Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

The Search For Happiness

She knew she had to return to the village soon, before anyone worried too much. She sighed, wiping the wetness from her face looking away from the sky, refocusing on the earth at her feet. Dreaming was the slow death. Time drifts slower in a dream, but there are so many happy moments there making reality seem so careless.

“You dream too much”, her mother chided her, “Some day you won’t wake up, and then what will we do? We will miss our beautiful daughter, lost to the winds and clouds forever. One must stay rooted in the ground. This is where people belong, not in silly dreams.”

She felt at home in the dreams. In the dreams there were many people, and they all tipped their hats, and curtsied to her. She had the best food and there was a boy who would dance with her, and make the light dance between them. Out of the dream, this person didn’t exist, or perhaps she just hadn’t met him yet. But she could dream.

In the dream she lived in a castle with spires, and tapestries, and full of other magical things. In the dream everyone was courteous. Sometimes her dreaming would get in the way of her chores, and she would be scolded by a sharp word or even a slap. But this didn’t bother her too much. Every chance she got she would sleep, even for only a little while, and once her eyes were closed, she could dance, and smile, and laugh.

Her life was simple, and she was happy with her dreaming. Her mother shook her head, but other than that, said nothing. Her teachers in school shook their heads, and would tell her to concentrate on this world, and she would blush as laughter from the other students erupted around her.

“One day this would change”, her father said, “You will grow out of dreaming, and make a decent wife to a good man, and have children. And maybe tend a garden like most women. Or perhaps you will become a learned scholar traveling the world, oh wait, that sounded way too dreamish, never mind that.”

Everyone knew she got the crazy dreaming from his family. Sometimes her father dreamt too, but his dreams were different from hers, mostly filled with monuments, and machines and a crazy urban landscape far removed from the country life style around the mountain.

Her mother dreamt of her children’s future. The grandchildren would be perfect in every way, her daughter would not only marry a good man, but a rich one who would treat the family as his own, showering them with gifts at every turn. It was a good dream, but her mother was secretly ashamed to dream such silly nonsense.

“Adults shouldn’t dream at all”, she said,”Merely do their duty, and make sure everything goes in its same steady stream. Dreams interrupt life, take away from it, dreams could be dangerous.” Her mother was against anything that was dangerous.

It was on an ordinary day where everyone did everything they had been doing, same as the day before, when some strangers came into town. These strangers declared that there was gold down the river, a lot of gold to any who had the hands to grab it, and life was good in the valley. Much better than on the mountain.

The girl listened to the wind, and it sounded like it was crying. Her mother just shook her head, but there was something sad about her eyes. Her father saw his machines, but not the monuments and stayed with the mountain. The girl went to the men with the gold, while her family watched transfixed as if in a dream, and she climbed into their carriage with a helping hand, headed  for the valley, leaving her family and school behind.

Her thoughts were simple enough. Perhaps the boy lived in the valley, and that was why she hadn’t met him and danced with the light in the castle. There would never be a castle on the mountain, she knew that with a certainty that made any reservations subside.

The men gave her bright cheery apples to eat, and she kicked her legs freely from the back of the wagon, watching her parents recede ever smaller. They made their way to the valley quickly, night falling about the same time they entered the gates. The valley had a river bleeding through it, as if from a deep wound to the earth, or like the earth was crying over the loss of the sky, forever parted, yet so terribly near.

She thanked the men, and jumped off the carriage without a care in the world. She knew there would be no turning back, she could not go home and expect to find her mother shaking her head. It was much too late for that.

She went looking for love, along the river, while the men looked for gold. The men got some of what they wanted, but never seemed to be content with the amount of gold from the river, and it gave less and less with each passing day. Soon the men started talking of developing the mountain, that the real gems would be found there. By the time the girl heard of this she was all ready too far removed from the men and their dreams of gold.

She was looking for something else, and hadn’t found it yet. She went to the valley town, and introduced herself politely enough, they handed her a broom, and told her to earn her living, and that nothing came for free.

She soon became disappointed, there were no castles here. She cried at night missing her family, her friends, and even the men with the carriage. But she could not go back. She knew that road was barred to her. She didn’t dream that night, and the boy did not come to dance with her.

The next night. there was no dream. Years past, and she was merely a woman instead of a girl, and she couldn’t dream. Dream of what? Gold? Men? Neither were what they seemed. Once had, she needed more, this wasn’t what she was looking for. She no longer knew the face of the boy, or the many people who would curtsy or tip their hats.

She began to feel sadness, and walked along the barren street, with her broom. When she looked up, she found a young man looking at her funny. “Why are you looking at me, like that?”

“Hmm?” he mumbled. “I thought I was dreaming. Is there anything to do here?” Dreaming. Of course, she remembered now, and she felt she was way too old, but then, maybe she wasn’t. She looked at her hands, and was startled to remember that she was still a young woman, not a girl, but far from old. When she stopped dreaming, she had aged years, but the young man reminded her of what it was to live in the realm of ideas, and she was grateful.

It was only after he left that she realized he was the boy, the one from her dream. She knew nothing about him, and she could see her mother shaking her head, dangerous. Still, she followed, wondering why he was here, and where he was going.

He was civil to her, and talked to her freely once she caught up to him. He seemed truly content with what he had, and she was amazed. She had never met anyone content before, just those striving for more. When asked about where he was from he turned to her in astonishment, “Have you not heard of the land to the West? It is where the dreamers live looking for knowledge of those who came before.”

She asked softly, “Can you take me there?”

He looked at her anew, and said, “What is it you do here? Sweep?”

“Yes,” she answered, blushing toward the ground. It was then, that he introduced her to his friends, and his wife, and she stopped in mid dream, horror struck.

How could someone else claim her dream? Yet, he was content with what he had, and wasn’t a dream at all, but a person. He told her he couldn’t take her to the land in the west, but that maybe someone could show her the way. He left her there, not knowing of her dreams,  which seemed so silly to her now, all the dancing was gone, and she suddenly felt very old.

She looked to the west, and began to walk down the river, away from the valley town, in the direction he had pointed. She couldn’t help dreaming again.

Seeing the young man in the flesh had forced her to remember what the dreams were like as she walked away letting the broom fall to the ground. Perhaps there was another young man, and that one could be her dream. She knew that wasn’t right, that it was a matter of timing, and place, and she would also have to learn how to be content with what she had in order to find him. Meanwhile, she would look for the land of dreams to the west.

 

 

 

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Albrecht And His Castle – A Fantasy Short Story

Albrecht was a decent man, lonely on his castle overlooking the sea. He would watch the surf wash along the beaches from a balcony on a tall tower. He liked to see what rubbish the tide brought in and watched how it changed the landscape of the beaches. He had servants, and visitors that one couldn’t quite call friends, but might be affectionately called routine acquaintances. Yes, he was lonely, and why not?

With a castle of dreams that in the end lay empty, they which have the most to grieve are those without an imagination, for with one, they can people the castles on the seashore thus filling the emptiness with life.

Albrecht had no imagination, and could not fill the emptiness of his castle. He sighed and watched the tide trying to decide how he would pay his taxes. Being melancholy wasn’t a useful occupation, and he earned very little income.

He was born into a high class, but knew absolutely nothing about money. He had servants yes, but those servants were paid in objects. They took masterpieces home, and whatever else took their fancy. They ate meals with him like family.

He sold items to pay the chef, and had received loans and grants based on his lofty moral character. The end was in sight now, however. His friends or servants had stripped almost anything left of value save the stones themselves. A few of these were pried away, but most considered the work involved not worth the prize.

The creditors wanted their money, and his servants, or friends, began not showing up for the increasingly meager meals that he personally concocted. Cooking was new for him, and his ingredients paltry.

Perhaps he viewed his friends’ absence as a kindness. He no longer had tea ready in the morning, nor the paper delivered to his bedroom door. He found he had to do these tasks, as well as his own laundry. These ordeals cut into his melancholy gazing toward the sea, making his job of sadness and despair even harder.

This was the day, he thought resignedly. Would they take his castle by the sea? The walls were stripped bare, there was virtually no furniture. He kept the bed he slept in. This was due to the fact that he rarely left his bedchamber, which had French doors that opened onto the aforementioned balcony.

Albrecht’s lawyer tried to inquire after Albrecht’s friends, or servants to retrieve the stolen property when Albrecht fired him, explaining that his servants, or friends, would never steal from him. He saw the tax collector walking up the path, the appraiser had all ready come and gone. This must be it.

“You’ve come to take my castle by the sea?” He said to the short little man in the simple black suit.

“Unless you have any assets which I can use as a payment?”

“No, I have nothing, except my sadness. I have a noble heritage. You could take those things, I suppose, but I am uncertain what would be left if you did.”

“You would give up your nobility? Your famed melancholy, for this?” The tax man was surprised. What good would a castle be without a  moody lord residing within?

“Of course.” The tax man took these qualities, putting them in a sturdy briefcase, and bid Albrecht good day.

Being no longer sad, and no longer noble made Albrecht look around the castle in a new way. He was amazed that he could live in such a drafty large place. The heat bill alone must cost a small fortune, not that he knew what a fortune was anymore.

He promptly took his few possessions and left. The castle was empty of even melancholy, and no longer held the value of noble heritage, and seemed beyond impractical to him.

As he walked along the path away from the castle, with the sea washing in gracefully, he determined his lot. He was destined to be a seafarer, nothing else would do, he thought cheerily.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Concrete — A Future Story

The sun beat down mercilessly on her bare shoulders. She moved an arm slowly, wiping the large drops of sweat from her forehead to the ground. She wasn’t used to the heat, it rarely got hot in the summer where she was from, but here with all the concrete sidewalks, metal benches, and towering buildings; these things were heat magnets.

This was once a busy place, she knew that before she began digging. The signs of a thousand voices mumbling were so real; she half dreamed she was there. She missed the trees. Why had the people cut all the trees down? Except for a plot of land untouched in the middle of this long lost city, cement covered the earth preventing all but the most stubborn of vegetation.

Time had slowly eroded the city. There were now large cracks in the concrete where determined grass broke free to be followed by generations of the most determined weeds. There were still sections that were so barren and devoid of life that the cement remained intact. The metal benches exposed to the heat of the sun and the occasional rainstorm continued on with minimal rust thanks to some sort of coating.

She had yet to find an object telling her how the people here lived or thought. They’d found coins suggesting an advanced financial society but little else than great swathes of concrete and often larger than life buildings. Did these people just build and build? There had to be more to them than that. She could picture the murmuring of voices, but not the mother and child, nor the kind elderly man who shared his knowledge.

They’d found large metal vehicles, some larger than others. From the sheer number of these one could conclude this was a highly mobilized people. Yet, if everyone had a personal transport, why all the obvious cemented walking paths? Some speculated that these were for the two-wheeled vehicles that were found. These were less popular, or perhaps they didn’t have the survivability rate of the other type.

Many buildings also had numerous monitors in them. What were these for? Security? Entertainment? Information? Children’s toys? It was hard to say. They’d found disks that fit into slots in the machines attached to the monitors but none were functional. There is still no certainty what could be contained within these or what their purpose was.

She again wiped the sweat off her forehead and sighed, setting her tools onto the hot concrete surrounding her. She could almost hear the voices, but the people were far away and the words remained indistinct.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

The End, A Short Story

The pain doesn’t stop; it merely waits on the edge of the bed for the sensation of my limbs to return, and then it will reclaim me, heart and soul. The pain fills the space and time of the hospital room with harsh light, and fractured thoughts. Why must life be painful? If it weren’t for pain, would happiness be possible?

Hard to say since experience is only what you have done or seen, and pain is part of my experience. I guess it’s not so bad, at least I can feel something when I am in pain, instead of the constant numbness of nothing which surrounds me currently. I anticipate the pain with prophetic glee. It means I am still alive, that I will recover, and stand upon my own two feet again.

I can see a sunrise by the sea, and the trees swaying in the wind with a gentle but ominous creaking. The cool sensation of grass on bare feet, heedless of the shoe coming down to smack down on a strong but tiny frame. I want to run free of all the ropes that bind, run through those trees, on the grass.

I want to somehow get to the sea and the sky. I reach for wings I never had, to fly into the stars and see that I too, am merely an ant, ready to be crushed by a giant intergalactic shoe.  A black hole rising to swallow my hopes, dreams, and my soul.

The pain brings me back to this world, preventing me from floating away into the endless abyss of blackness above. Where is the joy? Hand in hand with the needle, awaiting that grimace that is so essential to feeling.

The nurse beckons quietly, almost mournfully like the man in his dark suit in a funeral parlor. Cherry or oak, for you? Yes, I think cherry with an ivory lining would be the best choice. Dramatic yet somehow simple. Elegant, yes, that was the word.

Some say they want to be cremated. What’s the fun in that? Let the worms eat me! Cinders blowing on the wind are such dead black things. Food is an integral part of life, and there will be no pain. Death is the absence of pain. Nothing exists then but the soul, and what is that really? A globe of phosphorescence? A blinding idea of pure thought and love, something that can endure  while the corpse cannot?  Does it exist?

Maybe, maybe not, how can I say when I haven’t died, or lived to remember it? I would like there to be a soul, something permanent, a voice to cry out, I was here! Graduated in ’97! Something to cry out in pain, I lived, I died, and I may live again! Who doesn’t wish to live forever?

Probably the few beings that actually could live forever. Life does get tiresome in only twenty to fifty some years. I could imagine infinity like a great big carousel, going round and round indefinitely, and not being able to get off, but being forced to go around, and around, and around.

I might go mad thinking like this. Where is that pain to remind me of life? Where are the nurses to jab needles into me? Where is the hospital? There is nothing here. There is nothing. The end is all.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Kittenish – A Character Study; Plus an Aside on Time and Ideas…

She is laying down, curled into a tight ball. Her sleepy almond shaped eyes open gradually taking in the aqua colored walls. Her tiny trim body is contained within the small chair. She jumps up suddenly in one swift graceful motion when a car drives by noisily. Her breathing slows as she realizes she is not in danger.

She walks casually to the door, cautiously opening it. She slinks through the hallway at complete ease by outward appearance. Ready to attack anything within internally.

She seems off guard, but upon a closer inspection, her lithe form is waiting like a tightly coiled spring. Her eyes glance passively about the room. She notices herself in the mirror. Her hair is frizzled and misshapen from sleeping on it. She promptly pats her hair until not one strand remains freakish.

She quickly examines her clothes and studies herself to ensure that her appearance is neat. She looks herself in the eye awhile, appearing to daydream. After she is through, she goes outside into the night. The chill air and dark sky make her feel alive and free. The sounds of the crickets chirping and the owls hooting release the tension in her slow stride.

She continues to walk until she reaches her vehicle. She enters quickly because she begins to feel droplets of rain dampening her hair. She has no plan in mind, nowhere to go. But she doesn’t care. Anywhere will do. She starts up the engine, and curses at it violently because she is impatient. She looks about her noticing the empty soda can, and some cigarette butts in the ashtray.  She slams the glove box in frustration, and gets up and decides to go for a walk instead.

She kicks the car door of the ancient Toyota Corolla and begins to walk aimlessly down the road. Suddenly, she feels lonely, and she wishes he’d stuck around for dinner. Then she thinks again, and is glad he didn’t bother.

She decides she doesn’t need anybody, and no one needs her. She looks up and sees the stars with all their sparkle and glimmer. It annoys her eyes. She is bored with her walk after a matter of yards. She begins to shiver as the cold seeps into her bones. She forgot to put on her coat.

She has had a hectic day between her husband leaving her, and her mother’s visit shortly afterwards. She walked back to her car after one more glance at the night sky.

*Note: This particular writing was from my 7th grade creative writing class. I do not know where my ideas come from, but I do believe time isn’t what we think it is. I think it is possible that my subconscious may be able to pull ideas or fragments from the distant past or the future, or from random writings I may glance at without thinking about.

I am not sure, but sometimes things have come to pass in the future, that I seem to write about years before they happen. This piece has been tweaked a few times since then, but the basic idea is from back then. I wouldn’t get divorced myself until 2002 or 2003. Also, I never was a smoker, but for some reason characters that smoke are interesting to me. Maybe it is all the old movies I watch. Although I hadn’t watched any back then, and that is from the original copy.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Transition– An Experiment with Stream of Conciousness

I dream of the sea, green noisy, coming in furiously, pounding the shore with a force that could knock a grown  man onto the ground and pull him under.

I dream of a love so strong that the one in love dies of a heart attack, but is blissful at the last possible second of life. I dream of the craziness of a nuthouse turned loose on the empty streets to vandalize the dreary storefronts.

My dreams are nightmares in the shapes of children’s building blocks gone horribly wrong. I find myself in a maze of my own making, only I forgot to  make myself a way out. I scream, but no one can hear, because I am not awake. The alarm resounds with buzzer like clarity, a dream within a dream, a labyrinth of eternity on a small scale. The scream turns inside out to show a display of a red interior that transforms into the interior of an ancient car that is on the edge of a precipice just like in the movies.

One move, and over we go to a glorious technicolor death down below.

And then I wake, and I scream, because it isn’t a dream, but a distorted reality, grinning at me from all angles in mock triumph. I am insane, I decide one day after witnessing the death of thousands before my very eyes. Or maybe, I never woke up, only thought I did, and am now tumbling down an earthen rabbit hole that is also a bottomless pit leading to a black hole where not even a beam of light can escape. An alarm sounds, do I hear it? Am I awake now?

I fear I am, and experience the total whiteness of nothingness, where every object is a foreign one, and I am floating to a remote island with seas of intense blue, but there are sharks waiting for me, to make me into a fine meal. At least there will be an end to it, the madness I mean, the crazy multi colored flashiness of existence.

Is that what I want? An end to it? To be thrown away like the core of an apple? Awh, but the seed hits the ground, and one day grows to be an apple tree. Is there never an end to it then? If there is a beginning, there must be an end, that is symmetry.

Two perfect halves waiting to be reunited on the beaches of bliss and ignorance. Hands touch, and collide, and the fragments shatter like broken glass in a cheap hotel, going every which way, and in a hurry like a bus without brakes. Slow down, we don’t want to die after all, only too scared to really live, but even more afraid to die.

So that’s it. Life. I must be dreaming because no life is as ridiculous and nonsensical as this one. Or is it my ego, in the foolishness of thinking that I am unique? No, I am unique, and so it the man in the trench coat on the park bench over there, you know, the one reading the newspaper so intently, brow furrowed with concern and worry. He’s looking at the NASDAQ,or could it be the comics?

He’s gone, but there is an old lady with a poodle approaching. She sniffs the air suspiciously. What is it that she smells? The urine of a homeless man who slept on the park bench all night, with the stars as his own personal tableau? Or is it the city trashcan filled with half eaten fast food that apparently was not fast enough.

The lady with the poodle is gone now, and so is the bench and the trashcan. Where am I now? In bed, with the sheets pulled up tight around my chin which I hate. I hate being constricted. I feel so helpless.  Like I am going insane. Going,  as if it is a destination, a plot point, a physical locale one can visit, and then leave.

My eyes examine the ceiling and I know I am awake. I can count the tiny dots on each panel. It is the type of ceiling one finds in an institution, or a school. Only I am in a sterile bed, made of a mattress and metal, counting the dots. A hospital, my mind tells me. I am in the hospital.

What for? I ask myself, but no one answers. What was I expecting? Another personality? One named Susan with one and a half kids, and a beagle with a pink collar? Or an old lady named Gertrude with a fat cat on her lap, mewing. Whatever, there is no one here but me, and I can’t think straight.

I slowly lift my arm to touch my temple, and it feels funny. Soft like rotten fruit that’s been in the fridge way too long. I am all tied down, as if I tried to get out of bed earlier. Maybe I did, I can’t remember. I recall pain, white hot pain, on the beach, and then nothing. Who am I? What beach?

I am blank, nothing, nada. But I am alive, and awake and here in a hospital with a window overlooking a large parking lot.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Forever, –A Poem

Forever did he dream of her with the raven black hair streaming into the

sunlight glistening with a luster that could rival the diamonds of a treasure trove.

Her eyes flashed a brilliant blue like that of the water of the great sea, sometimes green, other times azure.

He dreamt while he worked, and when he slept, and never did the dream stop,

Sometimes it would leave him cold for she had a sadness about her as if she were not among the living, but yearned for a life long gone,

So many years past that her own town and his were unreachable by land or sea.

They never spoke, but he knew she would be the end of him, thoughts of the mundane or earthly matters meant nothing to him anymore,

And he ceased to remember to eat, ceased to go to work even, and one day, he didn’t get up at all. Still, he dreamt of her, and her raven hair in the sun glistened like a thousand diamonds while the calming sound of the ocean upon a distant shore echoed in the background.

Posted in Uncategorized

Dragonflies – A Fantasy Character Study

The sky was a canvas of red swathed in yellow with the evening light while the dragonflies danced above the still waters of the cool lake, weeds puncturing the surface in clumps.

Her eyes danced also to the tune of the flames in the bonfire, climbing and falling like an ancient civilization lost and recently found. She sighed with the despair of the young and bored. Life had offered her many choices and all of them dull. Still, there was much that lay ahead of her and it was this that she craved the most.

******************************************************

Grennick waited for her at the other end of the fire; watching its light toy with her sharp features. His eyes never wavered, but watched with wolfish intensity as she sat there, alone. He would make his move later, he decided. She wasn’t going anywhere; thinking of the future and distant lands he assumed. Anything but the here and now, or the man across the fire whom her father had decreed she marry.

He was much older than her, but this wasn’t unusual. The King liked to reward his friends and faithful with the young tender daughters of his retainers. And why not? Hadn’t the retainers risked their lives only to serve him? Besides, it was the fate of their birth to  be thrown to strange men.

This one was unusual, she had dark hair and eyes that appeared to be at an angle. She was an exotic. He would have to throw her aside if the rumors of her bastard birth were ever proved true, but until then, she might provide some nice entertainment.

The King himself was seated in the longhouse, drinking to the fortunes of the soon to be wedded couple. Her father was at his side, feigning a smile with mixed success. Her mother was nowhere to be found, it was rumored she was too ill to make the journey.

Grennick smiled, unsheathing his knife and throwing it solidly into the tree to her right. She didn’t flinch, or even to notice. Odd girl, maybe bewitched, he thought. No matter, he knew of ways to break the spirit of witches.

****************************************************

Her eyes followed the pattern of the dragonflies over the lake. She watched them move lazily in slow circles, listening to the nattering of their wings. She was everywhere but at her own bridal feast.

Her father would get some chests of gold in recompense, but this would not generate happiness for him. Or for her. She knew that life would be different now, and she could never go back to her olden days of carefree wonder.

She wanted to break free, throw off her invisible chains, and follow the dragonflies over the water, and just keep on, past the mountains and speak with the faeries beyond the glade.

She didn’t want to be wed to the cruel eyes of a warrior. She didn’t want to be wed at all. How could she belong to anyone, when no one knew her value? Not even she knew what she was, or what she could be. She couldn’t say how many or few her worth in gold coins nor did she care.

Her thoughts remained upon the water. Her father pulled at her limp arm, to get her to stand up, and take a seat next to her new lord and master, but he found she would not move. She felt cold to the touch and her eyes took on a glassy look of one who has stared for too long without blinking.

The wise woman was sent for, and attended her, only to confirm to all, that for all intents and purposes, the lady was dead, gone and no longer within reach of voice or kind word.

Posted in Fiction, Life, Uncategorized, Writing

What in the Short Stories is Happening Around Here…

Figured I should explain why I am posting so many short stories. I had a booklet of short stories that I had been sitting on for a long time that I had wanted to publish. But, I figured since I also write newer material, I may as well self publish them here.

I did a sequel of sorts for Between the Cliffs on here,  the original which I had published in a  literary journal in college as Jennifer Rae, and I was looking for the first part since it has been over ten years I figured it would be harmless to put it out there now.

Instead, I found a treasure trove of other stories that I am editing slightly and posting here. Eventually, I will find Between the Cliffs as I kept the issue that it appeared in for my records.

So, as a disclaimer, a lot of these I must have written when I was in a sad mood. So many of them are tragedies, I am getting depressed re-writing them. I am not sad currently. I am not suicidal, or depressed. There is a ton of things to live for, not sure what I was processing at the time. But I am not in that frame of mind currently.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

The Dagger — A Fantasy Short Story

Her eyes searched the night sky for answers to questions that she dare not ask aloud. The Gods blew their cruel breath down on her full force, billowing her long dark hair behind her like the flag of some long lost nation. Her eyes moved from the tiny twinkling stars onto the large round luminous moon, noticing the craters of some disaster from the first days while her mind remained numb to the world.

Her love, her one and only in a long lifetime of waiting, was dying somewhere down below her. There was nothing that could be done and the helplessness forced her to retreat into silence while the night continued unabated.

The cruel twist of the dagger could be felt through her own flesh, despite the fact that it hadn’t happened to her at all. It was the bane of her people, this intense empathic connection to others. It was more painful because of who was dying. She made no noise, only listened to the music of the wind as it poured through the nearby trees.

She sat on the grass slowly, and watched the moon. She saw the approach of the others, some heavily bandaged from the recent battle, some unscathed. They nodded at her, but she all ready knew what they were going to say.

He was gone, the Gods had claimed him and she could still feel the dagger being removed. She could feel the last painful breath as it left his lungs. She could feel his eyesight darken, and the cold, cold wind on his skin.

She nodded in return. A kind elder placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “You may stay with me tonight. It is cold out here. We will take care of you. It will be all right. There will come a day of vengeance. But, first you must rest.”

“No. My days are done; there is no need for vengeance. I feel nothing. There is no reason to go on. Nothing to live for.”

“Nonsense. There will be others. You will live. It is what he would have wanted for you.”

“No.” She was dragged by a kind wise woman whose strength remained within her old bones despite her fragile appearance. She was rushed past the men who were digging a long trench for the bodies of the dead. There were too many to bury in the proper ritualistic fashion, it had to be a shared grave for all.

She found her knees bending with the old woman’s and she followed, all the time thinking, “no.” None of this could be happening. She was at home, cooking a simple soup when she saw him in her mind. She saw the brute stab him in the heart with a sharp dagger, felt it being twisted in his gut, to make sure the wound would be fatal. She saw his friend kill the enemy while the dagger continued to twist. Agonizing pain swept through her. She felt her feet shift out of underneath her, felt her breath grow faint, and she fell. She fell onto the hard kitchen floor, the sound of her bubbling soup long forgotten.

In a daze she left her home, and walked up the hill, to look at the moon and feel the pain, waiting, as she had waited for many nights. Waiting for news of the most recent battle. News of victory. Now, she needn’t wait. She knew all ready. The morning found her much the same. She said no when the woman spoon fed her oatmeal, but that was all she would say. Everyone expected her to snap out of it, to one day breath life again, to look at the sun instead of the moon.

She found herself being moved with the rest of the village. They lost the battle and had to flee their homes. The information entered her mind and left again. She said nothing. No one talked to her anymore, but they talked around her much like adults do around children who are deemed too young to understand. She knew, but no longer cared. She still felt the dagger, and the twisting, and the pain. She couldn’t sleep, yet she couldn’t awaken. She waited for the Gods to claim her, but they were indeed cruel, and did not.

************************************************************************

The old woman was placing her belongings into a makeshift hut, a temporary home near the fort of an ally tribe. They would be well protected here. Life would continue as it always did. The land may not be the same, but the people were, and the people always managed to make themselves at home.

This wasn’t their first relocation, nor would it be their last, she knew. Her charge lay near the fire, not saying a word. Her eyes remained open to the world and her breathing was regular, but if anything went on inside that head, no one knew of it. The old woman sighed.

It was the next day when she went to feed her and found her lying on her stomach. She gently turned her over and found somehow, a sharp dagger had been shoved hard into her breastbone, and the life was gone from her large vacant eyes.

The wise woman closed them, uttered a prayer and took the pale fingers off the handle grasped so tightly by cold hands. The old woman’s tears fell onto the dirt floor, causing a small puddle of mud to appear. She carefully removed the dagger, and examined it closely. Odd, it was the same style as the one that killed the young woman’s husband. The very same style, the crude bone hilt and the slight curve of the blade.

How could it have gotten here? The old woman certainly hadn’t kept it, and how did she not hear the killer enter? Why would anyone want to kill the silent woman? Nothing made any sense. If the woman had killed herself, how did she come upon this blade?

************

It was over now, the waiting, the wind was no longer cold. It would no longer blow her hair around wildly. And it no longer bothered her at all.