A Canopy of Stars

She woke under a canopy of stars, each one blinking with as much surprise as she. Her hand touched the soft grass beneath her, a breeze caressed her face as it raced across the meadow. She sat up letting her eyes adjust to the dark. The moon was full and the sky clear. She was in a meadow surrounded by trees. It was as if mother nature had built a castle just for her. She heard some rustling now and then as small rabbits or frightened mice moved through the grass.

She looked down at herself and could barely make out a floral house coat. Not a robe but something more substantial. Her hair was dark in the moonlight and her hands seemed so much younger than she remembered. A noise across the meadow made her look up and a large stag broke through the treeline. He was huge and muscular. His crown of bone as long as he was tall. He was magnificent and she felt a tear roll down her cheek.
She stood up slowly. She didn’t want to spook the grand king of this wood. As she did the King moved toward her. He raced quickly from the wood to her in seconds, stopping five feet from her. She saw into his black eyes. They seemed as clear as the purest crystal. She kept still slowly reaching out her hand. To her surprise the King knelt before her and let her touch his proud nose. Her smile was a big as the swelling in her heart as she heard a soft voice somewhere far away.

In the white room the machines beeped and growled. Wires winding across the tiled floor to the single bed. Sitting on the bed was a young girl, no more than seven. She clutched onto a piece of paper that she held up to show the woman lying still beneath her.

“And see Nana. It’s so beautiful here and the King comes to say hi. He is a good King…so gentle. He will let you pat him and you won’t hurt anymore. I love you Nana.”

The girl lay back against the woman, still holding up the picture of a meadow, under stars, with the King standing proud.

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Heart and Wing

Tall stands the heart of cold

the agent of despair

the owner of souls

never meant for him.

Ever watchful is the bird

with wings spread wide

eyes all-knowing

all manner of sin.

The heart and the bird

in a dance of forever

one waiting to steal

the other wanting to save.

In the shadow and light

with fist and wing

each wanting the end

with the roads each paves.

And above the dance

is a god still sleeping

lost in a slumber

seeing with no eyes.

The heart likes the slumber

The bird wants him roused

and the world cries out

before the day dies.

 

 

 

Sigh.

    In the stolen night, she danced with the fireflies, dressed in dry moss from the ancient tree. She danced to the music of the toads and the wind.She danced under the light of the moon and the old stars. She danced in circles, until she was too dizzy and fell to the soft damp earth that was her momentary stage. She breathed deep, the smell of the forest so strong. She turned to the old man of the wood.
    “Was that a good dance?” she asked.
    The wind blew through the leaves of the giant tree, its massive trunk creaking and moaning an answer only she could hear.
    “Why thank you old man,” she smiled, her voice floating on the same breeze.
    To look at her she was dirty. This waif of a girl covered in the dirt of the woods. Her face dark, arms even darker, matched only by the filth over her legs. This was a creature who left bathing to those that cared. To look upon her was almost sad, until she looked back and you saw her eyes. These were the eyes of wonder, of faith and survival. They were eyes that looked into your heart, grabbed hold, and squeezed until you could not breathe. She was innocence and beguile, magic and truth. She was more than she appeared, at least that’s what the old man thought.
    The tree was older than the forest. In truth he was the father of the forest. His seeds floating down sun to moon and moon to sun, for a million days. Each tree a son or grandson, or great, great, great…well you understand. He was proud of his dominion, proud of his sons and happily spent the hours being pleased of himself. He never thought of a daughter, never wanted for such a thing, until she came to his roots.
    She was small for a tree, he remembered thinking, and moved around too much for one of his kin. She had found a break in the ground between his roots and had fallen asleep to escape the cold. He took pity on the tiny thing and cradled her, warmed her and sung with the wind and leaf. He took her in and as the rain came he did something he had not done in a thousand years. He moved, he willed his roots to close in and shield the sapling from the wet and cold. With that she became his and he became hers and the days were much more exciting than they were before.
    The old man knew she was not truly his. He knew the kin of this sapling. His roots were old and went for miles under the soft blanket of the earth mother. He was aware of the trees that moved. He had seen their cities, heard the screams of his children that built those cities. He had witnessed entire generations killed by the walking trees and their tools. He was sad over the loss of so many, but with this small one he would try to understand them.
    “Old man!” she snapped him out of his trance.
    “Old man! Are you in your past again?” she winked and kicked out her heel. “Don’t make me dance again, cause I will!”
    If a tree could smile, then the old man would have a smile 15 feet wide. The wind rustled leaves and his bark cracked and crinkled.
    “Well, I love you too old man,” she whispered to the leaves.
    Years past, as years do, and the sapling became a woman and the woman became old, but never as old as the old man. her hair got whiter, her dancing got slower and her voice became quieter…
    “OLD MAN!!”
    …almost.
    The wind replied, “yyyeeesssss?”
    “I am old, I can’t dance. I can hear you, but can’t see. I have lived with you for a lifetime and learned so much. I remember my cradle, deep in your roots and I thank you for your kindness, your care and your love.”
    Her eyes, though cloudy, still burned with such life, as she fell to the earth with a sigh as her last breath.
    The old man saw her fall
    If trees could cry, he did.
    The ground seemed to tremble, as the earth seemed to move. His roots came to hold her, bring her back to her home. He cradled her gently, as she was a babe. His roots closed around her as the wind hit his leaves.
    Those who could hear it would have spun a tall tale…about the song in the wind that seemed too sad to be real. The forest went quiet as the old man sung. One more of his saplings, but this was no son.
    If trees could love…
    A tree did love.

Run.

The air escaped my lungs like a slow leak from a bicycle tire worn through from summer after summer of hard riding. I could hear it feel it, fuck, I could practically see it. The grass under me was dry and stabbing me with needles and itch. I wanted to get up wanted to keep running, but my body was now my enemy and I had lost any battle I was in.

I waited eyes growing heavy. I waited for the inevitable dark that had been chasing me for hours. How do you fight the dark? The answer is you can’t, you run always trying to stay ahead of it. You keep in the light chase the light with everything you have. You have to want it more than anything, reach so deep that you can do the miraculous.

I wanted it so badly that I broke the bonds of my limitations. I ran faster, jumped higher, I pushed until I practically flew! And then I did. I felt gravity give up fighting my desires. I saw my feet leave the ground and not need land again. I soared toward the light and even though it ran from me, I kept up. I was going to beat the darkness behind me.

The wind rushed through my hair. Speed was key, I had to be fast. The light was there and all around me. As long as I was in it I was winning. The only problem was I wasn’t winning I just didn’t realize I was losing.

It was in the speed. I wasn’t really as fast as I thought and the dark was not far behind me. Soon I could see the horizon behind me and see the shadow creeping miles behind. As time passed the shadow approached. I was losing as I was tiring. It seemed even flying took its toll.

The sky was darker. I looked all around me and saw the twilight of the evening encroaching. My breath always gave it away. When I was running, jumping and now flying, the limits were not broken. I pushed myself harder, concentrating on nothing but the light. I felt speed, felt the wind pick up and then the crush in my lungs.

I fell and now I am lying here in the dry grass. The sky slowly turning and soon my enemy will find me. Even now I can hear its growl. I can hear its claws clicking in the dry dirt. An echo in the distance getting closer.

My arm is numb, my breath getting shorter and weaker. I can’t fight the dark. I see the last of the light in my life go dark and I know I have lost the long fight. It is all around me now. The teeth digging into my flesh as the darkness swims around me, stalking me…I let go of the needle and I am gone.

 

Tell Me…

Tell me a secret,

One that would scare,

Something horrible,

You never would share.

Tell me a lie,

To make me feel worse,

Some evil tantrum,

About an evil curse.

Tell me a story,

That’s too long to end,

Leave me listening,

Like an old, lost friend.

Tell me the truth,

Define the ills of man,

I will listen without judgement,

For as long as I can.

If you can’t do it,

I won’t get too mad,

Most tend to wander,

Forgetting what they had.

Let me tell you something,

Something lost in time,

I am stuck here forever,

For one simple crime.

 

The Rip.

It was a loud noise, not a boom, but a rip in the air. All eyes looked up at the sky. All eyes around the entire globe looked for the source of the noise. Over time it was placed in the backs of memory, in time most forgot the strange noise.

When it happened again, louder than before, loud enough to shake a mountain and upset the waves on every ocean, no one forgot and attention was placed firmly on the tear in the sky.

Within 6 months the cult of the end was across the globe. Men women and children sure that the end was coming. There were riots and looting on a scale unprecedented in human history. There were deaths, not just by the rioters, but by suicide. Governments held grand councils to try to figure out how to calm the minds of those sure the end was coming.

The third rip shook the planet with a mild rumble. Nothing that caused much damage, but it was every corner of the earth. The cult of the end dropped to their knees to pray, the rest spurned with fear and anger, took to the streets. Armies were called in to stop the carnage, this only created more carnage and within 4 days 20% of the world’s population was no more.

The sheer depth of the loss was too much for many leaders. Governments lost those that lead them by gun, rope or knife. Over a billion people lost to insanity and attempts to stop it. Bodies were left where they lay and slowly the world slipped into disease. Hospitals were over crowded and unable to keep up with the sheer numbers of ill and injured. Many closed their doors and soon basic care was unavailable to most.

This was the state of the world when the final rip was heard and felt across the land. The noise was loud enough to drop every human to their knees holding their ears to block the painful blare of the end. The power of it shattered mountains, drove towering waves to the shores of the kneeling masses. Long dormant volcanoes burst with fire and the plates that all lived on shifted violently.

The air became thin and full of dust. Those left living slowly struggled to get a breath as the atmosphere bled into space. The sun was the last to pay a visit, finally able to shine all its power on the earth. The land started to burn as the planet turned through the day.

This was the end for those still on the earth…

 

soliloquy of the dead.

and in the brief light of day,
upon my face it came to stay,
a dark shadow spurned by naught,
‘cept the the conjurings of thought.

in this brief light of day,
the flickering likes to play,
shrouding head and mind,
with some evil left to bind.

I see little in this in this dark,
though the sun is raw and stark,
something caught behind my eyes,
convincing me of half truth lies.

the weary traveler am I,
never leaving this false blue sky,
forever wondering inside my cell,
how far in mind I have fell.

and yet the sun dips its head,
and the shadows are no longer fed,
my eyes are clear with lost sight,
without the shade so bright.

in blackness i see again,
a cold but wondrous friend,
I lay me down to blissful sleep,
knowing the sun continues to creep.

goodnight sweet friends I call to wind,
the comforting man in the moon has grinned,
the stars have sung a lullaby,
my breath seeps a restful sigh.

I wait the shadows still to come,
with lullaby’s tune on lips to hum,
I do not wish these shadows of day,
with death there is a price to pay.