The First Bike Ride

I like empty parking lots

after fall storms.

Humid air clings to clammy skin

hard breaths puff from lungs.

Like mirages,

miniature puddles gleam in the

peaking sun.

Rays poke through-

left over clouds hanging

low,

for that last chance

shower.

Training wheels and two-wheelers

cycle ’round my memories-

shadows,

in empty parking lots

dancing after fall storms.

 

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Into Writing

I desperately wanted to be one of those writers that could impress with their humorous anecdotes. I wanted to have intricate, witty banter woven into my prose and poetry. But then,

my pencil broke,

my paper ripped,

I turned fourteen and my grandfather died.

The darkness began to creep in at first; just a shadow in my heart. A few years later my aunt had a routine surgery and forgot how to draw her own breath. She left too. The blackening shadows began wrapping their tendrils through my ventricles and choking my words.

A month later, my mother had a migraine, closed her eyes in the hospital and didn’t remember to open them. Little by little as death clenched its arms around me, the shadow in my heart extended into my extremities.

Now my words breathe life into paper through a haunted soul, escaping death’s reaches.

Still, humor evades me.

The Treasure Map

It was lost, she thought

there was no absolution.

Rippling waves-

delving deep through

glinting sand.

                                from the shadows, He spoke:

   “follow me”

   “follow me”

              corners upturned

Across August into

November

chasing casualties and

empty chests.

Locked in a labyrinth

formed from

dashes and Xes.

and

                                        from the shadows, He spoke:

          “follow me”

          “follow me”

                  pages unbound

Amongst a cascade

of willowy branches

beyond the year

and past forever.

A mahogany chest

sat patiently.

there, she thought

    in the silence

                             from the shadows, He spoke:

“follow me”

“follow me”

life unseen

Latch released, and

emptiness consumed her.

The journey forgotten,

in the end

there was

nothing.

There will be no absolution.

The Orphanage: Introduction

It was a bedtime tale told only at the bequest of a brave child. Some parents even used it as a threat to keep their children at bay, but even then it was a rarity. When a parent said to their child, “If you don’t clean your room Viola will come to take you away,” a prayer was uttered afterward, those of a certain faith would cross their chests in hopes that certain ears did not catch the threat on the wind.

Over the years the disappearances near the old orphanage had not gone unnoticed. It was a threat, but the legend of Viola the child snatching demon had become more than just a superstition, for Red Rock, it seemed real.

When Jamie asked his mom to tell him Viola’s story before bed on this particular night, it was understandable why she was hesitant. To her it was more than just a story, but in the end she yielded. Bending over her seven year old son in his small wooden bed she tucked his comforter tight around his body. She kissed him on the forehead and sat at the edge of his bed with a palm resting on his stomach. He looked up at her, brown eyes wide and expectant. The light from his bed side lamp flickered in the dark.

His mom began the story she knew from her own childhood, “Once long ago behind the old orphanage a girl was wandering alone. Seeing a path that led into the forest, she decided to go that way, though she had been told many times not to venture into the forest,” his mother stopped for a moment. Emphasizing how the girl had been told not to do something, and eyed her son who was listening. He looked at her and nodded. Then she continued with the story, “The girl, Viola, didn’t like to listen to anyone, so she went anyway. She had heard there were many dangerous things that lived in the forest. Viola wanted to see them for herself. When she had gone far into the forest strange sounds began surrounding her on all sides. They were not any noises of animals that she had ever known before. Viola wasn’t frightened. She instead, did the one other thing she was told again not to do, she went off the path.”

Jaime’s mother patted him and her eyes narrowed; she was getting nervous, but he urged her to continue. He knew the good parts were coming. “Viola continued walking toward the sound closest to her. That was when a demon, some think a witch, popped out of the underbrush and grabbed her pulling her deep into the forest where she was never heard from or seen again. But, you can still see her some times when there is a full moon or the night is clear, wandering near the forest. They say that she haunts the orphanage and the forest around it, looking for children to snatch. Children who don’t listen to their parents, or wander too close to the forest.” Jaime’s mother looked out the window near his bed nervously. Then she silently said a prayer. Jaime’s eyes had closed already. She was glad for this.

Maggie the little girl from three houses down went missing a month ago. Jaimie might think it was just a fun bedtime story, but for the parents and towns’ people of Red Rock it was more than just legend.

 

Coming of Age

Cass’ eyes opened sluggish, faltering in the glare of the morning sunlight casting rays across the bed. She turned her head toward the alarm clock, it read 6:15 a.m. Of course, fifteen minutes before the alarm was set to go off. She was always waking up too early, but this night in particular she could not sleep. She stretched her arms, extending them above her head. Then, moved to sit up and begin the morning ritual of preparing for school. What a depressing day, to spend her eighteenth birthday at school.

As Cass kicked her legs over the side of the bed to stand up, she could hear whispering of her parents. She hoped they weren’t trying to surprise her with some kind of morning party. Cass had wanted to spend her time looking perfect for school.

“We need to tell her.” My mother said her voice hushed and hurried.

“I don’t think Cass is ready for this kind of news. Let her enjoy her birthday first.” The voice of concern, my father.

“She will find out sooner than later, we should be the one to tell her, before she freaks out.”

She walked to the bedroom door and kicked aside her shoes. She opened it expecting to see her parents standing there. They were nowhere in sight.  “How had she heard their whispers,” she wondered.

“Mom!? Dad?!” Cass yelled.

“Morning sweetie, we’re downstairs.” Her mother’s voice echoed from the realm of the kitchen. Their voices had been no more than a whisper. How was she able to hear the details of the conversation?

Cass walked over to the clothes she had picked out the night before and hastily put them on. She looked down at her stomach as she  was dressing, some odd grey speckles dotted the surface. Those had not been there last night when she had showered. Cass ran into the bathroom, examining her face in the mirror. Everything looked normal. “The cold water should clear up whatever was happening in her head,” she thought as she washed her face.

She looked around the bathroom, the wall hangings were in place; her shower curtain with the fish on it that she’d had since third grade looked just as dingy as normal. It must have been a dream, the conversation.  “I just need to brush my hair and eat some breakfast,” she muttered under my breath. As Cass said this, her hair brush zoomed off the bathroom counter and into her hand. Her jaw dropped and she stumbled backward. “This cannot be normal,” she thought.

Cass put the hairbrush back on the counter. Grabbing a ponytail holder, she threw her chestnut hair up in a messy bun. Well, so much for looking cute on her birthday.

She trampled down the stairs and stared at her parents who had furrowed brows and broke apart from their conversation as she entered the kitchen.

“Cass! H..Happy Birthday.”

“Fine. What is going on?” She stared at her parents expectantly.

“What do you mean?” Her father tried to sound taken aback a forced look of surprise on his face.

“Watch,” said Cass. She thought really hard about the box of cereal in front of her, and it flew off the counter into her out stretched hand. “Now tell me, does this happen to all girls on their eighteenth birthday? Is it a new part of puberty I am not aware of?”

Her mother let out a sigh, “No. We need to explain something to you Cass. You should have a seat.”

“I am going to stand thank you. Just tell me.”

“Well,” her father came and put an arm around her, “You aren’t from Arizona. In fact you aren’t from Earth. You’re an alien.”

The Beating

There was nothing but the faint sound of a beating noise. She could not distinguish if it was coming from in her own head or outside. Lost. She looked around; the world was unfamiliar. Had she fell asleep here? It did not make any sense.

She pulled herself up from the ground where she lay in a mat of tangled leaves and branches. Trees loomed over her twisting their dark thorny branches in cascades of leafy fingers that formed an impenetrable fortress. If there was sun shining somewhere, she could not tell. The garment on her was torn and threadbare as if it had been worn many times. She fingered the soft cotton rolling it over her thumb. It seemed familiar. Her feet were bare. A thought popped into her head, shoes. Why would she be without shoes? The girl rubbed her temples, the beating, it was still distant but persistent.

Her body ached as she sat up. The ragged dress hardly fell to her knees. There were cuts and bruises on her legs and arms. Still, she could not remember a thing. Even her own name seemed to escape her. She decided to stand up. The only thing to do was move from wherever she was. The wretched beating, she wanted to leave it behind. It was agonizing. After much concentration, she stumbled to her feet on the gritty dirt path. The girl headed in what she thought would be the right direction.

She walked for some time. Not really knowing how much time passed and in what direction she was going. The beating remained steady. In fact, she thought it might be getting louder. The canopy of trees did not become any less dense. The underbrush increased and the girl had to start climbing over logs and bushes. The beating rang louder in her ear, she winced and covered it with one hand. What was that? A smell of rancid rot snaked her senses. The girl stepped backward her eyes watering. She pushed forward through the stench. She wanted to know if there was some clue that lay ahead.

In the darkness of the trees, she made out the outline of a small cabin ahead. She hurried onward toward it. Approaching it cautiously, she opened the door. The girl covered her ears with both hands now, while breathing through her mouth. The noise of the beating became overwhelming. She saw a pool of crimson on the floor. On her tip toes, she side stepped this and then looked up. There on the wall written in blood it said, “You are Viola”. Underneath on a wooden table was a small black velvet box. The girl opened it with a steady hand. Inside was a beating heart. She remembered everything.

 

To be continued…

Unfairy Tale Pt. 2

Not only was Darkarrow inhabited by the most contemptible of creatures, but humans lived there as well. Revolting, abominable humans who did appalling deeds. Yet, this is the way everyone liked the kingdom of Darkarrow. In fact they became more detestable when things were decent and good. Darkarrow had been ruled many years by a repulsive, not so evil sorcerer called Dracun. It’s safe to say, he was getting old, actually ancient. Dracun often forgot where he put his magic staff or his crown.  There was the particular situation where he forgot to scare children in the villages. (This was supposed to be a weekly duty of the ruling sorcerer.) It was a nightmare. His advisor, Marvo was frustrated. These were the days, when Dracun spent his time transforming chickens into vampire bats, that Marvo would go for a walk.

Marvo really was a horrible guy. He hated everything and everyone. When he had first come to the castle, Dracun was a gruesome sorcerer. Now, he was a feeble old man who was loosing his touch. They should be finding dragons and curses to ravage the kingdom. Instead, he is dancing with vampire bats in the great hall. It was disgusting. Marvo walked through the Forest of Stench. He looked up, the faeries had even lost their luster, that one seemed cheerful. Was another spreading faery dust? What was happening? He would have to do something.