Category Archives: Night

One Two 300

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The number 300,

Where did it come from, you ask?

Come sit, dear child.

I will do my best

To describe 300

It’ll put your mind at rest.

Once upon a time, One became known

To all across the world

Yet no One knew then

That One had a twin; of sorts

One was delighted

Thinking that “!” was by One’s side

Yet a rude awakening quickly followed,

That Exclamation Point always trailed behind.

One drifted along,

A fraction of fear, for

One wanted an addition

Of this, it was clear,

Alone One felt relatively null.

A need to multiply, One felt,

Was its right summation

Was One the final destination?

UNTIL

One terrible shaking shook the world

So unexpected and irrational

When the shuddering settled

One felt naturally at ease

Not knowing the quiet

Was but a tease.

Yet One was but a start,

Another One came calling,

Abstract and complex

People were swept off their feet

Heads all awhirl, 

Some stomachs, too, truth to tell.

Trees fell, waves rose up in the air

Then all was quiet on the front

Staying right and stable.

‘One happened, then once again?’

Questioning arose

One following another One did not compute.

A wise woman named Venn asked

“We should all come together,

A gathering circle.”

They joined as a group

They overlapped in a fury

Theories were thrown about,

Until One shouted, “Eureka!”

Twa claimed its name.

Ideas and events added more to the mix

Tres followed Twa

Then came the rest.

One hundred came,

Followed by Twa hundred in a row.

Last year it was 299,

Then we added One,

And 300 was born.

So, dear child,

300 is here! This equation is solved.”

“But Grandpa,” she said,

Rubbing her eyes,

“Why will next year

Be 300 and One?”

Singing Songs of Joy and Peace

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Singing Songs of Joy and Peace*

 

 

We know what strict is

In the counts of the missing

The missing found

Splatters of their former selves

Shatters of what memories we had

Pushing away the viewpoints of before

It has to be forgotten

Or drag us into the mud

Meaningful deaths, but not now

They graphically get pushed away.

 

The clarity of the season was here

Wintery chills drifting along open skin

Particles inappreciable in white shells

Ingesting the soot of the days and nights

The wet becomes us

Slogging through the cold

We’re nothing but walking icicles

Degradation in our feet

 

Mornings must start with songs of Joy

From barracks to fields

To lift any spirit that could be raised

Through enforced blockage of what’s to come

Songs of Peace enforced taking Joys place

Blaring out, amplified unjust

Home is dancing in the street

Yet no dance here; our patterns are strict,

As long as this weather held.

 

Mercurial temperaments of nature

Have no sense of staying put

Wished away, ignoring petty whines

Pleading prayers always unheard

Chilled or sweltering

We melted or froze

In the fullness of time,

The weather changed.

 

Of the frozen deaths

We revoked our hearts

Set to extra toils

Making up for the dead

Of our sweat drenched backs

We camouflaged our hearts

What was left of them, numb or dead.

 

As long as this weather holds

“This” becomes mythical

While we wait; We wait

Continuing to give up lives

Joining the unremembered in their weather passage.

The egregious screws are welded holdfast

As we sing songs of Joy and Peace

Nevertheless the vagaries of weather;

Nonetheless what clasps us to those songs.

 

March on.

Opposite actions enforced.

Strictly.

 

March on.

~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~

Author’s Note:

“Songs of joy and peace” come from Joni Mitchel’s beautiful song, River. I had listened to it only minutes before when I shut off my music app and tuned into that night’s writing group, River River Writer’s Circle. The prompt was “When the weather changes.” The above happened, was shared, and got the suggestion: “Think about expanding this out” (well, “stretching it out”). So, I let it sit, came back to it, and the above is the result.

Thank you, Ms. Mitchel. A sad, but integral song for many.  What I wrote is no reflection on her song. The fourth line of the first stanza stayed with me.

The opening stanza from Joni Mitchel’s River is: 

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Songwriters: Mitchell Joni
River lyrics © Sony Atv Music Publishing France, Joni Mitchell Publishing Corp, Sony/atv Tunes Llc Obo Joni Mitchell Publishing Corp., Wb Music Corp Obo Jam N Bread Music

 

EDIT: Boy, am I dense!

Joni Mitchel’s River

RiverRiver Writer’s Circle. 

I just realized it. Not planned at all. Doh! Oy! :::palmface:::

 

 

 

When I Was A Child

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WHEN I WAS A CHILD

©Stuart Nager/Chris Carbone

Lyrics: Stuart Nager
Music: Chris Carbone/Stuart Nager
Grinn Singers: Kerrigan Webb Sullivan
Melissa Jones
Chris Carbone
Stuart Nager

When I was a child
Things were just so wild
It was you and me
We were really free
Always on the run
Always having fun
When I was a child

I remember things so clearly
Growing up as I did
My friends and I played daily
At nighttime, we hid

Our minds went exploring
With every book we read
The page/s were like lightning
Imaginations, fully fed

When I was a child
Things were just so wild
It was you and me
We were really free
Always on the run
Always having fun
When I was a child

And in our dreams we’d tumble
Exploring new-found shores
Filling our nights with treasure
By opening up new doors

When I look upon it now
A smile will find my face
I’ll never be alone
Memories, a saving grace

When I was a child
Things were just so wild
It was you and me
We were really free
Always on the run
Always having fun
When I was a child

It was you and me
We were really free
When I was a child

**************   *****************  *************

Author’s Note:

In the winter of December 1997/January 1998, we had plenty of Improv song structures/skeletons. Any show we performed one of them at, the lyrics happened on the spot. It was fun, scary, risky, challenging, and FUN. The Brothers Grinn (and Sisters) went into a studio and recorded our one and only cassette. Yes. Cassette. At the time, CDs were new and three times the price. So, Cassettes.

When I Was A Child is the only song on that cassette that was never sung in a show. I wrote it, had the basic melody in my head, and I asked Chris (Music Director and close friend) to help translate my humming/mumbling into music that made sense. Most, if not all, of the Grinns liked the song. Recording was a drag, but the final product was worth the effort. 

The Brothers Grinn©, an Interactive Improvisational Storytelling Troupe, lasted from October 1994 to December 2006.

The lyrics above have gone unsung since. That is a shame. 

Music is eternal.

I hope you enjoy this

HELEDAVAR WAS MIFFED

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Heledavar dropped off the branch, landing feet first on the moss. She’d had an uneventful night in the tree, no visit from the Mlkh of the Beautiful NightMare. It was not the first time Heledavar was left with a barren sleep. She was miffed, ready to take it out on her brother, Haladavar, Wood Elf style. Heledavar reached up, grabbed a low hanging branch, and pulled. It tore off the tree, no more effort than to step on a cadaverous bug.  Heledavar thought a prayer to the tree.

It was a Tarn’s bottom to be the only femwaif in a family of Tree Elf glutoffs.

She took to dashing behind and between trees, hoping that Hal was still was captive in the dream world. She reached his spot and stopped.  Heledavar’s miffed turned quickly into peeved. Instead of her brother laid out on his favorite bed of rubble stones, Hal left a “note” on the center stone.  It was spelled out with smaller rocks: “gone adven bi. “ An adventure? The glutoff! Heledavar stormed off.

As the action of Hal kept repeating inside her, Heledavar elevated her peeved to one of extreme vexation. She swore in High Wood Elf, her mixture of curses brimming to the surface. Her mismatched eyes bulged out. Vexation to fury, with ease.

She had lived through this five -no, six- times before. All of her siblings: “gone bi.” Until this last darkness, the dark became less dark. Then, only Haladavar and Heledavar remained. Now, Heledavar, alone. Hal left her to tend to their rotten, miserable, ungrateful parents. Their Her parents and their “haute couture” shrubbery and mulch mini-farm. Neither she nor any of her brothers had any intention to take over the family business: The Aralavaris Botanical and Breakfast Hut.

They all went “gone” the same way. They’d reach a specific tree span, and before anyone could say “Zarn Knows Little,” the darkness welcomed them. Each of them cringed once their parents went to bed. To a sibling, they learned where to sleep outside, reducing the horrible noise. The snoring was deafening. A Green Dragon could tear up all the trees outside, set fire to the shrubbery, roaring its terrible roar, and gnashing its terrible teeth. No matter. When they went to bed, they went to bed, snoring through the darkness.  She knew the Green Dragon’s frenzy because that scenario had happened. Three times. No. Four? Yes, four times.

She mumbled through gritted teeth: “those glutoffs! Moronic glutoffs! Feted glutoffs!”

Heledavar raised both hands, clenched in rock breaking fists. She boxed the air above her head, screaming to the puce heavens above. Heledavar stopped her tantrum as quickly as it started. The last time she let loose was the time the previous Green Dragon came forth.

Her ill feelings shifted, rising from peeved to quite vexed.

She approached the hut they had all shared. The snoring cut through the rotting wood paneling, shored up by their “best” shrubbery. Snoring. Near endless snoring. Momentous snoring! Apocalyptic noise that would be the end of her if she did not leave. As all the others did. She thought about patricide and matricide for an Ogre’s hair breath, but she just shook her massive head. Heledavar snuck inside, grabbing the clothing and few items that were hers, shoving them into a bag.  

Heledavar also helped herself to half the armory in the hut. Twelve throwing crescents, eleven Smoke Eaters, ten silver-rimmed stakes, enough knives to hide around her body, her bow with two quivers of arrows, and, finally, her mother’s Great Sword. Her pride, her treasure, the sword she named “Zweihänder, The Death That Comes.” When her mother, The Zoupah, took out her eight hand-sized, double-edged straight blade, her opponents knew it was already too late for them. Bladders were voided. Most ran. They still voided.

During those times, her father stayed at the hut, watching over his bushes.

It was Heledavar’s time.  Before she set out, Heledavar raided the kitchen. Food for the road. Satisfied with all the meats and treats she liked, Heledavar skulked out of the hut.  Heledavar went to Hal’s favorite conk-out spot. She added a smeared smattering of broken slab over Hal’s message: “H to bi.” It served its purpose. As she walked away, grease dripped down her chin from the roasted Shaitan she spirited away.

At High Not Dark, Heledavar stopped on the rocky path she strode along. The ground trembled from the aftershocks of the snoring. Rocks rolled. Saplings unrooted themselves. The oldest, largest trees felt their leaves tumble away. Even this far away, the snoring would not let her leave. Heledavar’s vexation catapulted to rage. Heledavar held up her left fist, the right trying not to lose the fatty shank. She steadied the shank by sinking her teeth into the next to last deep mass of meat. Heledavar was free to hold up her smallest finger.  Heledavar leaned her head back, a gargling noise spilling out of her mouth, and shot down. She spat out all that she had held back. Bile mixed with the saliva ejected seventeen times. Each one a burial for the last seventeen cycles that were her life.

Heledavar turned her back on the direction of the AB&BH, remaining in place. From stillness to a howling wind, Heledavar closed her right eye, whirled four times to the known winds, then four times back again. She repeated that dance three more times, at last planting her feet solid on the path. She said her name for the last time. “Heledavar.” Her past and the name that held roots were discarded. Hele, now, opened her eye, continuing on the pitted path before her.

She only looked back three times before the hut, at long last, fell away.

Or, was it Hele’s fourth time she looked back? Fifth?

She pondered that for a long while walking. The darkness and the less dark filled in the spaces to the next day.

The Dingo Ate My Awe

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Dingo

THE DINGO ATE MY AWE

Lindy wailed heartache.

It was relentless, staining the air around the five of us. A friend had called into AFP dispatch, and me mates and I took the plunge. Dust was everywhere until it turned to gravel, and then rocks of increasing dimensions. An hour before dusk, we arrived at the hysterics. Even through closed windows, Lindy’s banshee keening shook me teeth. Brutal.

Her hubs, Michael, took me to the demolished campsite. We lifted the tent together, dripping from the bloody heat. Told Michael we were now sweat brothers. I laughed at me own stupid joke.  Stopped real quick; the poor sod was dripping tears and snot. “There, there” did not seem appropriate. I dug in me pocket, found the wad of Kleenex the Mrs. always shoved in my pants pocket after pressing. I tossed it to him. He wasn’t ready.

The wind had been picking up; Rod said it smelled of rain when we first got here. Just what we bloody needed. The dry chinook rolled around us. The wad of Kleenex gave up five to the wind. They flew around us like a cat burying shit. A strong gust and the rest joined their brethren. Gymnastics, in white.  It was like that bloody scene in that bloody boring movie. The one they spent so much time filming a plastic bag spinning. Bloody Drongo director.

Tent up, the blood was in little puddles around the floor. Sticky. Bedsheets, what was an onesie, all in shreds. I took pictures, asked me questions, the big one went unanswered: “why weren’t either bleeding one of you with the babe?” Now, I know many think coppers are all galah. Hell, many of them do have their heads up their arses. Mikey just hung his head, shook it around, and stayed quiet. No resistance as I cuffed him. Good. We walked back to the others.

Rod and Franny put both of them in the back of the wagon. Lindy was sobbing a creek, her hands equally cuffed. Michael turned his head away from her. Never said a word to her. He didn’t yell, didn’t plead, nothing. His silence was death; she roared out the Death Kneel.

I closed Michael’s door, making double sure he was locked tight. Franny had tried to talk the mum down. No luck. Fran locked the door, cutting the volume in half. I was getting the start of a headache. Didn’t need that at all with the long drive back.

The three of us moved away from them. We had a talk and a drag. Not Rod. Not a smoker, but can he put down the pints. We shared what info we had, scribbled note sunder the growing night; the sun began to fade away. Time to get back to the car and get out of here.

Typical sounds of central Oz pushed us along. I was more than ready to get home.

“A dingo? Really? A bloody dingo?” I could not believe this, shaking my head. “We got a ripe one,” I told the two.  “Dingos were vicious fucks, but…”

“Oi, where the hell did those growls come from?” Rod uttered. Last thing he ever said.

Three beasts ran toward him, lunging as one. Dingos. Bloody huge fucking Dingos. They ripped him apart. Legs. Chest. Head.  Only an instant. The hot blood flew everywhere. My mouth was hanging open, brain fritzing as I pulled out my handgun.

Franny screeched, wanting to help Rod, wanting to run. She did the Cha Cha of indecision, bolstered by the horror of it all.  She had enough to go for her handgun, but she fumbled it. Just as she bent to get her gun, I saw what was coming behind her. I started to warn Fran.

Too late. Words were taken by the massacre.

I fired at the two monsters who took Franny down. My gun was essentially useless. Their massive sizes. Tigers in Dingo attire. There was nothing I could do. I ran to the car.

As I got closer, I noticed both Michael and Lindy. They were staring at me with bulging eyes, their mouths moving in overdrive. Lindy looked off to the right side of me. Her throat cords straining to break free. Looking over my shoulder, one of the five, or maybe this was a visiting cousin who was late to the party, was lopping at its dinner. Me. I saw it coming; it leaped.

And I dropped to the dirt. Rolling on my back, I fired the rest of my gun as the Dinger went flying over. First one went through the bottom of its jaw. The rest went into beast’s underside.

It screeched as fell, the earth taking its own bite out of the beast.

I dashed for the car.

Now, I almost fumbled the car keys like Franny did with her gun. Almost. I dove in, starting her up, put it into gear, and floored the peddle. One beastie came at me head-on. I downshifted, speeding for his ugly snout. It was bumpy for a sec, but I hit him hard enough. He spun away. Didn’t look to see if he bit the dust or not. “HaH!” I laughed at myself again.

Next moment we got tag teamed, ramming into the back right. The door bent in a bit from one; the window cracked into a mosaic but held. Michael was the one caterwauling now. Lindy was out. Blood streaks on her side, her head lolled.

Nothing I could except ram my foot so hard on the gas pedal. The pistons had to keep up with me.

They weren’t chasing us. Not after the two head-butted the car. The radio still worked. I just needed time to stop hyperventilating. And calm the jackhammer ruling my heart. Finally did. Gave the short version just before I was purged of any ounce of adrenaline.

The AFP had the location. They called in the big yahoos to take care of the demon Dingos. Good luck to them. All I wanted was to drop the two in the back off, give a thorough but quick retelling, and beat a hasty retreat home. I could do the paperwork at home. My say so. Chief took it ok. She wanted to send me to the med, but I declined. Pretty firmly, too.

When I got home my wife took one look at me and came in for a hug before I closed the front door. She wouldn’t let me go. I didn’t want to be let go. My aroma broke the spell. She shooed me upstairs for a cleanup. Fresh clothing waited on our bed, everything warm from a pressing.

Feeling somewhat proper, I went down to kiss that woman with all I had. Two steps before the bottom, I felt something in my pants pocket. I patted the wad under the fabric and hit the floor landing for that kiss.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Author’s Note:

I organized a new Writers Group: DAYDREAMERS WRITE!: Prompts & Challenges.

  • It runs every Saturday morning from 10:00 am to Noon, EST. 
  •      No matter the level a writer you think you are, all are welcome. 

The two hours are split:

  1. 10 to 11 is the first prompt.

  2. At Eleven: Another prompt WITH a challenge. It changes every week. 

  3. Both Sessions: 25 mins to write;  30-35 mins for Sharing & feedback

Most likely this group will remain in the Virtual World Community. 

Click on the above link if you would like to join in. Everyone is welcome. 

Stu

The above story was from a prompt: The _____ ate my ______

I used an Animal Generator for the first blank; A different one that gave me Awe.

 

She Looked Familiar: Daydreamers Write! Prompt & Challenge

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SHE LOOKED FAMILIAR

Daydreamers Write! Prompt & Challenges

(1) “I thought you were dead!” is the prompt. The challenge: 50 Words in total. The prompt must appear within the 50 words. 

I entered the B&W Art Gallery. Two steps; I noticed her. Obscured by multi-colored winter wear, her eyes!! She looked familiar. Fixated on a large white canvas with a “?” centered, she turned as I neared. We both gasped: “I thought you were dead!” We fell into each other’s arms.

Question_mark_(black_on_white)

(2) Bonus Challenge: Another 50 words, same prompt, but from a different POV. SHE LOOKED FAMILIAR. 

Just too damned cold! Should’ve taken a cab. An Art Gallery? YES! The heat of the room wrapped around me. Mmmmm. Should look around.
Huh? Why would anyone paint a “?”? Weird. Someone approached me. She looked familiar. OMG! “I thought you were dead!” We fell into each other’s arms.

⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔ ⇔

 

 

Author’s Note: I am the organizer/host of DAYDREAMERS WRITE!: Prompts & Challenges.

It runs every Saturday morning from 10:00 am to Noon, EST. 

No matter the level a writer you think you are, all are welcome. 

The two hours are split:

  1. 10 to 11 is the first prompt.

    1. I will  post it on Monday, 8/10

  2. At Noon: Another prompt WITH a challenge. It changes every week. 

  3. Both Sessions: 25 mins to write;  30-35 mins for Sharing & feedback

The two 50 word pieces above, “She looked familiar” appeared as the group’s Challenge Round on August 8, 2020. 

Most likely this will remain in the Virtual World Community. 

Click on the above link if you would like to join in. Everyone is welcome. 

Stu

a twinkling defense

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Icarus 2

a twinkling defense

schiller park illinois april 29 1930 may 2 1930

ǂ transliterate cosmostatic diffusion̚

‘tuesday’

promulgation ∞ entities on planet categorized earth

entire system commands met waiting full analysis observed events massive – mote largest sea floodgate earth holds no importance worldview□ⱷꭀ entities happy drunk undulating happens sound waves distortion connection island australian from britan no big woop entity colloquialism gurgle noise worth report crucial discovery new sustenance object observed ingestion most entities consumption accompanied wanting sound waves entities ‘face’ opens object inserted ‘chewing’ ensues object entirely consumed ‘smiles’ happen most consume second object wrapping left behind receptacle-stratum obtaining sample accomplished shell elastic absorbent probe inserted analysis incomplete mix chemical natural elements split object white substance found analysis ‘banana’ found firm liquid state substance absence adverse effects directive clear sample must undergo further analysis individual consumption commence order pressure seating activated appendage free pressure restraint commence individual consumption promptly

‘saturday’

observation unwise consuming twelve objects obtained earth ‘wednesday’ individual no knowledge next two earth ‘days’ individual came aware ‘saturday’ lifted off-ship entresol leakage unpleasant cleaning commences orders received return procedure engaged repository section full stasis field activated mission rated ﻌﻌﻌﻌ incident object consumption highly suggested leave behind individual rejects factory breached transferred entire factory repository ship full strong discipline expected individual justifies disregard tribunal consumes object two maximum deferring effects individual anticipates exaltations submitting object cosmos entities individual convinced object earth name ‘twinkie’ prove individual correct course pressure seating activated ship sets course engaged ‘twinkie’ consumption commences individual indulges

⸙‘earth’ phraseology glossary follows

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author’s note:

I’ve tried this style a number of years ago. I got some good feedback/comments, then I dropped it like a  led zeppelin.

Then came I took a prompt challenge from Writer’s Digest:

Describe a normal, everyday object or activity from the perspective of a character who perceives it as a strange phenomenon they are struggling to understand. For example, your character might be an alien or a person from a different historical era trying to explain a smartphone. 500 words or less. 

Decoding the story above is both challenging and fun. Not just in my opinion.  A fellow challenge taker was joyful with breaking it all down.

Question(s) for you:

What grammar elements did I remove in the story?

Could YOU parse it at all? Somewhat? Piece of cake?

mmmmmm. Cake.

Comments and feedback are always welcome.

Thanks

 

Waiting to Perceive

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Nova

Look to the stars

Is almost a useless statement

For the trash eating machinery

The near-dead walking the streets.

Radiated metropolises obliterate the stars

Rendering their brilliance moot.

 

Look to the stars

In calm surroundings, still

Distant are the pollutions obscuring the sky

From obsidian to the deepest black

Stars are the show we can take in

Clouds endeavor to mimic city contaminations

Triumphant when they densely gather

One’s heart and mind should know

Time passes; change follows.

 

Look to the stars

What we see are their deaths

Or nearly so

White Dwarfs, Red Giants, Black Dwarfs

One, two, three

The brilliance of their passing’s

Are the pinpricks in our night.

The Earth rotates around

Our darkness meets others

Other’s eyes partake of their deathly light.

 

Look at the skies

Five billion years from now

Or so

Who will view our Sol’s death throes

As we blink out of sight?

 

 

 

In the night

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spilled red

IN THE NIGHT

Mark convulsed in the mudded pit and dissolved. Spasms had wracked his form as he wormed his way along the rain-drenched ground. He did not sense the sharp drop that brought him to his end. Yes, I watched his final journey. I stood at the lip of the pit, watched his death, and walked home.
 
Why did I watch? Why didn’t I do anything? I had done something. His ending began with me.
 
You look startled. Why? You know Mark and I were never friendly towards the other. He stabbed me in the back as many times I stabbed him. Staying away from each other was the prudent thing to do, we both knew that. We even laughed together one evening over that thought, sipping our glasses of red. The bar was thriving that night.
 
Some weren’t after we finished with them. Yes, I know, Mark and I, rivals, blah blah blah. The hunt drew us together now and then, generally by sheer coincidence. At least, that is what I had always thought.
 
It turned out that Mark had planned every encounter. I have to give him his due: his skill in lying far surpassed mine. When I found the truth, I was a tad humbled. Mark’s lying was at mastery level. I worked hard to take mine to his level.
 
Why did he do it? Why did he hate me that severely? Old story. It was always a game of one-upmanship between us. Always. Mark would not accept that I could exceed him in any way. It was no more than a game of egos, until, it wasn’t.
 
It all started with Claire. He wanted her. She chose me. Once her bloodied body was discovered, nothing between us would ever be the same game again. I’d take from him. He’d indulge in returning the favor. We were living in a harsh cycle. The drawn blood between us had been notorious.
 
Yes, yes. That was centuries ago. So?
 
Why now, you ask? What brought our mutual loathing to an end now?
 
Mark and I have always been scrutinizing each other. Weaknesses praised and used to our advantage. This became our goal: seeking knowledge to use to the other’s detriment. Who won or lost these challenges was of no concern, then.
 
It came to my attention that Mark had studied me far deeper all along. It came to me in whispers along the way. Sycophants whose loyalties drifted between Mark and me. I ignored most of them as pure gossip. I knew I spun my tales to unsettle Mark.
 
Until most recently, I believed we were on even ground.
 
What? Of course, I was wrong! Yes, yes, always headstrong, blah blah.
 
Mark’s planning had reached a summit. It was due to begin this very evening. Ha! He had rallied many to his side. I thought we were equally loathed. Again, I was wrong, but…there will be a reckoning.
 
His plan: attack and obliterate everything, and everyone, that I possess. Every single element that is mine. I may not have a heart, but Marks’s scheme was that threat one step too far. I confronted him on this.
 
Of course, he denied it all. What else would one expect?
 
No matter: he would never take what was mine again. 
 
That night’s storm was tearing up the sky. That was pure coincidence, convenient on my part.
 
I had reached out to him. He responded, and met me that night outside of a long-standing bar we both favored. Accusations and denials tore into the night sky. Sharp words turned to sharper claws.
We did grave damage to each other, of course.
 
On a muddied slope, Mark lost his balance. Miniscule, but I took my advantage. I was getting the best of Mark. Deep in the forest at this point, Mark went down to the earth, glaring my way. I imagine that he felt this was our usual. Spar, hurt the other to that point, He hadn’t prepared for me to take this to a true Endinig.
 
I did. I fought dirtier than usual, slashing his in violence I had not known I was capable of. Panting, Mark began to sidle away. I pulled out a weapon we had both sworn would never enter our conflicts. Embedded with Elder rune, I weighed the silver blessed dagger in my left hand. Mark screamed as the dagger plunged through his hide with ease. 
 
Yes, more than once. Many more times.
 
You would have laughed at the look on Mark’s face as he passed on.
 
I did. It was exquisite.
 
No? You’d instead it was my face, my death?
 
Ah, friend, I’m not sure I believe your poo-pooing. That will be another discussion between us. Yes?
 
On your central question of “Why?” Really? After all these years we have left behind us, you feel the need to ask, “Why?”
 
Claire. It was still about Claire. For me, always, it has always been about Claire.
 
Drink up. Your glass of red is cooling off.
 
Good. Good. Now, let us discuss one last thing.
 
Why did you join Mark’s plot against me?
 
Hmmm?

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Looking for a new online writer’s group to satisfy your passion?

I am the organizer and host of two separate groups:

  1. RevitalWriters: Critique. Done. Write.
    1. For the more serious writers needs support on their WIP and honing their craft.
    2. RevitalWriters will be a weekly cohort.
    3. Visit MeetUp to RSVP RevitalWriters. (click the link)
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Both groups welcome writers of any genre or style.

We hope to see you.

Holding On

Standard

a night window

HOLDING ON

by Stuart Nager©

 

 

“Wendy. Close the window. It is freezing in here.”

John was flat on his back, under his sheets and quilt. He had his right arm draped over his eyes. Truth be told, it was his nightshirt that did the draping. John’s arm was across his brow. He had to remind himself to relax, for he was leaving an indent in the lower forehead.

Wendy sat on the padded window bench; knees tucked up tight against her chest. Her arms encircled her legs. The window was ajar, allowing the night winds free entry into the bedroom. Wendy searched the clouds, looking. Praying. Hoping.

The wind whipped up, bursting past the lead paned glass. It sends Wendy’s nightshirt fluttering. Her shoulders lifted, her immaculate posture in place. Wendy tilted her head just so. She knew what he liked.

As did she.

“Arrrrrr, matey!” John used his pirate voice, doing his best to make her laugh. Wendy did not laugh nor smile. Jumping out of bed, John had to untangle himself from the bedsheets. All of the bed coverings wound up on the floor.

“Wendy, it is freezing in here. Shut the window, please.” He looked over at Michael, deep in slumber. His consistent snoring was the proof he was asleep. He could never duplicate that sound when he was faking to stay in bed. Mother saw right through him.

Wendy shushed him.

“You know he won’t wake up. He’s dead to the world right now.”

She shushed him again. John grabbed his quilt from the floor, whipping it over his head and onto his shoulders. So encased, John approached his sister. Wendy was still eyeing the night sky.

John plopped down on the other side of the bench, pulling the blanket even tighter around him. Just as his teeth started to chatter, he realized Wendy was only in her night clothing. Reversing the quilt, he laid one end over his sister.

“Thank you, John,” she whispered, far away from the room. John followed where she was looking. She’d change an angle; he would mirror it. “Darling bookends,” Liza would say if the housemaid was in the room. He smiled at that thought. Wendy noticed him as his smile slowly crept back inside him.

“Wendy. He’s not coming back. He isn’t. Shh. Please hear me out. We’ve had this…this…talk far too often. Fourteen months have passed. No pirates. No Indians. No Tink. No Pe…”

Reaching over, Wendy placed the four fingers of her left hand gently over his mouth.

“Enough, John. Please. I know. I still hope. I still have hope. Every blessed night I have hope. It just,” Wendy stopped, turning her head back to gazing the now unclouded sparkling heavens. “It just hurts, John.”

He nodded his head. What was left to say? They had had this conversation far too many times. It always ended in tears. There were many nights where John tried his best to distract her. The successful evenings were spent making up stories of what battle or mischief he would be embroiled in, smack in the center of it all. She’d laugh at many of his tales. The more outlandish he made them, the more Wendy relaxed. And she’d stop looking out the window.

The less beneficial nights would come, ones where John felt powerless. Wendy, questioning, always the same. “Why doesn’t he return?” John knew there were two unspoken words to that query: “For her.”

Wendy did turn her head back to John. “No stories tonight, please. My insides are so knotted, so heavy. Not tonight, dear John. Not tonight.”

He nodded his head, and the two sat quietly by the window. No one spoke. Michael snored. They both yawned, Wendy insisting John started it. John, naturally, accused Wendy.

“We better get to bed. I don’t wish Mother to be cross with us in the morning.” She stood up, patting her nightwear down into a proper shape. John noticed Wendy’s hesitation before she reached over and closed the window. The sound of the latch fitting in place brought a feathery gasp from her lips. Her arms, as always, crossed over her heart.

John returned to bed. He tossed all the linen quilt back on the bed, diving under it all for warmth. John’s face was warm. He felt an unpleasant tightening in his chest. He should have hugged her, said he’ll always be there for her, that she was the best sister anyone ever had. John only said: “Good night, Wendy,” as she closed the door, tiptoeing down the hallway to her room.

As Wendy made it to her bed, her thoughts swallowed her whole. She thought of the unfairness of growing up. How much Wendy wanted to share the same bedroom with her brothers again. How much she wished she had stayed and not returned home. All swept away by the burning question she held tight: “Why hasn’t Peter returned for me?”

It was just over a month that Wendy overheard “The” conversation. Wendy, supposedly in bed, was walking by Mother’s bedroom. The door was partially open. Peeking in, Mother was sitting at her vanity, Liza behind her, counting out the number of times she ran the brush through Mother’s hair.

Wendy was not pleased that Mother was now calling her “a proper young lady.” She had experienced her first flow, a most embarrassing event. Her bones were achy almost all the time. She started maturing. Wendy’s new clothing, the changes in her body, all of it left her feeling embarrassed and humiliated. Wendy’s deep sadness permeated throughout her.

She knew why Peter did not come for her.

Why he would not come for her, ever again.

Wendy wished she had never eavesdropped.

“100,” Lisa stated, putting the hairbrush down on the table. “Miss Wendy is starting to fill out, mum. She’ll be as beautiful as you. Not that she isn’t a pretty young thing now.”

Mother was silent, staring into the mirror. Wendy was sure Mother would not answer Liza. Just as she began to walk away, Wendy heard Mother say, “I know it is the right thing to do, Liza. It is time that Wendy a room to herself. She is blossoming. It is time for her to grow into being a proper young lady. But.” Mother left that word dangling on its own.

“Yes, but,” Liza agreed. “It will be for the best.”

Mother nodded. “I do pray that this will ease the burden she carries. Wendy needs to let this fantastical story of flying, pirates, faeries…” Mother sighed. “She needs to let it go.”

Wendy moved away from the door.

The next day Wendy was given her room. She sulked alone for the next two days, only leaving her confines for meals that she picked at. The third night, though, she had had enough.

Wendy immediately ran to the bedroom she had shared with her brothers. She threw the door wide open. Her feet glided across the nursery floor until she got up on the window. Kneeling, Wendy opened the windows. She crept to the window frame, her eyes fixated on the dark, laden clouds above. No stars were visible.  Rain, though: rain fell ferociously. Wendy became a soaking wet sponge instantly. She kneeled on the pane for a long while.

A noise coming from the doorway startled Wendy out of her fugue. Wendy slightly turned and saw Liza standing in the hallway.

“Wendy Darling,” Liza trumpeted. She stamped her feet as she approached the window seat, not thinking of the boys at all. Upon arrival, Liza shooed Wendy to move away.  “Young lady, what has gotten into you? You were not in your room. I knew you would be here. You, young lady, are heading straight to your room: a hot bath and fresh nightshirt. Go on. I’ll be right behind you.”

Wendy, shivering, glanced at her brothers, warmly tucked in. She smiled although her heart was shattering.

When she heard the latch fall into place, she sat on the floor and cried.