Category Archives: Infatuation

Radiate: Nightmares from an Unbleached Mind, AtoZ Blog Challenge

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R2020

NIGHTMARES FROM AN UNBLEACHED MIND

RADIATE

Brilliance of a shining soul
Lights the world around you.
All that dazzles deep within
Radiates out in a bright blinding
Drawing others along your path
Which is gratifying to follow
I thank all that carried me in
Discovering the magic you exhibit
Letting me to get to know
All that I've been missing

What I really want to say
In every way I've expressed it
It's true, so true, I can't deny how I feel
While taking in what is given freely back. 

My mind has rerun to death
The sorrows of my past
Thrown away so many times
Often who I am is neglected.
I'm not in this to change a thing
About the person that I'm drawn to
Judgments overpower constantly
My inner self so rejected.
Winding up hiding and alone
Afraid to step out of my shadow. 

What I really want to say
In every way I've expressed it
It's true, so true, I can't deny how I feel
While taking in what is given freely back. 

Inside and out there's beauty
Empathy soars out with grace
Charming enchantment in every move
There's nothing false or insincere
In what is done or voiced dear
Minds breaks from social locks
With every message you impart
Privately or admirers who are embraced
With open hands, mind, & heart
Accepting and lifting with so much ease.

What I really want to say
In every way I've expressed it
It's true, so true, I can't deny how I feel
While taking in what is given freely back. 
 
I'm estatic you are my friend.
I love that you're my friend.
I love you. 

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MUSICIANS, or people who know musicians, hear my call
I would love to find someone to collaborate with. Not every one of the 26 Lyrical Poems are winners, and most will need some tweaking. I would just love to hear some, or all of these, put to music.

My theme for this year’s AtoZ Blog Challenge is Nightmare from an Unbleached Soul. 26 Lyrical Poems throughout April, using the letters of the alphabet as our daily jumping off point. If you want to find blogs that match your interests, check out the Master List.

Comments are always welcome. Why you do like the work, or don’t, helps me in honing what I love to do.

Thanks for stopping by.

EPHEMERAL: Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul, the AtoZ Blog Challenge

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E2020

NIGHTMARES FROM AN UNBLEACHED SOUL

EPHEMERAL

The sky was golden
Grass was so green
A perfect wind blew through
The landscape looked painted
By Vincent Van Gogh
The flowers were pleasing,
Their colors swirled around 
A star burst inside of me
As I floated high over the ground
The ground
The ground
I floated over the ground.

She came to my side
In a sudden conquest
Arms flung around my neck
There was a kiss
We moved just an inch away
Eyed this ideal bliss in my arms
Hair color changed, same with her eyes
But the dimples remained the same
With that wondrous smile
And we floated high over the ground
The ground
The ground
We floated over the ground.

Drawing us cheek to cheek
She whispered quite clear
"What is the pain you hold?
Why deep despair?"
I bear hugged her gently
I couldn't let go as
The sky turned dark and gray
The temperature got cold
As we floated high over the ground
The ground
The ground
We floated over the ground.

Red lightning struck trees
All asunder to twigs
The wind grew in power
We started to spin
Then the rain came crashing down
We were soaked to the skin
It felt like needles and pins
It felt like we'd drown
As we floated high over the ground
The ground
The ground
We floated over the ground.

"Tell me," she pleaded
"You need to let go
All that you hold inside
That's destroying your soul."
She was right and I knew it
I whispered in her ear
What was inside of me
All that I feared
As we floated high over the ground
The ground
The ground
We floated over the ground.

Tears fell freely
Our feet touched the ground
She hugged me, then kissed
One that lingered long
A blink, she was gone
I looked; was quite alone
There wasn't a sound until
A piercing noise blared
The flowers dripped colors
That pooled at my feet
On the ground
The ground

My eyes flew open
Details faded instantly
Little remained except
A kiss, the caring
The cleansing that began
And two dimpled cheeks 
The rest just flew away
As my feet touched the floor.
Dreams can last a lifetime
Dreams can last a lifetime
Yes, they can last a lifetime
Until you awaken, roused from your sleep.

One More Day… AtoZ April Challenge

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One more day.

Follow your dream; The courage found within.

It’s been inside of me all along

All along.

Don’t give up.

Please, don’t give up.

Don’t let me down

It’s your destiny to make it to the end

Now I see the finish line

Gonna finish mine

Set the controls for the heart of the sun

One day more!

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April 1st and the Blogging from A to Z Challenge begins.

26 posts, starting with A and finishing with Z.

My theme this year:

Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul

Song Lyrics and Poetry

Something different from me to you.

Please leave a comment here in the comment section.

Click on the link for AtoZ Blog Challenge; it’s not too late to sign up.

It’s never too late to discover new blogs on a variety of subjects.

I hope you enjoy what’s to come.

Me?

I’m a bit on the terrified side.

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Copyright info for the song lyrics that make up the top “poem.”

  1. Don’t Give Up lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management
  2. Strength Courage & Wisdom lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc
  3. Follow Your Dream lyrics © Star Songs Inc.
  4. One Day More lyrics © Alain Boublil Music Ltd., Alain Boublil Music Ltd, Wb Music Corp Obo Alain Boublil Music Ltd.
  5. Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun (25th September 1967 “Top Gear”) lyrics © T.R.O. Inc.
  6. Don’t Let Me Down lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
  7. Finish Line / Drown lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Balanced Three Layer Dip

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Balanced Three Layer Dip

Throughout the Mindfulness Workshop, Jenn and Eli connected. They hadn’t known each other before. They had entered at different times, took up different spaces, hadn’t exchanged even a mumbled hello. Yet, sitting diagonally across from each other atop creaky wooden chairs, they connected. One would smile as eyes connected. The other would smile back. The volley continued, intermittently, as they were working on being Mindful of the group leader of the Mindfulness Workshop.

The room filled with their connection nonetheless.

The session was interactive in conversation and small group projects. They joined in readily, paying close attention to what the other offered, laughed at the humor both exhibited. Some banter was tossed about. Eli was the cause of some group laughter, but his ears focused on Jenn’s. She’d fit in a wry quip or three. Their attention was focused.  When the physical projects had them get up and move around, they flitted around each other, trying to “play it cool” but failing. When it was time to return to their seats, they were the last to sit.

Mindfulness continued to buzz around the group. They continued to smile for each other.

The workshop ran seven minutes over time. Eli kept checking his cell phone for the time. Jenn had a full view of the wall clock that was behind where Eli was sitting. Her right leg and knee were jumping while her attention was on the final words from the group leader.

“Thank you for coming, and…” and Jenn made a beeline to Eli. He met her halfway. The others were milling about, exchanging phone numbers, giving hugs and kisses. Jenn and Eli were stuck in the middle with each other.

“Hi, I’m…,” he began.

“Eli. I know. When you introduced yourself to our opening circle, I thought, what a beautiful name. I’m Jenn.” She was truthful to a point: Eli’s name did strike her. It was his eyes, though, that caught her. When he looked her way, the twinkles in them was a spotlight only for her. Jenn felt her cheeks grow warm. She put her hand out for him to hold shake.

The smile on Eli’s face grew Cinematic wide. He reached out and took her hand. It was the briefest of moments, but he had to remind himself to shake it and let go.

“Thank you, Jenn. Jennifer?”

“Jenn. Two N’s. Jennifer is reserved for my parents. And formal me. My friends use all the different ways you can break down my name. The closest of those, though, always call me Jenny.” She wanted to hear his basso tonality say that, to slide over the two syllables.

“Jenn, with two N’s, it is.” Eli coughed slightly, then continued. “I enjoyed your part of the introduction’s sharing. It takes a lot of strength to take such a huge risk. Walking away from a well-paying job to create something that is 100% you? I admire that.”

“Thank you, Eli. It has been a passion of mine for a long time. Easy peasy.”

“It came across. Mindfulness becomes you.” Mentally, Eli was kicking himself for that cheesy line. His stomach began to clench.

Jenn chuckled.

Eli unwound the second she began to laugh and was utterly relaxed again when she smiled. He silently thanked his daughter for pushing him out of the house toward this workshop. To him, mindfulness was the new buzzword, jargon that usually left him cold. Hearing “Let’s unpack…” or any use of the word scaffolding rankled him through his spine.

Yet, even beyond Jenn, he found connections with the content espoused in the past ninety-seven minutes. Yes, he was glad he attended, on several levels. Reluctantly at first: his daughter brought her A-Game “Dhaaaaad” to Sunday dinner. She used it with precision, honing it throughout her teenage years. At twenty-eight, the tool was sharp.

In her words, Eli was: too isolated; too in his head; too withdrawn from friends; too much living in the past. Too “too!” Eli filled in the one part she wouldn’t say out loud: too much into her daily life.

So. Here. Jenn.

Something she said filtered through the inside jumble of thought. “Easy Peasy. I haven’t heard that in a while.”

Jenn shrugged. “Just a thing I got from my grandma and mom. I took it on. Easy…you know.” Caught in the small talk loop she needed to stop before it drove all of this away, Jenn asked: “I know it is not an everyday saying. How did you hear it, if you don’t mind my asking?”

Eli paused a mulling over moment. “uh…a friend I met in college. Used to say it all the time, especially when she met anything tough in her way. She “easy peasyied” her way through the four years, and beyond that.” There was a seriousness in the lessening of his twinkles.

“Still in touch?” Jenn fretted aloud; her smile perma-fixed in place.

A different pregnant pause, another “too” that his daughter brought up too many times. He hoped it was too brief to make it a thing for Jenn.

“No. Not for a while now.”

Jenn did notice, but she carried on. Into her memory book, she jotted “Button” to return to another time if there was another time.

Eli chatted around this bump, discussing the meeting, asking her take on things, how it impacted her life, her new venture. The conversation continued as they joined in folding and stacking the chairs away. Each of them was approached, separately, by the few people still in the room, connecting without really being mindful of the connection they briefly interrupted.

They found each other and left the room, walking down the hallway, then stairway to the parking lot. She discussed her ideals. He listened, showing deep attentiveness by his answers, additions, and the connections it made with his thoughts and life. She did the same.

The conversation, for Eli, was Easy Peasy. That put any dissipated glint firmly back in both eyes. Yet, they were at her car, and the parking lot lights were shutting off.

Jenn said: “It was so wonderful meeting you.” She thought fast, so that didn’t come off as a brush off line like it usually was used. “Eli, I was planning to head over to the dinner. Normally, I jot down my thoughts after workshops like this. Would you join me for coffee/tea?”

She beat him to the punch, and that warmed him.

Eli shook his head yes.

“I’d love to, Jenny.”

 

 

 

 

 

Lists

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LISTS

 

 

Lisa wrote a list for everything. A shopping list. A checklist when taking the car in for check-ups. Activities for the children, then the grandchildren, lists upon lists. There was a list for work. A list for after work. The weekly cleaning list. The weekend chore list. List after list after list: all in neat, justified left block letters. Never script, where confusions lay. Lisa had a ream of repeating lists, with the rare altercation of an addition or subtraction. She worked hard for that not to happen too often. That way leaves a door open for unnecessary anxiety.

There was one list that Lisa never put down in writing. She refused to believe that there was a need for such a list. She had scratched that off her previous life list, in indelible ink, and had no intention of finding a way to remove the blot of her life. Things moved along as they did, and Lisa’s life was list approved. She was happy, checking off everything that needed to be checked off.

Then HE crossed the line. Lisa dreaded that there was an intrusion in her life list and denied including it on any list. He was persistent in his attention, admiring her work, posting comments on her blog, praising the subtleties of her stories, the intricate character nuances that brought them to life. Lisa was flattered by the attention, but still. She was taken in by the way he constructed his stories and characters. He wrote in genres she would never have written herself, yet they drew her in so that she was breathing the same air his dramatis personae did.

They lived hours away from each other. He calculated it once, after she gave in to his questing, that they lived  214.7 miles apart. Lisa relaxed. He remained off of her list. Her main list. Well, maybe he was an asterisk to the bottom at first. The asterisk s l o w l y moved up the side of one checklist, then another, intruding in places Lisa had had no intentions for intrusions to begin, or stay. Or to leave her in pondering mini-panic.

Their commentaries took a total of nine weeks and four days to move to personal emails. A month later, they began texting. One and a half weeks and their voices met in a two-hour-plus phone conversation. Which grew in spurts, various lengths of time talking, while still commenting on each other’s new postings. The daily texts just happened. If she had listed all of this, the trajectory of it all, the magnitude, would have had her not only blot out each entry but she would have shredded the list, torn the paper to bits, and then thrown the bits into the roaring firepit at her son’s place.

Lisa astounded herself when she heard the word “Yes” leave her lips when he asked if they could meet. In-person. Face to face. A day out from behind the sterile safety of their 214.7 miles. When the plans were concrete, place, day, and time set, Lisa allowed a bubbling list to grow inside of her. They were going to get together the following Saturday. Six days. High noon, he insisted. She loved that movie. She was in.

For the almost full week, Lisa ran 12 pros and cons lists, eight of them written, the others worked in her head as she drove back and forth to her part-time job. The pros beat the cons one drive to, whereas the cons vastly outweighed the pros on the way home. She prepped, changed decisions about things she had firmly decided on, and clogged her wastebasket with itsy bitsy scraps of lists.

Saturday arrived. She was determined to go through with meeting him. Lisa was listless as she drove to the place they decided to meet at an offbeat museum with a decidedly macabre collection and history. Her choice, his ready acceptance, was near the top of her Pro lists every time.

She pulled into the lot, parked the car, and sat to breathe. She pulled out the mini-list she had made that morning and checked the few points off. Unbuckling her shoulder seat belt was the next to last item.

Lisa looked out her car window, toward the front of the museum. He was standing there, bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet. She took a deep breath in, held it, let it out slowly, and then opened the car door and got out. He waved and smiled. She returned both, checking off the last thing on that meeting list as she walked over to join him.

Isabella’s

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Isabella’s

The crowd reached out into the hallway, overflow from Isabella’s apartment. Her metallic blue door was wide open, but the mass of flesh in front of it acted as a barrier.  She hadn’t told me that a party was going on. This was Isabella.

Parties happened.

Greeted by those who knew me, I inched my way through the dancing, drinking, shrieking mob. Drugs of different potencies passed around me. I turned down all of the offers.

A hand on my butt squeezed it and then slapped the vacant cheek; that forced me to plow through a bit faster. I wasn’t in the mood for playing grab-ass. This was a tight groper’s paradise, no matter the orientation. I was here for Isabella.

The closest door of the foyer was open, bursting with a mish-mash of outerwear. It took some time but I breached the congestion into the kitchen. Grabbing a cold beer, I popped the top and made my way past the island and folding table against the wall. Jostling and hugging stalled my way to the living room. Finally, at the entranceway, I caught my first sight of Isabella for the evening.

She was dancing and shaking about on top of her couch. She was topless, but her long curly red hair gyrated to the beats throbbing throughout the apartment; they covered her breasts until a sweep of her head floated her hair around her. With so many people in between us, dancing, twirling, jumping, entwining each other, I couldn’t tell if Isabella had wholly stripped down. It was too early for that, but…Isabella.

As I made my way to the couch, I caught glimpses of her black mini-skirt and patterned knee-high stockings. Smiling, there was a moment where I wasn’t sure which part exuded Isabella’s sexiness and sensuality more: top or bottom. That thought was quickly tossed aside. Fully clothed or not, Isabella was.

She caught me watching her. A feral grin broke across her face. I finished my beer, turning to toss it towards the kitchen. Someone would pick it up. Or not. Clean up happened when it did.

I began to turn back to Isabella but found myself tackled to the floor. Others went down around me, a domino effect, leaving the partiers tangled and laughing. A body was on top of me, palms resting on my face.

“Hey, you,” Isabella said, brushing her lips against mine. My mouth was deeply engaged with lip nips and kissing. She began to tongue wrestle with me.

Isabella won, as always. Our lips parted.

“Hey, you!” I booped her nose. Isabella pushed my hands down to my sides. She pinned my arms with her thighs and knees, sitting up, on top of me. Around us, the floored partiers unjumbled themselves, got up, and returned their bodies to the music. If anyone noticed us still splat down, I was equally unaware.

Isabella locked eyes on me. Her features softened as she dragged her tongue across her lips. The desire for another kiss drew my chest up. Isabella’s palms were on my chest, forcing me back down.

“Nuh, uh,” was whispered. Her eyes closed as her face went from neutral to somewhere else. A slow rocking turned notch by notch, climbing up as Isabella undulated, dancing in place as she held me still.

I lost count, and awareness, of the many songs that morphed around us. Sweat from her forehead dripped down her nose, springing free, to land on my face. A splatter in my eyes stung. I could have turned my head physically. That was not going to happen.

Isabella’s lips had been tight, breathing flaring her nostrils in and out. Her mouth grew taut and then parted open. A smile returned to her face as she opened her eyes, her body shaking. The pressure pinning my arms lessened. Isabella moved them as her body stretched out, lying prone on top of me. Her hair splayed over my face and chest, her face nestled in the space between my neck and shoulder.

She fell into a steady breathing pattern. The rise and fall of her chest against mine was even. I knew she was asleep, even as she cuddled entirely into me.

My arms and hands were asleep — pins and needles pain that needed unkinking. I reached around, brushing some of her hair off of my face. I wrapped my arms around Isabella before the sensations entirely died away. Turning my head, I kissed her cheek, closing my eyes as I hugged her that much tighter.

The party continued around us.

This was Isabella.

Parties happened.

Grassy Fields

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Grassy Field

There are sixteen words for love. Showing love is limitless. How either is perceived, the depth that it touches or bounces away, can change, depending.
 
Depending on the moment, the time of the day, or the year. Depending on the weather that has moved on or that envelops you in the now. Depending if it was heartfelt or only going through the motions. Depending if it was a complete and utter lie. It all depends.
 
She sits on fallen red and burnt orange leaves, leaning against the trunk of the tree, staring out across the open dale. Before her the grass bends to the right. The same breeze sends tendrils of her long brown hair in the same direction. Strands wrap themselves across her cheeks and nose. It is a soft reminder that she needs a trim, letting things go.
 
The hunter green fisherman’s sweater is large on her. It falls below her waist and over her hands. She is happy she chose this to wear today; cocooning herself inside, the tight cable knit blocking out most of the chill. She pulls the collar up and over her nose, the smell of last night’s first fireplace usage buried deep in the skein.
 
Another gust and her hair is flung over, and into, her eyes. Both hands pop out of her sleeve cover to secure the hair, forming a loose braid. She knows it won’t hold.
 
Maybe I shouldn’t have come here today,” she says to the field. ‘Maybe this wasn’t the best idea I’ve had.” She waits, still against the tree trunk. “No answer, huh?”
 
A short burst of chilled air hits her in the side of the face, sending her head back, bumping into the bark behind her. She laughs, touching the spot that she is sure will produce a small bump. She tilts her head back, her eyes moving away from the green to the blue.
 
The sparsely clouded sky has shifted in density and speed. White masses move past, some forming into larger floating islands. Off in the near distance a few of these are growing dark. The wind is picking up.
 
The tree sheds more leaves. As they drift down and around, she notices a bright red one tumbling down towards her. She watches its approach. It sways and circles, finally placing itself on the upper part of her face, covering her eyes.
 
Picking up the stem, she runs the opposite index finger over the edge of the leaf. A piece flecks off. Brittle. She twirls the stem, the red shape going in and out of focus. Her movements, at first, are soft and slow, an imitation of the leaf’s descent. She increases the force, now sharp and jagged. Finally, encircling the leaf in her hand, she closed it into a fist. Crushed, tiny red flakes get brushed off her hand as she stands.
 
She walks away from the tree to stand at the edge of the grassy field. She reminds herself why she came here, why she came on this particular day.
 
There are sixteen words for love. She thought she had said them all.
 
She thought she had shown love in a myriad of ways.
 
She thought it all depended on how it was received.
 
She walks back to her car, burrowed deep into the cable knit fisherman’s sweater.

She Saw Angel Wings

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She Saw Angel Wings

Rebecca asked for realism, but got magic instead.

The sharp, stinging burn faded with the constant vibrations. Her eyes closed as the artist’s tool slid the needle in and out at a rapid-fire pace. She wanted to count in the beginning as a means of focus, but that Rebecca got to two and no further. It was her first tattoo; she had put it off long enough, way after everyone she knew were walking canvases. Nothing spoke to Rebecca, nothing said “Yes, this!”, until her soul touched her arm.

Rebecca came across the hibernating Polygona while exploring the abandoned Willes house that previous winter. She and Dale had been traveling, searching through dilapidated, seemingly forgotten structures that were left standing, or, in the case of the Willes’ house, partially leaning. They were trespassing and had enough run-ins with various law agencies to know it, but the thrill of their journey blew those concerns away. They were accruing dying testimonies of what was before the rate of erosion took it all away.

That, or the many developers who only saw money in the land.

Dale had remained below on the first floor, busy taking photos with her new Nikon Z6. Rebecca was glad she had splurged on this for Dale’s 25th. The light inside that she had fallen in love with had begun to dim over the last year, that one infidelity one too many; but this object, this thing, seemed to bring it back, sharper, keener, and much more focused.

“Becki, be careful,” lay behind her as she stalked up the slanted stairway to the second floor. Rebecca clutched her sketch pad in her left hand as she white-knuckled the stair railing with her right. Safe on the landing, she released a “yeah, yeah,” white puffs in the chill air as she walked down the hallway, three doors partly ajar, beckoning.

The ceiling molding in the second bedroom was intricate. Rebecca sat in front of the smeared window, having rubbed away enough grime to allow more sunlight into the room. She got lost duplicating the patterns, time passing as the sun moved along its path, erasing when the moving shadows changed her perspective.

Part of the ceiling had caved in, revealing part of the structure between this room and the attic. Something was there that was not wood, wallpaper, or flaking glue. Rebecca pushed her glasses up her nose with her forefinger, a smile etched on her face from Dale’s teasing of the same constant gesture. She stood and reached out with her Palomino Blackwing, reversed so the point would not break. The light wasn’t really with her.

Rebecca took out her cell and activated the flashlight. She hadn’t realized that she had made a noise until Dale came rushing into the room asking what the matter was, she had heard her gasp from below.

“Look, Dale. Angelwings!”

“What? Oh, yeah, your dad.”

“He loved butterflies.”

“Is it dead?,” she asked.

“Hibernating. They hibernate, rare in a house, but… well, there! Hold this, please.”

Rebecca gave her cell, flashlight still lit, to Dale, repositioning her arm every time she put her pencil to paper, seeing the butterfly in a new angle. A few sighs and disgruntled “Becki, C’mon” comments didn’t halt the five pages of full and partial sketches that followed.

The last exasperated puff of air over her shoulder brought Rebecca back. The pencils went back into their case and into her backpack, the sketchbook following. She took the phone from Dale, leaving the flashlight on as she realized they were now in a very dark room. Dale leaned in for a kiss and got a perfunctory one in return: movement from slightly above had recaptured Rebecca’s attention.

Wings fluttered, a slow heartbeat of one, then another. She was transfixed, staring, knowing she did not touch it, knowing it shouldn’t be awake, but Rebecca held her breath as the Angelwing took wobblily flight. It was coming towards the light in her hand, attracted like a moth, but gliding through the dust mote air.

The butterfly landed on her left arm. Rebecca couldn’t move; the butterfly didn’t. The wings were translucent, and even though she knew the coloring was wrong, this one was summer greens on her arm. Dale took a few steps back and snapped a series of shots from any angle possible as Rebecca, and her Anglewing tagged each other into statues.

A beep from the cell, battery dying, and the mood broke. Rebecca’s startled movement sent the Angelwing flying. She watched as it flew up to the crevice between the floors and disappeared. They left the house soon after: there was no safe way to get to the attic. Dale had to take Rebecca’s hand and lead her out.

They drifted apart as well, months later, spring just knocking away the frigid weather that followed. Rebecca looked for butterflies everywhere, in reality, and through her imagination. Sheer fabric became wings; cotton balls became cocoons. Clouds, mist, steam out of the kettle. All this took Dale away and into the arms of another; Rebecca saw it happen and did nothing to prevent it.

Rebecca’s obsession with butterflies overtook her. She researched mythologies, folktales, symbolism. She drew and painted and sculpted butterflies. It wasn’t enough. She reconnected with her father. He went with her on her search the following winter for the Willes house, but it had fallen sometime during that year, a mass of timber and broken glass left behind, a sign in front that stated the property was sold for development. No butterfly. No Angelwings. Not in that spot. Not in that new winter.

The following summer found Rebecca hosting a booth of her art at the state Renaissance Faire. Business was good, and she had many offers of commissions, for her art as well as her time. She was gracious with both, but her eyes searched along the fields that weren’t trampled upon for something else. They were there, flying around, hiding, resting, being chased by children, barked at by dogs, hunted by the birds.

Two booths away were the beginning of Tattoo Alley. Rebecca had been admiring the art that went on there in most of the tents, not all. One, in particular, caught her eye every time she would take her break and walk the grounds. This artist specialized in things in flight, realistic depictions as well as abstract. The presentation of a summer-long project on one of the Faire’s workers back-an angel in flight-drew massive applause from all and the full attention of Rebecca.

Bringing her sketchbooks over while there was that end of the summer lull, Rebecca and Cynthia poured over the images and discussed what could, and should (in Cynthia’s critical eye) be done: a full sleeve, left arm, from wrist to shoulder. A weaving of butterflies in flight and at rest, with the centerpiece being the Polygona, in shades of green.

It took the next month of scheduling, sketches, arguing, fussing, and agreements before Rebecca took the chair and Cynthia began her art. The sleeve was complete by the first frosts of Autumn; Rebecca made sleeveless tops her main go to, only covering up her arms when frostbite threatened (or so related Cynthia to their friends).

“They are hibernating,” she would tell others when she was covered up, keeping her arm as still as can be.  As soon as the temperature inside, or the weather outdoors, allowed, they were set free. Rebecca felt free, even when Cynthia held her.

She had asked for realism, but found magic instead.

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Author’s Note:

This was inspired by the photo at the head of this piece. I met this young woman at a dance performance and was taken by the artistry of the tattoo. The photo does not do it justice.

Before anyone gets on my case: I politely asked if I may take a photo of her arm, told her why I was doing so, and what I intended to do with it. She gave me her permission. I also showed her the photo so she could be assured that it centered on the art and nothing salicious. While we exchanged names, the names in this story are not hers, nor anything else beyond the tat.

The germ of a very different idea hit me when I viewed it. Where the story went, well, this is where it took me.

I’m glad I went this way. I hope, if she views this (gave her my card), she’s happy with it as well.

Withering Heights

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WITHERING HEIGHTS

The dawn broke in a ribbon of grays and burnt reds as Cathy stood upon the cliff, her gaze fixed on the distance, obscured by the haze of the morning refractive light. She pulled her off-white shawl tight over her shoulders, then cinched her leather tooled belt to the gasping point in an attempt to ward off the chill of the lingering night air. A shiver ran through her chest, startling her eyes to a downward glance, her teeth ground tight to prevent their chattering. A sob tried to escape, but, firmly lodged, it choked her to silence.

“It’s me. Cathy,” she whispered, near inaudible.

Far below, the sea foamed, crashing up and against the abstract of rocks jutting out of the waters. Cathy found herself taking a step back, then another. Wind whipped up with force, hitting her so that her hair became unbound, freed as if from a practiced hand. Her auburn strands danced out, up, and around, swaddling her freckled face, her eyesight obscured.

Wind and hair subsided as fast as it had thrashed up. She let her tresses lay where they fell, clenching her shawl even tighter in her too white fingers. Cathy allowed free passage of the wetness flowing down, past her nose, cheeks, and chin. Her right hand wanted to wipe them away, but it remained where it was in the folds of the once warm fabric.  She knew she was not now alone on the crags.

He was behind her. She felt he always was.

“Cathy.”

Her name drifted over the mist that surrounded her, syllables riding between the dew drops in the moving air.

“Cathy.”

Her fleshed crawled with hundreds of raised bumps, ones never derived from any goose that shat upon God’s green pastures.

“Cathy,” and her heart skipped a beat, and then another. Her eyes closed against her will, lips parting, a web of saliva breaking as the distance grew. “Cathy,” and the voice implored her, begged, rose to a controlling pitch.

“Cathy. Call me. Say my name.”

She mouthed his name without a sound.

“Please,” seeped at her back, closer than it had ever been before. “Call my name.”

Cathy tried, but, in shaking, breathless, she did as he asked.

“Cthulhu.”

“Again,” he cajoled.

“Cthulhu!”; wrung out with tears.

“Now, Cathy, Now!”

Her voice cracked, merged with the violence of the waves from below and the returned force of the winds:

“Cthulhu!

Cthulhu!

Cthulhu!”;

And she fell onto the damp moss that had lied about her feet. It cradled her body, her clothing absorbing the moisture, her shawl laden with a mixture of this water from the morn and her streaming teary emissions.

Cathy locked her arms around herself, deep within the folds of her wear. Her knees drew themselves inwards, her chin burrowed into her chest, and the reddish hue of her hair hid her face, creating a darknet around her white, white skin.

A tentacled appendage glided gently under her still form, followed by another as the first gained a secure hold. Then another, and still another, until Cthulhu’s embrace cocooned Cathy. Lifting her into the air, Cthulhu’s face burrowed into her hair. He drew his arms around her, then.

Cathy smelled the salty brine of him. Licking her lips, her tongue swirled the sea waters from below that mixed with the tang of other dimensions, repellant and inviting.
She drew them in, letting this fill her throat in a trickle of infusion.

“It is time, Cathy,” Cthulhu purred. It was what she had come here, on this cliff, on this jagged height, to hear. She gave herself over, open to the void Cthulhu offered, his expanse, his otherness.

“Come,” he said.

“Yes,” she answered. “Yes.”

The waves crashed against, and consumed, the empty precipice.
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Author’s Note:

A prompt was given at one of the writing groups I attend. In the space of 45 minutes:

“Write a story where you place a fictional character in the WRONG story.”

So, Withering Heights. Who is in the wrong story, or, is this the right story for the wrong reasons?

Obviously, well, to me, anyway, I drew on several literary reference points, as well as one literary musical place, for inspiration.  Care to break them down in the comments section?

Hope you enjoyed. BTW: this is my very first attempt at Gothic Romance/Horror. Yes? No? Maybe so? Let me know.

 

Todd, Summoning

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ChairandChisel

©ChairandChisel

TODD, SUMMONING

Elwina, blood cousin, thrice removed, of the albino prince of the Dragon Isle, grasped Hellbringer, the Demon Sword, in her ebon armored right hand. The armor gleamed, polished and pristine. Eldritch black sparks cascaded down her left arm, fist raised on high.

High being optimum, standing at just over seven feet. With those heels? Ahem.  I had to stretch my neck back to see if another weapon was being equally grasped. Nope. Just her fist, which was formidable enough as is.

I had done the Sacred Dance of Interpretation, sacrificed the Two Glazed Legs of a Chicken (they were yum), and dropped a drop of Ceremony Wine into the Silver Chalice of The Dead God. Poof! She appeared. Angry, but she was here.

I had summoned here in the dungeon cell of my place of habitat. Twenty foot ceiling, plenty of light pouring through the barred high windows, and wall to wall Enchanted Weeping Stone. The black shag carpet was a nice touch; mother did well in that respect.

Elwina stamped a mighty thump on the carpeting, which wasn’t the effect I think she was going for. It was followed, though, with a booming, echoing voice, amplified by the curly-cue helmet she wore.

“Todd, Master of the Flickering Candle, Supreme Master of the D20, Devourer of Smoked Meats, Keeper of the Chilling Collectables, and Scion of Queen Yen-Tah,” she paused, whether for a breath or effect, then continued, “Why have YOU summoned me hence?”

“Um,” I stalled, bowing as far over as my cinched pants would allow. “Um, my lady, I do not think “hence” means what you think it means.” I unbowed. “You see, hence means…”

Her left sparkly hand was suddenly in front of my face, mere inches from my nose. As the tip of proboscis began to emit the aroma of a summer BBQ, I knew enough at that moment to not let the “Ouch!” leave my lips.

Bits of stone, from the walls, shattered, dropping onto the shag with her next words.

“Am I here to amuse you, Todd? Do you think I am a Jester?” Her already red eyes, glaring at me through her armored head, were ablaze. “Do I make you laugh?”

I felt my mustache and eyebrows singe.

“Chaos forbid, O’  twelfth Princess of The Dreaming City. Farthest thing from my mind. Please forgive my, um, basest of conjectures.” Bowing again, not as deep as before, because I wanted to keep an eye on Hellbringer, I added: “I am but discarded foliage adrift in a hailstorm.”

I waited, hoping I had abased myself just enough.

Elwina lowered her twinkling fist, at the same time slamming her demon sword into its scabbard. Not too gently, she pushed me back enough that I almost lost my footing. A few feet separated us now.

“Well?” The word bounced around the room. Thunder was in her voice. Very, very frightening.

“Methought, m’lady, um, you might behoove a simple, tiny request. A wish.”

She stood stock still and silent. I took that as a good sign. That, and Hellbringer was still sheathed.

“Tonight marks the beginning of the Centennial Celebration of the War That Should Never Have Been. The Dowagers of the WTSNHB have prepared for this eve for the last decade. Everyone who is anyone in Evermore will be there.”

“So?” Her hand went ever so quietly to the hilt of her damned sword.

I mumbled incoherently. My heart was in my throat.

She took off her helmet and through it at me. My shoulder throbbed. Better than it hitting me square in the face.

“My gods, are you a man or a slithy tove? State you wish. Now! What did you summon me here for, Todd?”

I was still rubbing my shoulder.

“Yeah, um, well…It’s a big night. An event. Happens only once a century.” Her eyes narrowed, a deep depression formed between her at the bridge of her nose. She swept a lock of her red hair out of her face, having fallen with the tossing of her helmet.

She stared.

I bowed.

“Um, Lady Elwin, would you do me the honor of accompanying me to this most illustrious ball?”

The silence that followed felt as if another century had passed before she spoke again.

“Are you, Todd, asking me on a date?”

I stood, looked up into her eyes, and nodded.

“About frigging time! Why do you think I spent the time polishing my best armor?”

Once outside, passing by my mother and assuring her I would be back at the appointed time, Elwina drew Hellbringer and commanded it transform itself into a Coach and Four.

We arrived at the ball fashionably late.

I did not make it home until a week later, but that is a tale best told at another time.