Reflections: Vincent’s Descent

Reflections: Vincent’s Descent

Vincent’s Descent is a 26 part story (16,022 words total) that began on April 1st, 2023. If you are interested in reading it, after slogging through the below reflection, I suggest you start HERE. Comments are always read and welcome.

Vincent’s Descent began as a writing prompt.

It was generated during A Prompting of Writers, a group I created and moderate that meets on Saturday mornings (10 am EST/EDT: contact me if you are interested). The prompt I gave the writers was to use any creative figure that they truly loved and knew. Flash Fiction, just under an hour of writing, and then we share with some feedback. The idea stemmed from The Pale Blue Eye show on Netflix (Edgar Allan Poe as the MC) and a few other uses of literary figures as characters.

Vincent Van Gogh was my choice for the piece. I enjoyed what I wrote, and when I decided (extremely last minute) to join this year’s AtoZ, that story was what I used as my jumping-off point.

Van Gogh remained the base foundation for Vincent’s Descent: his color palette, how he applied his paints, the swirls, the golden fields, the starry nights, and his madness. It all influenced many aspects of what I wrote over this challenge.

Almost every title of my AtoZ was based on Art terminology, primarily fine arts but also architecture. I plumbed the online FreeArtDictionary for title ideas when nothing immediately came to mind. Some of the posts (Yosti in particular, but others as well) gave me the clues I needed to complete that day’s posting.

The whole thing with the birds came about with the letter B, and The Beatles song Blackbird got stuck in my head. “Take these broken wings and learn to fly” led me to Vincent breaking one of his attackers wings. With his teeth? Well, horror/brutal, y’know.

Also, I’m not a huge fan of birds.

People have asked me about how I name my characters/places. Usually the name must have a meaning that fits the story. Vincent seems obvious, but beyond that it means “Prevailing.” Humi, Vincent’s late addition father, means “Twilight.” “Oralee,” Vincent’s mom, means “My Light.” I chose Maria as that was the name of the daughter of Sien Hoornik, the only woman Vincent is known to have lived with. As to Ms. Faye Smythe (the only character with a surname): Faye was a play on the Fae (elves) and Smythe came about from looking at my bookshelf, seeing my copy of Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe, and boom! Faye Smythe.

As to anything disjointed or lost over the month, my apologies. If you’ve followed my writing at any time, you know I am a Pantser. I write daily (well, um, yeah, a few days I couldn’t write; I don’t pre-write, seeing that takes the challenge out of this being a challenge.) without an organized schematic, no notes, no plans. The characters/story take me on a daily journey, and then by the end of the month I’m trying to pull it all together and plug up all the holes, big and small. Sometimes it works out.

I’ve mentioned this here and there: I look at the AtoZ as my First Draft Plus. Previous years have had wider followings, and I’ve been asked to take the work, add to it to novelize it. The Abysmal Dollhouse series is one I continue to work on. It keeps alluding me.

I want to thank everyone who did follow along and left commentary and likes. This was my least visited year with AtoZ, but the point is that I so truly appreciate those of you who did follow along. The comments were extremely helpful. Some made me laugh, others had me twiddling my fingers and doing my best villains laugh. Chilling.

Taa Daa! We can now tie a bow around the 2023 AtoZ Blog Challenge.

What did you think about Vincent’s Descent? This Reflection? Tacos?

Ziggurat Englobed: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

Ziggurat Englobed: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HEREComments are always welcome.

Vincent’s Descent

Chapter 26: Ziggurat Englobed

            Faye shook her head.

            “But, the bodies. All that blood. Vincent,” she was off the couch, “the bodies!”

            “The Condor tore into her. Right out,” he paused, “right out of me. There was nothing I could do. It drove its beak into her midsection, clawed her.” Tears streamed. “Then it morphed into that old bastard, laughing at me, goading me.”

            “Why did he-it-do that?” Maria gripped her arms.

            “His father,” Faye offered, and Vincent nodded. He looked away from them to look out the living room window.

“Mom got me to focus on the ‘I wish’; it was a mantra to protect, bring changes, and do things. She’d sing that Disney song to me: “When you wish upon a Star,” but it was the snow globes for us. Maria, I was able to extend that wish to you, for a short while, in the heat of it all. I knew I would not have the opportunity. I have always trusted you.”

“Oh.” He nodded.

“My father hated that I had a way to safety, hated her for protecting me. Hated her enough so….”

We ran, and it found us.”

            “I erupted that night. The feathers broke through my skin; my face lustered, and my mouth became a sharp beak. Full Grackle Prince.” He turned back, only to look away again. “Then I did what wasn’t expected. I dove at the human shell. I thought it was more. I am guilty of wanting it dead, Faye, but it only left a shell in this world. Real or not, Cat-grandpa was only a shell.

No matter. I fully transformed. That’s what it wanted. What the three of them wanted.”


            “The Condor, my father, and Her Grace.” He stood, walking to the windows. “The birds had always harassed me when I ported, some more aggressive than others. I didn’t understand why, did not know how to protect myself. My mother did.”

            Vincent shuddered.

            “In the psych ward, it happened to the guard. The Condor reached through me, half in this realm sticking out of me. The guard was dead in an instant. I couldn’t take it. I tried to go elsewhere, but too many hands were on me. Too many.”

            Faye put her drink down. She moved closer to him but refrained from touching him.

            “It’s ok, Faye. You don’t have to be afraid of me, well, yeah, but…”

            She reached around, hugging him.

            “No more bird fucking, ok?” She whispered in his ear. He nodded.

            “Thank you,” he said.

            Maria joined them at the window.

            “What now?” Maria asked, looking at the window reflection of the three of them. Faye lightly shook her head.

            Vincent, though, had a serious dead face. She gasped, not being able to see his eyes in the reflection. Turning, she saw they were twilight black.

            “I have to go.” He turned to Faye, then Maria. “For now.”

            Vincent went.

            The world swirled as Vincent ported. Vincent grasped colors, rearranging them, mashing them together, piling one thick, the other etched thin, as he painted across the city. Which became a field of flowers. A range of hills, mounds of earth piled high, plateaus filled with lushness. The sky was white, grey, and streaked with maroon, all moving to shine light from above until everything burst into a multitude of blues and golden hues.

            Vincent walked through it all, over and around bodies of water, through the clouds, until he walked through a window of a cobweb of his making.

            In his father’s twilight office, Vincent became.

            Tucking his wings tight against his body, The Grackle Lord stood before the snow globes. All the dots of fake snow were dancing. Each orb alit, changing shades, soft to dark, mixtures that changed the meanings of colors, yet there was harmony in the movement.

            Except for the one to the far right. It was black, swirled black, minutely changing to every essence of black, and it was a frenzy in comparison.

            Vincent-Inside reached out a claw and grabbed the blackness. He was ready to hurl it through the window when a claw shot out from the darkness, stopping him.

Jerked back, losing a few feathers, The Grackle Lord’s eyes widened, the black pupils deepening. It cawed in defiance, talons extending.

            “Filius,” The Black Vulture croaked as it wormed into the room, blocking the snow globe. “Filius, avis nigra dominus,” it uttered. The misshapen head, long neck, ebon feathers, were less than The Grackle Lord. It knew it. The neck bowed an iota.

It began to change.


            A knock at Faye’s door brought her running. Without looking, she flung the door open and dragged Vincent inside, slamming it shut. Faye grabbed his face with both hands and kissed him.

            Maria, who had remained by the window, smiled. She went over once the kiss broke and circled her arms around them. It was tender, a much-needed calm, and each ached in their private ways.

            Vincent led them back to the living room. He lowered the lighting before sitting on the floor on one side of the sofa table. Faye joined him while Maria took to the couch.

            Vincent took the empty bottle of whiskey off the tabletop. After briefly looking at Faye, she picked up her tumbler, looked inside, and set it on the floor under the table. Then Vincent opened his wings.

            Neither had seen the change to his arms. It was a momentary lapse of awareness but soon replaced by wide-eyed wonder.

            Snow globes glittering the landscapes of Vincent’s worlds, ten sat on the table.

            “Vincent,” Maria smiled.

            “Yes,” he told them of his confrontation with his father, a standoff for The Grackle Lord held power. He said of the formed pact so that he could retrieve his & his mother’s snow globes. There were the worlds that he traveled, had traveled, would travel.

            “Except for the black. That is for Her Lavender Grace and her Black Vulture.”

            He looked at the two women in his life.

            “Would you travel with me? I am a portal in want.”

            They both nodded.

            “I wish,” Vincent said.

            They went to golden lands together.

The End


So, here we are. April 2023 AtoZ Blog Challenge has come to an end. 

I hope that you enjoyed “Vincent’s Descent” and are satisfied with this ending. Tomorrow you’ll find the Reflections on Vincent’s Descent post. It should answer some, if not all, of your questions.

If you want more, or you feel I left gaping holes, or whatever, Comments Are Always Welcome.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Yasti Pinnacles: Vincent’s Descent -atoz blog challenge

Yasti Pinnacles: Vincent’s Descent -atoz blog challenge

**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HEREComments are always welcome.

Vincent’s Descent

Chapter 25: Yasti Pinnacles

            “I’m tired, Maria. Faye.”

            “I know, Vincent.” Maria nodded, staying on the couch but leaning in toward him.

            Impatient, Faye left the living room, returning with a fresh bottle of whiskey. She placed it next to her empty tumbler, keeping her back to him while she opened the top.

            “Enough with the ‘I’m tired’ BS, Vincent.” She turned, having refilled her glass. One hand rested under her elbow while she raised her wrist, taking a long sip. “You didn’t kill your mother, and you didn’t kill the guard.”

            He shook his head.

            “So? Explain.”

            Vincent looked to Maria, pleading.

            “No. You tell her.” She looked at Faye. “She knows enough, now.”

            Vincent hung his head, chin digging into his chest. He sucked in a deep breath, letting the air seep through tight lips. He startled both women with the abruptness of his getting to his feet. Feathers began to poke out of his forearms. Vincent looked down at his plumage, willing it to recede.

            Three remained on each arm.

Faye’s drink sloshed over her thumb. She licked it, moving a step back. Maria reached over and gently pulled her back onto the couch to sit beside her. She placed her hand on top of Faye’s knee.

“You see?” Vincent looked at both of them.

“When I first portalled, I had so little control. That old bastard,” Vincent left out naming his faux-grandfather by designated name,” was brutal. He left inner scars and kept pushing, pushing. He…it…never explained the why of it all. It just drove me, the first guide, the first to punish in both worlds, the blackbirds and this one.

My father pushed me to be with it. Said it was his father, and I should follow its lead. I did as he said. I was afraid of the two of them, Humi and Cat-Grandpa.

I thought I was doing well, but I would get lost and need to be retrieved. The verbal, emotional, and physical beatings grew worse with each ‘mistake’ I made. I always retreated from the blackbirds’ world when I was young, searching for safety.

It was my mother who made the difference.”

“Oralee,” Faye blurted into her glass. She turned to Maria, who nodded back, shushing her.

Vincent nodded.

“She gave me my first snow globe as a child. I loved it for all its simplicity. A house in a field, a grove of trees, and when you shook it: winter in my hand. We kept it by my bed. Nighttime was nightmare time, so with a nightlight ready, I could reach over, shake the globe, and the nightmares dissipated.

Until they didn’t, that was when the birds appeared in my room, at home, or its cabin. My mother would ‘know’; she knew they were in this world. She’d rush in and place herself in front of me, encircling me.  

That was after I had first traveled, maybe the third time? I’m not sure now.

Mom was having a hard time of it. The birds were pecking at the two of us. She was batting them out of the air, speaking in what I now know as their language, but they kept coming. One scratched her deeply, and another dove into her chest, pushing her back. She dropped beside me on the bed.

I had been frozen during all that, but she jostled me. I reached over, grabbed the snow globe to throw at one of them, the bigger of the three, and

It began to glow yellow.

Then it deepened into a warm gold.

My mother placed her hands over mine, put her forehead on my forehead, and the golden light spread over us. She shone like the sun.

The light was warmth and safety. As it reached what I learned later was its pinnacle, it dimmed, and the swirling material in the snow globe settled. The birds were gone, it was just us, and we went to the kitchen for food. We were both ravenous.

And she explained what she knew, that we could affect the axis of realities, the universe. Different planes of existence that living portals can easily travel. The portal stories I’d read were hidden messages disguised as fiction. She taught me how to safely travel, where the Condor was vicious in its agenda.

“Which was, what? Mating with that thing?” Faye again.

Vincent shrugged, nodding.

“Not my idea, Faye.” He made eye contact. “Her Lavender Grace was not my idea. Or my want.”

Faye blushed.

She shook herself.

“Ok. So, you did not kill your mother. Can we get back to that?”

He sighed.

“My skills were limited at first. My mom thought the snow globe was a great focus tool. I still loved them, so they were added to the collection when we found ones that had a specific resonance.

I was able to port easier. She traveled with me when she could, a better guide. We explored, crafted, and we changed the world around us.

My father interfered. He pushed the Condor on me, and I found out later that the Condor sent the murders after me. And my mother.

The night she died – twilight always seemed to be the worst, that death of day to the rising of darkness – was the first time the feathers burst. The pain,” Vincent was panting hard.

“Vincent,” Maria said softly. He focused on her as she modeled a slower breathing pattern, following along.

He gulped, closing his eyes.

“That was the night my mother had had enough, found the strength to leave my father. We were in a hotel, hours from our house, and I had only taken the first snow globe with me.

Then the change, and I screamed, and with my arms turning into wings, my mother held me tight, and I felt something calling through my chest, my face ached, and my body convulsed, and I yelled and yelled and screeched and cawed….

And the Condor emerged through me and tore her apart.

Then I tore it apart.”

Xanthic Fields: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

Xanthic Fields: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HEREComments are always welcome.

Vincent’s Descent

Chapter 23: Xanthic Fields

“I did not kill my mother.”

Faye had been one sheet to the wind when her doorbell rang.

“What the?” she grumbled, putting her whiskey down as she got up from the couch. No one in the building ever came to her door, and she did not buzz anyone in. She stood pissed, gritting her teeth, ready to tell whoever was there to fuck off.

The bell rang again, and then the sound of a fist pounding.

“Faye. Open up. It’s Maria.”

She ran to the door, shooting the deadbolts open, but only a fraction opened the door.

“Maria. Holy shit. You’re,” she said, opening the door fully. And then stopped.

“Hi, Faye,” Vincent said from behind, and to the side, of Maria.  

            Maria caught the door as Faye began to slam it.

            “No, Faye. Stop. Let us in.” She pushed past, grabbing her wrist and pulling her away from the door. Vincent had taken a step closer but stopped in the doorway. Maria turned to him, elbowing Faye in the process. Faye frowned the distance between her eyes closing.

            “Vincent,” they said in unison, but the meanings could not have differed. A pleading from one, a reproach from the other. He nodded, entering the condo and closing the door behind him.

            “Lock it,” Faye shouted over her shoulder as she made her way to her drink. She folded herself in the far corner of her couch, tucking her legs under her. Holding the glass out, Maria tried to take it from her.

            “Nope. Bottle. Bring the bottle,” Faye nodded to the Jamesons atop the sofa table.

            Maria retrieved the bottle, getting a glass for herself. She topped off Faye’s and gave herself warmth, sitting at the other end of the couch. Vincent didn’t drink. He stood awkwardly, looking lost as he did in this world.  

            Maria was about to pat the mid-section of the couch for him to sit when she caught the wide-eye warning from Faye, the slight shaking of her head. “No!”

            “Vincent, pull the chair over and sit, please,” she told him. He nodded, scraping it across the kitchen tile and through the living room carpeting. Maria noticed the rut he made in the material. She shivered, thinking of the river of blood among the tree trunks.

            Faye spit out a stream of obscenities. Vincent lightly blushed, looked at Maria, and shrugged. Maria told Faye everything from her point of view, with Vincent adding in very little about the battle and nothing about the rutting. He mentioned his “I wish” to bring Maria and him somewhere safe.

            “That’s why we were standing outside your door.”

            Faye shot him a look.

            “The look on your face when you opened the door. I can’t imagine what you would have done if we had appeared inside this room.” He smiled, thought better of it, and placed his hands on his knees.


            Faye had her head in her hands, the thrice-filled now empty glass perched on the sofa armrest. When she mentioned icicle missiles, Maria had pulled her legs up, wrapping her arms around her knees. She was exhausted in the telling.

            Faye licked the rim of her glass. Looking into it, she told of her meeting with Vincent’s father, of all their exchanges, of the accusations his father laid at Vincent’s feet.

            Vincent coughed. The women looked at him.

            Maria saw the struggle he was having.

            “What is it, Vincent?”


            Faye exploded.

            “Damnit, Vincent. What is it? You put us both,” gesturing to include Maria, “through that fucking hell. Hey!”

Faye vaulted off the couch and stood over Vincent.

“You don’t get to silent treatment me. I’ve been there; I’ve seen you in that psycho world of yours,” Maria winced, “and the violence you are capable of. Then what Maria just said, the death, the killings, and,” Faye was seething, “and we fucked, and it was magical, and then you went and fucked a bird??”

Maria had to bite her cheeks. She still made a short snort.

“Damn straight, don’t laugh.”

             Faye wanted to lay her hands on him but feared being taken elsewhere.

            “So, fucking Grackle King….”


            “Shut the fuck up!” She sighed. “So, what? What were you going to say?

            Vincent looked at Maria, then back to Faye.

            “I did not kill my mother.”

Weaver Facing: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

Weaver Facing: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HERE. Comments are always welcome.

Vincent’s Descent

Chapter 22: Weaver Facing


            Vincent’s golden world dissembled. Blues were the first to bleed through the multitude of shades of yellows. All at once, oranges burst, dribbling into pinks-crimson-magentas, adding the plushness of greens, from royals to pastels to foams, mixing and cleansing and blending on an ever-changing palette of Vincent’s world. It was all beyond Maria as she fixated on Vincent.

            Vincent stood golden and black, sparkling, staring after Her Lavender Grace. His body was a mixture of feathers and human flesh.

            Maria walked up to him, reached out her hand but stopped herself, a feather’s breath, from touching him. Stopping, her hand slowly dropped, landing at her side. She took in the changes around him. The landscape around them was still gently morphing. She did not know what a touch would do.


            He turned, and Maria exhaled a held breath. His face, Vincent’s face. But his eyes were The Grackle Lord’s penetrating blackness. She held steady, fighting an instinct to take steps back as his arm/wing drew her close.

            His head burrowed into her hair, the crook of her neck. Tearing up, Maria wove her arms around Vincent’s back. His skin texture changed under her hands and arms, the feathers soft and exuding a warmth she accepted. As they retracted, the coolness on the smooth surface was comforting. While they held onto each other, Maria did not feel any change occur on Vincent’s face.

            “Thank you,” he said softly, so close to her ear.


            Her Lavender Grace had taken wing, bloodied and partially satisfied. She flew to her stronghold, passing through Vincent’s golden world and into the jet black of her domain.

            She had coaxed her Condor’s jealousy, urging its lust for power and her. It had taken too long for her liking for the pup to Become. Like so many of hers, the Condor was fodder for her needs. As, now, The Grackle Lord had become.

            The murder followed her as always, forming a protective wall as she nested. Behind them came the loyal who had scattered during the storms. Talons and beaks encrusted with dried ichor, having chased down many of those who stood beside The Grackle Lord. This pleased Her Grace: nothing less for those guilty of such a treasonous act.

            Her Lavender Grace roared:

            “Quis Mecum Stat?”

            The answering cacophony of whistles, croaks, shrieks, trills, squawks, and caws satisfied her. She waited for the exulted assembly to quiet, then called out again:

            “Quis Mecum Stat?”

            The tumult was thrilling. She basked in the adulation.

            Her Lavender Grace unfurled her wings to their fullest, stifling all utterings instantly. She held them open wide, raised her head, and screeched:

            “Qui Me Vindices?”

            A rustling of feathers. A series of squabbles, wails, more than one keening.

            Uneasy heads turned around Her Lavender Grace. She drew in her wings and waited, but not for long.

            A large, shadowed shape flew slowly into view. It circled above three times before it spiraled down to land before Her Grace.  

            The Black Vulture craned its long neck, genuflection to Her Lavender Grace, then raised itself, waiting.

            Her Lavender Grace nodded and laid out vengeance.


            Vincent’s father barely registered the slamming of his office door as Ms. Smythe took leave of his presence and her job. He rose from his desk, walked over to his wet bar, opened the wall-inserted refrigerator, and pulled out a bottle of Spirtus vodka. He poured three fingers into his favorite tumbler.

            Sipping, he turned, leaning back against the carved wood bar top. Glass in his left hand, he ran his right hand along the deep-cut grooves. From top to bottom, right to left, ritualized to the point that he was unfocussed in the gestures.

            A shimmer caught his eyes, emanating from the snow globe shelving. Vincent’s mother’s idea. The only thing she truly defied him on besides how to bring up Vincent. The globes, he came to admit, were far from frivolous. Vincent’s attachment to them, to his dearly departed mama, made it easy to keep track of him.

And so, a light green rose from the farthest globe. The dormant artificial snowflakes rose and twirled, going from dying grass to Viridian. As it settled, the next took on multi-layers of Blues. Then came the Reds. There was a jump, for there was the missing globe, that damned dust swirls, with the next one in line Purples, then Browns, then Pinks, then then then then….

            the last one went black.

            “Fuck,” he said into his Glass as he took another sip, smiling.

            “About fucking time.”


            Ms. Faye Smythe.






            Vincent’s father.



            The Black Vulture.

            “Grackle Lord.”



            “I wish.”

Vincent: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

Vincent: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HERE. Comments are always welcome.

***My apologies for falling behind. This should have gone up on Wednesday. I will do W & X on Friday: one in the morning, the other later in the day. I should not have any other delays so that Y & Z, and the reflection, will all show up on time.

Vincent’s Descent

Chapter 22: Vincent

            Vincent fully accepted the Grackle Lord mantle at that moment.

            He screeched, and a half-frozen squadron of his kind jetted; a wall of blackbirds formed a six-deep phalanx between icicle missile tips and Maria. Lanced through the body, wings, and heads. Forty-two skewered for their Grackle Lord. Their blood frothed as the iced-over dead fell to the now-frozen wasteland.  

            Maria was hidden by the dead. Her throat was raw from icy hyperventilating. Crouching amidst the snow-covered roots of the tree she had collapsed on.

            The Grackle Lord squawked, and more of his half-dead murder broke free of their ice entombment. They hopped, flew low to the ground, creating a barrier, weak though it might have been, in front of Maria and her guardian tree.

            Vincent-Inside turned and squawked, this for Her Lavender Grace, who had flapped once and came at him. Her maw opened a return challenge. They met with claws and razor-sharp beaks above the fields of ice and death.

            Escalation on all fronts. The storm turned to a near-white-out blizzard as the wind screamed. Her Lavender Grace ripped into The Grackle Lord’s side, a gouge of intense pain. It countered with a beak thrust, trying to pierce its foe through the neck as it had done the Condor, but Her Grace swiveled.  

            With a greater wingspan, Her Grace backed up, thrusting talons forward. The Grackle Lord took the brunt of the blow above the side wound. It bellowed, pivoted, and flew in under Her Lavender Grace.

            It bit deep into the joint of the body and wing, darting first to the right, then the left.

            Her Lavender Grace yawped, then brought her maw down on the nape of The Grackle Lord. With every bite, a claw would rip. With every evade, a different attack would come.

The larger blackbirds came at the call of Her Lavender Grace, then for The Grackle Lord, then again. No matter the master, one by the other, swatted down, snapped at, torn apart, driven away. The two were monstrous in their struggle.

            The wailing snow blinded Maria. There were glimpses as they thrashed, at times coming directly overhead. She dove face down into the growing snow around her. She wished for something to help Vincent, but whatever had granted her the power seemed absent now.

The sound was deafening as the ground cracked.

Quiet happened, and Maria dug herself up to a kneeling position.

She tried to call out “Vincent,” but what came out was a rasp.

Her Lavender Grace pinned The Grackle Lord against her. Their eyes were locked on the other. Their bodies held gashes, patches of missing or broken feathers, and avian blood mixed in the snow, slowing down from fury to flakes. They settled to a stop, covering the terrain.

 Maria’s jaw dropped as the two disengaged, and then….

 The Grackle Lord flew and then landed behind Her Lavender Grace. It mounted Her Grace, a cloacal kiss.

The birds around them hooted, squealed, squeaked, and clucked, taking to the air in a starling swarm that blanketed the sky until the mating completed. The Grackle Lord cawed, and the pack dispersed.

Her Lavender Grace, upright, had her back to Maria. It was staring at Her Grackle Lord.

At Vincent.

At The Grackle Lord.

At Vincent, in the throes of changing from one form to the other. The feathers grew dense and blacker than before, only to recede to alabaster hide. Then again, the feathers grew back, and Vincent groaned and howled and cawed, piercing the night into the goldest of golds.

Vincent, the Grackle Lord, gleamed as he/it rose, towering over Her Lavender Grace.

With eyes lowered to the ground, Her Grace bent her neck and folded her wings tight against her side. With grace, she lifted into the sky, flew around Her Grackle Lord, her Vincent, and flew off beyond the plains and out of sight.

Shedding her artic wear, Maria moved forward, away from the trees.

“Vincent,” she was able to whisper.

“I wish,” he/it cooed.

And the world changed.

UKI-E: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

UKI-E: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HERE. Comments are always welcome.

Vincent’s Descent

Chapter 21: UKI-E

            “I wish I knew where Vincent is, but I do not,” Faye repeated as a mantra, fighting to remain composed. Her face wan, eyes bleary, the lawyer wanted to crawl into a bottle of single malt. She shook her head, looking down at her notepad filled with legalese gibberish as if the answers were there.

What could she say without finding herself locked in a BBHPC room for observation?

Oh, Vincent grew feathers, and he and his shrink flew away.


As it was, Faye had been questioned ad nauseam by hospital security. After that, the police detective. Lawyer Fayed knew how to concoct a story out of the shock of the situation. She pled the fifth without invoking it.

Vincent was more, and she knew that, but not in this reality. Her experience with him when he portalled; glorious and terrifying. Where Vincent took her, what they did, and what he did. Blood rushed to her cheeks but washed them down with the memory of what had occurred in the room. Watching him shifting in confinement, seeing Maria toss herself on him, and then…poof!

Maria. Fuck.

They could not detain her. A single text waited for her when they finished with her. Faye gathered her things. Before she left the hospital, she found her way to a visitors’ women’s room. Locking the bathroom stall, she sat and finally allowed herself to shake.

Settled, she unlocked the door, went to the sink, and splashed cold water on her face. Looking at herself in the mirror, she grimaced before fixing her face. She was summoned.

“I wish I knew where Vincent is, but I do not.”

“Ms. Smythe, that is not going to cut it. Where the hell is my son?”

Sitting across the carved oak desk at Vincent’s father, Fayed shook her head.

“How many times do I have to tell you? I. Do. Not. Know.”

“Bullshit.” He leaned closer, his hands in a tight grasp of air above his desktop. “Bullshit. You don’t have many tells, lawyer, but even you can’t control your micro-expressions.”

Faye straightened her already straightened back.

“Last time before I fire you: where is my son?”

The threat.

“Fuck you,” and then she told him. Everything.

He did not interrupt her. No nodding of understanding, no shaking his head in disbelief. His tell? Vincent’s father sat back in his chair and listened.

When she went over every last detail, Ms. Faye Smythe stood, wanting to push her chair back so it would topple. Instead, she pulled down her suit jacket, picked up her briefcase, and turned her back on Vincent’s father.

Out of the corner of her eye, Faye looked at the shelf of snow globes, the last vestiges of Vincent’s mother. A space was vacant. Dust motes swirled under the LED lights.

The door slammed in her wake.

“Vincent!” Maria screamed to him as the rain turned from freezing rain to deep, heavy snow.


Her voice, useless, drowned out. The birds. The battle, the destruction, the death of the Condor. Its body smashed those who had remained on the ground. The screams cut off. The inner circle tried to take wing but found the icy storm tucked around them, weighing them in place. Those on the outskirts of the vortex scattered as best they could.

Maria paid them no attention. She was freezing, drenched from her swim through the soupy mud. Teeth chattering, body shaking, she wished for arctic-strength clothing.

Vincent! His gaze shifted to Maria. She was dry and warm in an instant, encased in proper gear.

Then the wind howled between Her Lavender Grace and The Grackle Lord. Her Grace lumbered large, buffeted by the driving icy sleet. Her ebon wings gained a brief coat of white, sloughing off each time she shook herself. The drippings turned to icicles at her pinions. They hung with growing weight.

Her Lavender Grace’s determined eyes never left her Grackle Lord until


Neck twisting, Her Lavender Grace searched for the nuisance. To her left. She honed in on the tree line, eyesight still razor sharp. As she turned her attention back to The Grackle Lord, she thrashed her left wing, snapping the needle-like icicles off and sending them hurtling toward Maria.


Triturate: Vincent’s Descent -atoz blog challenge

Triturate: Vincent’s Descent -atoz blog challenge

**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HEREComments are always welcome.

Vincent’s Descent

Chapter 20: Triturate

Her Lavender Grace breathed in deeply, her expansive chest filling with the deathly air. The taste of blood carried on the winds, and they began to whip around with the fall of the rain. She exhaled with a squawk, a call that further stirred the murder lust around her. She reeked of power and death. The washing rain did not rinse her of cravings.

And the rain began to fall in sheets, shimmering from her wings, running down her dense hide. Pools formed around and under Her Lavender Grace. Her flocks sputtered in the growing density. The rain was brutal, beating down with a rat-tat-tat beat that only gained in speed and force. Her Lavender Grace reveled in the stinging pain that came to her from members of her horde.

Still, her gaze locked on the deadly struggle between her Condor and her Grackle Lord. She lost all interest in Maria.  

The brackish water surrounding Maria got in her eyes and mouth. Maria spit out one mouthful only to have a deluge wash over her from above. She slipped, her hands going deep into the mud. Her struggling to escape the monster’s claws took on a higher energy. The immense shape above her was ever so slowly sinking.

I wished, the thought his Maria, and she wished again. A lightning storm tore the sky open with a force that stopped all action, turning attention away from her. Maria frantically dug into the mud, the pools of water enveloping her in sloshing waves. Forcing her head above the water, Maria took deep breaths. Then down, down, and forward.

Down and forward as the skies broke in streaks of deadly white. The rainstorm blew over the light-rooted birds, trees, and bushes. It softened the land, and Maria took full advantage of this.

Vincent-Inside, momentarily startled by the fierceness of the gale, went full Birdserkr.  

The Condor had let its guard down.

The Grackle Lord’s maw clamped down onto the Condor’s left wing. It snapped it in half, dark-drenched feathers slamming the mob below. Before it could react, Vincent-Inside fed off of all the abuse he carried. Digging his nails into the midsection of the Condor, The Grackle Lord ripped it open. With a whip-shot, Vincent-Inside sent his bloodied beak through the Condor’s neck, the tip breaking through and through.

The Condor choked on its blood.

The Grackle Lord pulled away, claws still inserted in the Condor’s abdomen. Their eyes met. Vincent-Inside held on as he watched the Condor’s black eyes lose their color, their power, grinding to a dusty death pallor.

There was no shudder, no rasp. The Condor had been alive. Now, not.

The Grackle Lord retracted his talons. The Condor fell.

Turning, Vincent-Inside faced Her Lavender Grace. His jet-black eyes went to the claw where Maria had been, but there was only muddy water.

The Grackle Lord, in full fury, scattered the multitudes of lesser birds. Its feathers slicked back, wings tossed wide and beating the air, The Grackle Lord challenged.

Her Lavender Grace faced it, eyes narrowing, wings akimbo. Neck lengthening, beak glistering from the rain, she waited for the attack.

Maria had crawled out of the soupy earth inches from the prison of bone and flesh. Unnoticed, she crawled along the muddy ground, finding a semblance of shelter among the upturned roots of a giant denuded tree.

Along the way, some blackbirds saw her. Grabbing rocks, she smashed a few skulls that got too close to her. The last one that came at her avoided the rocks, scoring a bite through her sodden pants leg. Dropping the rocks in pain, Maria caught its wings and slammed the bird against the tree trunk she was leaning against. And again, until it was a stain on the bark.

Dropping the dead thing, she watched the battle. It was brutal, and her stomach churned, but she knew. And it was done.

Then Vincent turned to face Her Lavender Grace, and Maria inwardly cried, noooooo

And then said: “I wish….”

And the rain began to turn to snow.

Scratches: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

Scratches: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge

**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HERE. Comments are always welcome.

Vincent’s Descent

Chapter 19: Scratches

The Grackle Lord went for the Condor’s eyes. It cawed, flying backward and up, looping over its young attacker.

“I taught you that, idiot child.” It spat venom toward its foe.

Vincent-Inside banked to the left. The spittle landed on the flanks of the three ravens behind him. Each of them sizzled as they fell to the ground. Twelve others swooped in to attack from the rear, three more to each side.

The Condor dove, batting them all out of the sky, all hollow bones pulverized by the brutality of the strike.

“He. Is. Mine!”

Those in the air dove to the ground, the trees, and the jutting rocky landscape. They watched, trembling. The dead around them went uneaten.


The Grackle Lord took this distraction and pounced from above.

They raked each other’s flesh with claws and beaks.

Her Lavender Grace had been waiting for the attack, surprised that it had taken The Grackle Lord so long. She had plucked the sore by his side to prod him. Looking down, she noticed it was still squirming under between her talons. Good. She needed it alive.

Turning back to the dueling pair, Her Grace focused on the rendering, lapping the droplets of sprayed blood that fell her way. She licked her beak with a long pink tongue. Errant members of the frenzied flew too close. Her Grace snatched them indiscriminately out of the air, crunching them into pieces and swallowing them as the opportunity arose.

Maria continued to struggle while blood and offal fell on and around her. She had seen the Condor turn on its own, noticed Vincent soar up, and then when the screeching began, she averted her eyes. Maria contorted, trying to squirm through Her Lavender Grace’s grasp. It was too tight. The pressure on her chest grew.


            Looking up through the gap, she saw the massive eyes glance at her. Maria went still but did not avert her eyes. Taking a deep breath in, Maria held it, counting to calm herself. When she quietly exhaled, she relaxed. The pressure decreased. A chuckle-like sound sent her shivering once again. Her Lavender Grace turned away from her captive and back to the battle overhead.

            Maria looked at it as well. Tears welled up and began to fall.

            “Oh, Vincent,” she murmured, wanting to scream.

            The Condor cackled as The Grackle Lord screeched. The Condor had its claws sunk into its opponent’s legs while a beak surrounded its neck. Both sets of wings closed in on the other, and they began to drop from the sky, falling in a barrel roll.

            They crashed, crushing a multitude of birds that were not fast enough. Those that took flight circled over the pair as they continued their assault on the other.

            The Grackle Lord butted its head under the Condor’s beak, sending the larger bird back.

            Too late Vincent-Inside saw his error. The Condor leaped, beak first, and punctured the flesh under The Grackle Lord’s right eye.

It screamed.

The Condor laughed.

The Lavender Grace stood stone still.

Maria felt herself shuting down. She couldn’t think. There was nothing she could do.

“I wish,” she said.

And it began to rain.

Refractions: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge.

Refractions: Vincent’s Descent – atoz blog challenge.

**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HERE. Comments are always welcome.

Vincent’s Descent

Chapter 18: Refractions

            Vincent stared at the Condor, his lips pulled back, baring teeth.

            “I killed you.”

            The Condor’s head tilted back, a barked laugh escaping. Its neck leveled out, staring down at Vincent.

            “You killed ‘Cat-grandpa’ in your world. A vessel. Nothing more.”

            Its head tilted toward Maria.

            “You brought a snack.”

            A large crow shot out from under the Condor’s spread wings, aiming at Maria. Vincent reached out, grabbing it midflight. With one hand, he broke its neck and tossed it into the legion of blackbirds.

            They screeched and fed.

Maria stood up straighter. She realized she had had her hand wrapped around Vincent’s arm. She dropped it, staring back at the Condor.

“Fuck you.” Maria bent over, picking up a fallen branch. The first was unwieldy, the second perfectly balanced for her.

“Fuck you,” she sneered.

Again, it cackled. Paused, then hissed.

A black-winged phalanx rained down toward Maria. She swung back and forth, shattering a skull, breaking two wings. From above and the sides, they dove at her, some getting within her arc, tearing clothing, skin, pulling at her hair.

Vincent needed only his hands and teeth. He ripped bodies apart, separating wings from bodies, catching them with hands as claws. A few came close to his face. Their mistake, was as Vincent bit into their necks, spitting the heads away. Gore ran out of his mouth, along his arms. He moved around Maria as a whirlwind, deflecting the murder that Maria did not swat down.

A caw, and the attack formation flew back. The ground around Maria and Vincent was littered with the dead. Vincent kicked a one-winged assailant into the crowd. It was gone in the rending of bird flesh. Maria was panting, scratched, and dripping blood. Carrion birds lifted into the air.

“Vincent,” Maria stood by his side, nodding to the approaching figure in the sky. “Is that….?”

Flocks hopped or flew apart, creating a clearing. The Condor flapped three times, hovering over the multitude, filling the sky with wings spread.

“Regina nostra, Gratia nostra!” It bellowed.

            As one: “Gratia Nostra!”

            As one: “Gratia Nostra!”

            As one: “Gratia Nostra!”

Her Lavender Grace descended. Her size dwarfed the Condor. Talons extended, she lit on the land without a sound. Her wings were multi-layered feathers, plush, spreading along the rest of her humongous frame. Sharp eyes, sharper beak, her Grace fixated on Vincent.

Before he could react, Her Lavender Grace grabbed Maria in one of her claws. Maria’s scream cut off as it started, the pressure from the nails too great. Her Grace continued to stare at Vincent.

Vincent began to run to Maria. The Condor flexed a wing, hitting Vincent, sending him sprawling. The assemblage in front hooted and cawed. His concentration broke. Feathers began to emerge.

All eyes were on Vincent.

All eyes were on The Grackle Lord as he manifested. It raised itself, staring at Her Lavender Grace. Maria struggled in its grasp.

The Condor beat his wings three times. It flew directly in front of its once charge.

“Gratia Nostra!”

 “Gratia Nostra,” The Grackle Lord croaked out, bowing its head to Her Lavender Grace.

And then Vincent-Inside lunged at the Condor.