Monday, August 31, 2009

September Quote

All that burden of pain, I take upon myself: I assume, I endure.
I have the courage to face every abode of pain,
Through numberless ages.
And why so?
Because it is better that I alone suffer,
Than that all those creatures fall into the place of misfortune...
I must be the warrior, the light-bearer, the guide to safety;
And all the world must be redeemed
From the Wilderness of Hell, Beast-Birth,
And Yama's World.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

But what if it doesn't?

A groan escapes my lips. So tired. So cold. There are people around me. Lights. Sirens. Someone is yelling. A man, kneeling over me. A mask to my mouth. What is happening? Where am I? Birthday. My sons birthday. Forgot the candles. Was coming back from the store when. . . did I get hit?

The man, the paramedic? He's saying something. To someone. Can't think. So tired. So sore. Just want to sleep. Just for a minute. Darkness. Quiet.

My eyes open. I can see more clearly now. I shudder. No, not me. The bed. Yes, I'm on a bed. It's moving. There are people around me still. They look confused. Someone is getting up. A woman says something. A question. "What happened?" A man, he's getting up. A bruise on his head. He fell? He looks at me, confused. "We were at a hit and run. He" the man nods at me "suffered a concussion. Shatter glass deep in his chest. Was trying to keep him conscious and then, then . ." he trails off.

The others look around at each other. One says he was on his way to work. Another said she was having lunch, then heard a page. The woman, the first, shakes her head. Says she remembers, sort off. I start to move again.

My eyes are heavy. I want to say something, but can only groan. My vision blurs. Someone, the man who fell, shouts something. Stay with him. Stay awake. Awake. Why? I'm tired. Just let me sleep.

My eyes open again. There is a pain in my chest. People are around me. Doctors. Nurses. They have blood on their hands. They stand still, dazed for a few seconds. The doctor recovers first. Why does he sound nervous? Something about too deep. Can't do anything. Whats to deep? My son. Its his birthday. I grab his arm. I tell him I have to go. Can't be late. Need the candles.

At least, I try to. I cough. Something wet. Tastes like iron. A nurse wipes my mouth. The cloth comes away red. The people leave. All but one. She begins to clean. She doesn't look at me.

I stare at the ceiling. I try to think, but its so hard. Something is wrong. The world blurs. People come talk, and leave. I'm moved. More people come. My hand is held. Someone is saying something. Someone important. I see the face. She's sad. There is a boy. My heart aches, but why? I reach. My arm trembles. My vision blurs. I want to sleep. It grows dark. Sleep. I want to sleep. I want to. . NO!!!

I force my eyes open. I force my self to see. The woman, my wife, my love, my world, on my left. On my right my son, my. . . My son? Where is my son? My heart races. The pain in my head explodes. Where is he? No! No no no!!!!

My eyes sting. I have to get up. I have to see him. I have to see. . . someone. I feel hands on my head. Steadying me. I see eyes. Bright, clear green eyes, rimmed with tears. The eyes of my love.

My breathing hurts. Its getting harder and harder to take each breath. She's saying words to me. The words are meaningless to me, but they are important. I can feel myself drifting away. I can feel the end, but I cling to the sound of her voice, the smell of her breathe.

The world is fading. There are screams from out side my room. The lights go dark. From the corner of my eye, through the door to my room, I see people running, the hallway crumbling into darkness. The walls of my room peel away. My love steps off the floor as it falls into darkness. I hold her in my sight, in my mind. I can feel all other thoughts fail, but I will not loose her.

My mind is gone, my body is gone, but my love is eternal. My last breath I give to her. My world will go on without me.

Just a Dance

“Don’t stray from the path, Norm. And whatever you do, don’t stop . . .”

“. . . near the faerie glen,” Norman Tucker mimed, slamming the cottage door behind him. Every time he left his grandfather’s house he heard the same warnings. When would the old man realize that Norm wasn’t a child and stop treating him like one?

Norm started down the path, kicking a small stone out of his way. His grandfather’s yard was quickly overtaken by the forest as ancient trees surrounded him. While many people were afraid of the gloom, Norm felt at home here; he had played in this forest since he was a child and knew it intimately. As soon as the trees swallowed the failing sunlight, Norm was off the path and wandering through all of his familiar haunts. He stopped by the river, looking for crayfish hidden in the rocks. He picked some yellow wildflowers for his mother by the riverbank. The familiar buzzing of the insects meant that all was well as night descended and Norm felt secure in his woods.

He became aware of the music first. It was a haunting melody played by a solitary instrument. But as Norm came closer, other instruments joined in. It wasn’t long before he heard laughter and the unmistakable sounds of clapping. Someone was having a party nearby and Norm was determined to find it. He followed the music to a small clearing in the woods. Someone had built a bonfire in the middle, and there were many people starting to sway to the music. As Norm watched, more people came from the woods and joined those already dancing or playing.

“Why hello there,” a voice said from behind him. Norm turned to see a small girl of about his age standing behind him. She was about his height, but much too slender. Her skin and hair had a greenish tinge to it. “Would you care to dance?”

“I really shouldn’t be here, miss,” Norm said. “I should have been home some time ago.”

“One dance will not make much difference now,” she said. “And besides, that is the price we demand of those who find us.”

Norm looked at the girl, taking in her odd appearance. He glanced back at the figures by the fire, noting how some had animalistic features, such as fur, claws, and in one case, wings. Others were so beautiful that he could not glance at them for long without tears clouding his vision. And none of the dancers looked human. Norm frantically searched his mind through all of his grandfather’s stories for anything that could help him, but drew a blank. So he settled for telling the girl, “If that is the price then I will gladly pay it.”

“Very well,” she said, taking his hand and leading him towards the other dancers.

Norm was hesitant at first, but with the help of his hostess he quickly learned the steps to the dance. As the music and the other laughing faces circled around him, he found that he was truly enjoying himself. One dance became two, which in turn became several as he threw all caution to the wind. The night flew by in a colourful whirling blaze, and in what seemed like no time at all, the sun was rising once again. The dancers slowly left the embers in ones and twos until Norm stood alone in the circle.

“I wonder what my parents will think, staying out all night in the woods! Oh, I know what grandfather will say. ‘You know better than that, Norm. What if the faeries had gotten you?’” Norm stumbled towards the path that led to his cottage, clutching the somewhat wilted wildflowers in his right hand. “Won’t he be surprised when I tell him I ran into them and they were quite lovely creatures! That was the most fun I’ve had in ages!”

Norm’s foot tripped on something and he almost fell. Looking down, he found that the path was covered in some kind of strange black stone. As he bent over to examine it, he heard a noise from behind him. Looking back, he was blinded by twin bright lights. The lights drew closer and as his eyes adjusted he saw that they were attached to some sort of horse-less carriage.

“Get off of the road!” the carriage’s driver yelled at him. Norm stumbled backwards and fell. The carriage continued on towards his cottage. Norm found himself on his feet and running along the strangely transformed path. He felt that something terrible had happened and he had to get home. He rounded the corner and stopped short. There, where his cottage had been, was the largest building he had ever seen, larger even than the manner house of the nearby village. The building towered above the large stone wall that surrounded it. He saw even larger buildings jutting out of the horizon behind this monstrosity that had swallowed his home.

Norm dropped his wildflowers and fell to his knees, weeping. He finally understood why his grandfather had warned him so about the faeries. Only now it was far too late. He was in a strange, frightening new world. And he knew, deep down in his heart, everyone he cared about was long gone.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Thing of Beauty

I open my eyes and look straight ahead of me. It’s mid-day by now and the sun is out in full force, but it’s obscured by the translucent curtain partially covering the open window. A calm breeze causes the curtain to waver; as I lay there, I watch as its shadow dances slowly and seductively up and down the ceiling. The stifling heat normally gets to me on afternoons such as this but today was different; I am at peace with myself and the world around me, and with her.

For the moment, I can feel her but I can’t see her. From the way it feels, she’s right where I left her, laying next to me with my arm around her, although she feels different than she did, but not in a bad way. No longer is she filled with anger; no longer is she yelling. No more talk of leaving me comes from her luscious red lips. No, both she and I move past that moment to embrace the laziness and the calm of the afternoon.

I look at her. She lies facing me with her eyes closed. Her red hair flows around us, entangling every part of us so that neither of us can escape this moment. Being locked in an exquisite embrace with a goddess such as this makes me want to cry; that there can be so much beauty in the world and it can all be lying in bed beside me.

I run my eyes up and down the body of my goddess, marveling at her perfection. Not only are her hair and lips exquisite, but she has an intensely cute nose and well-formed cheekbones. I glance down to the covers barely clinging to her luxurious curves and back up to her perfect breasts. I see the knife protruding from one of them, amazed at the amount of her blood attached to her and me and everything around us. The blood, which once matched the colour of her hair and lips, is now much darker and very dry, yet it is still a thing of beauty, hardened to its surroundings.

I continue to gaze at her pale, lifeless form, continually wondering how I can be so lucky to spend eternity in a wonderful embrace with an angel such as this. Have pleasant dreams, my sweet.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


The sun shines brightly on my face as the barred gate slams shut behind me with an imposing bang. Freedom! I marvel at the green grass and the birds flitting past me. The world has once again come alive while I was stuck in the slammer.

A little yellow cab pulls up in front of me. My chariot back to life. I get in, closing the taxi’s door between myself and my past. The future and my family await!

It is on the way to my house that things start to lose their shine. My favourite restaurant, a quaint little Greek place where everyone knew me by name, is closed.

“How long has Mama Agathe’s restaurant been closed?” I ask the driver.

“Since Mama Agathe passed away a few months ago. Her husband was constantly reminded of her in that place, so he didn’t want to keep it open. And when none of her children wanted to continue the business, it closed for good. Kind of sad, really. Mama Agathe’s was my favourite.”

“Mine too,” I say. We lapse into silence as I continue staring out the window at my town passing us by. The next thing that catches my eye is the bright white and red sign of Shoppers Drug Mart right where the local pharmacy used to be. “Did Shoppers buy out Murrel’s?”

“Yeah,” the driver replies. “That was also a few months back. Bought out almost all of the pharmacies in the region.”

“Wow. I never thought old Murrel would ever sell out.”

“From what I heard, he retired in Florida with the money.”

“No kidding.”

We turn left onto my street. Now I’m getting really anxious. Only a few more minutes and I get to see my daughter again. Whenever my wife came to visit me, she always left our daughter at her mother’s. Said she didn’t want our girl to have any memories of the prison.

Out of the corner of my eye I notice the derelict building across from our house is gone. In its place sits the foundation of a brand new house, with workers swarming all over it. Who would’ve known that so many changes can take place in just six months?

We pull into the driveway of the two story brick house that my wife and I bought three years back. I pay the driver, then nervously approach the front door. The door swings open silently and my wife comes forward to welcome me back into my life. And out toddles our daughter, cautiously following her mom. It is only when I finally see my little girl after six long months without her blue-eyed smile that I truly grieve for all the time I had lost.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Hollowing

The sound of traffic is my constant companion as I walk. Today the sun is out, there's a pleasant breeze, and the street I'm walking along has plenty of nice trees for shade. The perfect time to think and plot.

Garbage needs to go out before morning. No doubt the cats have again attempted to wow me with their ability to coat the floor with kitty litter and my roomate has probably dirtied half the dishes in the house, and hidden all the utinsels in her room under soiled clothes. Same old, same old. I opt to pick up a sandwich on my way home along with some other fruits and vegitables I can safely eat with my hands. Banana's would be nice, I haven't had much potassium in awhile...

Oh yes and then there's some phonecalls. I need to call my mother back and find out what package made its way all the way to their place with my name on it. And those health-vampires from the plasma clinic called demanding my vital fluids; accursed type 0 blood!

Hmm... maybe some tomatoes too. I remember the last time I went to the plasma clinic they sent me away because my blood-iron was too low; too good for my plasma are you, I'll show you!

Once all that's taken care of though I should be able to more or less relax. Damn, the library had that book I'd ordered and I completely forgot! Oh well, I can probably finish up one of the ones I dropped half-way through tonight anyway...

A siren screeches past, heading where I do not know - past me and through the intersection. The ambulance speeds by only a foot and a half from my nose and then is racing off towards the hospital.

I pause a moment. Probably nothing, but as the sirens fade and I watch the ambulance disappear I can't help the feeling that someone is dying. And for some reason, whenever thoughts of mortality drift to the surface, I can't help thinking of T.S. Elliot's poem. I can't help dragging my little rat feet over broken glass, searching for voices in the wind's singing as I awake alone here on this street.

Life is very long.

Standing on that street, I think perhaps for a brief moment I could feel what it was to stand between the emotion and the response, waking alone to greet for a moment Death's Dream kingdom.

For thine is
Life is
For thine is the...

The moment passes. I suddenly feel inspired to run the rest of the way, nevermind that the papers in my book bag will get ruined - I want to run. So I do, somehow the poem keeps up...

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

I buy icecream and feel alive.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Without Me

Tom stared at the couple. “It’s not that I don’t like weddings,” he said to the man to his left, not taking his eyes off the bride. “In fact, I used to really like weddings. I mean, I was planning on getting married myself.”

He looked to his left; the man was staring at the couple attentively. “Of course,” Tom added, “you aren’t listening to a word I say. That’s okay, though. I’m used to that now.”

He turned his attention back to the bride and groom, who gazed into each others’ eyes with a look of longing and what appeared to be true love. Tom felt his eyes water up; he choked back sobs and took off his glasses, wiping his eyes. He looked back at the man to his left, “I-I don’t even know why I’m wiping my eyes; it’s not like anyone will notice anyway.”

He regained his composure and put his glasses back on. Making sure not to look back at the couple, he managed to continue speaking to the man to his left, “Since I know you’re so interested in everything I say…”

He trailed off, waiting for any response. The man to his left scratched his nose, shifted his weight a bit, and then returned to the position he was sitting in. “…I’ll continue. You know how I said that I was planning on getting married myself? Well, you know who was supposed to be my bride?” He returned his gaze to the bride, motioning in that direction, “It was her.”

* * *

Amy sits in the small, cluttered office. She shakily reaches for a package of cigarettes on the desk. She had quit smoking almost four years ago, but she really needed one right now. She manages to pull one out and puts the pack back on the desk. She picks up the lighter that is sitting next to the pack and attempts to light the cigarette. Her hand shakes so badly that she drops the cigarette on the floor in between her legs; frustrated, she throws the lighter to the floor and drops her face into her hands, her whole body convulsing as she sobs heavy sobs.

The door opens; in walks Detective Lonnegan. He sees the condition she’s in, so he closes the door and moves over to her quickly. “Hey, hey,” he says in a quiet voice as he approaches her. “I know how hard this is, and I know how…horrible something like that would have been to…experience.”

He sees the cigarette and lighter on the floor, crouches down and picks them up. He stands in front of her, offering the cigarette in silence. She looks up after a few minutes, tears running down her face, and she accepted his offer, placing the cigarette in her mouth. He lights it then pushes over some papers; he sits on his desk in the space he cleared.

They sit without speaking for a moment, silence save for the occasional sob. He finally gets the nerve and says, “Like I said, I know how hard this is for you, but I just need to ask you a few questions about…him.”

In between sobs, she manages to say his name, “Thomas.”

“Yeah,” Detective Lonnegan adds. “Thomas. I understand that you and he had…a past.”

“We were going to get married, if that’s what you mean,” Amy answers quickly.


She looks up at him through her tears, “And what?”

He clarifies his question, “And what happened? Why didn’t you get married? Why were you getting married to this other guy?”

She pauses, looking away from him toward his bulletin board covered with all sorts of clippings and pictures and phone numbers that mean nothing to her. “Thomas went missing.”

“He went missing?” He looks surprised with her answer. “Just like that?” He adds with a snap of his fingers.

“Yes, just like that,” she continues. “I had no idea what happened…I thought he was dead. Everyone thought he was dead.”

She starts sobbing again. They say nothing for a few minutes, Lonnegan looking around the room. “But you’re sure it was him,” he adds.

She looks back up at him and shouts, “Of course I’m sure it was him.” Quietly, she adds, “B-but I don’t remember seeing him come in, and neither does anyone else. All I remember is the noise…and then seeing him…”

She breaks down again, crossing her arms and sobbing into them on his lap. He puts his hand on her back and rubs it slowly.

* * *

“Yeah, it’s true,” Tom added with a slight sob. “Amy and I were engaged.” He paused, looking away from her and back at the man to his left again, “I was engaged to the most wonderful, beautiful…intelligent person in the world…”

He looked back at Amy, tears starting to stream from his eyes. He took his glasses off once again, wiping his eyes. Without putting them back on, he turned his attention back to the man to his left, yelling, “But then this happened! I-I can do this and you won’t even notice!”

With that, Tom shoved the man to his left into the woman beside him. She immediately looked at the man to his left with disgust; he apologized immediately, trying to draw attention away from the scene he created, then returned to his original position, paying attention to the ceremony once again.

As soon as everyone settled, Tom continued yelling at the man to his left, “You see? I-I don’t know what happened, but no one can see me or hear me or anything! Hell, I can’t even see myself when I look into a mirror!”

He paused. He faced Amy again, quietly adding, “But I’m still here. I’m like a…ghost. Of course, I can still do things, but everyone seems to ignore them…or think that it’s someone else’s fault.”

Tom sighed. He continued, still looking at Amy, “But that’s what went wrong. Amy saw that I was missing and she tried to find me, but no one could. I tried to communicate with her, but that didn’t work at all.”

He turned back to the man to his left, chuckling to himself, “I actually wrote her a message, but that just scared her silly. She really thought that someone was messing with her. After about a month, she thought that I was…dead.”

He paused, looking back at the Amy; he could see how happy she was. A tear fell down his cheek. He looked back at the man to his left, “Of course, who could blame her? There was no sign of me for that long; it was a logical conclusion. They held me a sort of funeral service of sorts, but without any earthly remains.

“Then life just sort of…went on. Slowly, everyone stopped thinking about me. No one wanted to talk about me, especially her. She had a hard time living her life, but it slowly happened.

“Months passed, and she found another man to spend her life with,” Tom motioned up at the groom. “Yes, she found another man who gets to spend the rest of his life with the…sweetest woman to ever roam this earth.”

Tears came back to his eyes. He started sobbing, but continued talking, “And here I am, spilling my guts to some guy I’ve never met before…who can’t even hear me right now.”

He sat there sobbing quietly for a moment before saying, “I’m going to miss you, Amy.”

* * *

The minister looks at Amy and pauses, smiling. He returns his gaze to the groom, saying, “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do.”

The minister pauses once more then turns to Amy, “Amy…do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Amy looks into the eyes of her husband-to-be and back at the minister, “I do.”

The minister smiles and looks from one to the other. In a loud, booming voice, he says, “By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you–”

His statement is interrupted by a gunshot coming from the crowd. Everyone looks in the direction of the sound; to their horror, a man is sitting in a pew a few rows back, clutching a gun. His brains, no longer in his head, were blown out the back of his skull onto the guests who were sitting behind him.

The man to his left sports a shocked expression, one that can be made out despite the blood covering the right side of his face. He looks up to the couple and the minister, muttering, “H-he…N-no one was th-there…H-he j-just appeared…”

Amy looks down the aisle into the lifeless eyes; there is no mistake in her mind of who it was. Her heart nearly sinks into her stomach as she whispers, “Thomas.”