Literature's Next Frontier


Flamingo

FICTION:

A Sister's Pain

by Julzperri Quill-red

I found my sister. I saw her and my heart leapt. Her face was red, and tears were flowing freely. That woman was there, why couldn’t she just leave her alone? I rushed to her, my arms outstretched. I pulled her close to me, felt her sobbing against my chest as I held her tightly to me. I had to protect her. The woman was saying something, trying to justify bringing my sister to tears like this.

“If you have issues with me, they are between you and me, there’s no need to bring my sister into this.” I heard myself say. I just wanted her to stop, to leave us so that I could stop the tears, so that I could make my little sister smile again. She was talking again but I wasn’t paying attention, I just wanted my little sister’s hurt to stop.

She couldn’t stand, she sat down on the gravel, dirtying her apron and continued to sob. I knelt next to her and held her close. The woman was still talking.

“I’m sorry but you’ll just have to get back to work.” She barked before walking off. I tried in vain to calm my closest friend. I held her close to me and tried to soothe her. As the flow of tears steadied and her sobs ceased to wrack her body I pulled away.

“What do you want to do?” I asked, “I can take you home, put on your shirt and finish your shift if you’d like,”

“No,” she replied, ever the trooper. “I just want her to go so that I can finish my shift. I just want to work and take my mind off things.”

I sighed. I didn’t know how to improve her pain. I helped her stand and walked her around to the front so that she could dry her tears.

“I’m here,” I said as we walked in. I purchased a coffee and a newspaper and sat at a table out the front. She came to confront me. I had no words. I couldn’t talk to this woman that was spitting vile and thoughtless things to me. I despised this town, I listened to her quarrel, searching for a way to make her see the light, but she wouldn’t have for all my efforts.

I’m sick of this town. Of the rumours and bullshit that goes around. Apparently I’d said some pretty nasty stuff that had her in tears. Apparently I’d said them to a close friend of mine that had confided in her. Apparently I think I can get away with anything because I’m gorgeous. That is what hurt me most of all, this woman scolding me like a child. I was clueless as to how I was to handle the situation, it was word against word. Nothing I could say to her would convince her of my confusion and innocence. Once a mind is made it can’t be unmade. I told her that apparently I sleep with a different bloke every weekend – that’s this town. A ‘close’ friend of mine had started that rumour – who’s to say another ‘close’ friend of mine didn’t start this one?

I’m beyond caring. If at her age, she seeks out the helpless younger sister of the person she has an issue with, what is she proving? What has my sister done to provoke her so? Nothing. I can vouch for that. She walked off.

Now my hands were numb. I couldn’t feel them, they’d gone all pins and needle-y and I could hardly move my fingers. My top lip was the same. I sat in the chair clasping my hands together to keep myself calm. I sat there until the feeling had passed and I could regain a sense of myself. How did this woman have this effect on me. She walked past.

“Friends and family aren’t allowed to just hang around and not do anything but of course you probably know that,” She said as she walked away.

Well fuck that. I was a paying customer, who said it wasn’t my right to sit in the chair at the bakery and drink my coffee and read my paper eh? Now who is clutching at straws.
I stayed there until she left. I wasn’t going to leave my sister with her at the risk of being attacked again. Who does she think she is to victimise my sister when she’d done nothing wrong? She didn’t own the joint, but carries about herself an air as though she does when the bosses leave. Fair enough she is in charge and perhaps I’m being a judgemental bitch here, but no, she doesn’t own the joint and she has absolutely no right to reduce my sister to tears that way.

I can’t wait to leave this town. I have to get out of here. With lover away it’s even harder to deal with the bullshit and the backstabbing friends and the watching what you say every way you turn. I just want to leave, get out of this wretched, gossipy town and make a start elsewhere. With new friends, friends that will look out for me like I look out for them. Not friends that start a rumour that you’re a cheating bitch the first weekend your partner is away.


Posted on: January 09 2012

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FICTION:

A Stolen Moment

by Julzperri Quill-red

It's a cold night. The car is still warm from the ignition as I climb in and lean back in the passenger seat. He doesn't move to turn the key. I'm not here to go someplace with him, I'm simply here to spend a moment with him, as long a moment as we can find. It's quiet at first. Neither of us willing to speak, for fear of saying something foolish. Eventually, conversation starts to flow between us, small talk really. I pull my legs up and tuck them under me as I turn to face him. I smile when I look into his eyes, mostly hidden in the dark, but I know they're  a mysterious, deep blue-green/ I can still make out in them, the glean of excitement, and I know his heart must be racing just as mine was. We stay like that for a little while longer, discussing events of the day. Eventually conversation rolls around to our families, and why we have to sneak away like this. We both sigh and are silent for a while. This stolen moment in a car atop a hill, overlooking the small town we call home, is the only time we can truly be alone together.

Nervoudly, steadily, his hand moves across the console of the dusty ute to take mine. My heart pounds against my chest, so loud I fear he may hear it, excited that he want's to hold my hand. I'm grateful that the cover of darkness hides the pink in my cheeks as I blush at his contact. His hand is enormous, swamping mine. He holds my hand easily, my fingers just reaching through his as they entwine. His hands are rough, chiselled workers hands. His pointer finger feels different, and I shift my gaze to look down at it. His nail is thick, and tapered to a point, almost like a short talon. I ask him about it, and when he stalls in his answer, I immediately begin to regret my question, wondering if I should have been more sensitive. He proceeds to explain to me anyway, how his hand got stuck in a grinder when he was little. I trace my fingers lightly over the oddly shaped nail and smile. I tell him that I like it, and he sighs, seemingly relieved that I'm not repulsed. I tell him that I'd love to have a claw and he chuckles. I blush again. That's the laugh that washes away everything, until all that's left is the sound of his merriment and the warmth it leaves in my body.

At some point, we each lower our seats so that we're more lying than sitting now. In the cold night, the warmth of the large rough hand in mine is welcome. Somehow, once we'd lowered our seats, I shift over, and end up wrapped in his arms. In that moment, when his arm is around me, and I lay with my head on his shoulder, I'm happy. So unbelievably happy. I'm peaceful also, calmed by the warmth that spread through my body, seeping from limb to limb, fuelled by the excitement of having him so close. It seems like peace then, or the closest we'll ever come to experiencing peace. I lay my head upon him and can hear his heart beating quickly against his chest, and it's a comforting sound. I remember wishing for the moment to last forever, and I still feel the same way. Our stolen moment, in the bitter cold of night. I feel safe and warm with him, and he feels safe and warm with me. We lay there like that for a long while, neither of us speaking, just both relishing being in one another's company. Comfortable to be alone together in silence. Words could be said, could be wasted,  another time, a time when we didn't have the sanctity of privacy that was offered to us now.

Although we each mourn the ending of this precious moment, the night grows late and we both have commitments in the morning. Not wanting it to end, we delay leaving with increasingly irrelevant small talk. When we can finally, no longer stall the inevitable, he bends his head slightly, and softly kisses my hair. In that moment, I feel incredibly loved. I feel the feelings he expressed in his kiss as he presses his lips to my head. It was a beautiful, short and stolen moment. It's cold and dark, but together, it seems warm and bright as we look up at the stars and enjoy being with each other. It's a moment I will never forget. For the rest of my life.

 


 

If you need some kind of background info - this is the earliest memory of being with my partner that has been slightly embellished (only slightly though) so I've popped it in fiction. Apologies for the sappy love story!


Posted on: January 08 2012

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POETRY:

Tell Me Lies

by Frederick Bridger Quill-yellow

We shared mirrored existence, exchanged

Whispered secrets through barred cell

Windows, when our jailers were not around

To overhear.

 

Our words gave hope, reassured and

Comforted; we could plan, love, and explore

Forbidden passions.

 

“You are stuck with me,” I told you;

“We are constant,” you whispered.

But from the day I escaped I became less a man;

 

I was wild thing, a danger to you in my freedom,

And we could no longer talk.  I became

Unpredictability: no telling where I would appear.

 

My words no longer visited you, roused you,

Stroked your mind, eased your solitude.  They

Frightened you instead, and your jailer

 

Looked on in suspicion.  In the night

I look upon the same moon you see,

That last constant thing, and in its light

 

I see you lying curled and crippled on the

Floor, afraid of the challenge, thoughts

Of escape elusive.  You would never survive

 

That.  You sigh, and imagine

Other sympathetic cell mates.


Posted on: January 08 2012

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POETRY:

An Interview of Lost Souls

by Brooklyn J. Davis Quill-red

 A mortuary entangled with vines and defiled violets

Expands ever wider in a lonely field where the skies

Weep for the dead.

By the victory of malicious lovers, souls lose their way.

Dug deep they find no light to guide them.

Unmet needs follow in their transitional existence

While solutions float elusively to tempt madness.

"It's knowing they're there." one spirit said.

"If the solutions didn't exist we could mindlessly float in peace." another chimed in.

"There's the light!" a spirit screeched and charged a lamplight.

The light's energy was not enough to pass into the next circle.

Screams of pergatory insanity, the institution of the homeless,

Rang out in vibration, though nothing was heard.

"If I wasn't already dead, I'd kill myself." the shamed spirit spoke and disappeared.

Alone, abandoned by tenacity, rejected by faith,

I walk among those who starve for the light

While I try to make peace with the dark.

Where is the Almighty when the dead are lost?


Posted on: January 08 2012

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FICTION:

As Fast as Light

by judylady2000 Quill-orange

Prolouge:

Horses. The untamed. Fast. Unforgetable. Millions of names but only one for mine: Amazing. This is what it was like for me, when I owned my horse. My famose horse. A race horse.

 

Chapter 1:

   I had just awoken and was now making pancakes for my five children and husband. That was the special and normal. I had two daughters, three sons. The daughters were seventeen and fourteen. My oldest son being ten, then nine, then four. My oldest daughter was Becca, my second oldest daughter was Jay. My oldest son was Kyle, my second oldest son was Liam and my youngest son was Luke.

   Well, anyway, I was speaking to Ben, my husband, as I made them breakfast. He was a policeman, "Ben, please! The children need the horses in their life! I had them and it teached me a heck of alot of responsability! They help you when your sad, you see them! When your happy, you see them! When your board, you see them! It'll keep the kids busy!" I tried unsecsesfully persuading Ben, "Beth! We just don't have enough money! I don't understand why we have to fight over this day and night! We are not getting horses and that is final!" he pounded his hand on the table, "Very well," I grunted, putting a pancake on his plate.

   Right then, the kids came in, "Morning mom," Becca said, hugging me, "Good morning everyone, and how are you all?" I asked, "Good," they all replied. Luke had ran up to my legs and I was now cradeling him in my arms, "How'd you sleep?" I asked him. He giggled, "Good," he said and I kissed him on the forehead and he took his seat at the table, "Pancakes again?" Jay asked, and I nodded, "Ugh... I'm so sick of them! I'll just... go without," she got up from the table, "Jay, you need to eat!" I told her but she shook her head, "No, mom. I'm not hungry!" she yelled and stomped off to her room. I closed my eyes and looked at Becca, "I'll go make sure she's ok," she told me, "Thank you," I mouthed and I sat down in her spot.

   "So, what do you have planned for today?" I asked but everyone shrugged, "I thought that maybe I could take Liam and Luke to the park!" Kyle told me, "Not alone," I half smiled, "But I'm sure that Becca or Jay would love to go," I told him when his smile fadded, "And you?" I looked at Ben, "Work," he said and he got up and put his plate in the sink, "Daddy, all you do is work," Luke sighed. He had a lisp so instead of is, he said isth.

    I smiled and tassled his hair, "Without work, Luke, we wouldn't have a home!" I told him and he giggled and started eating a pancake. I smiled, putting a fresh pile on the table, "What about you mom, what do you have planned for the day?" Kyle asked, "Clean the house," I told him. He looked at his milk, "Oh hunny, what's the matter?" I asked, looking at him, "Well, you never spend time with us!" he sighed again, "Well... maybe this weekend we can all go fishing?" I looked at Ben who smiled and nodded.

   The phone started ringing. I grabbed it, "Hello?" I asked, "Hi, is Ms. Hammerton there?" a girl asked, "Speaking," I said after a moment. I hadn't been called Ms. Hammerton ever sense... gosh I don't really know, "I'm sorry to be brining the news but... your father... he... he's gone. The funral is this afternoon... You can make it, right?" the person asked. A few tears fell from my eyes, "Yes," I murmured, "We'll be there," I told the person and hung up.

   As I turned around, Ben came up to me, "What?" he asked, "Daddy," I murmured, putting a hand to my mouth, "He's gone," I gasped out. Kyle looked at me I saw out of the corner of my eye, "Grandaddy's gone?" he asked and I nodded. I couldn't cry now, my family need me. I had to break the news to the girls. I got out of the grasp of Ben and walked to the girls's room.

   "Jay?" I called in, "Becca?" I opened the door, "Yeah?" Becca asked but they both had a pretty good idea of what happened, "Your grandaddy," I gasped out buy Jay was already crying. Becca hugged her and rocked her back and forth, "Were leaving right now. Get into your black gowns from momma's funral," I told them and I left the room.

   I went into my own room and put on the gown. It was pure black with a length that nearly touched the ground. It usually made me look like a black ghost.

   He's gone. I thought, He's really gone! and for that moment, I really cried. Really, truley cried.

 

This is the first chapter. I will add more if the comments are good, thanks! :)


Posted on: January 07 2012

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POETRY:

A Mirror's Wisdom

by Julzperri Quill-red

I look at you
Do you know

What do I mean
Are you innocent
Or are you blind
Or do you see
I am confused, 
Yet it is simple
The games you play
That strike deep
My life's a game
I look into your eyes, 
I see cold
Only cold and hate
What do you see
When you look in mine
Fear, anxiety or qualm?
Or just me
Only me 


Posted on: January 06 2012

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FICTION:

Chapter Eleven. Wendigo.

by Julzperri Quill-red

Nina spun around, her hair whipping about her face in the savage wind. A flash of lightning illuminated the forest around her for a split second before the inky blackness of the night returned. The sky boomed above her following the flash and she felt the earth rumble beneath her feet. She'd lost Dom and Daalen. She didn't call out, afraid that she might alert their hunters to her presence. Instead she cast a spell that let her feel the warmth of people close by. She could feel two figures 300m to her left, and another two about 600m behind her. The figures to her left she could make out that one was tall, and the other short. She assumed that it was Dom and Daalen, but she couldn't be sure, and she didn't want to risk stumbling upon her attackers, at a loss what to do, Nina almost shouted in frustration. Then she remembered what she and Dom used to do when they were playing war games in their youth. She let out a high pitched squeal, copying exactly the call of the birchwren. Three seconds later she heard a reply call from the direction of the two people to her left. In her excitement she stumbled through the brush, branches snagging her clothing as she pushed past and accumulating numerous scratches on her forearms and legs. She ceased the flow of magic and ended her spell as she pulled back a branch to reveal Dom and Daalen crouched behind a large boulder.

  Nina breathed a sigh of relief and hurried over to where they were and joined them behind the boulder.
"What are those things?" Nina whispered.
"They are Wendigoes," Daalen replied. "I'll elaborate later, but we have to get out of here, now." Daalen paused to consider how they were going to escape. "Nina, can you cast your spell to see where they are?" he asked.
  Nina closed her eyes and focused on the spell. After a few seconds she whispered;
"They're about 650m to the south west of us. They're moving north." She replied, still concentrating on the location of the strange creatures. Daalen nodded and she ended her spell. 
"We'll head east, up the mountain. They're not partial to the cold and it's not in the direction we were headed, nor the direction they're looking. If they can't find up north then they'll search south next, assuming we would flee the opposite direction of their search." he finished and turned, sneaking through the underbrush, still crouched. Nina mumbled under her breath, and their footsteps vanished behind them. It was a simple spell, she simple stirred the air above the earth where they stood to erase their shallow prints. She knew she couldn't maintain the spell forever, but she hoped that they'd get far enough away without a trail so that they may not be followed.
  
As they made their way through the dense forest floor, the heavens opened and rain started to pour. Nina was relieved at the heavy drops, for although it would make their escape miserable, she no longer had to maintain her spell to hide their tracks. The heavy raindrops would wash away the imprint, and mask their scent, although she wasn't sure if those creatures used scent to track their pray. After moving east up the mountain for what felt like hours, but must have only been 60 minutes or so, Daalen stopped and motioned for Dom and Nina to stop behind him. The rain had eased to a gentle drizzle, offering little solace to the three soaked travellers.
"Nina, can you cast your spell again? Be careful not to cast it too far, for fear of overwhelming yourself."
Nina muttered the phrase and held her hand with her palm facing the sky. She extended her search to over 1000m in every direction, but could only feel the dim, steady heat of the small forest animals that surrounded them. She told Daalen of what she found.
"Good, we'll carry on from here at a slightly slower pace, if they're not directly behind us, I doubt they'd follow us further up the mountain than they'd like." And so the three companions trudged slowly up the mountain. The gradient of the slope had steadily increased over the last kilometre and now the rain has turned the forest floor into a thick, slippery layer of mud. The going was tough, with Dom, Nina and occasionally Daalen, slipping over in the muck, to catch themselves on their hands and continue on their way. After another couple of hours of struggling up the mountain side, the rain stopped and Daalen held out his arm to stop Dom and Nina again.
"We'll camp here," he announced as they found themselves at the edge of a rocky overhand that would shield them from most of the rain.
"We will be safe here," he said, dropping his pack against the back wall of the recess and unclipping his bedroll.
  Nina explored the forest around her until she found a small babbling brook not far from the overhang, in which she rinsed herself until she had rid her body of the mud that clung to her. She cleaned her wounds, before whispering a long spell to mend the scratches on her arms. She returned to the overhang and told Dom and Daalen about the stream, and letting them know that if they cleaned their wounds she would heal them. Dom was the only one her took her up on her offer.

The slept uneasily that night, the previous encounter had them all on edge. Nina knew the tales of this forest and what it beheld but until tonight, she never believed that there was anything within it's branches that wasn't human. She lay restlessly, thinking back to how it happened. It was just stupid bad luck. They'd travelled most of the day and were looking for a place to make camp. Dom and Daalen had found a small cave that went back into the mountainside, all in all it was an excellent place to camp out of the weather. They'd set their packs on the ground when they heard the crunch of a footstep deeper in the cave, where the light didn't touch. She thought it stupid now, that she hadn't checked the cave for anything with magic before they even ventured in. She resolved herself to check in the future. Their heads had snapped up to see the creature emerge from the darkness. It was tall, at least 8 feet, and had a twisted face, it almost looked like a wolve's head, but it had human eyes. The teeth were long and filed down to points, and they were gnashing together as it approached the three of them. It's body was tall and thin, and it's arms hung low, ending in long spindly fingers with claws 3 inches long that fell past it's knees. It was thin, it's ribs were protruding noticeably, as were most of the bones on it's body. It wore only a small strip of clothing like a loincloth, which flapped as it limped toward them. 
"Run!" Daalen had called, and he, Dom and Nina had all turned and fled. The creature gave chase, following them into the trees, this was when Nina had lost the other two. The second creature had followed them, the first pursuing Nina. She knew she'd never outrun it, so she cast a spell to bend light around herself. It was a complex spell and she worked on the wording while she ran. When she had perfected it, and muttered the last word she darted behind a tree and stood as still as she could. She slowed her breathing so much that she hardly took one breath a minute. She cast another spell with her mind to stop the wind from whipping her hair about, and a third, to mask her scent from the animal. The animal skidded to a halt as it seemed to have lost it's prey. It sniffed the air, it's moist dog-like nose twitching in the moonlight. It moved closer to Nina, and she prayed that her three simple spells had been enough. It leaned in closer, and she could smell rotting flesh on its breath as it leaned in, it grunted wetly in the back of it's throat. Then the second creature howled in the distance, and the first snapped his head up, then turned and ran towards the howling.
  Nina held her position until she was sure the creature was gone. She slowly exhaled and released her spells. This was when she had started to run, she ran quietly, in the direction opposite to where her attacker had headed, before spinning around and stopping to cast the heat-seeking spell.

She lay in bed now, thinking back to the terrifying encounter and found it difficult to feel safe in her cave. She lay awake, tossing and turning for hours before she finally settled into a light, fitful sleep.
  In the morning, Nina woke up before she opened her eyes. She remembered the events of the day before and shot up in her bedroll, her eyes snapping open.
"Morning princess," Daalen greeted from the small fire he'd made. Dom was still in his bedroll, though awake. He gave Nina a weak smile, clearly still shaken from the day before. Nina extracted herself from her bedding and moved over to the fire, next to Daalen.
"Wendigoes?" she asked, "What are they?"
Daalen sighed, he thought that perhaps they wouldn't ask, but he guessed that they needed to know.
"They used to be men-" he began.
"What?" Dom interrupted. "Those- those things used to be MEN?" he said, incredulous.
"Yes, just like you or I. They live in the mountains although they can't live at high altitudes, as they used to be men, they can't brave the cold just as you and I can't. They're an old creature, the ones we saw yesterday have probably been that way for at least 100 years, and that's why they didn't much resemble humans. Their canine like faces are adapted for biting and tearing at flesh. Usually humans. However they can survive off animal flesh alone. But it is not their preferred meat." he said grimly. "They are usually solitary though, it was unusual to see two together last night. I don't know if it's just a rare case or if they've joined forces for a reason. Let's hope it was just an exception to the rule eh? My spine tingles at the thought of those beasts becoming organised."
"How did they become Wendigoes?" Nina asked tentatively.
"Ah, well they committed an evil act, an act that breaks the very fibres of being human and so they begin to transform."
"What is the evil act? Killing someone?" Dom asked.
"No no, hell I've killed people and do you see me out there all blood crazy? No, you have to consume human flesh." Nina made a noise of disgust while Dom's face grew white.
"That's disgusting," he whispered, "People actually do that?" he asked slightly louder, incredulous.
"Not so often. Mostly it happens when famine threatens to kill them, or in cases where hunting parties have become lost in the forest and have no food to survive. In rarer cases though, some people believe that consuming human flesh will grant them immortality, and so they chow down trying to gain an eternal existance." he finished. Daalen didn't seem as phased by this as Dom and Nina, however Nina imagined that he'd had longer to digest the knowledge and grow accustomed to the fact.
"So those things, they ate human flesh to become the way they are?" Nina said out loud. It didn't really merit an answer but Daalen gave her one anyway.
"You betcha. There aren't actually many around, I thought they were driven to extinction years ago, but those two are proof that a couple were missed. As they were once human though, there's always a chance that more will be created. They aren't as dangerous at first, because the transformation takes years. It's usually about 10 years before they even cease to look human. That's the dangerous part."
"Do all people that eat human flesh become a Wendigo?" Dom asked, still from his bedroll.
"Not all, some people, those purest of heart, slip through and manage to live a fairly normal life until their death. Other though, that start to turn and are horrified with their cravings for more human flesh, even when other nutrience is available, take their own lives just to make the cravings stop. It's a sad thing really." Daalen finished.
"Not if you ask me," Nina said, "You eat another human, you get what's coming to you." she finished. Dom murmured in assent.
"Well, be that as it may, they're hard to kill, as you can see from their height and their built in weapons. Best bet is to kill them with a clever spell, behead them - if you can get close enough - or shoot them between the eyes from a distance. None of which we could effectively do last night." He said. With this he poured oats into his bowl along with boiling water from the fire. 
  Seeing that breakfast was ready, Dom climbed out of bed and secured his bedroll to his pack. Nina did the same and then joined the two boys for breakfast. They ate in silence, all three with thoughts on last night's attack, and the horrible wonders that were Wendigoes.

That day they stayed higher up in the mountain, but continued north towards their destination. They covered many miles, keen to put some distance between themselves and the events that had recently transpired. The sky cleared and the sun beat down harshly on their backs. They'd filled their waterskins until they were fit to burst at the small brook near the overhang, and drunk greedily from the brook until their bellies stretched. They didn't know when they'd come across another source of freshwater, so they took advantage of it when they could. By the time they'd stopped for lunch, they'd covered a good 25 or so kilometres. Daalen seemed pleased with their progress.
"I didn't think we'd make it this far without a trail to follow," he said as they dropped to their knees for lunch. "We've done well, it helps that the sun has hardened the ground after last night's onslaught."
"Yeah, I don't know how much more mud I could swallow," Dom said sullenly. "It certainly isn't the most appetising of meals."
"You're not supposed to eat it," Nina teased.
"Shut up you," he smiled at Nina as he passed her some flatbread and a slice of cheese. They ate quickly and hungrily. It seemed too soon that they were pulling themselves to their feet and returning to their hike. They travelled at a slightly slower pace in the afternoon, hoping to rest their legs so that they may not ache as heavily tomorrow.

 


Posted on: January 06 2012

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FICTION:

Chapter Six. Bending Magic.

by Julzperri Quill-red

Nina looked down at her palm as she flexed her hand against the tight, worn leather. She traced over the gauntlet strapped to her right palm with the tips of her fingers, feeling the golden circle, framing the strange glass-like substance that bulged outward slightly against her hand.

"How does it feel?" Daalen asked, watching her inquisitively.
"Good," she replied simply, still getting used to the feel of the leather on her skin. Dom watched her from the very edge of the clearing, leaning against a tall pine tree, his arms crossed over his chest.
"Not too tight is it?"
"No, it's good, comfortable." Nina assured him. He watched her carefully as she grasped the bracer that fixed the gauntlet to her and attempted to shift it, testing it's fastness. 
"Good, now try a simple spell, when you've selected spell you wish to cast, simply point the face of the gauntlet towards where you want your spell to be directed." He instructed, still intently watching her.

Nina contemplated which spell to use to test her new piece of equipment. Blowing a hole in the ground was too disruptive, snapping a branch would be too loud and too much effort. In the end she opted to simply mute the small sparrow singing from a branch not far from her potition in the clearing. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the wording of the spell. She decided to go with the simplest option, as she opened her eyes and extended her arm in the direction of the small bird.
"Quiet." she spoke. The bird stopped singing, but continued to make odd squeaking and spluttering noises. She felt her hand grow warm where the circle rested as the magic flowed through her. She ceased the flow and the bird, although confused, resumed his singing. Dom stifled a chuckle at the odd sqawking of the sparrow. Nina shot him a narrow eyed look, with a half smile on her face.
"That was a sloppy spell," Daalen critisized, his eyebrows raised.
"I thought that simple was best?" Nina asked, confused.
"Simple is good yes, but you still need to be accurate in your commands. You told him to be quiet, not silent, and you failed to specify how to be quiet, should the sparrow stop singing? Or should he stop his claws scratching on the branch? A more effective spell, yet still simple, would have been to say, 'Cease Singing' or 'Mute larynx'. This is where magic becomes difficult. To be skilled in magic, is to be knowledgable in most things, for if you do not know the term of something, you cannot shape it with magic." Daalen explained.
"I'll try again," Nina replied, eager to feel the warmth from the gauntlet once more.

Again Nina closed her eyes and thought of a new spell to try, and this time, thought longer on her choice of wording. As she opened her eyes, she held out her arm to point her palm at a small spruce tree on the opposite edge of the clearing.
"Stir branches," she whispered firmly, and to her relief, as the magic coursed through her veins, the small branches began to shake and whip back and forth as if the wind were caressing them softly.
"Woah," Dom murmered, his eyes wide. His intrigue at Nina's use of magic was apparent in his awe-struck face. He looked over at Nina and his face resumed its regular relaxed composition and he smiled kindly at her, proud of his little sister.
"Very good," Daalen said, "You could still use some work, but that is a much more affective spell, remember - using two words doesn't take much longer than using one, but the outcome is exponentially more specific." He finished.
Nina smiled. She was glad that she had this new found piece of equipment to help her control the flow of magic. When she'd first experienced it, the magnitude had alarmed her, not to mention the intangible nature that had rendered her control of it next to useless. With the gauntlet, she could direct and bind her magic, so that it wouldn't leak or escape to items that she didn't intend to effect.
"You should never remove that bracer," Daalen began again, "Should you ever need to use magic, that will be your only control over it, as you grow more experienced, you can begin to control the bounds of magic without aid, however you're far from and the results should you even think to experiment could be disastrous, as you have learned." he added, a twinge of sadness in his voice. "If fate should look kindly upon you, you may also discover a more comfortable gauntlet, this one is crude in it's design, and one of the most basic available. There will be opportunities for you to upgrade to gauntlets that you can affix to your palm with magic, without need of a bracer, however until then, you should only remove this one for bathing." He finished. Nina could tell from his tone that Daalen was finished talking for the day and she busied herself with removing her bedroll from her pack and laying it on a mossy part of the clearing.

Dom too, seemed tired from the days activities, but still he retreived the two crudely carved wooden swords from the packs and threw one to Nina as she ground the ball of her foot into the dirt 10 feet away. She held the sword in her left hand, hoping to learn to wield it just as skillfully and if she were holding it in her right. So that she wouldn't be tempted to switch, she held a small leather shield that Daalen had supplied her with in her right. The siblings circled the clearing for a few paces, before Dom leapt forward, flicking out his sword arm and attempting to slash Nina's left arm. Her delayed reflexes in that arm saw her bring up her sword to block the blow at the very last moment. Her block was clumsy and she pushed awkwardly with her sword against her brothers to regain some room between them. Again they paced as she held the shield in front of her body. This time she advanced towards Dom, more slowly than he had before, and feinted left before swinging her sword around to jab at his left knee. Dom hadn't noticed her feint and so her wooden sword struck just under his kneecap, making him gasp in suprise that she'd landed a blow. As she retreated, Dom brought his left hand to the hilt, to hold his sword with both hands. They circled for longer this time, neither wanting to make the advance, should the other read their move. Nina lost her patience first and lunged towards her brother, who placed a blow across her chest that she blocked with her shield, however as this also blocked her vision, she did not see him retract his sword and only lowered her shield in time to see it swinging towards her left arm. She couldn't raise her sword in time with her weaker arm and Dom's wooden blade smashed against her left shoulder, sending shots of pain down her arm and into her hand. She stifled a cry and returned to her position across from Dom. Throughout the evening's session Dom landed two more hard blows to Nina, one to her right knee, and another to her left shoulder again. Nina got two touches on Dom, but only just jabbed his belly, and knocked his ribcage. They continued until Nina could no longer lift her sword with her weak left arm, and sweat beaded upon both their brows. Nina was getting stronger, she noticed that Dom was working harder in each session they spent together. Neither of them were skilled swordsmen, but they were improving, she at a faster rate than Dom, which pleased her, although she could not explain why. They returned their swords to their packs and made their way through the trees to wash for the night.

She wandered over to the babbling creek and removed her bracer for a short time to clean her arms of the sweat and grime of the day, before hastily replacing it. After washing clean her body after the exertion of the sparring that afternoon, Nina sat on a smooth stone and watched the busy water rushing over the pebbled streambed. It was a pleasant evening to sit quietly by the gurgling water. Perched halfway up a peak, Nina could look out over the valley through a short distance of trees, and she thought she could almost see the farmers in the fields, seeding their crops. She wished she could stay on this rock for longer, just gazing out over the land and not having to contemplate what her future may or may not hold. She was happy here with Daalen and Dom, if not with all the people she loved, she was with the very most important. Fear still gripped her heart at the thought of hurting anybody else, but the pleasantness of the evening made it hard for her to concentrate on such disturbing topics for long. When the sun was no longer in the sky, Nina made her way back to the camp to see that Dom had already put out the fire with a shovelful of sand. Nina leaned down and kissed him on the forehead before laying on her bedroll. The warm spring evening made it comfortable for her to sleep without a cover, and she rolled onto her side to see Daalen and Dom both dozing off on their own bed rolls, before closing her eyes and succumbing to welcome sleep.

The next morning, Nina awoke to the sun shining through her still closed eyelids. She bleerily opened her eyes to see Daalen and Dom sitting by the rekindled fire and stirring their oats in their bowls.
"Morning sunshine," Dom greeted her with his usual grin.
"Finally decided to join us did you?" Daalen asked through his beard.
Nina rolled from her makeshift bed and rolled up her bedroll and stored it in her pack. She moved over to the fire and dropped her weight onto the hard stump next to Dom's. He handed her a bowl and she poured in some oats from the hessian sack on the ground, before adding boiling water from the pot on the fire. It was a bland meal, but a good one, for it filled their bellies and readied them for the day ahead. Once they'd all finished their meals, they swiftly packed their supplies and swung their packs onto their backs, ready for the miles in front of them.
"We shouldn't have too far to go today," Daalen started, "We are merely trying to make sure we can't be followed, we'll head further up the mountain, it'll be colder, but it will keep you two more alert for your sparring, you're not improving fast enough." He said, before he set off, the gravel crunching beneath his feet as he picked his way through the trees. Nina sometimes felt herself growing impatient with this strange man. Who was he to tell them that they weren't improving fast enough? She'd like to see him get off his rear and spar occasionally, but something held her back from voicing her opinions. She knew they'd only cause trouble. Instead she turned her thoughts to the trail ahead, delighted that she'd be seeing more of the green foliage of the forest today.

 


Posted on: January 06 2012

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NON-FICTION:

Occupy's New Direction

by Tyler Garrison Quill-red

It started with Libya and a smart phone in August of 2011. I had a daily routine. Item one was a news podcast. I’d fumble with my phone each morning till I’d hear, “CNN radio news update.” It was two minutes of the biggest news in the world, most of it live from Libya. People had become so fed up with Gadhafi that they were resorting to civil upheaval, no longer peaceful protests. The stories reminded me of a politics professor who repeatedly would refer to the term “epiphany”. She’d talk about a phenomenon where, not just one person, but an entire population would simultaneously reach “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.” (Dictionary.com) This might have been the single most fascinating concept I’d heard of and it was happening in Libya. I was going to take a video camera and see what happened. I was sure to come back with a story, no matter what. Then they killed Gadhafi and I thought the story was over (I was wrong). That’s when Occupy took off and I thought, “Great, I’ll cover this instead. That way I’ll still get to experience one of these epiphanies, with footage and I won’t have to learn to speak Arabic.” I didn’t find it to be another Libya, thank god Americans believe in peaceful protest. I did find a story; a harbinger of what I believe will be the next major American civil transformation and it has something to do with tents. 

The Tents

When I saw them I gasped, literally. The businessman walking next to me made eye contact and said, “Yeah they’re something, go take a look,” then went into Citibank. The tents were situated dead center in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. They were a statement loud but not clear, an entire city block occupied by clever signs, an information table and of course hundreds of tents. It was an undeniable presence to whoever walked in and out of that Fed building. They’d see that there were people willing to sleep on the sidewalk out of protest for their misconduct. The location gave it function at 101 Market Street. It was a logical place to direct their anger but the one thing I could never quite pin down was what they wanted done about it. Libyans had one clear demand, remove Gadhafi from power. Their goal wasn’t easy but it was a goal, one goal that people could easily understand and get behind. At 101 Market Street each protester had a different reason to occupy and no one knew exactly what they wanted. Not like the indisputably successful Libyans.  The info table couldn’t provide a list of demands so, no sudden insight ignited by a commonplace occurrence, no epiphany but what I found in those encampments was still a phenomenon.

The second camp, located about a half a block down at Justin Herman Plaza, was much bigger, though it wasn’t as financially motivated. The statement was in the characters with nowhere else to go. I found the debilitated and the mentally ill, the people we find the most uncomfortable to empathize with, the true victims of circumstance who need and deserve help. Their message was different from those in front of the Fed. Their focus was their government’s failure to address their basic human needs. They were angry because in this nation of unmatched wealth, they go about in poor health, some without shelter and food.

The phenomenon was the state that had developed; a democracy which served as a model of their vision. The camps addressed every grievance, every voice. It was a place where the hungry were fed, the homeless where sheltered and the sick were treated.  At Justin Herman most occupied out of necessity and this makeshift, scarcely funded encampment addressed their concerns and survival better than their government.   

One argument against the social programs supporting these people is they’ll take advantage of provided goods and come to depend on them. Some might say that that since a person is not faced with the challenge for providing for themselves, they will come to rely on the state to do it for them, becoming a drain on the system. They might say these are idle people, who can find a good life if they just work hard. They might say these people are lazy and dirty should clean themselves up and find a job if they don’t want to be on the streets. These arguments lack empathy and compassion. They do not address the causes for an individual’s lack of potential and the encampment proved it. In time it was filthy. Since it served food and provided shelter, it became a haven for those who needed it. So eventually the scene became a display of their varied disabilities. It became a filthy, unkempt, foul and smelly environment; a place ran by a population that obviously had no idea how to take care of themselves when left to their own devices, which in itself became their statement, there at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco.

The camp in front of the Fed was different.  Their issue was focused on banks and corruption. Its numbers would dwindle in the day due to day jobs. They were people who chose to sleep on sidewalks because to remain silent was appalling to them. They were the educated, the patriots, the revolutionaries, fighting the root of why Justin Herman Plaza was the last resort for its occupants. Their minds were occupied with issues like taxes, wealth disparities and campaign financing. These tents were statement against the corrupted and greedy who viewed the people in Justin Herman as no more than expensive, unnecessary, unproductive animals who weren’t playing that game that increased their profits. These people were closest to addressing what I have decided is the root of every protestors grievance. 

It all comes down to political will and the influence money has made on it. Congressional votes are catered to the will of the people financing their campaigns not the will of the populous. This alone is why seniors at Cal Berkeley were enraged with a tuition hike of 83% since their freshman year. This alone is why teachers are being fired in overcrowded schools. This alone is why Congress has a 9% approval rating and has grinded our legislative system to a halt, why congressional votes no longer represent the people who elected them, why we are technically no longer living in a representative democracy.

In every camp I found people who were angry. They all felt that the system had failed them in one way or another. Their purpose was to show their anger, but no one presented a solution. All they knew was that they could not afford to get sick, that greed was taking over, that the cops were protecting the money not the people, some CEO’s are frauds who worship a golden calf disguised as the wall street bull, police were part of the 99% and that stuff trickling down on us is not money.  I’ve decided on the one thing for Occupy to fight for, the one that will unify and clarify their energy and the one thing that every American can agree on. 

Political Campaign Financing

It is my understanding that private parties are largely responsible for the funding of political campaigns. The citizens believe the influence of this funding has become a greater influence on policy than the citizens themselves. They believe that these parties do not wish to influence our politicians to perform will of the people. The ethic of private parties is not the ethic of our bill of rights or our constitution.  This is not the policy conceived by the founder of our nation. They were rebels of non-representative government.  They understood with clarity the necessity of a ruling populous.  They understood with clarity that excess of greed combined with power is unsustainable. This clarity came from injustices of England and is the foundation of our strength. These ideals are what afforded large private parties the opportunity to become large.  Our government must adopt legislation that ensures private party funding can in no way influence political motives of sound, civil philosophy catered only to the populous which elected them.   

For such a loving city, I saw a lot of anger. Everyone had their own motive to protest, all valid enough to pitch tent on a sidewalk, but the one element that seemed to evade the entire effort was what they wanted done about it. They were fighting many things but they weren’t fighting for anything. This proposal is what they need to be fighting for. If our legislative system can’t give it to them, it’s because corruption has crippled it to the point where it no longer works for the people. If so, the citizens must figure out another way to make this proposal a reality. Either way, this is the one goal Occupy must rally behind. Libya’s Gadhafi is America’s campaign financing system because we must first have representatives motivated to serve the people before we can have policy that serves the people. 

 


Posted on: January 04 2012

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FICTION:

Old Blood is Better than Young Blood

by SephiPiderWitch Quill-yellow

 

Richard looked around the dimly lit hall, taking in all the figures in groups and huddles milling about.

"So, All the people here are vampires?  As in the blood drinking, real honest to God vampires?"  Richard asked his escort Michael.

"Yes, everyone here, save for you my friend."  Michael answered, his voice soft and low, its tone inviting, though reserved.

"I knew some existed, but I never dreamed there were so many!"  His eyes darting in amazement as he surveyed the numbers littering the room.

"Oh, this is a quiet night.  Sometimes the numbers are three and even four times this."  A slight tone of amusement beginning to creep into Michael's voice as he spoke.

"And the old one that we spoke of, will he be here?"  Richard asked.

"No, probably not.  He's not, how shall we say it, very welcome here.  We have rules.  Rules that have allowed us to live among you for centuries now without drawing the attention that used to send the hunters for us.  He chooses not to live by those rules, so he has left us no choice but to caste him out from us."

"But, you promised me I would have the story of him if I came with you this night!"  Richard's voice raised a bit as he spoke, causing many of the eyes in the room to draw to their direction.
"And so you shall, my friend.  But, not from his lips, but from whence he came to be.  And the story will be told complete so that it doesn't recast the veil of fear that once threatened our kind.  You will have your story, but you must promise to tell the all of it, not just of him.  But, I warn you, none will believe it.  In the eyes of your kind, we are but a myth told to children to keep them in their beds at night.  Should they ever find "him", they will think him a lunatic and lock him away.  And though immortal blood flows in his veins, he is still young and untaught and there are things that can destroy even us.  He will not survive long without protection and help."

"And you would let that happen?"

"He made his choice.  He was told that if he chose that path, he would have no help from us.  Without the vow, he is not one of us and has forsaken the privileges that go with belonging to the order."  Michael replied calmly.

Richard looked around the room at the people again.  All seemed to be between their late 20s and early 40's.  Some of them were very conservative in their dress, others quite flamboyant.  The only thing all had in common was the pale, almost iridescent complexion.  He wondered how they could all get along so well, all seeming so very different.  He was about to ask when Michael drew his attention to the far end of the room and a group sitting at a table there.
"Ah!  There are the ones I wish you to meet.  The ones that can tell you of the old one."  Michael scooped his hand under Richard's arm and guided him across the room to the two men and the woman seated at the table.

Richard looked at the three people as they approached.  One of the men looked to be in his early 40's, wearing a long coat, a bright purple shirt and a top hat with neon coloured plumes adorning it.  His hand resting on a beautifully carved cane, though his hand covered the top, but enough peeked out between his fingers hinting of an animal head of some kind. The younger man was much more conservative in his dress, simple dark suit with white shirt and neatly cut sandy brown hair that looked like it could tend to wildness if not tamed with dressings.  The woman, now here was one that was hard to describe.  It was like she couldn't quite make up her mind what look she wanted, so she just took bits and pieces of each and put them all together. She wore a black and red corset over a high-necked white Victorian blouse with a fox wrap around her neck, complete with heads biting the tails.  Around her waist was a skirt that looked to be fashioned from about a thousand strips of fabric, no rhyme or reason to the choices as there were solid colour pieces, chequered one, striped ones, all hanging in various lengths from a single waistband.  And over the waistband dangled on of the wide metal belts full of dangling coins and beads that you would expect to see on a belly dancer.  Raven black hair hung in wild curls and flowed down her back with a single strip of blue at one temple.  And on her head, she wore a pirate's hat festooned with a live raven.  And lastly, was the necklace, if you could call it that, around her neck.  It was like a catch-all for any trinket that seemed to catch her eye.  Keys and beads, bells and twisted colour bits of twine, and bones, lot of them and even a few small animal skulls.  Oh my!

"This is Richard, the man I told you about."  Michael offered as we reached the table.  
He pointed to the 40 something man, "This is Gregoire, 12th degree high sire and custodian of records."

Gregoire stood and extended his hand to Richard and taking a deep bow at the same time.  "Most gracious pleasure, Richard."  he said as he grasped Richard's hand, a slight brogue to his speech.  

"And this,"  gesturing to the younger man, "is Raphael, though he prefers Ruffy.  He is the mentor of the newly made and responsible to train them in our ways till they are ready to take the vows."

Raphael/Ruffy rose, twirled about a couple of times, made a wide sweeping bow and swept Richards hand up in his as he rose.  "A joy it is to welcome a querying outsider into our little den of blood-letting!"  His eyes sparkling mischievously as he spoke.

"And last, but most certainly not least, the most beloved and feared Lady Circe, punisher and bestower, seer and sage to all within the fold."

Lady Circe remained in her seat and looked up at Richard, starting from the top of his head and travelling till she gazed up the shoes on his feet.  Then she looked him in the face, golden eyes with the longest lashes he thought he had ever seen, the eyes glowing and dimming as her pupils contracted and expanded  while she watched him.  After what seemed an eternal stretch of time, she slowly extended her gloved hand, bracelets dangling from her elbow to her wrist.  "You are welcome." she toned as he took her hand and softly kissed the back of it.
"Pleasure is mine.  And gratitude at allowing me to be here to answer my questions."  Richard replied then took the chair that Michael motioned for him to take.

Gregoire leaned across the table and and fixed a stare on him that made Richard feel as if he were slowly becoming naked before him.  Not as in the cloathed sense, but as if the veils to his soul were being shed to flutter away in a breeze.  After what seemed an eternity, Gregoire sat back and issued a deep belly laugh, his eyes twinkling brightly as he slapped his hand down hard on the table top sending all the glasses to rattle violently on the surface.

"So . . . how old are you Richard?  Not so young as I would have expected to be chasing such a. . . how shall we say it, a demon inquiry."

"I'll be 58 this year.  Why should curiosity fade with years?"  Richard replied.

"Oh, it shouldn't!"  Gregoire answered with another long chuckle.  "But alas, it often does.  You humans often become more reserved and cautious with age, choosing the known and comfortable rather than seek out the strange.  The security of the known just seems to naturally follow with ageing among your kind."

"I suppose that is true of many, okay, most of us.  But, not all of us."  Richard countered.  "I pray the day never comes when I fail to seek out the curious and the novel.  I believe that should that day ever come, it will be the day I shall start looking for the reaper at my bedside and shall gladly welcome his invite to pass from this journey to the next."

"Oh!  Simply marvellous!"  Gregoire exclaimed, clapping his hands like a child that has just witnessed an act of magic.

As they spoke on of his travels and experiences, Richard began to notice Circe out of the corner of his eyes.  She seemed to have nothing to add, nothing to question in the exchange, even after Ruffy joined in as well.  she just quietly listened to all that was exchanged and shared between them.  Her silence presence became a distraction that couldn't be ignored and he found himself glancing in her direction more and more frequently to look for even the slightest change in her expression as they talked.  But, nothing.

Suddenly, Michael appeared off to Richard's right side and set a wine goblet down in front of him, hand still firmly grasping the rim of it.  Richard tried to think on when Michael had vanished as he didn't remember him leaving the company.  Ah well! Michael looked over at Circe and for the first time her expression changed.  She nodded just slightly and her lips parted in a partial smile, then she sat back in her chair and crossed her hands over her stomach.

"Well!  Richard, this is for you."  Michael said and lifted his hand from the goblet.  Its a very special Port reserved for only very special occasions."  With that, he slid the goblet over till it was right in front of Richard.  "And now, I think it is time we get to the matter Richard is here for, no?"  Then he took a seat at Richard's left and slapped Richard on the shoulder before continuing.  "So, I suppose we should begin at the beginning, no?  I find its always a good place to start."

Richard opened up his notebook then and looked up to see who would begin with the story.  Ruffy picked up his glass and motioned to Richard to do the same and all glasses were lifted for his toast.  "Dearly beloved . . . No, that's not right!"  Ruffy laughed.  "To truths to be told, histories written and prayers that maybe this once they will be written right."  All heads nodded in agreement just before the glasses were raised to their lips.

As the dark liquid passed Richards lips, he felt its thick rich substance caress his entire mouth, deep, heady, spicy and very unusual.  He pulled the glass slightly away and took a deep inhalation of it.  His eyebrows scrunched together as he tried to make this one out.  He had never smelled anything quite like it before.  It was like . . . antiquity infused into a viscous liquid of spice and flowers and wrapped in the bonds of the wine.  And it was heady!  He could tell he would have to keep that in mind as he took another sip and looked up at his hosts, the surprised look on his face quite obvious in the looks he was receiving back.

"Before you ask, no, there is no place you can obtain the wine you are drinking.  It is a special blend held secret within these walls and rarely offered.  Enjoy though, my friend."  Grgoire answered the unspoken question, a broad grin on his face.  "Please, do enjoy!"

"And now, I shall begin if you are ready."  Ruffy stated and sat back in his chair after Richard nodded.  "We, our kind, have been here at least as long as your kind.  It is told that in ancient times, we lived in harmony with each other, sharing int the bounties.  No one is really sure when those times changed.  But, as in all things, the world does change.  Fear and distrust eventually find their way in when two are so very different.  The need to draw lines between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.  The desire to find oneself as superior and in the so doing, requires that the other be found as inferior.  Who started it so many ages ago, it is hard to tell.  But, start, it did.  It is said that there was a time when we did not have the taste for human blood.  But, the truth of that, as well, is past the time of true knowing.  At any rate, the time came when both became the hunter and the hunted.  Ours is a creature of the night, and yours of the day.  Thousands of both of our kind fell to the other.  Many was the time when it was questionable if we both would exterminate the other.  Then, one day, it seemed your kind led the war and our kind fled to hide in the shadows.  It may be that it was then that we first tasted human blood.  Maybe it was before and that is what started the wars.  The records conflict of that time."

Ruffy paused and drew his fingers along the moisture on his glass, his face cast in deep thought, eyebrows pressing deeply to the center and biting gently on his bottom lip.  A deep sigh escaped his mouth and he sat back and looked at Richard, then continued.  

"We were the more vulnerable.  We were hunted while we slept during the day.  We are defenceless then.  Were.  It is not so much any more for many of us.  But, then we could be slaughtered like lambs.  And we retaliated!  We hunted mercilessly, taking far more down than we needed.  We took all down that we found in our paths.  Women, children, old, young, it didn't matter.  In all places where we both numbered, we both diminished.  We became monsters in your stories.  You became nothing but blood in ours.  One day, your kind found our main safe hold, one that had remained hidden for decades, possibly centuries.  As I said, the histories are vague at times.  We fled.  We found a sanctuary in what we thought was an abandoned monetary and hid in the cellars, dusty and full of cobwebs and night creatures.  It was obvious it had not had a human visitor in a very long time."

"We were not alone as we thought though.  One still remained in the halls above.  He found our lair.  But, unlike the others, he made no attempt to destroy us or inform on us.  He began to leave small gifts, offerings if you will.  Never were we able to discover where he lay at night.  If we had, we would have taken him.  If we had, we would not be who we are today.  In time, we began to ease about his presence and agreed to leave him be.  Then, one night as we were awakening, he was there to greet us.  He wanted to see if there was a way to end the bloody war between our kind.  He offered a hand of friendship.  He taught us and brought order to us.  He became the first leader of our order, guided us into initiation, wrote the laws with us.  He even offered up his own blood to a few of us on occasion, teaching us to stop short of taking life."

"Then, one night, one of ours returned wounded.  He rushed to minister to her.  He didn't know yet that we heal quickly.  That she would have been fine come the next night.  Her wounds were not lethal.  With us, there is only lethal or temporary.  He tried to breath into her, fearing she could not breath on her own.  Some of her blood entered him when he did that.  And it was that night we learned that your kind can become one of us."

"He began to slowly change after that.  Curious, we fed him more of our blood and the transformation became more pronounced.  He became one of us from that.  And still, one of you as well.  He was not bound to only the night.  He was still very sensitive to the harshness of the sunlight, but properly clothed, he could move around at any hour.  We also found that those that shared with him, they also became less sensitive.  They couldn't move about with as much freedom as he could, but they could stay out in the early hours and when the sun was not direct."

"He taught us how to take blood and still leave life.  In time, we learned ways of the taking where no memory of the event was left in our victim's minds.  The hunting of our kind slowed, and in time ceased.  We became the stuff of legends, fairy tales.  We were safe.  And we could again live in peace.  He made us into an order and the humans believe that was what we were.  They left us in our walls and believed our seclusion was part of our vows.  Which, in truth it was, though not in the way they thought.  We learned that we needed a few that were older to give us validity.  Your kind seem to confer knowledge and respect on maturity.  That we were often centuries old didn't change the fact that we looked youthful.  We don't age, as I am sure you know.  And those we turned, though they lived far longer than they would have as human, we learned would eventually die as your kind do."

"So, every so often, we would have to find a new leader, master of the order, if you will. We made some mistakes in the early days.  We chose a few old ones that didn't like our laws.  They had been powerful men and when we "made" them, they would have us return to the days of taking at will.  Of restarting the war that almost destroyed us.  That put is in a bit of a predicament.  We had taken vows not to take lives.  What to do with these rogues we had created?  After much talk and consideration, we simply turned them out.  Eventually, they were caught by the human authorities and believed to be insane.  Oh, they tried to inform on us, who we really were, but we had been here too long without a blemish of suspicion in all those years.  We counselled the authorities that hours in the sun might do their insane minds some good.  Help heal them a bit, so to speak.  Because they were part human, this was not a death sentence.  It simply aged them much faster.  And they died very natural deaths, unless one of the other inmates took their lives first.  And that did happen a couple of times."

"We began to research our candidates better.  Learning the traits we needed.  Intelligence, learned men, men of character, and yes, powerful as well.  But, powerful in a different sense.  Ones that could command power and yield it so that others would follow, would respect.  They were not easy to find.  Not easy then, not easy now.  Sometimes, we had to travel to find them.  But, never again were we without an "old one".  And a mistake such as we had made in the early times has not happened in a few hundred years."

"Until now."  Richard commented.

"Yes,"  Ruffy replied softly.  "Until now."

"So, tell me about him.  How did you make a mistake after all this time?"  Richard asked, turning the page in his notebook to ready for the next chapter.

Gregoire inched his chair forward a bit, leaned back in his chair and cleared his throat.  "I guess its my turn."  He stated with a hesitant, almost displeased tone in his voice.

"The blood is like a fine wine to us.  Each has its own flavour, the spice of experience, hint of laughter, subtle undertones of sorrow and imbued with the essence of the soul.  And as such, we each develop a taste for those certain combinations that are to our liking.  Much like those of your kind that prefer the reds over the whites, the fruitier wines, the flowery wines, the dark mature wines."  Gregoire paused and glanced over at Circe who for the first time, shifted a bit in her chair, then glared defiantly back at Gregoire before shifting back into her stolid state.
Richard watched the exchange, his curiosity peaked.  

"We have rules . . . laws.  We are all bound to them.  No matter how many centuries we have to us, no matter how high our rank, we are all of us bound by those laws!"   the threat and accusation evident in his voice.  

"Old blood is better than young blood."  a soft voice issued from Circe's still figure.  "Is.  I'm just saying."

"All of that is fine,"  Gregoire continued, his voice quieting to a low vibration "so long as we remember that we can take as our tastes inspire.  It is in the sharing that the forbidden is involved."

His gaze travelled back up to meet Richard's eyes, the softness returning to his features as he relaxed back into his chair.  "Our kind is not so different from yours, Richard.  The personalities, the characters, all of them.  We also have our creatures of impulse, and as it so often goes with their kind, they are creatures much adored and often with invaluable gifts to the community.  And unlike those that don't care about the rules and think they don't apply, often they sometimes allow their impulses to get a bit . . . . uhmm . . . . carried away with them.  They get caught up in the moment and after it is done, believe that it will all work out in the end.  And sometimes it does."  He glanced back at Circe again and she tipped her head low, staring back at him with eyes that were equally glowing with anger, remorse and guilt.  "And sometimes it does not."

He took a deep breath, picked up his goblet and took another deep draught off of it.  "Which brings us to now.  I am sure it is quite apparent that our dear Circe here is the one responsible for the one that brought you to our company.  Our Circe is one of the most revered of our members, she is our seer and the keeper of the secret wisdoms.  But, she forgets that the err is made when emotions are allowed in to cloud what is seen.  That often, our desires replace the true visions.  She additionally made the error of becoming romantically involved with her victim.  This is another thing that is expressly forbidden.  And one of the hardest things for us to do sometimes.  As different as our kind are, they are also very much alike.  So, attractions can be quite common.  But, the differences between us make such a liaison both dangerous and impossible.

"Though, on that count, I put more of the blame on him than our Circe.  He was, is a . . . how do you call them?  Oh, drifter.  A master manipulator.  He thought our Circe a wealthy heiress, though we are not sure where he got such an idea.  He wooed her as a lover and she took her sips of his essence on a more and more frequent basis. He gained her trust over time and she eventually confided in him what she was.  And then he convinced her that if she made him one of us, they could always be together.  Though we already had a recently appointed old one, she saw no harm in bringing in another one as her personal pet."   
"Her personal pet?!"  Richard sputtered, sending sprays of the thick wine across the table.  

"Yes, her pet!"  Gregoire replied, then laughed heartily.  "Calm down Richard.  Its not so bad as it sounds.  When a mortal is fed only from a single of us, they become bound to us and their need for just another taste of our blood becomes overwhelming.  Its not something that they need to survive.  Its more like those of your kind that develop substance problems.  It seems to be a weakness many of you have.  That forbidden fruit, that taste, that moment of pure euphoria, it drives all common sense from your minds.  And you will do anything, anything, for that one more taste.  And before you think too harshly of us, we didn't create this weakness in your kind.  And I can assure you that those that have been taken in though such a way, had already succumbed to this need in their nature in your world in one of its many way.  In some ways, we are actually saving them.  The blood does not harm them, does not kill them.  And they lose their taste for the bottle or the needle or whatever their drug was when first they taste it.  They still have their free will.  They just choose to set it aside for another taste.  And I can assure you that it is not allowed for one to abuse their pet."

Circe looked up at Richard with a slightly cocked head, mischievous smile on her face, then shrugged her shoulders and giggled softly before turning back to her glass to draw circles and patterns in the liquid with her fingertip.

"As I was saying, the bulk of the blame goes on him and how he manipulated our Circe."  Gregoire continued.  "She has been judged according to her part in it and fulfilled the terms of her punishment.  I doubt she will repeat such an error in judgement again.  Not given the knowledge of what was created by her mistake."  

Circe's head dipped at this and Richard thought he saw her eyes begin to glisten a bit with tears at this last comment.

"As I said, he refused to take the vows, abide by the rules.  He saw in his new "blood" a means to achieve power and control that was beyond what his mortal life would allow.  And he became drunk with the knowledge of it.  We warned him he would be cast out.  Even had we not already had an old one, he would not have been acceptable.  He laughed at us as he strode out the door and swore we had not seen the last of him.  Even we were surprised to learn the extent he would take that threat."  

Gregoire grew silent after that and sat back in his chair, a strained look on his face, weighing on it, adding years in a moment to his features.

Michael leaned forward, crossed his hands on the table before him and cleared his throat.  "He did the unspeakable!"  Michael said, his voice shaking and broken.  "He, whose name is not permitted to be spoken in these walls for what he did.  He sought his revenge at being banned from our presence by hunting and taking the life of our old one.  Left his remains, throat ripped out and drained on our doorstep.  Drained his essence to obtain the knowledge that was in the blood, hoping to drink in the knowledge of power over us.  Thought to take from us the face of the master and reducing our standing in the community.  Thinking we would have to take him back in or lose our status.  When that failed, he tried to accuse one of our members of committing the heinous act.  It proved how much he underestimated us.  The evidence he planted was turned back to him and it wasn't long till he was charged with the murder.  He has bellowed accusations about what we really are, thinking he would be believed by someone.  And as in the past, one of ours was assigned to him as his therapist and sun therapy has been prescribed for him.  Additionally, he has been put on a meatless diet.  So, he has been denied even the blood of animals to sustain him.  He is withering rapidly, the madness growing each day.  Not only is he newly made, but he is also single fed, which makes him even more vulnerable.  We are certain he will not last too much longer."

"I didn't realize he was incarcerated.  I had just heard rumours about such a one.  Seems my information is a bit outdated"  Richard said

"Well, its been in all the papers.  I can't imagine how you could have missed it."  Michael fixed him with an intent stare.  "I thought there was little that happens that misses your attention."

"Oh, wait!  Now I know what you are talking about!  The crazy psycho that left people ripped up like a wild animal had gotten to them!  Yes!  I do remember that.  And also that he attacked a guard at the hospital who only lived for a couple of days."

"Yes, unfortunate that was.  We found that he had given him some of his blood to create another to bond with.  We stepped in on that one and helped him slip mercifully from life."

"But, I thought that was against your laws!"  Richard exclaimed.

"Normally, yes.  But, as in all things, one must allow for . . . how shall we say? . . . special circumstances.  By this time, he was truly mad, insane.  And the insanity would have infected his blood.  Which, in turn, would have infected the guard with his insanity.  Not to mention the fact that the wounds he inflicted on his victim were so extensive that even if not for the fear of spreading the insanity, might never have healed completely.  You must understand that wounds prior to being turned are not the same as those after, which can heal overnight.  He would have been scarred to the point of monstrous;  and insane.  So, in mercy, we helped him simply slip away.  And because of that last incident, have moved to see his end come just a bit swifter.  Before any others come to harm."  

Michael looked up at Richard's face, probing for some reading on how this was being taken in. Richard furiously scribbled out the last bits of what he had been told, beads of sweat blurring his vision as he wrote.  He chewed on his lower lip as he let all he had heard sink in and begin to process.  Then he looked up at his hosts, all of their faces turned to him.

"And this is the story you want me to carry out in the world and set to print?"  Richard asked, hesitancy weighing on each word.

"Yes."  Michael replied  "Just as it has been told, leave nothing out."

"Okay then."  Richard said as he snapped his notebook shut.  "Exactly as it has been told.  Though the world will think I have taken to fantasy writing.  You shall have what you ask."  He swallowed down the last bit from his goblet and stood up from the table.  "I guess I better get started then.  I have a lot of writing to do."

"Wait!"  Michael commanded.  "There is still the matter of payment for the story."

"Ah yes, that."  Richard's face paled and he took a deep breath.  "Will it hurt?"

"Just a the tiniest bit at first and then it will be as a dream."  Michael said, smiling reassuringly.

"Okay, well I guess I'm ready."  

Circe stood up and walked slowly over to face Richard.  "You're the one?"  Richard stammered.  His only response was her slow, and so very seductive smile as she wrapped her arms about his neck and slid her body up against his.  A tiny prick and then he was floating, clouds in an azure sky, his body weightless, like all the muscles relaxed, all the strain lifted.  Then slowly, he began to shift back till he felt the hands recede from his neck and he was looking into her eyes.  Slowly, she took a step back, wiped the slight drip of blood from her chin and smiled at him.

"I guess that wasn't so bad."  He said, gathering up his things and tucking them under his arm.  "I'd like to say it was a pleasure, but I'm not sure that would be completely accurate, but I do thank you for the evening.  And I hope you will understand if I am fine that we don't do this again."  He stammered.

"Oh, but you will, my friend."  Michael interjected.

"I'm sorry?"

"My friend, this is but the beginning.  You see?  We are in a situation where we are without an old one, as we told you.  You have been chosen.  This, tonight, is just the beginning."  Michael laughed.

"But, don't you need me to agree?  I mean, you can't just make such a decision for me!  It requires that I also drink your blood, which I can assure you, I have no intention of doing.  And I can assure you, you cannot force me to do!"  Richard glowered at them.

"Oh, but my friend, you have.  You have been all this evening!"  Michael replied mirthfully.  "What do you think that so very exotic wine has been that you have been sipping on this night?  You carry within you a bit of all of us.  It takes a little time, but by morning, it will have worked its magic and the transformation will be taking place.  So, may I say Welcome to the fold!"  

Richard's heart began to race and he made a rush for the door.  About halfway there, his mind started clouding and he felt himself falling.  A few of the others caught him before he hit the floor and carried him to a bed in one of the rooms to sleep off the night.

Gregoire looked questioningly at Michael.  "Oh, calm down.  Once he wakes, the transformation will have begun.  He will join!  We chose well.  He will suit us nicely."  Then he looked over at Circe and smiled.  "You did well, dear lady!  The last is now forgiven."

Circe looked at him and smiled in gratitude, then turned and walked slowly away.  Soft though her voice was, it was heard by all in the area.

"Old blood is better than young blood!  Is all I'm saying.  Yes, it most certainly is."  

SephiPiderWitch
11/27.2011

 


Posted on: January 03 2012

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POETRY:

Sundown

by Brooklyn J. Davis Quill-red

My tortured carcus decorates the desert floor

As soon too, so shall my bones.

I look up to catch a taloned buzzard as it plucks out my good eye.

Not much left to see covered in my own brand of strawberry syrup.

Screams brawl into dysfunctional vocal cords;

Barely a wretch'd croak from a sand-coated, dust-covered, crater botched throat.

Some bones are already bare while parts of me lay disassembled;

As there is yet no god to turn out the light in a timely fashion.

My blood pales to quench the parched sands and I wonder my body deformities

Should I survive this cruelty.

Alive, I must witness each beast that would take its pieces,

Feed their crying offspring,

While the worms must be salivating, patiently waiting.

How long before death's arrival?

Must I beg as to all Masters?

Must their ears be filled first before the suffering ends?

Tears are useless to an eyeless face.

The silent wailing continues. 


Posted on: January 02 2012

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POETRY:

armed and disarming

by Moon Puppy Quill-yellow

she carries it,

cocked,

at all times,

like a gun.

 

shoots it,

recklessly,

at strangers

as they pass.

 

occasionally,

she misfires

the damn thing;

gets hit with the recoil:

flames that spread

under her skin,

over her face.

 

she reloads;

aims again;

shoots off

another smile.

 

disarming strangers

as they pass.

 

 


Posted on: January 02 2012

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POETRY:

Era of the Witch

by Brooklyn J. Davis Quill-red

Fiddlers fiddled in the field beneath a waning moon.

Incantations were spelled out for chickens laying soon.

By night, the farmer and his wife, red cheeks and breasts a-bare

Danced by roaring firelight without a conscious care.

 

 By day, their secret's kept within their life upon the farm.

Witches unknown by all the villagers for all their country charm.

Bloody heat of the summer sun unbalanced in its blaze.

Spontaneous combustion plagues all those who dare its heated haze.

 

Perhaps tonight we'll dance again beneath the waning moon;

And bind a spell to reduce the sun so chance be raining soon.


Posted on: December 30 2011

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POETRY:

Confined

by Brooklyn J. Davis Quill-red

Who am I to embellish upon words that I have yet to know?

Am I to bleed in suffering for the myth diluted which you conspire to agree to?

To bare the child of lies and rest it upon my breast

Disguising myself as one of you?

 

Who am I to call upon the spirits that do not know me?

To request a dream that I may only sleep through.

Calling in echoes to the blue camel in the desert of wishes

Believing this time, this time it will come true....

 

What of being dug deep in a coffin with restless, unknown dreams?

To cry to a god I don't believe in, and play with seemingless things;

Sunken in driftsand, while singing trees lose their leaves...

Confined in the unjust foundation of normalcy.

 

 

 

 


Posted on: December 30 2011

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POETRY:

The Myth of Love

by Anonymous

Love Sucks.

It's just to fuck.

To lose virginity.

To find a friend to the very end,

is not reality.

So find a cloud,

lose a crowd,

become responsible;

If in a hex, just have sex,

because love is impossible.


Posted on: December 30 2011

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POETRY:

Karma Café

by serafina

Late, and pushing my way through a whirl of pedestrians

In winter coats, unbuttoned

With scarves hanging limply, unknotted in the unseasonably warm weather

I rush past a bank, alongside a row of tiny stores

Each dressed in strands of blinking holiday lights

Display cases filled with tidy rows of rings and bracelets on mirrored trays

I would stop to look but for the fact that I am already ten minutes late.

Stepping over a street grate, I feel the vibration of a passing subway

That I cannot hear because of the clamor which is everywhere

People talking, horns honking, doors slamming,

I collapse onto a bench

Outside the entrance to the Karma Café

And wait.

And wait.

Ah, here he is, I remember him

At twenty, but not now

We sit to speak, and there are walls everywhere

Built with the mortar of thirty years of experiences unshared

Bricks fashioned from the debris of unrealized dreams and bitter disappointment

Private pain unknown and unknowable at twenty

Small relics of the past break free and tumble into our conversation

For an hour or so

And then we are quiet.

He walks me back to my hotel

Where taxis crowd outside the entrance

To take visitors to happy places

Dinners at elegant restaurants

The Theater, the Opera, the Nutcracker

We press through the revolving door of my hotel

and past the concierge

To the elevator, where we part

The elevator doors open, I step in,

And travel up the elevator

Alone


Posted on: December 26 2011

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FICTION:

The Invisible Muse

by Tyler Garrison Quill-red

She stands apart because she’s lovely and so she walks alone. Defined by loveliness, her reason for loneliness, her blessing, her curse, she walks alone because she stands apart. Known only by God just how lovely, no human is able to befittingly regard her with adequate reverence. Blessed so abundantly with loveliness she’s unable to be anything but, rendering her helplessly impenetrable by the temptations of poor form, bad taste and tactlessness. The issue with this amount of loveliness is the aforementioned traits are so engrained, she believes all others exist as such, folks far less lovely. She believes all deserve perfect impartiality, but with far more loveliness than any perfect stranger requires or can adequately behold.

and when mumbling bums come stumbling by

and most would just turn and self-righteously sigh

she’s sad to let someone so lovely go by 

This alone is precisely her utterly unbeknownst root of isolation, her lonely suffocation of loveliness. The recognition of one’s own loveliness is not a trait possessed by those blessed with loveliness. For to wield the entirety of her lovely potentiality she must encounter one of equal loveliness to show her but to consider an equally lovely man a viable thought in the case of Our Subject is to say, at the very, very least, embarrassingly absurd. So, about she goes, apart. 

Perfect in the breaths she takes and in the essence she creates, she knows not how angelically beheld she is to those whom regard her as an escape from their less lovely lives.

and while windy white breathes adhere to morning street’s steams

Our Subject wondered among the hunkered low downs and tied nicely ups

and never in tandem she happen to happen on random bad luck

she met a low man

evil on his hand

life of excuses 

victim of the man

 

 

and lovely she thought

all people must be

she touched his hand

and made him more lovely

 

and when she awayed

lowly he stayed

lovely for a moment

then back in the shade

One morning she came upon this same lowly man on a day he was feeling decidedly lovelinessless and desired more. But she was on the race to the workplace and hadn’t the time for the commonplace. 

so he got up and rumbled a drunken berate

astounded was she to see so much hate

making her frantically double her rate 

Now it is a commonly known fact that anyone blessed with such an overwhelmingly insurmountable supply of loveliness cannot, through any amount of coercion, be made less lovely so our subject obviously made certain not to allow the trauma to compromise her practice of perfect forgiveness. But this forgiveness required so much loveliness that the moment he was forgiven, her lovely soul began to swell. This swelling coupled with the evil of his touch that had crept from her finger tips passed her wrists, up her arm to the back of neck into her soul, evil with the exact viral intention of springing a leak in it, in fact did, letting the first drop of loveliness escape via the route the evil had entered, not by way of coercion but contamination.

As she searched for a way away from isolation into inspiration her capacity of love brewed passed its boiling point and love spilled down heels to the gutter, a sinful misallocation of love she has never known what to do with and knows not why it’s hers.  


One day The Essentialist happened upon Our Subject and wondered what escaped her. The Essentialist, mortified to see a substance seeming so essential seep to sewers, decided he'd catch it and see just what it was. So The Essentialist saved and on a year from that day he bought the apartment on the floor right below her.

 At night when she'd go to bed her loveliness dripped from her soul seeping into sheets soaked in light down bedposts through floorboards. It collected into a puddle on his ceiling. He stood staring in wonder as the puddle expanded, creating a surface tension that finally broke as a droplet of glowing white fell. He slid a crystal bowl underneath, ensuring not one more utterly essential drop went to waste. Streaking down rhythmically into the shallow white light, the bowl sung like a light rain on an empty meadow and smelled of the same music. The curious Essentialist dipped his pinky and touched it to his tongue. That very moment, every notion of fear and discontentment he’d ever manifested dissolved to nothing, and it tastes like grape.

a doubt ought not go

without one half of thought

when figuring  what

our essentialist ought

 

the light in the bowl

 not his to behold

must be rejoined

with its rightful spot

 

he’d be none but a blessing

till love's in the air

put it in his pocket

and take it up there

 

 he set tea right at two

made her lovely brew

she'd have it back

be lovely be new

 

she came to the door

he had this to say

something they both

recall to this day

 

I am The Essentialist

I live down below

you’ve a leak in your soul

I think I can sew

 

she was taken back

for fear of news

he helped her settle

and sit at their brews

 

 

 

there's substance inside you

that has in one drop

what every man needs

for fearless thought

 

I’ve seen it escape you

never replaced

it’s so essential

I’ll not let it waste

 

Till now such utterances of loveliness were entirely a product of Our Subject, a sort of responsibility to the less lovely. She'd not known the feeling she’d given so many and for once felt its nourishment. This single act acted as her very first insight into the immensity of her stockpile of loveliness. 

 

this substance is rapture

in one little drop

it should be in you

and whom you think ought

 

 with one single sip

The Essentialist found  

our lovely subject

recovery bound 

the love in the tea

had instantly shown

for in her pale skin

rose a new rosy tone

 

this is fine tea

is an ingredient new?

she just had to ask him

do you taste grape too?

 

you’re drinking your love

I’ve given it back

it's been in your tea

see it's a little less black

 

the loveliest act

she’d ever observed

he gave his love

by giving her hers

 

For him to possess substance of such unmatchable value and remain pure in thought, swayed not by self-servitude, showed her a loveliness she’s never known.

 She stood and gave him her hand. He took it in his, rose and was pulled into a kiss. The kiss spilled with loveliness now a compound of two kinds. It seeped into their mouths and ran down their necks. The churning illuminations filled to her soul. The lights became a solid sealed over the leak.

Our Subject hence forth had full reign of her loveliness now hers to wield on the world, loveliness unleashed by an Essentialist’s kiss that still tastes like grape.

 


Posted on: December 24 2011

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POETRY:

Sardines

by Estelle Fraser Quill-yellow

I remember her-

she was the concave being that glided across the stagnant air,

 

she was the one that they found in

the back of the               library                  without

any             clothes                  on,               she was the

one that always bought a can of

sardines from the IGA, they say it was for

him,

you know who-

from the centre-

 

I remember her- she was the one that

would sit in the corner and

cry- because

his eyes were so loud, the trees

were so long, the company

went broke, the voices were too

bright, he hurt too much, the days

were too big, the children lost

their innocence-

 

he wouldn’t touch her anymore, because

 

no one likes her long brown hair, or

the way she turns her lips, or the size of her legs,

 

or the length of her words and who likes

an introverted wench anyway? I remember

her-

 

she was the one that they found with the

knife in her

back and the blood, all over the floor,

 they say it was him, you know who-

from the centre-


Posted on: December 24 2011

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NON-FICTION:

Holiday Greeting (for the non-judgemental)

by Roben Quill-orange

Hi to all who see life clearly,

       With so much going on in the world, so much tension, distrust, angst and pain, so many bad decisions made, so much selfishness, so many people being hurt in so many ways, it’s not hard to believe that it’s the general theme of life on planet Earth.

       Yet, times come when our awareness is lifted above these not so petty rhythms of existence and we discover that we can remove the weight that’s bearing us down and rise above it.

       Christmas time is to be enjoyed for its laughter, its smiles and especially for its giving. It raises us up.

       How nice to be uplifted. Let’s do it together, for if there is any season of the year when it becomes possible, it is now, and that’s why Holly and I want to wish you our best for the holiday season.

       Merry Christmas, and may your 2012 sparkle!                               


Posted on: December 22 2011

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FICTION:

He Lies. [excerpt]

by Estelle Fraser Quill-yellow

It is cold. The grass glistens, gracefully, covered by a layer of ornamental dew. Leaves slowly fall as their entirety is swept away. Deep rills emanate the solid mass of complexity that dances benevolently in its place. Pungent; the sweet air itself is matchless for the complexion. Gradual footsteps seep through the newly softened soil and the grass rests. He is there; one with the pallid sky; the sky that envelops his dreams. The fragments of water too, seep, through the woven cotton spread that conceals his cold body. He is scared. The leaf: bronze, subtle, disarming, makes its journey through the dankness of the air, past the hiding buds of yellow petals, resting by the sinews of his waxen corpse, disturbing the roots of misunderstood trees. The roots creep, making vines through the weak soil, tracks upon the footprints of his past; creating his innocence. His hindered breath: fine particles of fog, deep matter of menace, softly whispered distressing songs. He, a being of grace, exists by the vines of challenging lies. He, a being of chance, exists only in the minds of the forgotten, the memories of the unknown. He, a being of ruin, is there; one with the savagely placid breeze that whistles as he dies. They all die; eventually.


Posted on: December 22 2011

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NON-FICTION:

Explanation Occupy

by Tyler Garrison Quill-red

Taxes-

It is my understanding that there are a select few citizens who believe they’re exempt from their civil obligation of paying taxes. Every person with minimal knowledge of government sustainability understands that for a government to perform its obligations, taxes must be assessed to the citizens. In our current taxing system, our current policy suggests the amount of income each citizen earns, reflects the amount of taxes they’re assessed. In this manner the amount of taxes provided to the government correlates with the wealth of its nation. This ensures that the wealthier a nation becomes, the better its citizens are provided for.  In our representative democracy this is not happening. This is not will of its citizens.

The wealth of the U.S. is vast. If the amount of taxes its government receives correlated to the amount of wealth it possessed, US citizens would have zero reason to feel the government could better provide, and their grievances with our civil decline would be unfounded. The citizen’s grievances are founded due to a select few citizens who feel they’re exempt from their civil obligation of paying taxes. These citizens are the reason the amount of taxes our government receives does not correlate with its nation’s wealth.  The citizens’ grievances include, lack of funding in education. They feel that if our children aren’t well educated they will become a further civil liability on our government. The citizens grievences include lack of funding in health care. They believe that if a citizen’s health is not monitored well enough to take basic preventative measures, the infirmed will become a further civil liability on our government. The citizens also feel that if the amount of taxes the government received correlated with the amount of wealth it possessed, the government would be more capable of feeding its hungry citizens, sheltering its homeless citizens and treating its afflicted citizens. These practices are economically sound. They are smaller initial investments prevent the necessity of larger future investments in such governmental obligations as prisons, courts, policing and emergency health care.

US citizens are all members of a representative democracy.  In a representative democracy the will of the people will be done. Until the taxes our government receives correlates to the amount of wealth our nation possesses, citizens will have reason to believe their government is not representing the will of the people. The will of the people will be done. We must vote into law policies that ensure the wealth of our nation directly corralates to the amount of taxes our government receives. 

 

Political Campaign Finance-

It is my understanding that there are large private parties that influence the funding of political campaigns. The citizens believe the influence of this funding has become a greater influence on policy than the citizens. They believe that these parties wish to influence our politicians to perform their will, not the will of the people. The will of the people will be done.

The citizens believe that as long as large private parties have financial influence on political campaigns, they will also have influence on policy.  This is not the policy that our fore fathers conceived. They were rebels non-representative government .  They understood with clarity the necessity of a ruling populous.  They understood with clarity that excess of greed combined with power is unsustainable. This shaped the ideals that are the foundation of our strength. These ideals are what afforded large private parties the opportunity to become large.  The citizens believe that it is the private party’s intention to avoid their tax obligations by any means necessary and with deteriorating ethic.  When a private party exhibits more influence on policy than the citizens, the citizens believe laws are created that are not the will of the people and they are not part of a representative democracy. The ethic of large private parties is not the ethic of our bill of rights or our constitution.  Our government must adopt legislation that ensures private party funding can in no way influence political motives of sound civil philosophy catered only to the populous which elected them.   

 

The will of the people will be done. 

 


Posted on: December 18 2011

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POETRY:

Wind

by Frederick Bridger Quill-yellow

In July a tall wind sluiced through the pass,

Thirty-one days of blowing Biblical apocalypse,

And tree tops swayed savagely as if they would

Break like dreams.  Stunted pines peeled

On the ridge line and skies turned strange with broken

Promises of rain, or heavenly pearls, in distant and watery

Gray that shrouded the mountain like fog over hope.

 

The house shook in the night, blistered like singed flesh,

And six tall evergreens, kissed bloody and dead, sprawled splintery

Across the rutted dirt road.  Landscapes changed.  I lay

Awake the night something behind her eyes blew away.

How do you remember someone you never met? Invisible

In the years, wind talks to shadows, chokes the rest of us

Into resignation.  Some things exist only when you can’t see them.


Posted on: December 15 2011

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POETRY:

Silver Night on the Mountain

by Frederick Bridger Quill-yellow

Sunset is a young girl in pink and black

Who disappears all too soon,

Never to enter your life again,

The girl who marks you forever,

Desirable demoness who hides in darkness,

Blows her wide breath

Into your face

From under silvered constellations.

 

Silver night shadows shift shapes,

Move in your vision and

Raise the hair on the back of your imagination,

Drift across a landscape now for rent,

Where once you could see the sky, and

Wind through 60 foot pines

Was the poetry of heavy breathing.

 

I felt safe here once,

Could stand naked at the screen door

And piss off the porch.

Now mulie bucks in bachelor bands

Walk the night on the edge of the north side hole

That was going to be the basement,

Hole now filled with debris of dreams

I don’t remember and youthful sex,

And inconvenient segments of a life

That somehow never happened.

 

It doesn’t matter how we got here now

Or where we go.

It is a place I know,

Where the wind is the sound of outgrown experience,

Mutterings of desires unsated,

Shadowed sounds slipping away

Through ageless shadowed trees.


Posted on: December 15 2011

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POETRY:

Revolution

by SBRhyme

Revolution

Dr. Swapan Basu

Newark, NJ USA

23rd February 2011

  Break! Break! Break the old rusty and

Make! Make! Make new better things.

                        In the year 2011, in the people’s land,                                     

So many revolutions, we have to bring.

 

                        Long waited the deprived, ignored mass,

                        Without job, food, medicine or shelter.

                        How dare they make all of us harass?

                        Why do we live without a health care?

 

                        We build the wealth with hard labors,

                        With talent, innovating new products.

                        Companies fail due to bad managers,

                        But the wealth, the greedy CEOs suck.

 

                        In bad times they shed the workers

                        Slaughter them like innocent cattle.

                        While they keep looting and devour.

                        Only innocent workers die in the battle.

 

                        They don’t lose jobs or cut own salaries

                        Play golf and travel in personal jets.

                        The poor loses all and face miseries

                        Silently looks for jobs without benefits.

 

                        When will the people wake up in rage?

                        Protest against all these mistreatments.

                        When will they tear off the bondage?

                        Shake up the society, failed governments.

 

  Weapons are weaker than the awakened mass

                On 14th July, in France, fell the fortress of Bastille.

                Threw stones to break rocks, railings and glass.

                Broomstick, shovel, rods won over tanks and rifle.

 

                In Nepal, they dethroned the monarch,

                Military dictator was deposed in Pakistan.

                In Egypt, at Tahirir Square, people march.

                Presidents Musharaf, Mubarak reluctantly ran.

 

  Arise people of America, don’t be so afraid

                You are the Lord, gave power to the Congress

                The courts, military are your servants, maid

                Use your weak muscles to end your distress.

 

                Demand job security, free health care

                Stop the Government’s criminal force.

                Establish your freedom without a fear   

                Chaos brings order to set the right course.

 

                They have money for the useless wars,

                But not for education or free medicine.

                If you tolerate, things would get worse.

                To them taxing the rich friends is a sin.

 

                Break! Break! Break the cruel capitalist hand

                Strike! Strike and let the liberty bell ring

                Injustice, slavedom, you must not withstand.

                Let us pray together, march, yell and sing.

 

  Poets and singers! Open up ordinary people’s sight

        Because your pen and voice are mightier than a rifle

        Listen to a poet America! Sing the glory of human rights

        Demand basic needs for taxes. It is a survival struggle.

 

                Enquire where did our money, wealth go?

                Ask why we fought a war based on lies,

                Try the criminals. The war mongers duo

We can not detain and torture without trial.

 

                Come out my dear poor brothers and sisters,

                Grab the lit torch from the Statue of Liberty,

                Hold the tricolor flag high, spangled with stars

Demand Democracy to America! You the Almighty!        

 


Posted on: December 07 2011

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POETRY:

A Strawberry in the Champagne

by Frederick Bridger Quill-yellow

They say Zeuss gave her to another but I claim

Her as my own; I defy gods daily.  She

Throws soft shadows over me, lives as much more

Than any footnote to a husband’s mythological life. 

 

I taste the red of her, polish her indifferent

Lacerations, want to kiss her until morning,

Suck the breath from her, protect peppermint

Wrists, feel the tingle of her touch,

 

Make her sex weep for me.  I drink forbidden

Fruit-studded nectars from her, feel the wetness

Of her kisses, the heat of her tears, make

Myrtle and roses yield to my desires.

 

No room for jealous ponderings.  We share

A slice of loneliness threaded through little

Regrets that quickly pass; we are who we are,

Or whoever we pretend to be.  We are still lives,

 

And fingers on skin, warm damp mornings

When you are close but never want it to end, and

Once more is never enough. After, nothing

Is as it was before and I wonder what

 

She got out of it.  You cannot promise

Much if you don’t desire to give, and she

Promises a constant.  I want no happy endings

Because they are endings.  We are an idea.

#


Posted on: December 04 2011

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