Tag Archives: Legend

Chromatic Labyrinth

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Piano-Wallpaper-music-24173621-1280-800Carlo, Prince and Count, imagined his wife in bed with another man. Not just any man, but his friend, the Duke of Andria.  Carlo noticed the Duke’s eyes always found the figure of Donna Maria more than pleasing. He noticed this look too often from the Duke, and he felt that the looks were too often returned . While Donna Maria protested her innocence, Carlo knew, in his heart, that she had already betrayed him…and would continue, this most vile of betrayals.

Unless…

These thoughts assailed Carlo as he pushed himself to compose. Music was his life-he knew that-but it, too, betrayed him.  His madrigals were politely received in court but ultimately…they were misunderstood by most and dismissed, mostly behind his back, but oh, how gossip reaches even the most closed off of ears!

He locked himself in his music room, the only living space he would occupy until he had finished this composition. Receiving food intermittently from his servant,  barely touching any of it, Carlo would not lie down to sleep, only dozing at his piano.  Nothing came out of his demand on the keys, tinkering, chords splitting into discordance instead of magnificence. Four days, and his mind wandered away from the task he set for himself.

Exhausted and light headed, it was on the latter part of the fourth day (although that was later told to him, as time had lost all meaning to him inside his cell) that the visions came. Donna Maria, nude, appeared to him. He stared across the room where she stood, and all his feelings for her rose to a grand level: lust, hatred, love, agony, pain, ecstasy…and rage. Word-paintings came to him. She sprawled, ever  so close, just beyond his reach. He used the keys of his instrument as knives, slashing down, sliding, pounding down until his fingers nails cracked and broke, leaving droplets of red on the ivory.

During all this, Donna Maria cavorted around the piano. She laughed in his face, touching herself, gliding across the room, behind him, leaping over or crawling under his piano. She would reach out to him, then pull away, her long black hair fanning out over the keyboard where he would try to grab a hold, only to have it whisked away. She twirled, and he played, and lost himself in his fury.

Every path he took drew him in deeper. He would sidle into a melody that would change, taking him in a new direction: most of them ending in a frustrating blockage, where he would only be able to retrace what he did, and go another way. And another. And another. Lost, in a place where meter and structure had no more sense, no meaning, and left him more desperate with each stroke of the keys.

Carlo was later told he unbarred the lock on his room and flung himself into the main foyer. Glassy eyed, he stalked past his ever waiting servant. Down the hall he  went, banging open the door to the armory, coming out with a saber in one hand and a gun in the other. The servant tried to talk to his master but was gutted, as witnessed by one of the maids who had come out to the main hall at the noise being made.

Cowering behind one of the marble columns, the maid heard her master rush up the stairs, a door bang open, and then another series of bangs as the gun went off, and screams from her mistress. She recounted that she heard sharp swishing noises, too many to count, her mistress’s cries loud and piercing, then fading, and then nothing.

Someone had summoned the constables, and the Sargent Major, known to all as a stable and strong man, could not report what he witnessed without feeling ill for quite awhile. Yes, he had seen battlefields, but the frenzy of the Count was like unto a butcher’s den. The Countess Donna Maria, and the Duke of Andria…

Carlo, Prince and Count, would stand trial for what he had done, but, in the end, he was freed. Money and ranking took care of that. He exiled himself from the city, trying to leave blood feuds and vendettas behind him. He withdrew more into his music, more into himself, and while he was lost in a complex labyrinth of creative madness, he composed.

And Donna Maria…she twirled around him for a very, very long time.

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Nyctophilia: #defythedark contest

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Well, I’ve been away for over a month. During that time, I’ve started writing a number of things, but all of it was working towards story ideas I’ve had rolling around for a bit. All of them are in different stages…and almost every piece is for a future novel, or novella. Hence, not for Tale Spinning.

My SO brought a Figment contest to my attention that actually intrigued the two of us: the Defy the Dark New Author Contest. I had given up on submitting anything to Figment because of the usual  “heart (like) my story & I’ll like yours” mentality, which rarely ever translated into the merit of the story. Yes, I did that last year with Birdsongs: The Virtuous War. I learned my lesson and stayed clear of that type of “whoring” for votes.

What’s different about Defy the Dark New Author Contest? The likes/hearts don’t mean a thing: there is an actual YA editor (Ms. Saundra Mitchell)  who will read and judge the work on its merits. This is for eventual publication in an anthology by HarperCollins. Combined, the two things got me writing a just under 4,000 word short story entitled Nyctophilia.

FYI: Nyctophilia, as defined by Dictionary.com, is: a love or preference for night, darkness.

My description/”blurb”:

On the coast of the British Isles lies beautiful Bournemouth. At the turn of the 20th Century, it is a quiet, peaceful destination. A retired London Chief Inspector makes his home there with his wife, their house cared for by a local towns girl, Miranda. By day, most agree that the views of Bournemouth are spectacular. By night, the Spectacular views Bournemouth in an unsavory way…an old “friend” of the inspector comes to visit, and he  very much prefers all that the night has to offer.

Please CLICK HERE to take you to my newest story, Nyctophilia. If you with to leave comments, you can do so either at Figment or here on Tale Spinning.

Lisa Vooght entered the same contest with an extremely compelling tale called Rain’s Gonna Come.  Very powerful, a story you will be glad you read.

Thanks one and all for sticking with Tale Spinning. I hope I’m not gone another month before posting something new.

Right! What you know!

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My Dear Inspector Abberline,

I forward to you this, in abstentia, my congratulations and best wishes on your retirement from the infamous Pinkerton National Detective Agency. You have had my utmost admiration for your tenacity and perseverance, and while you did not reap the true reward you sought for for so very long, I hope you do take some consolation that I stopped way before you did.

As far as you know.

This missive is a parting gift, if you might take it as such, as you retire to chilly Bournemouth with that delectable Mrs. of yours, the former Emma Beaument. It is a pity that she and I never met, but, really, she and I would never have had the opportunity to cross paths. Straight and narrow, inspector…straight and narrow.

How fitting that my “final” prize, Mary Jane Kelly, for “Fair Emma” was indeed worthy of my skills. Inspector, she was a beauty, and fallen as she was, it was a pleasure to make her acquaintance. Mary was tall, slim, fair, of fresh complexion, and of attractive appearance, but…you only met her after my work was done. I doubt you found her very appealing once you came upon her, prone and vivisected as she was, but trust me, Frederick (I do hope you don’t mind I call you that), she was very attractive.

Very attractive indeed.

How puzzling the insides of a woman are, the extra parts, the bits and pieces that make up the female form. I hope you appreciated the aesthetics of the beauty I left,   the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera, the displacing of the bosoms, the flaying and intricate incisions that transformed “Fair Emma” into a work of art…a work of art I left for you and the stalwarts of Scotland Yard.

All these years later, the cases still open, and you now in retirement…are you still pondering why? I know you think you know the who. It wasn’t poor mad Georgie, I’m sure you realize now. Yes, he did poison those young ladies (of which you only pinpointed three; he had a much higher count) and paid for his “crimes.” Not mine, Frederick, not mine.

Why? I must admit, I loved them all, in my own way. Especially Mary. I keep her heart with me, always.

There were others before, and many, many after those attributed to me. Each throat cut, ever organ removed, every slice given live with me even now, Frederick, and while you wile away your time by the sea shore, think on this:

You were never, ever close in catching me. Pity. It was fun.

Hug your Emma, Frederick, but never worry, for she is as safe from my knife as the purest child in the church of the lord our God. Love her, as I love mine. I shall be enjoying the rewards of my memories, and those that I still come to know.

With fond regards,

“Jack”

Ashes

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Even after reading about all the possible side effects, Jean wore her mother around her neck daily. Others complimented her on her memorial diamond pendant, with many commenting about it afterwards, not all in a favorable light. Compressed into a stunning jewel, strung and embraced in an array of silver filigree,  the late Mrs. Deidre Ann Cabochon glared from her daughter’s chest.

Cremated only a month previously, the ashes were mixed with snippets of her hair, and all was distilled to the carbon left behind. These were sent into a press, to duplicate the forces of nature. Extreme heat, 1,000,000 p.s.i., and time…and from the passing of the deceased came a new jeweled existence.

Or so Jean thought, even though the price was high on many levels.

Her husband, Paul, disagreed to the cost, both financially and emotionally. He was never fond of Deidre, a woman he found narcissistic and shrewish, and if he had been honest with anyone he would have loudly pronounced how glad he was that his mother-in-law was dead. Paul saw how Jean suffered during her mother’s long lingering illness, how she put “that woman!” on a pedestal, even while being ordered about and verbally demeaned at every turn. Jean just turned the other cheek, said it was the woman who gave her birth and raised her, and that was that.

Paul moved out the day after the jewel was delivered.

When she got the package, Jean cried as she opened it, and cried as she held it out to examine it. Jean asked Paul to attach the clasp for her. He went behind her as she moved her hair aside and did as she asked. There was a soft “snkt” sound; Jean let her hair down and turned around to give Paul a hug. She held him, lowering her head onto his right shoulder, pressing her body against his, tears leaking down, which he felt through his shirt.

Paul also felt the diamond pendant digging into his chest. Uncomfortable as that was, he felt…more. There was something emanating, a negative grasping, and it hurt on a much deeper level then the prick of the necklace pressed against him. Pushing away was hard but Paul moved a few feet backwards, seeing the pain in Jean’s face but he found himself unable to answer her question of what was wrong.

She needed comforting the rest of the day, and each time Paul’s horrible feeling deepened. He felt lethargic, and depressive thoughts flayed him, making deeper cuts as the day progressed. By the time they went to bed-Jean still wearing “her mother”-Paul was ready to slash his wrists. In her sleep Jean rolled over to the edge of the bed, as Paul, awake, did rolled to the opposite side. There was a lessening in his chest, and things felt calmer as he went to the bathroom (down the hallway), and still when he went downstairs to the kitchen for a cold drink.

Sitting at the kitchen table until dawn, Paul went back upstairs. Each step was agony, and when he got to their bedroom door, he knew. Grabbing his clothes, he woke Jean up.

“Get rid of that necklace, Jean. Let her go, or I will…”

“You’ll what?” she said, belligerently, rubbing her eyes, up on one elbow.

“I’ll leave. That thing…something is wrong with it.”

An argument ensued, words were said, many that could not be taken back or apologized for, many that Paul had heard from Deidre’s mouth only months before. Jean came towards him in fury and tears; Paul bolted with his clothes, changing in the car before running away.

Jean grieved doubly now. She started to lose interest in eating, slept poorly, wandered aimlessly, and while all around her said she was in the grips of depression, none would say so to her face. She would talk about her mother in one breath and be scathing in ridicule in the next, tearing apart friends, family, and co-workers alike with a viciousness that was “not like her” (or so they said).

Hollow eyed, sallow skinned, Jean played with the jewel almost constantly. She shortened the chain the one time she removed it, making it a choker, in so many ways. Her belligerence became so brutal that she was told to leave her job, that she was creating an unhealthy work environment. She spat in her bosses coffee when she got up to leave, gave her the finger, and slammed the door on her way out.

Jean sat in the dark, in her living room, gripping the arm rests of the chair she had inherited from her mother. She contemplated many things, but they were about the others, what they had done to her, nothing was her fault, and why were they all crazy? She had bought a 1.4 litre of Irish Creme, Deidre’s favorite, and killed it in one sitting. Feeling queasy, Jean left the house to get some fresh air.

She thought getting in the car for a drive upstate was a good idea, at the time.

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Author’s Note:
There is more to write about Jean. 845 words is not enough, but it’s enough for me, today.
There actually is a business of putting the ashes of the deceased into jewelry. Some of it is done as described in the above story; the rest are hollow receptacles for the cremated ash. I was told about this by my SO, who loves medical and scientific things, and it has been filtering around my noggin…
until a short Associated Press piece caught my attention: “South Korea has seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from…”
….well, the rest would be telling where I want to take this whole thing. Suffice to say, reality is just as bad as fiction, n’est pas?

Click here to read The Complete AtoZ: Swan Rise Apartment Series

Only available for free until May 31st, 2012

A to Z: The Complete Swan Rise Series

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Open House: Trespassers Welcome

Swan Rise Apartments went out like an exploding lamb; it came in like a sleeping lion… but the building, and its inhabitants, did not always remain so. They lived lives that were hungry, playful, sleepy, lusty, fearful, agitated and on the prowl; they reared their young, and did what they needed to survive in this vertical village.

Welcome to… Swan Rise Apartments

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…and so, the story unfolds. 26 interlocking stories set in the world of Swan Rise Apartments, all written for the A to Z Challenge that ran throughout April 2012.

You’ll find links to all the stories below; each one stands alone, but many have roots and connections in other chapters.  As a whole, it tells a story of the lives that swirl around apartment building life.

Each Sunday, I’ll re-post these links in case you missed any and for your ease in finding them.

The stories will remain up only for the month of May. As of June 1st, I will be taking all of the stories down from Tale Spinning so I can work on a larger second draft of the work. Some of the earlier pieces need fleshing out, and discoveries I made along the way need their roots dug deeply in the beginnings.

May 30th will be your last chance to read, and comment, on these stories. Hopefully, you’ll eventually hold an expanded version in your hands.

Comments are always welcome no matter when you read the story.

Week #1: A to G

All, Tumbling Down

Basement Boogie

Children in the Hall

Doggie Doings

Equivocation Elite

Fire(escape)

Ground, Breaking

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Week #2: H to M

Holidays, Haunts and Hearts

Imaginings of Love

Jung, @Heart

Kindred Spheres

Laundry Room Mafia

Mrs. Beatty

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Week #3: N to S

Not What They Seem

One Man’s Ceiling…

Pollination in the Parking Lot

Quack, Quack

Retraction of Gravity

Super, My Super

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Week #4: T to Z

Thieving Ways

Underneath It All

Vertically Challenged

Weather Man, Oh

Xanthippe

Yeah…Life Goes On…

Zenith: Arising

Yeah…Life Goes On… (#AtoZChallenge)

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Welcome to the A to Z Challenge : 26 Stories during the month of April

Welcome to… The Apartment Building: Swan Rise

(For Links to the previous stories, CLICK HERE

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So…

Taking its last breath, Swan Rise Apartments released its denizens. A forty-five year microcosm of life, crawling through the hallways into apartments and behind closed doors. Unfettered, except by memories and, for some, scars mental or physical, the inhabitants moved on.

Life happens after death.

Dragana’s claws were sharpened after she dealt with what she had done. She rode Andres unmercifully, constantly deriding, belittling, and scorning him. He payed, with interest that would never stop accruing, for his infidelity (she could never prove there were more, but she knew…she knew). He had to beg for any intimacy, and it was given only when Dragana wanted it more than he did.

Andres was investigated for negligence. Cynthia, Mrs. Beatty’s daughter, told anyone who would listen that her mother had called about the gas smell. She was there when the call was made, so “…yes, it was heard first hand!” Nothing ever came of it for him: the building management insurance paid for damages and a suit went on for years for negligent homicide. That is still in the court system. Andres was fired, in more ways than one. He and Dragana went upstate where he worked in maintenance, sans cigar chomping, sans kingdom.

Katie, Amy’s mother had fallen in love and remarried by the time Amy graduated from college. She missed her daughter fiercely, as Amy remained in Boston. Amy would contact her on Skype and text often, and while Katie felt they saw each other in person too infrequently, she realized they found a strong bond. They stayed in the area due to the jobs she and her husband had, but she planned to bring up moving to New England once they finally retired.

The Weather Man got older, as did his wife, and they both moved into the basement apartment of a two family home in the same neighborhood. He continued to wander the streets, often stopping near where Swan Rise was, and stare at the car accidents or up at the stars on clear nights. One early winter night he did not come home. He was found on a bench in the playground down the road, reclining, eyes open and staring to the heavens.

Frank had been starting to go out on dates in the last year of the building, joining numerous online dating sites. Most of them were no more than first dates, but he was starting to get the hang of it when the building went to pieces. He moved closer to work, still a studio apartment, but this time the woman he saw that attracted him…he talked to her, in that building’s laundry room. Telling the story of the demise of Swan Rise, folding clothes and embellishing some facts, Judy laughed at appropriate moments, listened attentively, commiserated, and smiled with Frank. They went out for coffee and began seriously dating less than a month later. They now have a very active two year old (William) and are expecting in the Fall.

The Laundry Room Mafia was dispersed. Their power base destroyed with the rest, they went fleeing to different parts of the country. Oldest children found themselves sharing their lives again with a parent. Ida and Bella stayed with theirs, while Helen and Evelyn soon went into elder living communities. Dotty, their Capo, was never the same after the destruction. The devastation was more thorough for her: all of her belongings, all of her cherished keepsakes, her photo albums, all of her hoarded life’s items were gone, and Dorothy did not handle it well at all. She went from assisted living to a nursing home in a very short time. Her daughter was on her way to visit her, the first time in two months, when Dotty passed away.

Marc and Sean remained married. They were horrified and tragically upset at the news of Mrs. Beatty’s death, and they attended the wake and ceremony service. “The Boys” became rocks of support for Cynthia during the ordeal. They soon became friends, and grew to treat each other like family Every Christmas was spent together, Marc and Sean welcoming Cynthia as they did her mother.

Bob and Beth Fields, after his heart attack recovery, continued to celebrate the holidays. They moved near their son and his family, and every occasion was a special treat. Susie and Vicky, their grandchildren, learned how to have fun from Bob. Grandma Beth had the “Stern Eye!” but she was a lot of fun too, just more when it was just the three of them. Bob slept best when he and Beth held hands.

The “prostitute in the parking lot” saw the whole thing from her apartment window in the building across the way. She had been sitting having a cup of coffee and just looking out. Her husband was out of town, again, and missed the whole thing. Running into the bedroom to throw on some clothes, she pushed her upstairs neighbor to get dressed and out. She found his underwear under her top sheet later and laughed uncontrollably.

James Davis had lost a lot in the building: his parents and his dog had died in years past, and his marriage ended here. He was glad to pack up what he could (his apartment was on the other side and only got some smoke damage) and he moved to be closer to his sister and his niece, Sara. He was a good uncle, and he too found a life mate after leaving. Sara’s teacher fell in love with him the times they intermingled when he would drop her off or pick her up at school. Sara was embarrassed, but the next year it didn’t matter to call her Aunt Annie.

Seth told his father about what happened to Swan Rise. Lev listened, but didn’t know what Swan Rise was or why the young man in front of him was bothering him. Lev was looking for his wife, although he could not for the life of him remember her name, and this was upsetting him. The young man was patting his hand, telling him to calm down. Lev started to yell, then cry. He found himself being held by his son, and he didn’t know why.

Merry got married and moved out just before the explosion. She moved into his apartment in the city, where they lived together for four years before getting a divorce. Some time passed, Meridith began dating again and two years later got engaged again. She eventually got another dog, who she loved very much and the dog loved her back.

Patty was Patty, and she wound up ruling the next building she moved into. She had a couple of affairs over the years, and got older, and had plastic surgery, and had more plastic surgery, and dyed her hair, and had tummy tucks, and she lived a long plastic life in a plastic world of her own making.

Amy stayed in Boston. Her music was really her life, in school and with the band she founded, The Swans. She sang, played the drums, composed most of the songs they ripped through, and eventually got a small label to work with them. Amy found time to graduate and to fall in love. She married a year after her mom did and got accepted into a music Graduate/Doctorial program soon after that.  Amy took her time: in her second year of grad work she became preggers (as she like to say), and months into the process, when she was really showing, her daughter (they knew it was a girl!) was swirling around, arms and feet and elbows and knees making a syncopated beat on her mom’s swollen belly. Like mother, like daughter, like mother…Amy was happy.

…and in the evening she’s a singer with the band.

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The Golden Princess: An Un-Fairy Tale

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Once upon a time…King Midas touched his daughter and she turned into gold.

His despair was genuine, as was his outrage, all swiftly turning into self-loathing and shame. He fled his court, wailing at the travesty brought upon him by his golden touch. He never returned.

The Golden Princess was left behind. The hand that had reached out to her father in his anguish was still outstretched. Her still face reflected the the concern she had for him, her shoulders slightly hunched; all immobile. Except…

She was aware.

Aware of all that went on around her. The King’s advisers tried to keep decorum, waiting (in vain) for Midas to return. That lasted only so long. A bloody power struggle for the rule of the land ensued, as the only true heir was a lovely gold statue.

Whatever gold items that had been left behind were taken: either to support the efforts of the warring factions, or stolen to create a new life somewhere else. The Golden Princess was the last artifact of The Midas Touch remaining in one piece.

She was aware of all the plotting, the treacheries, the betrayals. She heard her father both cursed and praised, although the praises were for the gold he created. She heard grief about her own loss, from servants and from lords, and she heard some of the tales of those who wished they had bedded her…and more.

Awareness was a curse unto itself.

Time passed. Long giving up counting the days and nights, she knew not how long. Moved around now and then, new faces appeared, new voices heard. They long since stopped calling her Princess Marygold. The Golden Princess became her own legend.

The worst, or so she thought at the time, was being placed into a dark room. Hearing the bolt and lock clack and snick so loudly, she remained in darkness for an uncountable determination. She screamed and cried and wailed and keened…all inside her golden self.

No one heard. No one heard anything of her for a very long time.

Voices. Loud yells…and screams. Clashing of metal on metal, explosions shook her, waking her out of her stupor. “I’m here. I’m here!” she wanted to bellow. She wanted light, freedom, release. It had gnawed at her.

She was aware of the sound of the lock being broken, of the bolt driven back, of the door flung open and torch light coming in. The joy she felt at these things, taking in the unknown faces. The men, battered and bloody, whooped and grinned when they saw her. She heard shouts of “The Golden Princess!!” from these men and then outside of her imprisonment.

Lifted up and out, with great effort, the men brought her up to the throne room. Or, what was left of the room. She was aware there was blood along the way, bodies strewn. Damage…damage to the walls, stairways crumbled, light streaming in from what had been the west wall of the hall.

The Golden Princess was placed down in a shaft of light that streamed in from the gaping wound of the castle. The men talked continuously, starting at her, running their hands all over her. All over her. They stopped only when one man yelled to them, as he walked over and they parted for him, going to  knee.

“Please,” she thought with urgency. “Please, find a way to release me.”

In a language she was unfamiliar with, he spoke to his horde. They brayed in unison at times to his speech, the rest of the time they were rapt in attention. When he was done, as one, they stood, and cheered, cheered, cheered!

If she could have shed tears, a dam would not have been able to hold them. She did not know these people, but to be in the light, to not be so alone…

They removed her from her castle, her home and prison of so long. She was aware of being put on a cart and moved, screaming inside when a covering was placed on her, again hiding out any light. She was aware of the voices, the animal noises, the movement of the cart, then being hoisted off the cart and brought inside.

She was aware when the covering was taken off, and she was equally aware of the immense heat around her. A cauldron, large and blackened, fire raging underneath it,  took up a good part of the room. New men surrounded her, black with soot and grease and sweating.

Their rough hands brought her to the edge of the cauldron. She was aware of their laughter, their horrid, filthy jokes. Vile, vile men, they handed her with no care. They dropped her on the floor, and her outstretched hand…her outstretched hand…one of them took red hot glowing pincers from a smaller smoldering bin, and she was aware as he took great care in separating that hand, at the wrist, the thinnest part.

She was aware of the noise it made as it hit the floor.

Great peals of laughter surrounded her now. The hiss and noise of the fire and cauldron goo mixed with the glee of the men. Many hands now were on her, and again she was aware she was lifted. A count started; they all joined in, and what she assumed was three, they tossed her.

She was aware of the hands letting go. She was aware of the short flight in the air. She was aware of the horrible heat. She was aware of the splash she made, and the sinking down, and the melting away, and she was aware, aware, aware…

She was aware…they found a way to release her.

 

Beginnings: The Abysmal Dollhouse

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The priest drove the blade deep into Amunet’s chest. The suddenness of the attack shocked her as much as the pain that followed it. This action was repeated by five other priests with all the house slaves in the Mastaba, the final resting place of her master. She saw the others die. This priest’s blade was not true, not penetrating her heart on the first strike. But still, it caused her impending death. The time she had left, though, was enough.

Amunet locked eyes with the priest, old and sand scarred. The pain she felt was mixed with hatred.  Amunet howled a curse as he pulled the knife out of her chest. The priest was  holding the blade’s handle, a tinge of fear on his face, then anger for not having struck a death blow.  Before he could react, Amunet grabbed the hilt, reversed it, and slashed the priest’s throat. In a gurgle, then a gush  he fell to the ground, dying at her feet.

Behind his corpse was a mantle, and the relics that were to be entombed alongside the dead. Amunet stumbled towards it, her life memories, short and brutal, unfolded as she bled out. She held onto the ceremonial knife.

First step: a different life, a different name. A Greek girl, blonde and often praised for her beautiful skin; kidnapped along the coastal shore of her village. Bound and bagged, dropped in a hold with other young girls.

Next step: stripped, passed around from pirate to pirate throughout the voyage. Beaten, starved, raped. Other captives died along the way. They were tossed over the side. She helped toss some over the side.

Fumble step: Only the beatings ended as they announced land in a few days. No scars, no marks on her beautiful skin. Fed more, and passed around even more.

Stopped, panting, holding onto the wound, blood seeping out between her fingers: Naked, auctioned off like cattle; poked, prodded, fondled, pried open. Bought by her “master”, not knowing the language, then. He took her that night, and nights after. Gave her her name. Amunet, the hidden one. Beatings, never at his hands, until she came into line. She was a novelty, with her skin, her coloring, and her master enjoyed sharing his treasure with others.

Two half steps closer: Watching him clutching his arm, then his chest. He tumbled off his chair in front of her and the other slaves. Only one slave moved to his side. Not her. Never her. She smiled.

Collapsing on the mantle: Amunet clutched the doll, the one to protect her “master” in his next life. It’s hair was of sun-baked clay strung on flax thread. The doll’s  body was of wood in the shape of a woman, symbols of fertility etched into it. She held the doll to her chest; she cursed the men who stole her, she cursed all those who used her, she sent out waves of anger and primal hatred. Her blood soaked into the wood carving, the flax thread, stained the sun-baked clay. Her battered life unfolded into the doll.

On her knees, grasping the doll, her head bent over it, laying her curse, she took the knife that she held and stabbed the doll.  Another priest came behind her and rammed his blade into her back. This priest’s blow was true. Amunet fell forward onto the doll.

Her spirit of rage became the doll. A knife became her weapon. She took others through the ages: just, unjust…it did not matter to The Unfolding Doll. For centuries, her revenge glistened on her knife’s edge over and over again.

She grew careless, once, and was trapped by a mage whose son she had taken. Too strong to be destroyed, he did what he could. Caught in his daughter’s room, he fought her and won, binding her spirit in the child’s dollhouse. The mage sold it to a very special shop. He knew he could not stop her completely, but limit the murderous spirit? That he could do.

Be careful when entering The Abysmal Dollhouse. There lies the hidden one, the Unfolding Doll.

The Naming

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Look
See what I hold in my hands
Not a full something, yet
Until I name it. 
Until it is named.
What I call is will make it real
Balancing the name,
Carrying the name,
Wearing the name,
Becoming or disavowing the name,
Until, eventually, forgotten,
It falls apart from memory.

Look
What I name it has it's own power
Be it meek and mild
or strong and fierce 
The naming carries weight
And what I give it now
Will last a lifetime
And maybe more
It will be up to the named.

Look
Be witty or obtuse
Symbolical or Syllable driven
Contrived or Biblical
New Aged or Traditionalist
What is named becomes real
The reality is complete
The character is yet to be set
Where do we go from here?

The Prologue: The Kitsune-Mochi Saga

Standard

Part One: The Kitsune-Mochi and Tora Baku

Chiyoko had bribed Kitsune, the trickster fox, with his favorite food, a freshly caught kunimasu salmon that was ready to spawn. A rice ball, expertly made, sealed the pact. Chiyoko gained her familiar: Kitsune’s magical prowess was hers, as she had wished for. Spirit Fox hissed his displeasure, but still licked his whiskers clean.

“What do you wish of me, Kitsune-mochi? You have fed me well, and must now continue to do so, if you want my services. Tell me your story, and we shall dream together such cruel delights.”

Chiyoko told him, as she prepared another fish…

Nobou had not lived up to his name. He took what woman or girl he wanted, all the time professing his deepest love for me. I accepted, at first, the shame he brought upon me, for I truly believed in the love he professed. I did believe his lies, until he ruined Fumiko, my younger sister. Nobou crushed her delicate beauty in an afternoon by the still waters of Saiko lake, near Mount Fuji.

Fumiko tried to fight his advances off, to the regret of all. She was found unconscious, bloodied from head to delicate toe, naked and feverish from infected wounds. Fumiko drifted in and out of delirium for close to a week, uttering only “iie Nobu…iie!” once, before she drifted away into the shadow lands of Yomi.

What little law was practiced was of no use to my family. Nobou had been seen leaving the village the morning after Fumiko was found, in “quite a haste”, or so it appeared to the farmer who passed him by just as the sun was rising for the day.

“Masanori-san,” I said, gaze averted and bowing to the farmer. “Did you talk to Nabou? Please, did he say where he was off to?” Masanori the farmer only shook his head and continued working in his field. Four days later Fumiko was dead, and I approached the farmer again, with the same result.

Two weeks after the funeral ceremony, my mother passed away into Yomi as well. Father took off after Nabou a day later, in a rage like I had never seen before in so gentle a man. Weeks passed, then a month, then two…and my father has never returned. I decided that to have the justice that was deserving it must be mine to deal out. I returned to this spot off of Saiko Lake, where we found Fumiko. It is March, when the kunimasu salmon would spawn, and I set this plan in motion. Great Fox, you are that plan.

As a child I had sat at the feet of my grandmother and aunts, listening to the tales of the Kitsune-Mochi, the solitary witch who plied the trickster fox with food. Thus, fox became their thrall, and the evil and vengeance that would ensue from such a pairing. Instead of frightening me, as it did Fumiko, I had dreamt of having that power myself, and woe to any who would hurt me or those I loved.

Chiyoko’s tears of the telling mixed into the preparation of the second salmon, and this doubly satisfied Kitsune as he gobbled up this treat. “Chiyoko, your wish is mine now. Come, let us find this Nobou.”

For two years, two months, two weeks and three days, Nobou escaped Chiyoko’s wrath. The story of the fox witch reached him no matter where he went, his name attached in waves of threats and horrors to be visited upon “The Man Who So Deserved His Fate!” Changing names did not deter their coming, nor clothing nor disguise nor distance. Always coming closer, always leaving others whose evils were as great crushed beneath the power of the Kitsune-mochi! Those stories grew in those two years plus, each one driving more fear into Nabou’s dwindling soul.

It was on that third night that Chiyoko and Fox caught up to Nobou. Fox, as directed, disguised himself as a woman of such exquisite beauty that none were immune to her lure. Nobou was easily entrapped, and set to have this delicacy as his own. But, Fox played his part well. Fox pushed and pulled, flirted and flared, delicately balanced demure and distance with demand and desire. Enjoying the dance, Fox led Nobou through the illusions of love like one never experienced before.

As Nobou slept, Chiyoko, with Fox’s powers at her command, drew to her Tora Baku, the dream-devouring Tiger spirit. “What is your wish, Kitsune-mochi? What pleasures can I assist you with?”

Smiling, Chiyoko brought Tora Baku to the sleeping world that Nobou floated through. “Take his dreams of wanton pleasures, O great Tora, O great one, and eat to your own pleasure. Leave him the horror of his deeds, leave him the blood and fear and shattered lives, leave him the gaping raw edges of despair and pain and suffering. It is his want, his needs, his blessings upon himself.”

So Tora Baku ate the dream life of Nobou, and was more than pleasantly sated. Nightmare upon nightmare visited Nobou in his sleep, and even upon waking the nightmares did not cease. No matter where he turned, no matter where he ran, no matter where he sought help, the nightmare of his life descended upon him.

Nobou took his life, what living shell that was left, and was mourned by none. His broken body, upon the rocks at the bottom of the cliff, fed the animals and birds, and it was just. No one found his bones for many, many years, and then only a few, for the rest were scattered by those who had fed well. Nobou’s slim spirit remained beside that cliff, and every now and then Fox would return to laugh at him and urinate on the spot where Nobou’s body had first landed.

Chiyoko, Kitsune-mochi, and Fox traveled together for a long, long time. They created their own legends as they lived them.

Those stories are for another time.

Watch your sleep, for Tora Baku still prowls, and is hungry.

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Part Two: He Does Not Dream

Tora Baku does not dream
So he eats the dreams of others
He sups on ones hidden hopes
Prowls around forbidden needs
Luxuriates among the flowers
Of unspoken desires.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
Snarling as he enters ethereally
Into the lands of in between.
Ah…but when he dines
The things that sate him, now divine
Bring forth a further hunger
Creating an ever growing spiral
Of emptiness and fear
That he leaves behind to fill.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
He lives inside what others do
And romps among the lovers
And romps among the dancers
And romps around the floaters
The philosophers and tramps.
He eats the dreams that matter
The small and of the large
He nestles in the wondrous
As he soars within the stars.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
But stands proudly as he devours
The Damask Rose
A green sphere
An embrace, a hug,
A skip, a jump,
An orgasm of sound,
A silence of relief,
A house in the trees,
A life running wild,
And more
And more
AND MORE…
 
Tora Baku does not dream
And in eating the inside fancies
What’s left is not a gift;
The darkness that festers in the mind
The horror of untouched hearts
The fear of devastation running wild
The gnawing of emptiness
The rendering of the soul
The peeling of the flesh
The pain of the unveiled
The pounding of the impure
The shriving, the burning,
The tearing, the wails…
He takes what gives him sustenance
Leaves behind what is unclean.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
So he eats the dreams of others.
 

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Part Three: Kitsune-Mochi and The Bara Oni

The bramble hugged Hisoka the tailor’s body, his blood pooling on the ground as the prickly shrub tightened around him. He had screamed when it first began, then plead for help, then looked into the eyes of the beautiful rose woman before him, gasped three times, and died. Keikyoku, the Bara Oni, smiled, dipping her toes into the red liquid. She closed her eyes, head back, threw her arms open, and sang as she drank in his essence.

Chiyoko, the Kitsune-Mochi, and Fox had watched all of this occur in silence, sitting on a rock out of the way. Fox looked around him, licking his lips, hoping Bara Oni would leave some fluid for him to lap up, but he knew that wasn’t going to happen.

The Bara Oni stopped singing once all the blood had been absorbed. The roses that ran across her body grew deeper in color, standing out against her milk white skin like a beacon of life. The rose petals were moving of their own accord as she lowered her arms and turned around to face Chiyoko and Fox. Her smile did not waver.

“Did this please you, Kisune-Mochi? Was this all that you wished?” sang out the Oni.

Chiyoko nodded. “Hai. It was well done.” Fox ignored them, cleaning himself as they ignored him. “He knew, at the end, did he not?”

Taking root where she was, the Bara Oni nodded. “He knew, when he looked into my eyes, all that brought him to this. He was not a good man at all.”

“No, he wasn’t,” Fox chimed in. “Chiyoko, I could have done for him. Why did we need…her?”

“Hush, Fox. She is our guest, and has done a great service. Honor her, or no salmon tonight.”

“Hmmpphh,” Fox swished his tail, licking his lips as well at the thought of Chiyoko’s preparation of salmon and wild onions. “I am sorry if I did offer you any offense, Bara Oni.”

The demon stared at him with wide red rimmed eyes. “The tailor will make a fine addition for Maoh Mikoto in his Oni realm. Do you wish to join him, Fox?”

A slight shudder passed through Fox, but he would not let it show. “Try what you will, Keikyoku. You are no match for me.”

“Enough of this pissing contest! The two of you!” Chiyoko demanded. Both Bara Oni and Fox turned to the Kitsune-Mochi and bowed acquiescence. “Good. There is no need for this. Fox, we have many, many more vile ones to take vengeance on. Your nature will remain sated. In this case, it was good to enlist the help of our honored guest.”

“I saw what he did, as he died. It was good of you to call me for this. I am in your favor, and will come again when you call. Farewell, Chiyoko.” The Bara Oni faded away, leaving behind an exquisite Blood Rose bush with hungry thorns in her place.

“What about ‘Farewell, Fox’?” he humphed.

“HUSH! You are too full of yourself today. This was just, and you know it. Hisoka killed many, many women. He lured them to his home, raped them, then slit their throats in his back garden, feeding their blood into the soil and burying their bodies in patches, where he later planted rose bushes. This one belonged to Keikyoku. Now Keikyoku owes us a favor as well, and our allies grow. This was handled in the way I deemed it proper. Do you not agree?”

Fox sat silently, staring at the glistening bramble where the body of the tailor was encased. “Salmon?” he asked, finally.

Chiyoko sighed. To keep her familiar happy, he must be fed. To keep her powers ready for what lay ahead, he must dine well. “Yes, Fox, yes. Let us go catch and prepare our dinner. Come.”

The Kitsune-Mochi rose and walked east towards the river. Fox stared after the witch, then, when she was out of sight, padded over to the rose bush and tore out one of the largest roses, chewing it up and spitting it out. A thorn pierced his nose, he yelped, and a drop of his blood fed the bush.

“Hmmpphh,” Fox said, as he sauntered off towards his soon to be prepared meal. The Bara Oni savored her meal of Fox blood.

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Part Four:  She Unfolds

Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
And the red, red rose upon her breast
And upon her lips, and upon her, adorn;
And she seizes the wicked and leaves the rest.
She kisses the thorns, the bramble and the brier,
Leaving ruby read lips
Leaving red rimmed eyes
Leaving blood red nails traveling through the mire.
 
Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
And the miscreant merchants tremble in bed
The liars, the thieves, the breakers of dreams
She brings her prickly sensations with screams.
Both soft and harsh,
Hard and pliant,
The Bara Oni comes all defiant
In the wake of the wailing,
The flesh asundered,
The demon of thorns comes not failing.
 
Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
Often she’ll creep silently into your bed
But not stealing dreams, no-
That’s for Tora Baku!
But…to create new nightmares
Where others have been.
Bara Oni is harsh
Bara Oni is soft
Bara Oni is patient
Bara Oni will bray.
 
Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
She’s growing a path leading to you
She’s taking root, in the darkest of places
Trailing bloody rivulets along the way.
Her needs are simple
Her ways are severe
Keikyoku unfolds,
and her petals are dread.
 

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Part Five: The Kitsune-Mochi and Red Helen

Drinking in the nectar of the kabosu, Red Helen sat and savored the sour orange taste. Chiyoko had chosen the best fruits of the flowering plant, intending to add their citrus flavor to the sashimi once the raw fish had been sliced. She had pricked her finger on one of the sharp thorns, giving tribute to Keikyoku, the Bara Oni. This assured her that the kabosu she picked were the ripest.

Fox was eager to feast on the masu, the Kingfish, that his Kitsune-Mochi had bartered for. Fox smiled at the memory of that very morning.

Hungry, as always, Fox had persuaded Chiyoko for something other than salmon. Coming to the small fishing village, his Kitsune-Mochi found a fisherman unloading a catch of fresh Sea Trout. Having no money to purchase it, she did as Kamehameha the fisherman had begged, divining that his first two sons were not really his. Fox had laughed and laughed at this, reveling in the sharpness of the fisherman’s intake of breath, and the tears that formed in his eyes. Chiyoko chided him for this behavior as they left the beach.

“He was sad. He loved his wife and children so much, Fox. To find out he was betrayed..aie.”

“Obviously,” Fox said, swishing his tail,”he could not have been so surprised, otherwise why ask at all? Those boys looked nothing like him. His tears were untrue and smelled of self deceit.”

“It is easy to deny what your heart does not want to believe.” Chiyoko stopped walking. “Did you summon Red Helen as I asked?”

Fox smiled and started to groom himself. “Red Helen will meet us at the kabosu plant we passed on the way into the village.”

Red Helen had been true. The Kitsune-Mochi noticed Red Helen forming from the hundred-hundreds of Oni butterflies that surrounded the plant as they approached. Becoming the nude beauty of the Chou Chou Oni. Chiyoko bowed deeply, the flapping of all those wings creating a current of wind and soft sound. The wind was refreshing. The sound…not so much. It tore into Chiyoko’s mind, sending slivers of thought drifting away faster than she could recapture their moments. Calling on the powers imbued through Fox, Chiyoko righted herself.

“Stop that now!” she commanded of Red Helen. “I am in no mood for your testing me. We have played this out before. Enough.” The sound abated to silence, with only one last cacophonous bleat as the Oni stood fully formed. Fox inwardly was pleased for that last show of defiance. His Kistune-Mochi needed some humbling.

Chide me, will you?” he thought, and planned.

“Tell me what you want, O powerful Kitsune-Mochi,” the words from Red Helen flew about. “I have other places to be.”

Chiyoko sighed but continued the meal preparation. “There is a woman in that village-there,” she pointed, “who has been unfaithful, a deceiver and hurtful to the man who loved her. I have seen into his heart, and besides being a simple soul, there is no reason to have been so betrayed. I did not tell him that although she bore two to other men, her legs have parted for many, many more. I answered only of what he asked.”

“This woman’s name?” asked Red Helen.

“Rin, wife of Kamehameha the fisherman.”

The Chou Chou Oni broke apart into a hundred-hundred Swallowtails, it’s white patched wings tinged in red. The sound of flapping died down quickly, leaving Chiyoko to finish the sashimi and serve Fox and herself. They ate in silence, until the many voiced screams came to their ears.

Chiyoko dropped her meal and ran towards the village. Fox did not follow until he finished eating (and devouring his Witch’s portion as well, feeling a truly great meal of Masu should not go to waste). He crested the ridge that slightly hid the village as it wandered down to the sea and sat back on his haunch, taking in the sights before him.

The ground of the small fishing community was littered with the shredded bodies of men and women. 128 in all lay dead, or dying, as Red Helen, en masse, sliced through them, taking in their souls as they died. The red tinged wings became a deeper red.

“No! NO! NONONO!” screamed Chiyoko. The Red Helen laughed a hundred-hundred laughs in response.

The backdrop of crying and anguish surrounded the Kitsune-Mochi as Red Helen formed again, taking a stance too close for Chiyoko’s comfort. Glaring into the witch’s eyes, Red Helen smiled a blood smile.

“Rin was not the only who deceived and hurt in their lust, known or unknown, in this ‘lovely’ little squat. I just saved YOU the trouble of calling upon me again. Thank you for all the delicious souls,” Red Helen bowed her head.

Floating over to stand even closer to Chiyoko, the Chou Chou Oni lowered her voice. “We are done, you and I. Call upon me again, and there will be one soul I will be more than happy to feast on.” With that, an explosion of wings passed around, and Red Helen was gone.

Fox sauntered up to find Chiyoko sitting on the ground. He had passed the fisherman standing amidst what was left of his unfaithful wife and unfaithful friends. Kamehameha was there in body only, hands outstretched in pleading form. Fox chuckled as he saw the empty minded husk. For once, he kept information like this to himself. His Kitsune-Mochi did serve up a truly fine meal, and he was pleased in many ways.

Head bowed, Chiyoko knew Fox approached. “She went too far. She went…too far. Fox,” she said, glaring at him, “we must take action.”

“Against Red Helen? You are madder than normal, witch. I am just one to her hundreds. Forget it. Done is done, and, in truth, you got what you asked for. It just was a larger wish of retribution then you envisioned.”

Chiyoko stood and let the sand on her clothing stay. She stared down at Fox.

“I will not forget this. Done is not done. You say you are one, she is hundreds. You, Fox, are wrong. WE are two, and we are only beginning our journey. Allies await us. Red Helen will regret what she did in my name.” Chiyoko turned away from Fox and went to find the fisherman. She took him by his hand and guided him to his home, where his children, and the ones he brought up as his, waited.

Fox stayed where he was. “You truck with Oni, you get what you deserve, witch!” he thought. He stayed where he was until night fell, and then went off to find his Kitsune-Mochi. After all, it was dinner time.


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Part Six: A Hundred-Hundreds of Wings

Red Helen dines on souls
Fine filigrees of nothings that make her whole
She sups not on dreams as Tora Baku does
Nor is she a Bara Oni, prickle twiner she,
Nor scheming Fox,
Nor hated Kitsune-Mochi…
Red Helen delves deep
and takes, making others her own.
 
Red Helen dines on souls
And turns the bodies raw
Her wings rip and shred
The earth covered in gore.
Her Hundred-Hundred wings
That she does breathe out
As she savors in the delicacies
Of the hateful and un-devout.
 
Red Helen dines on souls
The feast of it is without compare
The reaving is delicious
The terror is without compare
The shucking of the life forces
The smiles it leaves with her
The unyielding open wounds
Left in her wake
Yet for butterflies, in beauty,
No horror is more great.
 
Red Helen dines on souls
But some she waits for in glee
Wanting to exact revenges,
To bring them to their knees.
The thought of what’s to come
As things proceed upon their path
Will bring the soul she wishes to devour
To her soon, facing her exquisite wrath.
 
Red Helen dines on souls,
Chiyoko…wait and see.
Fox will do what Fox will do
And Red Helen will delve deep.

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This will be the last section of the Kitsune-Mochi and Fox storyline I will post on Tale Spinning…or, at least, for quite a while.  I plan to make this, the beginning, into a novel. This is already 3,500+ words, and I have so much more I want to do with this. My main antagonist (NOT the only one) is now set up; I have my plans where I’d like to take this, and yes, I have my ending. I just need to get there.

As commercial as Redhead Riding? No; I know that, but I also feel I kinda have said all I wanted to say with Katie and David, at this point. I also want to tackle Birdsongs: The Virtuous War, as well as my The Abysmal Dollhouse series.  I am battling with myself on which way I will go.  I also have plans for the brutal That…Boy stories, as I’ve seen it flows into another novel idea Ive had for years. So…we’ll see where I go.

I hope you enjoyed this in one piece. I haven not written anything more on this since August, and I think I should, What do you think? Would you like me to finish this, although it’d be in an eBook?

Comments are always appreciated!!