Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Short Stories of Suspense and Wonder

The office was hot and stuffy. It was an unusual business. They did reviews of short stories instead of novels, and published them into one volume entitled Short Stories of Suspense and Wonder.

There would be the usual stack of magazines and literary journals on the long table, and the short story reviewers would grab the choice bits to cover until only the newsprint of local human interest stories and obituaries were left. Suzie waited on the outskirts, smiling at her fiance, Geoffrey. He wasn’t feeling ambitious today, and waited for the men in front of him to stop arguing over a short suspense piece.

Geoffrey wanted something local, something nearby, something that would not require too much real work on his part. They had all ready published a few volumes of this, and the next very well might be their last, because people just didn’t buy review magazines of short stories on a regular basis.

Geoffrey was only here because of a friend himself. That and Suzie had talked him into it. Easy cash, only work a little on the weekends, besides his day job, he might be able to save up for her ring, which he kept putting off, and so on. Suzie fancied herself a writer, but she hadn’t written a story in years.

Finally the others went to their cubbyholes, talking excitedly about this author, or that one, Geoffrey wasn’t really listening. He walked up to the table and glanced over the remains. Pieces of magazines lay everywhere, certain stories had been yanked from them, and now they lay there disemboweled. His eye caught one story, on the inside of one magazine that hadn’t been destroyed yet, but instead lay propped open to some ghastly art done in a seventies pulp mag style around the title. Just my luck to get a horror story, he thought, unimpressed.

He picked it up, and looked in the back where they have the “about the author” stuff, he wasn’t going to go out of state, or even over fifteen miles if he could help it. Alexandra Tarpin, Fir street, building 1001. Hmm.

That wasn’t far. That was just downtown. This was her first published story, and she was eighty years old. There might be something here, Geoffrey smiled to himself, and took the scissors lying carelessly on the table, and cut out the article, writing down the author contact info in a small notepad.

He did find it odd she had her address listed in the magazine. They normally just left it at the city, and he usually had to do a little grunt work to get the actual address. But her address was right there; less work for him. He left the table and approached Suzie who was still waiting.

“Well? Where are we going? What town?”

“Suzie my dear, we are going to Fir Street.”  She looked at him a moment, and then grabbed his little notebook to see for herself.

“Well, that is a surprise. Since you waited for everyone to pick first I thought for sure we would be left with Siberia. And, she’s a granny too? Writing horror? This will be interesting.” Maybe to Suzie, as Geoffrey tried to stifle a yawn. “Well, let’s get this over with.”

Geoffrey’s old Chevy truck pulled up and parked at Fir Street, and they both gazed at  number 1001. It was a rundown brick building with moss growing between the gaps and a cracked sidewalk that poured directly into the street. Geoffrey shut the car door with Suzie following and approached the an old door. He looked into the window in the center of the door, and saw a small hallway with two additional doors leading further in.

“Come on, we aren’t here to spy on her,” Suzie said testily. Geoffrey didn’t know why she insisted on coming along anyway. This wasn’t the most exciting work.

Geoffrey tested the outer door, and found it unlocked. “A real trusting granny, ” he quietly said under his breath. They both walked into the small hallway, and were faced with the two doors he had noticed from outside. Which one was the correct one, and what kind of crazy house was this?

“We should have knocked. You don’t just waltz into her house like you own the place.” Geoffrey shrugged. Suzie glared at him and knocked quite loudly on the door to the left. They waited a few minutes, Geoffrey glancing at his watch. “Maybe I should have tried to get her phone number.”

“You think?” Suzie rolled her eyes, annoyed. An elderly lady opened the door, and looked at them in surprise.

“Just in time. I am holding a writing seminar upstairs.” She said calmly her voice sounding like a typical granny.

“Mrs. Tarpin? Actually, I was hoping to review your short story,” he paused to glance at the article to remind him of the title, “Zombies and Ghouls.” Suzie gave him a sharp elbow to the side, when he almost laughed saying the title out loud.

“Well, let’s talk upstairs anyway. I often invite guests into my house. it’s so large and lonely here all alone.”

They followed Mrs. Tarpin upstairs and through a door into a long room filled with old school desks.  At the front of the room was a large chalk board. Normally, a reviewer would have read the material first, but Geoffrey felt like the title explained all he needed to know of her story.

“So, what inspired you to write this?” he asked first, although Mrs. Tarpin looked distracted. There were about five other people in this room all chatting among themselves.

“I should really get back to my discussion. Perhaps you can study the story more, with your friend here, and see what you can come up with.” Mrs. Tarpin gave him a smile, and went back toward the chalk board. Suzie took a seat at one of the desks, and implored with hand gestures that Geoffrey do likewise.

“Okay, okay. I guess we should actually read this thing. Hopefully, it is better than it sounds.” Geoffrey sounded less than confident about this and had to visibly suppress a grimace. Suzie sighed. He knew she hated his dramatics. As Geoffrey began to read the story, he noticed that it didn’t start out like he thought it would.

A man, a Mr. Fenton who was married with a few kids was unhappy. He had been pining in secret for the girl who lived next door. Their houses shared a wall and he would see her going by with a smile. He was convinced she was teasing him. He became so despondent; he started destroying things in his own house.

One day, his wife and kids were gone, and the man could think of nothing else but this girl. He went into his cellar, which he had discovered while trashing the place; a hidden cellar, of course.

He brought a candle with him. ‘Why  not a flashlight?’, thought Geoffrey, annoyed. The man kept going, and it started sloping down, sharply. He kept on until his candle was burning his fingers. He didn’t know where he was going, or why, he was just angry at that girl for teasing him.

Finally, he felt everything was wet around him, and this repulsed him, he groped to find his way back, his candle having gone out, and he found what appeared to be a large round luminous ball of mysterious substance. ‘Oh, come on!, though Geoffrey, incredulous.

This ball was hard for the most part, but when he applied enough pressure, it burst, and showered him with green muck. He had no idea what it could be. He again started to grope the wall, to try and find his way back.

It remained wet and slimy most of the way. He soon felt very tired, and got the strange impression he was dying down here.  His skin appeared to be slipping off, and he was all wet from the walls.

He felt so very tired. He had to rest, yet he couldn’t sit down in the muck. He soon realized that he could no longer feel anything; it was as if he was numb all over.

“Why am I reading this? I know what is going to happen.” Suzie glared at him again.

“Just read it, you might find yourself surprised.” He shrugged.

The man continued upward. Soon he heard giggling and laughing, and it made him think of the girl. Instead of looking forward to seeing her, he felt an intense anger.  He felt like destroying the world. She was laughing at him, he knew it. He went towards the light. Soon, it was everywhere, and he realized he was in the other house. The girl was louder, and very close.

He could smell her tender young skin. He looked down at himself, wondering about the muck covering him, when he saw that his skin was slipping off. His legs were like one of those wrinkled dogs, and his clothes were slimy and torn.

He looked at his hands, and they had a bluish tinge and looked for from healthy. He had to find the girl. She went hopping and skipping, and stopped when she came within his sight.

She looked at him aghast, but said nothing. She had a look of pity on her face, not the look of horror he had been expecting. He grew intensely angry at this. He came up to her reeking of the muck, and yelled at her, “Why have you changed? Why are you not teasing me?”

She said nothing. He passed her and went further into the house where her family lived, leaving her to wonder.

“That was very stupid. See? I did know where it was going,” Geoffrey added with certainty.

“Don’t you find it odd, that he asked her, why she had changed?” Suzie asked. Now that he stopped to think about it, it was an odd thing for him to say.

Mrs. Tarpin came over, finished with her lecture. The other five people talked excitedly. “Out of curiosity, Mrs. Tarpin, what was your lecture on?” Suzie asked, being nosey as usual.

“Why, dear, it was about relating your life events into your story, you know, to make it seem more real.”

“Mrs. Tarpin?”

“You may call me, Alexandra, Mr. ?”

“Mr. Barris.”

“And what is your Christian name?”

“Geoff, Geoffrey Barris.”

“Now, what was it you wished to ask me?”

“Why did you decide to do a story like this, I mean, Zombies and Ghouls?”

“Why do you think, young man, it intrigued me.”

Suzie cut in, “Why does the man after he is changed, ask the girl, why she has changed? It almost seems like something someone might say. But, I am not sure what it means in the story.”

“Well, I did think of it, dear.” She chuckled at this. “He says this, because she no longer mocks him, and he didn’t know why. He had observed that he had changed, but he didn’t know in what way exactly. In fact, to the girl, he looked much the same, except the condition of his clothes, of course.”

“You don’t say that in your story, why not?” Geoffrey suddenly found himself interested in the bizarre old woman.

“Perhaps it was an oversight. Would you like some tea? Or cookies? My other guests are leaving just now, and we can talk more about the story if you wish.” Mrs. Tarpin did seem like a normal granny, other than the fact that most don’t write short stories about zombies.

“Uh…Mrs…Alexandra, where do the Ghouls come in?”

“Well, when he discovers that he doesn’t appear to be rotting, to ordinary people, and has rediscovered his mind, he becomes a ghoul.”

“That’s not in the story either. Do we have a shorter version?”

“No, that is the version that got published. In all truth, I didn’t want that for the name. But the editor thought it sounded catchy for his magazine.” Mrs. Tarpin left the room to get the tea, leaving the kitchen door ajar. They both waited, not saying a word.

The door creaked open all the way, and Suzie turned to address Mrs. Tarpin, when she saw a man in a bathrobe turn toward her and give her an odd grimace. Something made her fearful, and she started to  back away. Geoffrey looked at her like she was insane.

“Is that? Are you?” Suzie stammered.

He came at her, with a look of anger and no longer appeared to be human, but a strange bluish creature whose skin had been rotting. She screamed, and Mrs. Tarpin was there , and with in-explainable super human strength, lifted Suzie up and placed her on top of a tall refrigerator. Geoffrey remained below, with speechless mouth agape.

Mrs. Tarpin quickly made some fried eggs, and bacon, and gave them to the man who seemed to be an old man once again.

“Suzie? Are you crazy? Why did you do that? And, Mrs…Alexandra, how did you lift her like that? You made it look easy.”

“Mr. Barris, are you that stupid?” Mrs. Tarpin said with an odd tone of menace. He watched as the old man shoveled the food into his mouth straight off the frying pan, still sizzling.

“I think we would be going, don’t you dear?” He addressed Suzie who was still cringing on top of the fridge.

“I know why he said, why have you changed.” Suzie exclaimed in a daze. “Oh no, we have to leave now.”

Mrs. Tarpin sighed with regret. “If you must leave, let me show him back to his part of the house. He just thought he smelled food cooking. Come, dear.” She led the man creature to another door at the back of the kitchen, and locked it with a click.

“Come, child. Let me get you down from the fridge. It is safe now.” Suzie backed away from her, shaking her head. Mrs. Tarpin’s arms seemed to elongate, and she grabbed the frightened girl anyway, and hauled her down from the fridge.

“Now, dear, listen to me. You can go out this way, and Geoffrey can go out this door.” They could hear the man creature pounding loudly on the other side of the door, and the sound of wood splintering under the impact.

Suzie nodded, and ran out the door not looking behind her, and into the large school like room and then beyond downstairs into the small hallway.

She reached the front door, and opened it, and wasn’t sure whether to close it and lock it, or wait for Geoffrey. She heard the door on the right open, and Geoffrey entered the small hallway, his eyes appeared tired, and had dark circles under them as if he hadn’t slept in days.

Suzie quickly got out of the house, and locked the knob from the inside and ran. It took only an additional second for the door to be unlocked and for the knob to turn, and for it to open. She saw Geoffrey staring after her with his eyes blankly watching.

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

Mrs. Tarpin entered her bathroom, and noticed that Mr. Fenton was all ready in the tub, the water a dark grey from his rotting flesh. She got rid of her illusion and went to take care of his wounds. If he didn’t get new flesh soon he would die.

Mr. Barris followed her, his eyes beginning to bulge out of his head, his skin starting to decay. She could use some of his skin in the meantime. Before it was all dead.

Alexandra Tarpin still remembered that day a long time ago, when Mr. Fenton had shouted at her, “Why have you changed?” He had only reached out and held her hand but a moment, and didn’t know why she had started to wither.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Miranda – Science Fiction Short Story

He entered the rocket ship determined to make his mark on the world. He tried not to think of the future, or the past. What is gone, is gone, and can never be again.

******

A melancholy settled over her as she recalled his youthful figure stepping into the entryway. The large metal door sealing shut; shutting him away from her life forever.

Some told her that he didn’t really love her. If he did, he wouldn’t go. She knew this was important to him. This trip into space was always his goal. She was the unforeseen unplanned accident. And while she liked to think he may give up his dream for her, she also knew she didn’t have the strength to ask it of him. He might resent her, loath her even. She might feel guilty every time she saw his gaze wander aimlessly, searching for the stars.

Instead, she chose to suffer. He might come back early. It was possible. Of course, life on earth would move as it always had. But for him? Everything would be preserved, and prolonged. Would he still want her?, she wondered.

*********

He strapped himself in the cryogenic chamber carefully. To study the nearest solar system even from a distance would require a long sleep. Miranda was dead to him. He had to think of her that way. There was a chance he could come back in her lifetime, but he felt that he should prepare for the worst case scenario. He locked the hood which would fill his sarcophagus-style bed with cold. He would sleep a while, unless an accident happened to the craft, whereas he would be awakened. Assuming, that was in working order.

He knew the dangers. Being an explorer has always been fraught with disaster and near-death. It was this that made up part of the appeal for him. Even if he wasn’t frozen, time would be slowed for him compared to the frenzy upon the earth. Freezing him just gave him more years to get into the proper position.

The craft was designed to send signals to earth once a year to relay its progress, and to remind the earth that it was there and would return.

*****

At first the days were long, and filled with loneliness. She missed him, and life became a matter of routine. One ate because that was expected. One worked to help fill the hours. And the nights were for dreaming, her favorite time of day.

******

He was awakened by the sensation of warmth spreading through him. He felt like he just laid down and now was cheated of a decent night’s rest. He was beyond sleep, more like the eternal sleep of the dead, and now he was resurrected to serve his purpose.

He glanced out the port window and gasped at the apparent closeness of the binary star system. Two suns sharing power equally over what looked like an expanse of nothing. He panned the lenses further away and verified the few planets. They were rocky and small in appearance. He guessed there may be a gas giant further out, much like his own system. He didn’t see the paradise of water and clouds, but then he hadn’t been expecting to. One sun was too hot, and the other too cool.

This mission didn’t have to be manned. He knew that, but he wanted to be the one t o see it with his own eyes. He had to know that space travel, albeit limited, was still possible. Strange, a thought of Miranda’s smile crept into his mind. He dismissed it easily. He felt he had only said “Good Bye” yesterday. He knew this wasn’t correct, but his body’s system of time couldn’t mourn her yet.

He took many pictures, and sent probes to gather samples of soil from the planetoids. He requested that one be named Miranda, then destroyed the request. This was larger than any unqualified sentimental feeling. He never meant for her to get that close. He never meant to hurt her. He shifted the guilty feeling away. She knew of his plans. She knew how important this was to him. He calmly waited.

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

The day came when she couldn’t quite remember what his voice sounded like. She couldn’t cry anymore. It all seemed so vague, like it had happened to someone else. She looked at photos in an attempt to refresh her memory, but she could no longer conjure up a scene, or see the glint in his eye which she had suffered so much for. Sometimes he haunted her dreams, but in the dream nothing had changed. She knew it was all ready too late.

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

He returned earlier than expected. His rocket was carefully received. He had sent the information back and the earth got it shortly before his own arrival. The last ten years or so for him felt like little more than a week. He knew that more than ten years of time had passed here. The people dressed differently, looked at him with boredom and disinterest despite his long journey. The crowd was small, mostly comprised of scientific minded academics. He stepped off the launch pad in a state of fear. It was as if he had landed on an alien planet.

No one knew him, no one cared about his achievement. They had  mathematically deduced the location of the planets around the binary system he had viewed. The pictures were nice, but the people had seen artists’ renderings which were more stunning.

He had no real home, and no friends. He thought of Miranda. One of the more zealous academics had arranged a hotel room for him, and he gladly accepted. He slept as if he hadn’t slept in years. The rest of the dead doesn’t have the satisfactory drowsiness, only an emptiness and lack of dreams.

He awoke and was handed some artificial tasting coffee by a sudden robotic arm. He had clothes in the new free flowing style laid out for him on the bed. Perhaps by another robotic arm or an apologetic maid who carefully avoided waking him from his deep slumber?

The academic waited for him in the lobby with an old woman, who looked ill. The academic stared at him like a child in a museum filled with dinosaur bones. He stood, and cleared his throat noisily. “I would like to introduce you to someone. She has given most generously to the scientific community, through endowments and organizing some awareness of your particular program.”

The woman looked about to faint, and not at all pleased to be making his acquaintance. Her eyes stared in horror, as if his visage was that of a monster, or a ghost. There was something vaguely familiar about her, but he couldn’t place it.

“Miranda,” the academic was the only one smiling now, “Derrick.” It all made sense in a horrible sort of way. He had known this might happen, but he had hoped she would be dead. He wanted to remember her beautiful. He didn’t know this lady. She had her hand on her heart, and slipped to the floor. The academic ran to get help, while Derrick stood dumbfounded. Her hand reached out toward him. He backed away from it like it was some sort of sentient lizard groping toward him.

“I don’t know you. You aren’t her.” His mind swirled in confusion. Hadn’t it been only days since he saw her radiant young face? He knew this would happen, yet there was no preparing for this moment.

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

She felt her tears slide down her tired face. The pain in her chest returned. This young man before her, looking at her in disgust and fear appeared the same as when she last saw him. His face brought back the dim memories. The lack of recognition caused her long dry well of tears to miraculously renew. She had been dead inside all the years he was away, and now that he was back she had forgotten how painful life was. He looked ready to bolt from the room, yet he didn’t move. She reached out with the strength left in her, and he yelled at her some words that her mind could no longer translate.

This act of dying was long overdue, and the kind professor did all he could to save her. What the doctor and the professor, and all the nurses and robots didn’t know was that she didn’t want to be saved. She didn’t want to picture that awful look on his youthful face.

She wished the professor had let her remain anonymous, yet seeing Derrick one last time was something she had to do. He had ceased to be a real person to her, but more of a dream. A loving, kind dream. The reality of the strange boy was all it took to bring back the pain, and the loss.

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

They named the first verified planetoid of the binary system Miranda in her honor year’s before. Her name would always come up in discussions about the expedition, and he would be reminded of the frightened old woman instead of the Miranda he wanted to remember.

He tried to live life as normally as he could, but he felt he hadn’t ever quite made it home. Too much had changed while he did not. He was isolated in this foreign alien world.

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

The professor thought he would give Derrick a long overdue visit. No one answered, so he knocked louder. Finally, getting concerned, he called the police to open the door. They found him seated at an old fashioned wooden desk, with an antique gun in one hand, and his bloodied head on the desk, laying sideways as if he was taking a much needed  nap from some taxing academic endeavor. He had been dead for some time, but not having any close friends or loved ones no one thought to stop by until the professor.

 

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Excerpt of a scene from my fantasy novel

This scene is one of my favorites from my novel, because part of me loves sadness, and I find it moving. I’ve been thinking of just pulling scenes out and re writing the rest of it. It is such a massive mess, over 250,000 words written many years ago, 2001 to be precise.

Still Telmishei is one of my favorite characters. I tortured this poor guy in a couple novels actually, I seem fond of torturing him. I almost feel bad. Actually, I added clips of several scenes just for some context. There is another chapter I’d like to find, and excerpt here because I doubt it will actually make it into the final draft. Tertiary characters at best, but it has some philosophical discussion that I like, but, otherwise is too much of an outlier unfortunately.

So hear goes..

“You mean to you, Telmishei. Our time was years ago. I’m flattered you still remember. I found you, not much different from Diamtur. In a family that would have killed you as a child had they known. I have never met a family that hated magic more than the Razshai’s. Your first talent was the portal of worlds, was it not? How old were you, Telmishei? Maybe seventeen, sixteen?”

“How old were you, that was the question. I remember. I offered to marry you, and you turned me down. A rude awakening for a boy heir.”

“To the most powerful clan in the land. Yes, that was sweet. This is no different, only I am the one getting turned down.”

“How old are you?”

“It is rude to ask a lady her age, Telmishei. Didn’t your mother teach you anything?”

“Don’t tease me anymore, or I might show Lorune how it is done.” With this he laughed, for he and Jannhilae had known each other for so long.

He kissed her lightly on her soft chocolate colored hair and went to his horse. He’d kept the King waiting too long as it was.

#####

“Good night, Telmishei. We will meet again tomorrow night.” Shaih left with the King, Diamtur left in the other direction. Telmishei turned to Jannhilae.

“My offer still stands. Give Lorune a break. I am all alone here, and I miss you. There is no one here, not even Shaih.”

“Telmishei, you had no interest in me until a few days ago. Are you really that simple? Find another girl, you’ve never had trouble before.”

“I took you as a given, and for that I am sorry. We have always been there for each other. Spare him this night, and we can remember old times.” He saw she was tempted despite herself. What woman didn’t dream of having men fight over her? Lorune didn’t want her, but Telmishei did. In the end she turned away.

“Telmsihei, I like you this way. Perhaps I will consider your offer some other time. I wouldn’t want you to take me as a given.” Telmishei watched her leave reluctantly. Maybe he was still the boy to her, thinking that being a lord was enough to get the girl.

####

“Jannhilae, come with me to my tent. I would like to speak with you.”

“Why, my lord, of course. Excuse me, Lady Orshei.” Jannhilae stood up slowly and walked to the exit toward Telmishei.

Once they both were in Lord Razhshai’s tent she glared at him.

“How did you know Arousei was Lorune’s?”

“His thoughts aren’t guarded. He was always obsessing over Daemia, who hadn’t loved him.”

“Ah, the tainted blood, and so on. So, why were you with him, Jannhilae?”

“Oh, Telmishei, do you not have sight behind those violet eyes of yours? Aren’t I more lovely than you remember?”

“And, Lorune has aged considerably. He is always tired.”

“Yes, he hasn’t noticed at all, but when he is with me, he feels young, but after he is older I’m afraid.”

“The secret of your youth? How much have you stolen from me, I wonder?”

“Telmishei, you are one of us. Stealing from you, would only hurt us. I have from time to time, not meaning to, really.”

“Yes, I am not much older than Lorune, yet I look much older. He does seem to be catching up to me, though. I ask again, how old are you Jannhilae? You seemed the same twenty something maid when I was sixteen.”

“I was a little older than you are now, perhaps. Now, I am older still, and it takes more energy to keep up my  maintenance than it used to.”

“Lorune isn’t here. I have realized that I love you, because you are like me. Others fear me, you understand me.”

“Would you still, if you saw my true age, Telmishei? Would you have still loved me at sixteen, if I looked older, with grey in my hair?” Telmishei had to admit to himself, that he wouldn’t have. Not at sixteen. He wouldn’t have seen her that way.

“That was then, we are here now.”

“Very well,” she reached out, and took his hand. He felt the energy course from her into him, and he saw her age speedily. Her hair lost its curl, turned grey and thin. Her skin grew taut and stretched tightly over her bones. She looked like a worn wooden doll ready to break apart with the smallest breeze.  Her teeth were long and yellow.

Instinct made him want to recoil from her, and tear her hand away from his, but he resisted.  Instead, he bent over her, and kissed her on the mouth. He felt the energy start to course in the other direction and felt her lips plump and her cheeks soften. When he pulled away, she was beautiful again, perhaps even more so.

He heard someone shout outside his tent. ‘They will go away,’ he hoped but they did not. “The King summons you, Razshai.”

“I must go, but please wait for me. I will be back soon.”

####

He entered his tent to find it empty. Hadn’t he told her to wait? he walked over to the women’s tent. “Jannhilae, I thought you were going to wait for me.”

“I will return soon, Lady Orshei. Good bye, Kalowen.” Jannhilae stood reluctantly it seemed, and went to the exit of the tent.

“Telmishei, I am sorry. Shaih has told me  of my doom. Years ago, understand, I made a pact with Keltorill, the God of Death. I may retain my life and youth through others’ life force. If I didn’t now, I would surely die in moments. You saw how I was. There is a price for everything, Telmishei.”

They entered his tent, she seemed uncertain. “Telmishei, I am sorry. My price was that I could use others, but not truly love them.”

“Does it matter? One more time, for the years we’ve had.” He saw that she was crying, and he had never seen her cry before. “Oh, Telmishei, but I do love you. You kissed me, as I was when I thought no one would. If only I..”

They were on his blankets, and he loved her. He kissed her, and had her, and when he was done, he noticed she was quiet. He moved away from her to see what was wrong, when he saw that her hair was grey and brittle. It was coming off in his hands in clumps. Her skin was like clay, and crumbled when he touched her. Before his eyes her bones cracked and broke into a fine grey powder. Where she had been was nothing.

He kept trying to find her in the powder, calling her name over and over. “No, where are you? Jannhilae! Jannhilae. Come back, come back. Where are you?”

He frantically searched his tent, and found her clothes. They still had her scent on them, and he hugged them to him in a tight embrace. The tears wouldn’t stop. She had tried to warn him, had avoided him for quite some time. Shaih had known. Had told him to stay away in fact. Told him, that it was his flaw. If only she had told him, but she had. And it was too late.

Time passed, and yet he just stayed where she had been, not knowing what else to do. He saw light coming from the bottom of the tent flap. It was day and he would have to move, but he didn’t want to.

“Telmishei, Telmishei, we had best be going. We cannot keep the King any longer.” It was Shaih. He didn’t know what to say. He took down his wards so that Shaih could enter his tent unharmed.

Shaih entered, and didn’t seem too surprised. He had probably been expecting it. “Telmishei, let me have a look at you. Jannhilae made a pact with Keltorill, sooner or later he claims all.  She only put off the inevitable.”

“I loved her, I killed her. Why hadn’t you told me?”

“You wanted to decide your own fate. You didn’t want to know, and I did hope I was wrong. We could have used her in the war. Come over here, Telmishei. I could see what she saw in you, now. She has given you a parting gift.  You don’t look a day over sixteen, my lord. Like when she met you, I’ll bet. She was a little sentimental it seems. All that energy has to go somewhere. That does leave us with some explaining, I’m afraid.”

“What are you talking about? Nothing matters anymore.”

“Now, that isn’t the proud lord I remember. Telmishei, wake up. Look at your hands. Your hair is thick and black, you are a very pretty boy. It’s too bad you like women.”

Telmishei did look at his hands. They were young, and his voice was smoother, and he knew it was true. Many men would have loved a second youth, but Telmishei would have traded it all for Jannhilae.

“What will we do, Shaih?”

“Let’s make up something. You can be one of your bastards, and we’ll say Jannhilae ran off with Lord Razshai.”

“The King is bound to  look for Lord Razshai.”

“The King will know the truth tonight, Telmishei. I’ll even give you your own horse. And, we’ll call you Telmishei. Common enough for a mistress to curry favor with her lord by naming her brat after him.”

“As you say.”

 

 

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Restarting, Renewal, and Birthdays

So it is that time of year again. I seem to always do a new year’s post, and a birthday post. New Years is a time for starting fresh, setting goals and starting over, birthdays for me are also a time of change, of realizing that time has past me by, that another year is on its way out, and around my birthday I usually will do something drastic to my hair, or get some clothes that are different, maybe even try some new music. It is a time to rediscover me.

I did the hair cut, and It is a bit subtle, for a birthday haircut, but it looks nice. That day I felt and looked like a million bucks. But now I’ve come down to earth and still feel a little bit empty.

When you are a kid you can’t wait to grow up. Each birthday is a milestone an age where you can do more, be more. Somewhere after 25 this stops. Sure, you can rent a car but that isn’t that exciting is it? And then you turn 26, and you get what? nothing. You turn 30, you get, well to be 30. Hopefully, you are in some sort of career path so you can accomplish some financial goals or start paying off school debt. Or  maybe you are getting into more debt trying to find your path still.

Past 35 and I see the white hairs. I feel tired in the morning. I just feel older. I can’t pull an all nighter like I used to. I can actually hurt myself and it takes time to recover.

I am trying to be my sunny optimistic self. I probably shouldn’t blog when I feel a little meh. Things aren’t bad. I am honestly in great health. I am writing on a regular basis, upgraded this blog.Things have been going up not down.

I guess if I had to put my finger on why I’m feeling meh I could have some guesses. I spend a lot of time alone or with my son, and I tend to overthink, and birthdays do remind you of your own mortality. I mean I felt like I was in my twenties yesterday, and now 40 isn’t that far off. I am turning 38 to be precise  in exactly a week. I would like to celebrate but I am not sure what I am celebrating? Life so far? That I am getting older? That I still feel like things are a struggle personally and financially?

I get up most mornings feeling like I can conquer the world. Feeling like I can not only do this, I can own this. But by the end of the day I feel like my energy has been siphoned off and it is harder to be motivated. I feel frustrated. I should be grateful and happy with what I have but I always seem to hope for more and that is the recipe for unhappiness. Just like expecting things to go a certain way also adds frustration and stress.

I need to relearn to be happy with me. As I am right now. I am on a journey of self improvement and I am a work in progress. But right now in this moment, I am me and I am pretty damn good. I need to learn to love and accept myself with all my flaws before I can truly be happy and that has been a struggle as it is for people who were bullied as children.

It is just harder to trust your own judgment. You have to stop negative thoughts as they appear and stamp them out. It can be tiring. And, year after year, I still have to refocus on the positive things. The blessings of everyday life that are there to be cherished. Every day might not be sunshine and rainbows but neither is it raining.