The Mysteries of Waking

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The dry rasp of his eyes opening dispelled the dust that had accumulated in the grooves of his skin.  His sudden indrawn breath created motes in the dim light of the early dawn.

His body jerked violently upward and a wretched cry burst from his lips as gravity pulled him to the dry, rotted floorboards.  Thin slivers of wood punctured his skin while he lay there panting.

It was a matter of moments before he pieced together that the slick wetness his hands and head lay in glittered with a crimson sheen.  The surface of the pool was broken as he struggled to push himself away from it.

Wildness radiated from his large eyes as his hands searched his body for the source of the blood.  Streaks of it ran up the walls and glistened against the filthy popcorn ceiling.  Horror ruled the curves of his face as he spied the body draped unceremoniously over the small chest in the corner.

Tears cut runnels through the scarlet splashed across his face as his body shook, “How long have I been here?  How many days?  How many months?  Each morning it’s the same.  More blood on my hands and a new body somewhere in here.”

His eyes lit upon the long piece of cool metal that rested forlornly under the saggy and broken bed frame.  Greedily, his fingers reached for it.  It was cold to the touch, much colder than the room would allow.

“Why is this happening?” he cursed against the four walls of his prison.  “How many times have I tried to leave and yet I always find myself here,” his eyes lit upon the form on the chest, “with only the company of a corpse.”

The slide of the M1911 pulled back to frame an empty chamber before it slipped back with a violent click.  The magazine clattered against the floor, but he could tell from the sound that it was empty.

The pistol fell loosely from his grip before he looked skyward, “Why is it always a different body?  Where do they come from?  Where do they go?”  His bloodied hands clutched at the skin stretched over his skull, “Am I going mad?”

A woman watched as he pulled himself under the bed from the tiny monitor bolted to the desk.  Her lips curled of their own accord as she grabbed the handset of the old rotary phone and her long, painted nail dialed 0, 1, and 0.

The buzz and click sounded loud in the confines of the security station, but she remained languid until the voice came through.  “Yes sir, I believe this one is almost ready.  Only another day or two.  Thank you, sir.”

The phone clacked against the ancient plastic of its body.  Her fingers steepled as she continued to watch him through the monitor, “Only another day or two…”

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Lost on the Dark Streets

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I was alone in the alley and it was dingy.  Pools of gray water were trapped in pits by the edges of the buildings.  Pieces of garbage floated by in some while in others they had sunken beneath their miniscule waves.  There was a smell to the place that could be said to be indescribable only in the sense that a person wouldn’t want to bother with the time and research it would take to find out to do so.

Shadows were everywhere; some layered deeply enough to become impenetrable by any light.  Others were just on the edge of the cone of brightness from the bulb above.  There was little of interest here, so why had I agreed to meet here?

In a fit of boredom and the need for a sense of control, I opened the case and pulled out the six string.  Two string sets in double octaves that created a richer tone.  The wood of the instrument fairly glowed under the poor street lamp.

Warily, I placed my hand against the strings and felt the roughness of the bound wire.  My fingers curled into position and I strummed the strings ever so lightly.  Melancholy filled the air and burgeoning light began to filter through one of the walls that enclosed the alley.  An ancient song came to mind and the words fluttered to my lips.  I played alone in that place for what felt like eternity yet must have only been a fleeting moment.

A voice spoke quietly from the edge of darkness, “Yes, my friend, I was right.  This is a place for magic, where the walls between the universes are so very thin.”

His pointed teeth glittered like starlight from the blackest of the shadows as the strings under my fingers continued to vibrate their tones in this shabby space between buildings… between worlds.

(Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/street-urban-japan-brasil-50859/)

Parasite in the Brain

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(image courtesy of https://morguefile.com/creative/clarita)

Lack of sleep allows a person to see the truth

For every mistake, every error, every failure

Is a cut to the soul

Once it is all bled away, this shell will die

Suffering from the parasite in the brain

 

The voices whisper their way to the back of the mind

No one speaks them better than you

Words that pierce the soul

There is no way out, no escape to be found

Suffering from the parasite in the brain

 

Anger keeps the demons at bay but how long can this last

Molded from clay but lessons learned quickly

Resolve is shaken, value is lost

Perseverance the only thing to keep you standing

Suffering from the parasite in the brain

Circles within Circles

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He awoke as if from a dream.  He pirouetted before he slid across the floor to his next partner.  Her mask was a creature of nightmare and it startled him.

“How long have I been here?” he wondered.  “How long have I been dancing?”

But he continued to glide his way along the dance floor from one freakishly masked partner to the next.  Confusion took him and his movements began to slow.  His steps began to falter as he realized, “Why can’t I stop?”

His vision swam and distorted laughter rang in his ears but still he continued to move.  His last dance partner threw him into a dip before spinning him like a top.  Around and around he went as he careened along the dance floor until he slipped and fell onto the tiles and found himself resting against the fireplace.

It felt like he was laying on a bed of moss and the ballroom smelled of the forest.  He giggled haphazardly as he tried to stand but he tripped on a pile of long hair.  His bushy brows obscured his sight but he realized that he had slipped on his snowy white beard.

But he could only remember being clean shaven and it had been black as the darkest of nights.  “My hair?  It is so pale!  Why is it so long?”  He wondered as the ballroom faded away.   He found himself with his back against the trunk of a tree in a vast forest.  A lonely ring of mushrooms encircled him.

“Why do I feel so old?  Am I so tired from dancing?”

A voice whispered in his ear, “Good night sweet prince.”

The lids of his eyes closed of their own volition as snow began to fall upon his body from the branches above.

He didn’t wake that night or ever again.  His bones still grace that fairy circle and they do not rest alone.

Scents of Adventure

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Harry could feel it in his bones.

Today was ripe with the possibilities of adventure.  The sun was shining, the world smelled warm and life was all around… squirrel!  Harry yanked on the collar about his neck and watched forlornly as the little beast took off to the higher branches.

“So close!  So close I could taste it!’

But what was that fragrance in the air?  Where was all that noise coming from?  “Aha!”

There were humans on the weird stone path that wasn’t stone.  And with them was a canine he didn’t know!  His tail wagged hard.  He strained at the leash until he was able to sniff the air around them.  The humans came to a stop.  They made their strange grunting’s and whining’s to each other as they are wont to do.

“Hi, I’m Harry!  You smell like adventure!”

“Hi, I’m Lucille! And you smell like adventure too!”

The aroma of Lucille’s humans spoke of other places… other worlds that he couldn’t even imagine.  Everything about them was mystery.  And where there was mystery there was a tale to tell.

Harry barked, “I saw a squirrel!  Almost got him too.”

“I almost caught a bird!” Lucille howled.  “There were so many birds!”

Suddenly, there was a rustling in the leaves and a small brown creature shot up a tree trunk.  Both Harry and Lucille stopped talking and growled together, “Chipmunk!”  Their eyes tracked the small animal as it stared back at them from a safe distance.

“I am so excited right now!  I can barely contain myself!” yipped Lucille.

“Me too!  Oh my goodness!”

Harry felt a tug on his leash.  The humans grunting’s carried the tone that meant the end of things.  As the two groups separated, Harry yelped back, “Maybe we can talk of our adventures again sometime!”

“Yes!  We should do that!”

But Harry knew that a new adventure was waiting right around that corner and he shot off toward it.  His human was heavy but with the right pull, he had him going.  Oh yes, adventure was right ahead and he could smell it.

(image courtesy of Ryan McGuire of http://www.gratisography.com/)

Tea & Time

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“Is it tea time?” she asked.

The edge of his newspaper dropped, “No.  It is not tea time yet.”

He lifted the corner of the newspaper back up and continued reading.  With the edge of her bath robe trailing behind her, she paced back and forth across the room.  Slowly, she came to a stop in front of him.  Her toe began to tap.  As the tapping grew more insistent, he hunkered down behind his paper.

The staccato beat of the tapping came to a stop and silence filled the room.  With a slow and calculated motion, he peeled the corner of his paper back and took a quick peek.  She stood there with her arms crossed and the glare of all glares burned back at him.  He let the corner come back up but the paper was torn from his fingers.

It was then that she noticed the cup sitting next to him.  Shock registered on her face as the steam wafted slowly from the tiny porcelain vessel.

“What is that in your cup?”

“It’s coffee.  Let me explain…” he muttered haltingly.

“Explain?  Explain?” she cried.  “You have broken the main tenement of the morning drink!  Do you know the damage you could have done?”

“Damage?”

She grabbed the cup and held it close to her chest.  With a quick sip, she drained it.  As her eyes widened until the iris was completely surrounded in white, she sucked in a whistling breath.

The words she spoke ground out past her teeth, “There is a process in place for the drinking of morning beverages.  You start with tea, always with tea.  You don’t jump in willy nilly with coffee!”

The room darkened and her pupils dilated.  An odd light effused around her as the room grew smaller.  Her voice boomed loudly, “Tea is the beginning, the first of the firsts and it lays the groundwork.  Time will begin to accelerate and your control will be in place.  Once the groundwork is laid, you can follow with the bean of the coffee plant.  Time will become malleable to your touch and you will be pleased.  Only now can you drink of the yerba mate and feel like a God!”  Strange laughter exploded from her.

The man cringed in his chair and closed his eyes tightly.  The room grew silent and he felt warmth on his eyelids.  He could hear a bird lilting in a tree through the window. He carefully pried one eye open and then the other.  Everything was as it had been and she had a beatific smile painted across her lips.

He muttered into the lovely morning of this fine day, “Well, uh… I had no idea.  My apologies.”

She dropped the neatly folded newspaper into his lap.  As she turned away to leave the room, she stated, “Don’t go messing with the timelines, my good man.  There are consequences!”

It’s a Trap

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It was a beautiful night.  The young couple held hands as they walked around the pristine lake near their camp.

She pulled her hand free and pointed at the glowing ball in the sky.  In the most theatrical tone she could muster, she cried, “That’s no moon!  That’s a space station!”

His shoulders tightened as he kept walking but his face screwed up in anger, “Oh my God!  Will you stop already?”

Her grin dropped, “Stop what?”

Abruptly, he stopped and turned toward her, “You have been making Star Wars references all day today.”

He began to count out each instance on his fingers, “When we left on this trip morning, you said, “Adventure? Hmmpf!  Excitement?   A Jedi craves not these things.”  When I was trying to give you directions to this campground, you came back with “Travelling through hyperspace aint like dusting crops, boy.”

In frustration, his hands fell to his side, “Never mind when we arrived here, you went all “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Even when I told you I loved you, you replied “I know.”

“It’s not my fault.” She said with smirk.

His teeth ground into each other, “You’re doing it again!”

She sighed loudly, “No reward is worth this.”

“Stop!  Stop it!  I can’t take it anymore.”

Maybe she had gone too far but she couldn’t resist the urge, “Well, you said you wanted to be around when I made a mistake.”

He just glared at her.

Suddenly, the sky lit up with a green haze that only grew brighter.  He glanced up and noticed that it seemed to come from the moon.  “I have a bad feeling about this.”

With a sense of triumph she shouted, “The circle is now complete!”