Monthly Archives: October 2014

Slumbering Heart

I have fallen off the edge of the world
and seen what lays beneath,
I have flown over the desolate void
and thrown flowers in supplication to that which sleeps beneath

Drawn forth by whispering vines that crept,
slithering, across my skin,
my bones fell apart my false face slid off
and I painted on a happy grin

I danced beneath that blood red sky,
and dreamt I never left,
I skipped a stone and went
from blissful to bereft

I lost my place,
I was lost in time,
no compass to my marker
no harkening to call me home,
no shouting carnival barker

I dreamed my way back into my heart

I slumber even now,
wrapped amongst the loveliest dreams,
without the soundtrack of screams
and backdrop of broken vow.

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Categories: Fiction, Poetry | Tags: , | 4 Comments

If We’re Lucky, We Get to Say Goodbye

Fingertips scrabbled at rock on the inside of the crater. My fingernails were bloody and my toes ached, struggling to support weight on a ledge just wide enough for the balls of my feet. Putting the pain of the effort aside, I dug my fingers in, feeling new fissures open in the skin, dug my toes in, and heaved myself over the side.

I was breathing heavily, hands to the side of my head, leaving bloody streaks as if I wore a crown of thorns. The ground up here was no more forgiving than the walls had been; I could feel my ass bleeding along with the rest of me as I scooched farther from the edge. I had dropped into that void once and had no desire to plunge like a stone into its nothingness again.

Memories zipped through my brain like darting minnows of shiny destruction. Headlights flashing; hydroplaning across a wet road; over-correcting the steering wheel; Nick screaming as the car flips; Nick scarily silent as the car cuts a swathe of destruction through trees, plunging off the freeway, spinning in circles on it’s roof. Me, oddly silent, as we teeter to a stop nose first in a shallow creek bed. The odd silence continuing, even after I shake off enough of the daze to call Nick’s name, or try to. Turning my head, terrifyingly slow, towards the back of the car…

My head snapped up so quickly that it felt like a giant rubber band being twanged. “No! No, you motherfuckers!” I didn’t know where I was, why or how I was, I didn’t know what in the hell was going on, but I knew that Nick wasn’t here, couldn’t be here. I had seen his staring eyes, and the strange cant of his little head, flopping from his neck.

I cried then, big fat tears that burned like sulfur. Nicky was gone and I was here, bloody and broken, on the ground. I felt detached, had no burning desire for answers. I sat, and bled, and cried. So disconnected I heard nothing, had no warning, before a skeletal hand descended to my shoulder. Not skeletal as a descriptor, skinny and crone-like, but skeletal as in fleshless distal phalanges curled into my collarbone.

With a sense of deja vu, I turned my head slowly and looked behind me, up and up, tracking from pelvic bone to spine to skull. A distant part of my brain whispered, with an almost religious hush, ‘My god, it’s beautiful.’

It was beautiful; in my disassociated state, I could appreciate the whorls of color that decorated its leg bones, the flowers painted on its ribs, the jewel like studs that surrounded empty eye sockets. No fear as it released me, hand clacking as it made a universal gesture for ‘follow me’. It cupped my elbow and helped me up, slid down my arm until our fingers linked, pulled me forward.

As I picked out footing on the uneven ground, trying to keep pace with the long strides of my guide, lightness imbued its steps and it skipped towards our mysterious destination. I ran to keep up, clinging to its arm now, steps turning into a dance that spun us towards the incongruous sound of music which reached out and swirled around my mind, so that I was almost laughing as we turned a corner that I had not seen until we were upon it.

In a clearing that opened to a cavernous ceiling, sunlight streamed down upon the altar that sat in the middle of a group of giggling children good-naturedly shoving each other as they grabbed for the most outrageously decorated coffins and skulls from the piles that littered stone shelves.

‘Mom!’ A brown headed bullet launched itself from the candy fray and tore towards me across grass so green it was almost iridescent. Nick hit my middle with a force that squeezed an ‘oof’ out of me, and wrapped his arms around my waist. He grinned up at me, eyes dancing, and tightened his grip til I had to protest. ‘Wait, you’re not dead, I saw you! I was leaving, but you were there still, you were crying, you were alive, I saw you!’

He started to pull away, to scrutinize me from a distance, but I grabbed onto him and pulled him back to me. ‘No, Nicky, no, I’m not dead.’ I stroked his fine hair off his forehead. ‘We’re just being given a chance to say good-bye.’

****

I remember being a kid, maybe 10, and reading Stephen King’s ‘Pet Semetary’. I thought then that one of the things that I would have to learn to do to be a great writer (at that age, King was the pinnacle of authors to me) would be learning to delve into the things that are the most painful, and not be afraid to compromise my own emotions to get to the truth and honesty of the matter. In this case, to imagine the death of a child, especially when you have your own, seemed like one of the hardest things you’d ever try to write. This is proving very true for me, as I almost feel like I’m jinxing myself, which fits in with the superstitious but still somehow Dia de los Muertos. I’ve always been kind of fascinated with this particular celebration, as evidenced by the necklace I just happen to be wearing right now…

Bull dog

This was written for the 4th prompt from Grammar Ghoul Press: we were given a word prompt, void, and a really cool short film as our visual/media prompt. Click the adorable little badge at the top of this post to visit their site, read some truly fantastic writing, join in, vote, what have you. Go here to watch the award winning short film by Whoo Kazoo, Dia de los Muertos – it’s really an awesome little piece of work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCQnUuq-TEE#action=share

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

The Frayed String Snaps

The spotlight turns toward her, aged metal hinges creaking unintentional atmosphere into the performance. Her feet splay in bow-legged display, arms held out to her sides, head bent forward in repentance for an as yet unnamed sin. The audience cannot see the flakes in the rouge spots on her cheeks peeling off, cannot hear the skritch of her wooden joints as the strings, the fraying strings, pull her gently across the stage, a broken doll flung aside in slow motion.

They, the they whose human faces she has never seen except in shadow, work their levers and turn their wheels and make their adjustments with soft grunts and sometimes not so soft curses from behind the heavy curtains, equipment no longer up to snuff for the demands that they make of it.

There she is now, in place at center stage, fully steeped in the spotlight’s beam. She can feel them starting to lift her head, to force her eyes once more into the glare of the floodlights, to make her look out upon an audience who does not understand that she doesn’t want to be their entertainment any longer. They do not see the splinters escaping from under her painted eyelashes, little tears that look like tears; they would only add to the sad ambience of her painted face could anyone see the detail.

She does not want to be on the stage any longer. She had been the pinnacle, not the penultimate, but the zenith at the time of her creation. She was given no direction to go but down. How could every show, then, not be more of a disappointment than the last? The sighs and gasps and applause are a saw blade drawn against violin strings to her psyche, leaving her more and more an empty shell. She does not want to dance any more, having already been forced to reap more than she had ever hoped for simply by catching the eye of someone who thought that they came bearing a gift.

Her middle pulls taut as all the strings are tugged at once, a crescendo of agony behind the rictus of a smile, and they pirouette her across the boards, a blur of ragged beauty through steps that have not been altered in a hundred years. She yearns for silence, she prays for release, even as she drips joy across the horizon of bodies that sit in rapt attention at her stocking feet.

The man whose job it is to tighten all knots and inspect all ropes, to adjust wardrobe and touch up wig, has taken it upon himself to become lackadaisical.

Her weight is being raised from the floor, she is on her tippy toes, they are in the air, and all of her is now suspended in an airborne arabesque, to the delight of the squealers. Her left arm is beginning to droop noticeably lower than the right, her side is canting, and she imagines she hears, layer by layer, the already frayed rope coming apart above her, over the voices of the men as they scramble and over correct.

She begins to jerk a bit, from side to side, corps de ballet de grotesquerie.

An infinite glee comes with the sudden snap. Her prison is collapsing around her and for the first time since she looked out from behind the dead material of the face she had been forced into, she re-awakens to bliss. A broken ragdoll of disjointed bits is all she is now, sprawled in an untidy heap upon a dirty floor, legs and arms akimbo, soul winging up through the rafters and into the ether.

The audience is stunned into silence at this unexpected ending, this abrupt departure from the tawdry bows and curtsies that tend to follow such performances as these, but then shake free and welcome the new and rise to their feet, a hootenanny of hollers and cries for an encore that can never come.

The maestro, the magician, the darkness that had encapsulated her soul, cries quietly behind the scenes as his queen, his triumph, arcs towards the heavens and leaves him, alone, ever more.

*****

So, I was listening to Lindsey Stirling and this story popped up….

Okay, so here’s a crazy thing…the erudite and awesome Suzanne, whose blog I have followed since I first found her through the now defunct Trifecta Writing Challenge (go read her here, both her fiction and non-fiction posts will either have you thinking or laughing or learning, sometimes all at once http://lucidedit.wordpress.com/ ) recently announced that she was launching her own writing challenge DUN DUN DUN here: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-2-open/ and that got me excited because she attracts other writers as talented as she and I love the word ghoul. I just happened to write this story for the hell of it this morning while I was supposed to be working, and then just now realized that, by adding a single sentence to incorporate the word prompt REAP, that it fits the word and picture prompt.

I’m rambling like a crazy person. I’ll shoot for extra coherence later. No guarantees.

Read, write, love, sleep,
Shannon

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

My life for the past three weeks

A few weeks ago, Dude’s friend called and told him that a stray kitten had followed her two outdoor cats into the house. Since she knew I had been wanting another kitty, she wondered if we’d be interested. Duh. KITTY. Well, as long as it was a boy, because female cats are great but I ain’t havin none of it.

So he sent me a picture and I sappily said oh yes, please, and after a stop at Pet Smart, here he was.

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After introductions and a thorough flea bath, the Kid got to name him as Dude named our first cat (Joker) and I named our Bearded Dragon (Princess Loki Mononoke). So, we welcomed Leonidas to our ridiculous little family.

I knew it wouldn’t be simple, socializing two male cats of different ages, especially since Joker is a spoiled punk mama’s boy. On top of the fact that DOMINATION seems to be the order of the day, they argue over perches and toys and boxes and attention. We’ve all gone out of our way to make sure both are equally loved and snuggled, and while he fights back with the best of him, Leo is ready to be BFF’s.

It’s getting better, slowly but surely.

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After all that though, I truly feel like I have a home full of toddlers. I am either feeding creatures, cleaning said creatures shit, or breaking up fights. Any neighbors that can hear me through the walls, I swear to goodness that I am not threatening to punch actual children in their tiny little skulls.

Maybe, once these idiots calm down enough to not need near constant supervision, I would love to do the thing where I pop in earbuds and do that wacky thing called writing stories.

At least they aren’t fighting messy food bowl wars anymore.

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Wish me luck. Please. Lots and lots of luck. Continue reading

Categories: Non-Fiction Nonsense | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

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