at the table, fidgeting. She hated when she was like this. She was a mix of nerves, replaying the conversation a day before with Brian and her brother, weighing her brother’s words over and over. They bothered her. They bothered her more than she would have ever admitted in front of Brian or David.
She was happy for Brian. Even though a small part of her was still wishing it was her that he was going to propose to. She loved him from the first time she ever saw him, yet all Brian ever saw in her was the sister he never had. She hated both things. Hated that she loved Brian so. And hated that he never saw her beyond the ‘sister he never had’. She didn’t know what she hated more.
So, Dani played the sisterly part, since that was the most love she could get with him. About a year ago, she finally decided to give up on her childish dream that Brian would suddenly become head over heels in love with her (in not a sisterly sort of way); instead set him up with one of her best friends. Brian and Cindy initially hit it off, a surprise to everyone. Even perhaps a surprise to her. Yes, they had their problems, as all couples have, but Brian did seem to bring out the brighter side of Cindy and Cindy definitely seemed to bring out the admiration out of Brian that Dani always hoped to get out of him for herself. Dani even hated Cindy a bit for that. Getting from Brian what she always wished to get from him herself.
But David’s words to her when they left the bar were what really haunted her now, “I am telling you this right now sis, I don’t know why you ever set them up, but Cindy will break his heart, mark my words. I was almost tempted to just tell him you’ve been in love with him forever, just to stop his madness in this. At the very least, he would at least finally know how you feel.”
Dani dreaded the thought, and yet part of her desperately wish he did. Dani made David vow ages ago to never tell Brian how she felt. David thought it was a stupid thing to have to vow to, but was always honorable about his vows to her. He also thought it was stupid that she didn’t just ask Brian out herself, it is not like she never asked out a guy before. But, David never would understand. It had to be the other way with Brian. He was her one fairytale prince in a world full of frogs and ogres. The one person she loved in that silly, stupid way.
She really thought she had finally put her feelings for Brian to bed once he saw him and Cindy really hit it off. Until yesterday, until her stupid brother had to stir a pot that didn’t need stirring.
Was she missing something David easily saw? Was she hoping beyond hope that Cindy and Brian would hit it off so she could move on? Dani had blindspots for both Brian and Cindy. She knew what Cindy could be like. She just never seemed like that with Brian, and Cindy thanked Dani for setting them up, every time they got together. Her blindspots for Brian. David assured her that he was not as perfect as she loved to dream, but he was pretty damn close.
“Excuse me, are you Danielle?”
Dani stopped herself fidgeting with the straw in her umpteenth gin and tonic and looked up at the man in the power suit standing at her table. She flashed the man a warm smile and nodded. She has had worse blind dates, if on appearance alone. She hoped he might be at least fun distraction from her current woes. He looked like he was chiseled out of granite and probably knew his way around a woman in a way that wasn’t a ‘near-saint looking upon his near-sister’ sort of way.
“Yes, are you John?” He nodded and smiled. It was a smile that said he liked what was on the menu. He helped himself and sat down at the table. Dani smiled back. They started the typical, boring small talk that begins almost all blind dates. She chuckled when he mentioned where he worked though.
“You work at Xavier Technologies?”
“Yeap. Why do you ask? Most people could care less.”
“One of my best friends works there.”
“Oh? Maybe I know her.”
John’s perfect chiseled face frowned. “SHE is one of your best friends?”
Dany saw the dislike this man had for Cindy and right at this moment, he could not be more perfect to quiet her nerves and feelings with the whole Brian-Cindy thing.
“I wouldn’t say best friends. I’ve probably been a better friend to her than the other way around, if I were to be honest.”
“Well, that would not be a surprise, she seems…the sort.”
Dani laughed. She knew Cindy probably went to war with this guy. He was turning out to be perhaps the perfect date. Cindy would hate to hear that Dani hooked up with one of her work nemeses. Right now, in that moment, Dani would have loved nothing more. Dani let herself have a momentary fantasy of being at Brian and Cindy’s wedding and having John there as her plus one.
Dani smiled and whispered, “I hope you don’t take this to be too forward, but would you mind if we speed this along and go somewhere a bit more private.”
John smiled his perfect teeth smile, “I would like nothing more.”
Dani left holding John’s hand, and hoping he was going to be as good a distraction as she was thinking he might be, even if he was probably not going to be the great love of her life.
A Weaving of One into Nine (A Repost)
I knock on the ornate, oaken door, with more than a hint of uncertainty.
“Come In. Come In. It is not locked.”
As I open the door to enter, not quite knowing what to expect, my senses are awashed with the scents of varying spices. Sage and nutmeg. Thyme and mint. It smells better than the kitchens of the castle.
I see a young woman sitting at a table, crushing some dry herbs with her fingers. She was more lovely than I expected, although I was not sure what I was expecting. She looks up at me and gives me an earthy smile, perhaps the most sincere one I have ever seen. “So, what are you seeking stranger, for I am positive I do not know you?”
“I have been told, you are gifted with potions and balms and such.”
“You have been told correctly. Do you have a grave injury?” she asks with a twinkle in her eye, as if she knows already I am not there for a balm.
“Just a heart that aches, for someone beyond my station’s reach. I was wondering how much a potion of love costs?”
“What is your name, young man?”
“Henry. Named after the Earl of Richmond at the time and now is the king. My family has served his House for decades.”
“Ahhh...a strong name tied to a strong man. You do not want what you seek though. For one, there is no such thing and before you say you have heard otherwise, I will explain. Does this woman you fancy shown you any hint of infatuation toward you? There is not a potion for love. Love either exists or does not. However...there are potions to either speed it along or make it impossible to resist.”
“She is always kind to me. And she always blushes and smiles sweetly when I fumble my words around her.”
“Henry, it would be wise to leave it at that. Enjoy your dreams, enjoy your life. Trust me, chasing after a love that crosses station will always lead to heartbreak,” she suddenly looks wistful and far away.
The witch suddenly eyes the crucifix that hangs from my neck. “The folly you seek costs greatly. Do you have such coin?”
I drop my purse on her table. She opens it and laughs, “Henry. Forget this foolishness. Find a nice girl, make a nice family, live a nice life.” She tosses my purse of meager wealth back to me.
“There is no one else. She has captured my heart.”
She gives a resigned sigh looking at my cross, “Would you pay for such a potion with your death?”
“Your passage to heaven.”
I feel crestfallen, “I try to live a holy life. I do not want to go to hell. I am sorry for wasting your time.”
“Oh, only you can decide if you go there. I just said, you won’t go to heaven, not right away.”
“Are you saying I would be stuck on earth as a ghost then?”
“No, but you may be haunted years from now for what you are about to do.”
“I will live with being haunted if I can taste her love now.”
“So be it.”
I lie in a secluded glade with my love, my duchess. My heart swells as she drops the last of her garments. Her beauty is without question. It seems a crime that she should ever be covered. Yet, knowing I am one of the few to see her this way. To know she loves me, that I just sped it along and broken the barrier of our stations for this…
“Gustav! Wake up!”
I rub my eyes, the image of the beautiful duchess naked already starts to fade from my mind. I look down at the book I have been scribing in. I ruined the last page falling asleep in my work.
“The abbot wants to see you. He is curious how you are coming with your translations.”
I look down at my translation of an accounting of Gustav III’s Russian War and think to myself, not well obviously. I wonder if I will ever get to work on bigger, more important things. I wonder if I will ever stop being haunted by some English duchess that is most likely a figment of my cloistered imagination.
I cannot stop the tears from flowing down my face.
“I cannot run away with you Henry, as much as my heart wants to,” she says as she absently strokes the swell of her belly. “I am to be married to a lord I have laid with after finding out I was carrying your child. It is not a match my father would of picked, and I know my future husband will only lust me, never love me. But, our son will have a life you would never be able to give him…”
I am losing my love, and my child that I will never know.
I wake with a fevered sweat and a lurch in my heart.
“Frank! Thank God you are awake. I did not think you would make it through the night. I brought the Mohegan medicine man, as you asked.”
I tried to focus on the medicine man, he looks at me with a serious stare.
“I cannot fix how closely tied your spirit is to the earth, but I can make your fever go away,” say the native that I had only met one other time.
The chills come when he takes my face in his hands, but it pales to the coldness of the dream of the feeling of losing a child to be raised by another.
I look upon my lost love and the little girl that is in her tow. My heart breaks all over again. My daughter and my love.
“My dear Henry, you look well. I...needed to see you before we leave court. I wanted you
to have a chance to see her, in private one last time.”
I look upon my daughter, she has the look of her mother, thank God. But, this little girl looks back at me with my eyes…
I look in the mirror and for a moment imagine a little girl’s eyes staring back at me. I shake the cobwebs from my ancient head. I walk back to the chair and pick up the book on William III’s war, feeling that within a few years the colonies will be drowning in war as well. I hope my aging body is dead before I see it happen.
I look at my wife and think to myself that I do not deserve her love. Especially when my thoughts always drift back to my first love and my daughter. Soon I will be a father for true, not just by seed. I hope my love for this new child is as grand as the love for a daughter I’ve only held once...
I wake to gunfire. Mr. Madison’s War has finally reached my homestead. I leave my bedroom and see my daughter crying in fear in the hallway. I lean down and hug her fiercely, cannot help but to recall a hug that seems from another life.
“Abigail, it’ll be ok. Go to my room and sit with momma.”
I am filled with fear as I load my pistol. I am hoping the soldiers knocking at my door are American soldiers. I wonder if I’ve hugged my daughter for the last time before I open the door to meet my destiny.
My son and I visit his mother’s grave. His eyes are filled with tears mine are filled with a different sort of sorrow, for she never got to hold her son alive. He has her soul though, her eyes, and seems to be cursed with my sense of the romantic. He should not mourn so much for a woman he never knew. Perhaps he mourns all of the what-ifs. I know how those thoughts taste like ash.
I kiss Abigail’s soft lips, aching that I cannot go with her. I look deeply in her brown eyes for the last time, I take in her coffee colored skin that matters not to me. Or perhaps, it means everything to me. I know my father would kill me if he found out I was part of the underground, part of smuggling slaves to their freedom. He would flay me senseless if he knew my heart belonged to this girl. I cannot help wonder what our life might be like if I decided to run with her. But, there are so many more I need to try to save. I kiss her one last time, wondering what if, as I feel her tears mix with my own.
I bury my son, his wife, and their daughter next to my wife. I have no more tears to shed for them. Plague has claimed their lives and I feel so alone. I cannot help but wonder after my daughter and if her life has been good and kind and safe from sickness, safe from me.
“Yep. I was born on the eve of the Civil War and it feels like I am going to die as the world goes to hell!” I say, tossing the king of hearts on the table.
“Don’t be so dramatic, Jon. We still have years left. I am sure we will be around well after the world been through hell!”, David replies, tossing in the queen.
“Well, if I were sixty years younger, I would love to kick Hitler right in the ass,” counters Al, as he tossed in the ace.
“As would I,” replies David with disgust as he loses another hand.
“As would I,” I say, thinking back to the family I lost to smallpox sixty years before and thinking how easy it would have been then to go off to war.
I offer the last person communion during the Mass. I have been in a daze the entire time. My thoughts on all the people I’ve lost, all I’ve cursed. Giving myself fully to God after burying my son and his family. The priesthood has given me purpose, if not direction.
I stumble into the hotel room, high as a kite and drawn to the girl’s honeyed laugh or perhaps wanting to dip into the honey I know she has between her legs. The more I have dreams of ancient priesthood and woe of lost, the more I drown myself in drugs and drink and promiscuous sex.
She pushes me onto the bed, she is nearly as high as I am, “What is your name again?” she asks.
“Henry, my name is Henry.”
She giggles, “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Henry!” and she lowers herself upon me, letting me feel just how warm her honey is.
I get lost in this stranger’s lust, almost forgetting how much woe a soul can bear. Almost.
As soon as I see her, I know it is my daughter. I see my eyes staring back at me and I thank God that mine are so old and starting to dim that she doesn’t recognize mine back.
“Father, I...need to confess a secret.”
“Confession is usually done in anonymity, child.”
“You are a man of God, should I not trust you not to judge?”
“You are wise. Perhaps your secret is not so bad.”
“My mother...told me the father that I grew up knowing, is not my own. That the only royal blood is hers. That she loved a servant a long time ago. That she never stopped loving him.”
My heart catches and flutters to life as if it were dead all this time, “I...see. When did your mother tell you this?”
“On her deathbed. Shortly before my husband brought us back to here to join the court. How do I tell him? How do I share that shame of my bastardy? The sin of my past.”
My throat tightens, I try to keep the tears from spilling. “My dear. This is not your sin. Has your life not had value? Has the love for the only father you have known suddenly diminished? Your mother made a choice to raise you as you have been raised. The burden was hers. Live your life. Let your children live theirs. I cannot forgive you, because you did nothing wrong.”
I hold up my hand to silence her, “Would God have given you life, if He felt the act that created you was a sin? Any sins were carried by your mother and your birth father.”
“Thank you, Father!” and with that, she hugs me and for the second time in my long life, I hold my daughter again, and I have no way of telling her who I really am. The joy and the woe of the moment is almost too much to handle. Still, I whisper a silent prayer of thanks for the gift of it.
I knock on the door, feeling a bit silly for doing so. I am nearing my 44th year, I have a wife and children and am happy.
“The door is open, come right in.”
The woman on the other side is dressed as I would expect, in a bohemian style, looking too much like a gypsy. I already regret walking through the door.
“So, how can I help you?” asks the woman.
“Well, I keep having dreams of a sort. Vivid dreams of lives of long ago. The are haunting me. They are too real. I have tried doctors to help...”
“...but how can doctors help you with dreams that are really memories, right?”
“I didn’t say…”
“Do you doubt it? Do you doubt you have lived these other lives? I can see how your spirit is anchored to the earth in ways few are.”
“Is there anything that can be done?”
“I cannot do anything about the dreams. They are your memories. Memories should not be forgotten.”
“In the memories of the first life that I remember, I went to see a witch, for a potion. She said I would give up heaven.”
“It appears that you have.”
“Is there anyway to get it back? Is there any way to make sure this is my last life.”
“Perhaps all you need to do is live this life as yours. Do not burden it with the choices you made in the past ones. Perhaps share with me the tales of the others, or at least the first that started this path.”
I share the tale of Henry and his love. She listens contently, she weeps the further I go into it. She smiles bittersweetly at the ending.
The medium stares at me for a long while before she asks, “Would you believe me if I told you I was a descendant of a duke and duchess at the time of Henry VII? Would you believe me that a rumored story carried down from mother to daughter, from that day to this, that we were only descendants to the duchess? The duke only by name, not by blood.”
I look into the eyes of the medium, as if I am noticing for the first time. She has eyes as green as the sea. She has eyes just like Henry’s eyes. She has eyes just like mine.
I smile, knowing that Henry’s love led eventually to this woman. “I just might. Can I ask, have you had a good life?”
“Actually, the best! And it just got a whole lot sweeter, especially since in a round about way, I should be thanking you for it.” she smiles, a faint reflection of a duchess Henry always loved.
"Trick or Treat!"
A slovenly man opens up the door and eyes the the two standing there with mild disinterest. "Wow...two more ghosts. How original..." he hummed in an annoying monotone. He reached into his goodie bowl and dropped in a treat into each of their pillowcases. The man closed the door with almost an effort of annoyance.
The two ghosts moved aside to let other trick-or-treaters try their luck. If anyone was paying attention to them, the others would have noticed that these two ghosts actually did hover when they moved.
"So Howard, what did that jerk give you?"
"He gave me a stupid popcorn ball! What the hell is a ghost going to do with a popcorn ball? What about you?"
Cindy grimaced, even more than her typical grimacing look that she felt she needed to wear, "I got a Hershey's bar. Almost as bad."
They tried to give their latest treats away to some of the other trick-or-treaters. A boy took the chocolate bar, but nobody wanted Howard's pathetic popcorn ball.
"So Cindy, do you think this jerk deserves a trick?"
Cindy shrugged. "I don't know. I am not quite in the mood to haunt him, he wasn't that bad."
"He gave me a popcorn ball! I hate popcorn balls. Anyway, it wouldn't be nearly as fun to haunt him alone."
Cindy grimaced a smile, "You sure do know how to sweet talk a lady. How do you want to do it?"
"Sexy ghost and poltergeist?"
"Only if I get to be the poltergeist this time!"
"Cindy, you are the only creature in all planes that thinks I can be a sexy anything."
Cindy actually smiled, "True. It just gets a bit old always having to be a sexy ghost."
"I didn't say you had to stay sexy."
A few hours later, Howard and Cindy floated through the wall of the popcornball-giver's house and started to look around.
"He seems pretty dull. This plant is the sexiest thing he owns!"
"Hmmm. Should we do the revenant and fetch haunt instead?"
"No, I'll just wing what type of sexy he might like. Hopefully he doesn't indeed have a plant fetish though."
"Ok Cindy. See you soon!"
Cindy hovered up the staircase, and into the snoring man's bedroom. Her potential victim was a disgusting sod. She shimmered into a more appealing form. Cindy leaned over and whispered in the man's ear, "Wake up, I am ready to play."
No response. She stroked his hair, he snorted and snored deeper. "Howard, this man is practically dead as it is. You try."
Howard took possession of the TV. The TV turned on and the volume racheted. He found a snarky infomercial. Terrifying.
The man covered his head with a pillow, and fumbled for the remote. "Dammit the hell! Cheap Chinese crap of a TV." The man fastballed the remote at the TV, shattering the screen, then the electronics fried. Cindy looked at Howard wincing at the electrical shocks and tried not to laugh.
"Boo!" Cindy shouted.
The man removed the pillow and looked up, "What the bloody hell? Who the hell are you? How did you get into my house?"
"Through the wall actually." Cindy felt his eyes take her in and noticed his blankets start to tent. She still had it, even dead.
"So why are you here?"
Howard posessed a chair, and started to shuffle it around. Howard always had terrible timing.
"To haunt you, obviously."
"Why? What miserable thing did I ever do to you?"
"Actually nothing, but you pissed my friend off really good."
"You gave him a popcorn ball for a treat."
"Nah, it was a trick."
Cindy laughed. The chair flew across the room and knocked the man out cold. Howard emerged from the chair, seething.
Cindy frowned a grimace, "Dammit Howard! I was getting ready to really haunt him? Now he is unconscious."
"Sorry, but you got to admit, giving popcorn balls as a trick is evil."
Learning about Capitalism and Socialism
The best way to learn about these things is to actually read about them (and related topics). That can be a daunting challege. Where to start? Where to begin?
The book/primer that I lead people toward first, regardless of what I know if their economic background or education, is 'Basic Economics' by Dr. Thomas Sowell. It is written for anyone to understand. It discusses capitalist economics, feudel economics, and socialist economics. (although I will save you the suspense that Sowell has a positive-bias toward capitalism).
From there, perhaps the next book I would suggest is 'Capitalism and Freedom' by Milton Friedman. It's basic premise is how capitalism is fundimental for economic freedom and actually essential for political freedom.
If you can get through those two books, and are still interested in learning more, take on the heavier stuff:
'The Wealth of Nations' by Adam Smith
'The Communist Manifesto' By Karl Marx
'The Road to Serfdom' and 'The Fatal Conceit' by F.A. Hayak (And if you are a glutton for punishment, 'The Constitution of Liberty')
If you need some lighter, classical works, read some of the works of Bastiat.
All of these, with the exception of Marx, do bias positively toward capitialism. That said, in my personal quest to understanding both of these 'isms', I have found these and Hayak's direct criticisms of socialism to be more informative then some of the positive-biased works about socialism were (or rather, once I read them, the critiques at that point marred their positions.)
All said, if you walk away with just reading 'Basic Economics', you will at the very least walk away with the sense that capitialism is one of the most misunderstood concepts (i.e. a term to refer to greed as a synonym.) in the modern world.