The Goddess strode into Janiculum through the Gates of Prógramma Spoudón. Her long, unbound hair trailed, tendrils caressing those in her wake. The colors shifted with every other step, taking on the hues of the flowers of the land. Some colors came from other realities, yet none in her presence remarked on the uniqueness. Tall, shapely, skin of a golden-olive hue, caught each eye, young and old alike.
The city-state was festooned with garlands of the sweetest aroma of the scythed. Purple hued feathery fronds, strung through the masses of golds, reds, yellows, and blues. It had taken a harvest to adorn the Goddess Alcyeyx’s walk way to her temple.
Deep genuflections as she passed. The muddy streets stained the linen Himation the populace wore. None were concerned. Their Goddess had arrived. Cheers of “Bless the Winds. Bless the Seas” reverberated throughout. The surrounding mountains concurred in receding echo.
Omens of dire times to come were brushed away with Alcyeyx’s arrival. The Oracle of the Peak wailed her laments to deaf ears once the Goddess arrived. Submitting to the inevitable, the Oracle retreated before the Sun vanished into the ocean. She knew she would return. After.
Rituals were cast, wine flowed, the food was plentiful. Everything was carried to excess. Children with slightly bloated bellies lay fast asleep on straw, patches of grass, and the shorn gardens. They nestled in the land of dreams.
The wine was never ending. Alcyeyx bequeathed that to her people, her devotees, her sacrificial stream. The crowds grew raucous as the skies went black. Fights were few; love making was key. Other lands degraded their festivals, the obscene, to them, rendering of garments, the cries of passions, the coming of more children being placed.
All of those in Janiculum were lost in their revels, as was Alcyeyx. Many women of youth and of age tasted the Goddess’s lips, felt the strong soft gliding over their unadorned flesh. As many came to Alcyeyx as she went to her worshippers. All were left beyond sated.
Except Alcyeyx, whose inner turmoil, the two sides of her constantly clashing, left part of her drained as the other part was elated. This had been the way of things since their metamorphosis. Two strong essences tugged, one always angry, the other mad. Or so the Angry One crowed.
Ten times ten², or when counting ended, were the battles, the pleas, the promises…
Z always called V out on the promises. For a while after, things would subside.
The call of the winds at the ascending sun found Alcyeyx looking beyond the walls of this beloved stronghold. Janiculum was one of the few things they embraced. Yet, the need for elsEwhen called.
The Goddess lifted her arms, raised her chin, and felt the West Wind blow her hair East.
If anyone had been awake at this juncture, they would surely have noticed the golden-olive hued Kingfisher take to the skies and then…
Khione, Nymph of contempt and snow, took satisfaction in Alcyeyx’s leave-taking.
Now, it was Khione’s time to take.
The Kingfisher squabbled with itself, as it phased into the void.
I started Tale Spinning at the beginning of 2011 as an offshoot of BornStoryteller. The latter went more towards non-fiction, rants, comparisons, and observations. Tale Spinning: an experiment in creative writing was the space I needed. Since then, I’ve gone through periods of both non-stop writing and those “dry” spells, where nothing inspired or motivated me.
Joining the A to Z Blogging Challenge in April 2011 was one of the smartest moves I’ve ever made. I’ve pushed my own boundaries over the ten years, always looking for that “challenge.” Taking risks is stimulating. A lot of what I write is expressing what is burning within me at the moment.
Which is probably why I have trouble continuing plunging into the worlds and characters I’ve built over the years. The roller-coaster upheaval of my life during these last ten years have jaggedly flowed from euphoric to complete and utter numbness. This isn’t a pity party. Just stating the facts, ma’am.
Many bloggers/writers I have “met along the way have become family. What is “Family is Chosen” for $2,000, Alex?” (Man, I miss Alex Trebek. Right now, I am Team Levar Burton to become the new host. Reading Jeopardy Rainbow!). It’d take me the rest of the day (it’s early here) to point you all out, but my thanks and love are hereby sent. I even met the woman I love writing these blog posts during that first A to Z. Present tense, even though we are not together anymore.
List Time. In case, you know, want to read past (and present) A to Z attempts. Each set starts with A on April 1st of that year. There might be a few preceding posts/teases over the years as I tried out the new voice I was shooting for.
Here’s something not A to Z that I’d love to get your feedback/comments. I keep getting drawn back to it on an emotional/mental level, but have not added a thing to it in quite a while. These were written during the summer of 2011.
My name is John Meadows, at least, that’s what it says on my birth certificate. At this moment, I’m not sure if that is even true.
I woke up in a bedroom. It was an unknown space. Except, as I lifted my head up off the pillow, I noticed a picture that looked familiar. I stood, walked over to it: it was flush with the wall. An outdoor moment in time. There was a man, and a woman. They held each other, big smiles on their faces.
The man leaned on a vast gnarled tree. Instead of branches, It looked as if seven tree trunks wound around each other, an abstract weave of latticework wood. The leaves were thick, a dark shade of green that looked almost like they were black. They hung over the couple like a frame.
The woman had her head resting on the man’s shoulder. His hair fell to his collar, so dark that at first, I thought it looked like it was cut out of the photo. Her hair was lighter, a mixture of golden brown and red. I remembered that it was called Auburn. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that at first. Yes, Auburn-haired, long, it fell down and over his chest, making his torso look like it disappeared as well.
The photo bothered me. Her eyes sparkled when the shot was taken. His eyes held little to no reflection. I looked. His didn’t, even with the sunlight spotlighting where they stood. Her eyes, the tilt of her head, her smile: there was life. He smiled, but it didn’t seem to reach his eyes. They were flat.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a free-standing full-body mirror to my left. It stood at a tilt near white folding slat doors. I shuffled my way over to it. I could not remember what I looked like, nor who I was. Maybe, I thought, looking at the reflection, things would come into focus. My heart began to accelerate, chest tightening, and it was getting difficult to breathe. I hadn’t been aware of breathing before this. I was now.
Coming into full view, I felt my head had received something smashing into it. It hurt like hell. I had to touch my head. It felt like bone shattered. I checked. It felt solid. But the pain. It was like a steel bar was slammed against my forehead.
A steel bar? Why did I…no, more a bat? Baseball? No, no. A baseball. Yes, a baseball hurtling to me, not even registering that I needed to move, to duck, do something. But it was too fast. I was too slow. I was up, then nothing. It felt just like that, although I didn’t know why. I still don’t know why I felt that way when I stepped in front of the mirror.
Yes, I was the man in that photo, even though I did not remember that. It was clear upon viewing, my eyesight was waving, no floaters, no film distortion over the irises. I looked at myself in the mirror, then over to the photo. Goosebumps paraded across my spine.
Turning, I took in the rest of the room. White minimalism in paint and fabrics. Same with my pajama pants. I noticed, then, that I had no shirt on. A look in the mirror traveled down; before, I was solely intent only on my face. My chest was hairy but not matted. Three parallel deep pink scars ran from my left armpit to just past the bellybutton. An inny. They didn’t hurt as much as throb. Noticing them did not help my rapid breathing and heart rate.
The next moments are still a blur. I know I looked around: the place had been tidy when I awoke. Now, drawers, men’s clothing, papers littered the white. All the bed linen was on the floor. The sliding slat doors were open wide, showing a closet that was only half full. I took this all in, sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed. I felt something hard and looked down. I had a metal lockbox in my hands. My breathing shallowed, and I felt myself calm down to regular human beats. At least, what I thought were normal.
There was no lock to have to break into. The lid swung up with ease, showing the mound of papers it carried. I riffled through the envelopes, unfolded the various papers, and only stopped when I found a Birth Certificate. Mine, I have assumed, until someone tells me differently.
My name is John Meadows.
If you are listening to this tape, then most likely I am dead. Or too far away for any meaning of living or dead is inconsequential. This is the story of what happened from that moment of waking, clueless to everything that had meaning to me. I know that the woman in the photo was Jean, my partner. I know she no longer…is here. Where? At this time, I still do not know how to answer that.
Whoever you are, whenever you are, do yourself and loved ones a favor.
Do not stand under the leaves of that massive, gnarled tree.
… And now ladies and gentlemen, for your reading edification, the further exploits of The Misfortunes of Sea Monsters, Part 3
Chapter 3: The Sundering and The Call
The Return groaned as the coils of the Hafgufa tightened around the span of the ship. As it tilted and cracked, Young Ned held onto the rail with one arm while he jabbed with his razor-sharp weapon. The many-tentacled creature screamed its rage with each piercing. The thrashing beast of the deep blue continued its crushing actions.
Many of the crew members put up a valiant fight but were soon tossed into the sea…many losing their battle immediately. The stronger swam away; too many were swept under by the beating of one tentacle or another. Capt. Magnus had strapped himself to the wheel of his ship, brandishing his cutlass with accurate and deadly aim. The realization that all was lost for The Return came upon him almost too late.
“Save yourself Young Ned!,” yelled the captain.” The Return is lost.” and, cutting the straps that held him to his beloved vessel, the captain dove into the waiting seas.
Young Ned would not go so easily. As The Return tilted and broke apart, Young Ned continued his battle against his most hated foe. Even dangling from the rail he would not give up. It was not until the ship began to break into kindling that Young Ned was forced to cede this horrible skirmish and find shelter in the cold waiting waters.
Swimming as if his life depended on it, which it did, Young Ned strove to haul himself as far away from the ship as he could. The Return began its descent to the bottom of the sea, being escorted by the Hafgufa. It squelched and ripped and tore apart the once mighty ship, and there was nothing that could save it. Many of the seamen went down with the ship, caught in the whirlpool of the returns drowning, and their own lack of strength. Young Ned, the last in the water, made excellent headway and was saved from going down with the ship.
Yet, there was no land in sight. He had outswum the flotsam and jetsam of the dying ship. As strong and determined as he was, Young Ned could not but grew tired. For a while, he alternated between floating and his failed attempts at swimming for a non-existent shore. It took a lot to discourage him, what with all that he and his family have been through. This, though, seemed to Young Ned to be his last hurrah. The last of his strength ebbing away, Young Ned laid his arms at his side, still holding onto the tool which he still hoped, as he drifted away, would slay the Hafgufa.
Young Ned was prodded awake with something sharp in the side of his head. Rousing himself, he got up on one elbow and found himself to be on the dry ground; a copse overlooking the sea. Looking around he was startled at first by the empty landscape in front of him. Poked again from behind, he was equally startled (if not more so) than what was now before him.
” You do know, I would think twice before eating you.” She smiled, and the smile sent shivers through Young Ned… But not in a good way.
to be continued…..
⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗ ⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗ ⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗ ⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗
…and I did not go further. I don’t remember why I let it drop, but drop it went.
I’ve been searching storylines that I enjoyed creating, seeing them through (in this case) a nine-year growth in writing.
READERS: Would you like to see this continued?
I know I will have to do thorough editing on these three pieces if I do.
Please leave a comment below. As simple as Yes or No. If you can give your reasons for either way, please do. Please No Maybes. Yes or No, & commentaries.