The Final Bullet

“I summon you, the beasts of war!”

One soldier suddenly screamed into the darkening lazuline skies nearly obscured by smoke and flame surrounding them as they huddled in a found trench.

The tokens that had moved around maps in the plotting and paper rehearsal of their campaign in the sterility of the general’s compound, had not lived up to its gritty reality.  If 100 things could have gone wrong, it seemed that 90 of them had. Watson again pushed away the mental reminder that this mission would be his final bullets for a while; he would be on leave in a few days. Having been back-turned twice, this mission was one for the Fail column. Those thoughts did him no good now when the few of them left were simply trying to survive long enough to report this failure of a mission.

“Janssen! What the bloody hell are you doing? Shut it!” Another soldier, Corporal Murray, hissed.

With his rifle raised overhead to the sky in defiant punctuation, Lieutenant Janssen continued his rant.

“Come! Cast your shadows upon my flesh. You think me afraid? Come then! Come find a gallant feast of fear in which to dine and learn that Janssen is a poor man’s buffet indeed for I am not ear-marked to be such food stuffs!”

Captain Watson’s head spun from Janssen’s outcry, to Lieutenant Rupali,  a meter on his opposite side in a clear do you hear this? expression before they ducked from a spray of stone and debris from another blast close to where they were. Blasts that were getting closer and closer as the enemy closed in.

Captain Watson wished he were surprised. He had always felt there was something off with Janssen but had kept it to himself. The man was a decent soldier, if high strung. When Janssen, what they at the time had thought was jokingly, fancied himself a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy in the making and started to sprinkle Elizabethan speech into his words, Watson knew he was no longer the only one who had begun to worry as signs of that off-ness increased. It explained Janssen’s language as the mission and his mind started unraveling. 

They have been on the run for three days straight as they wove their way out of the gauntlet of enemy territory. At times there was no choice but to quickly fish through the belongings of the slain, picking up ammunition and whatever supplies from the fallen who no longer needed them. Leave no man behind, an abandoned concept in their desperation for survival. Watson felt the weight from the collected dog tags of those he could get to that he carried in his med pack.

He knew they were so close to being saved. Their last radio communique before it was shot out had them no more than a couple of kilometers from the rescue approaching on the other side.  The last thing they needed was attention drawn to themselves. It was clear Lieutenant Janssen had not got that message as another grenade blast went off far too close to them. Watson knew the next one would strike true. They had to abandon their position.

“Come you spilled seed! A worthiness for only the lead of my bullets to eat!”

There was no ambiguity about it, Janssen had gone mad; the screaming man rising to his feet now put them all at risk.

“Jesus Christ! He’s going to get us killed!” Rupali swung his rifle around, his intention clear.

It was Rupali’s outcry that made Janssen turn and lock eyes with his fellow lieutenant. Watson and Rupali knew then that any chance at communion with Janssen was gone a moment before he turned and started screaming at a run when he was brought down.

“No!” Watson yelled as he scrambled out of the trench, the doctor already swinging his med pack around for use.

Some part of him registered the increased firepower as his people began to engage the enemy to give him a chance. He ignored it as he made his way to Janssen.   

He dropped to his knees, his mind already in medic mode as he began to triage. It took a moment before it registered that he was too far from his patient. It was another moment before the agonizing pain that caused him to drop his med pack from the bullet that tore through him made itself known.

But Watson knew it was bad. Very bad.

He did not notice that their rescue had finally arrived; his thoughts as he slipped into unconsciousness: Please, God, let me live. Don’t let this be the final bullet.


The Sunday Whirl  | Wordle 509
Language, Eat, Fish, Flame, Feast, Saved, Risk, Unraveling, Spray, Shadow, Stone, Off

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie | Wordle #249
Gallant, Ear-Marked, Sterility, Fail, Stone, Plotting, Rehearsal, Punctuation, Ambiguity, 100, Back-Turned, Communion

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie |First Line Friday: July 16, 2021
“I summon you, the beasts of war!”

The Castle Keep

My steed rides roughly through the loam
We’ve traveled very wide and far
Battle weary but still on par
For all the road I’ve yet to roam
The longest road the first step home

The portion to right unjust wrong
The cost to our men’s lives was steep
The pride we sow we humbly reap
The battle fought was hard and long
Tales that become folklore and song

Glad it’s all done should truth be told
I contemplate my latest scar
Hopeful my queen forgives the mar
Small price to pay her gentle scold
To see the face I long to hold

A winter’s storm slows our advance
All far travels have their own cost
As we lose more men to the frost
My men look to me for guidance
I cannot waver in my stance

Though my own mood be very drear
It’s I alone who holds their hope
It’s by my lead I know they cope
The last goal twixt what we hold dear
My men let loose a hearty cheer

I may yet enter in a tome
The sight of the valley’s green sweep
And just ahead the Castle Keep
The wind becomes our wild mane’s comb
The shortest road the last step home


dVerse Poets Pub graphic

dVerse Poets Pub | Poetics: Exploring the Narrative Voice

Ingrid tends the bar at dVerse Poets and challenges us to write a poem in the voice of a fictional character. It can be any character. One can introduce the character in one’s own voice, but the main body of the poem must be in the voice of the character. It can be a dramatic monologue, or create a spirit voice through whom the poem speaks. The challenge is to experiment with fictional storytelling in the poem.

I’ve gone all medieval king returning home at the end of a battle.

The Kidnapping

One moment Donna was waiting to be picked outside the music academy in the afternoon. A sedan pulled up and the next thing she knew she had awakened at night, to find her ankle was chained to the bed, the only furniture in a plain featureless room. Nothing to give her a sense of place other than she was in a basement room of some sort.

Donna was young and smart. She knew enough of the world to understand that her family was wealthy. It had been told to her, and her siblings, that despite their best efforts at security, a kidnapping was always a possibility for a family as hers. She never imagined it would be her that was taken.

She spent the first few hours screaming until she was held down and gagged. She knew it was less so that her screams could not pierce to the outside than for those on the inside not to hear her. After the first full day she realized wherever they are, there was no foot traffic. Thus, no passersby to hear her screams if they could have been heard.  

The only light sources in the room were a lamp on the floor by the door that stayed on even in the daytime. She could not reach it without dragging the heavy bed across the room. At ten years old she certainly did not have the strength to ram the bed into the metal door which opened inward with any discernable force. There was a clearstory window too high for her to reach. It had amused her captors to discover, that even with the chain, she had managed to turn her bed on its short edge to try.

She never left the room, except to be taken to a bathroom. The men wore masks and made a point of showing her a gun before she was blindfolded and guided to a loo which had no windows at all. She had been given food the second day. If a couple of protein shakes, and bottled water could be called food. She read it as a good sign that they did not expect to keep her for long. Still, she had started to grow hungry again.

She sometimes heard her captors through the door. She understood the leader had a plan and that demands for her release were sent. Some of the things heard would sometimes send a chill through her. She deduced they knew she can hear them, and they purposely said horrible things. She also knew her parents would do anything for her release and/or to find her. Anything. She also knew once she was free it was going to be a bit not good for her captors once they met her Papa.

She just had to wait for a sign and be ready.

Donna had been held captive four days when she heard a slight screech sound above her that fourth night. Her head automatically popped up to look at the window. She recognized the sound as something that had scratched against the glass. But it was night, she could not see anything and nothing else was heard.

Then a miracle happened.

A feather landed in her lap.

Not just any feather; a black raven feather. A raven was on the family crest, she knew what it meant. It was a sign. The sign.

Her father was there!

Suddenly there was screaming and gunfire in the outer room. She dived under the bed in fear of the just as sudden silence. It felt forever as though had passed before the metal door that had once locked her in opened and Donna knew it would never close on her again. Her father ran to her while her ankle was freed at last and she tearfully threw herself into her father’s arms.

It was over she was going home!


The Sunday Whirl #500 words: Leader, Release, Edge, Feather, Grow, Send, Demands, Days, Force, Plan, Read, Four
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The Sunday Whirl logo

The Sunday Whirl | Wordle 500

Leader, Release, Edge, Feather, Grow, Send,
Demands, Days, Force, Plan, Read, Four

Use at least ten of the words in a poem or short story.

In Memory of Birds Chirping

The boy liked the sound of the birds chirping in the garden. He looked up into the trees and raised a hand to shade his eyes against the dappled sunlight that partially blinded him through the verdant leaves. He can just make out one of the birds on a branch.

He smiled, the bird sounded happy, but how would he know? The boy knew the normal daily sounds of the pigeons and sparrows, but were they happy or sad sounds? His young mind felt it was a sign of happiness. but was not sure. Maybe when he was older and heard more he could tell.

He knew that would not happen. He had studying to do. He was roped into sitting in the garden listening to birds because his mother had insisted that he take a token break and rest his mind or not have dessert with dinner.

“I am five! I do not need to rest my mind. My mind is perfectly fine.” He had huffed at first, but now happily sat on the bench and listened to the nature around him.

He then remembered the loud panicked caw of a scared bird.

“Mum, remember last week when that crow somehow got its wing wrapped around the clothesline? We had to…” the boy turned to look at his mother. Only she was not there.

The boy gawked at the old man that sat next to him on the garden bench. His face was such that the boy knew the man was handsome when he was young and he had aged handsomely with it. The old man wore a very nice suit under his trench coat. His age spotted hands rested on an umbrella that looked vaguely familiar. He looked up at the birds in the trees as well. Sunlight glinted off the sparse silver strands on his head. The gentle smile on the old man’s face slowly faded as his head turned and a pair of warm brown eyes settled on him.

“Who are you?” the boy asked.

The warm brown eyes in front of him filled with concern. “My…?”

“My name is Mycroft. It is only two syllables. If you are privileged to know the first, please be so kind as to make you way to the last.” The boy said haughtily.

The old man had reached out to touch his hand, but the boy snatched it away from the stranger. “Who ARE you?”

The old man quickly looked across the way behind him and the boy followed the gaze. Two men and a woman sat at a different bench behind them. The woman stood, her kind eyes narrowed as she approached him, the two men rapidly followed her.

He tried to run but his body was so slow to move as though taped to the bench. The three quickly caught up and restrained him by the arms. The old man cringed as he apologized, tears had begun to mist his eyes.

When he felt the prick of the needle in his arm, he had a moment of clarity and remembered.

Middle age, brother mine. Comes to us all. He remembered saying to his brother once and now thinks:old age too.

“Sundowning…” Mycroft whispered to himself.

Mycroft knew this was not the first time. At nearly a century in age, he was still surprisingly strong and had once sprained a nurse’s wrist in his panic between minds. This time the staff got to him before he had become violent. It was happening more and more. The greatest mind of his generation and it was slowly being chopped away in dementia.

Mycroft reached out a hand as his eyes found the teary eyes of his husband.

“I understand Gregory. I love you.”

Greg gave him a wavering smile as their fingers touched over his umbrella. Mycroft heard the birds chirping as the sedative took him.

The boy liked the sound of the birds chirping in the garden.

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The Sunday WhirlWordle 441

wordle-441

Use the following 12 words in a short story or poem:

sign – token – mind – form – gawk – mist
across – tape – chopped – arm – cringe – rope

The Last – a Tale

The words blurred into one another, every yellowed page like the one before.

Sela pulled her sweater tighter around her, the sudden chill making her teeth rattle from more than the air conditioning protecting the ancient scrolls and text. Preconceived notions now shattered under the gravity of what she has learnt.

She was not ugly, but she knew she was no raving beauty, either. She was simply layogenic, all the pieces were there, yet they did not quite seem to align up for true beauty. In school her interests were not those of the other girls her age. She was very intelligent, but she was not valedictorian. She was popular enough to be the good friend, the wing man, but never enough to keep the guy. And she had her secrets. She had spent her teenage through late twenties with a constant sense of the autophobic.  Then three years ago, just when she was truly starting to accept the single life would be her lot in life, she met Avery.

He courted her. With flowers and conversation arcane, often profound, sometimes profane. And when the granite walls she had built around her hear came down at last, she in turn courted him. With creativity and art and myths and politics. The curves to his edges. Avery with his pale fine near otherworldly features. His naturally pale blonde locks that naturally bleached to almost platinum in the summer sun. Avery never made her feel anything other than utterly beautiful inside and out. He was not perfect. She could barely get him to stay the night. And if he stayed he was always up by dawn puttering about.

It was all so transparent now, so obvious, but it was anything but several months ago.

It had started as a joke, a far-fetched notion dreamt up after the late night/early morning hours following an alcohol fused evening. They had lain nude in the sand, under the stars of Cancer. Their bare bodies, beginning to be tinged blue from the cool night outdoors, was now slowly pinking again as they greeted the warmth of dawn.

Then she saw it.

Sela had awoken on her back, Avery was laying sideways, facing away from her, his back to the burgeoning dawn of the shore. Every instinct told her do not move. So naturally Sela found herself in a rapid series of suppression as the urge to yawn, to sneeze and most of all, to reach and touch his beautiful back tried to overtake her, but she persevered.

His skin was so fair she felt she could all but see the blood flood as his flash warmed. She was admiring the fine-boned, yet nicely toned structure of his back.  It was she was looking at his back, at his shoulders, that she saw the thin curved lines that sudden marked his shoulder blades. It was just a flash of light, a bright electrified blue that appeared and was gone in a flash. She was so surprised by it she must have made some sort of sound, for Avery quickly turned to face her. His smile was beguiling and she assured herself she must have been seeing things as he pulled her in his arms.

Later that morning they sat in an outdoor café, sipping chamomile tea with honey, for him, coffee black, for her. They listened to the rising crescendo of the local birds as they woke for the day when she spied a dragonfly in the distance. Not afraid of insects she pointed out the beauty of its transparent wings. She jokingly wondered how such wings would look on him with his coloring. Avery had simply smiled at her flight of fancy and changed the subject, but that flash in the dawn popped into her head and again tried to dismiss what she thought she saw.

She tried to. She couldn’t.

She could not let it go and every single cell of her being knew she could not just ask him. At least not yet. So she didn’t. It was good fortune they both travelled for work. If she stayed an extra day overseas to research something he never batted an eye, just as she never questioned his trips if he chose to stay an extra day. She sometimes felt guilty, but not enough to stop researching. Until today.

Today she had the answers, the evidence; the truth.

She carefully closed the yellowed pages and packed away the last notes she’ll take on the matter.

Sela, the last Nyx Fairy, will trust Avery with the truth of her wings come dusk.

She has faith the Avery, the last Aeshnidae Fairy, will trust her with the truth of his come dawn.

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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie|First Line Friday – March 2, 2018
The words blurred into one another, every yellowed page like the one before.

Use the above as your opening line in a story or prose.

The Sunday Whirl 340
Honey, Crescendo, Gravity, Blood, Blue, Shatter, Edges, Teeth, Bare, Rattle, Birds, Electrify

Use at least ten of the words in a story or poem.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie|Wordle #186
Cancer, Fairy, Sideways, Farfetched, Chamomile, Bleach, Assure, Granite, Suppression, Layogenic, Transparent, Autophobia

Use at least ten of the words in a story or poem.

For the Chaos of It

“What do you think you’re doing, young man?” Clotho sighed in annoyance as Chaos blocked the doorway. He was waiting his turn to draw on the Turbulence.

The Turbulence, a shifting, moving, swirling, oscillation that was ever twilight on a horizon that was neither day nor night, earth nor sky nor fire nor water. All of the holders gleaned some aspect of the raw energy that is the Turbulence for their respective offices. It taunted and consoled, evoked terror as well as assurance where one felt a sense of WAS and IS and WILL BE simultaneously for it was timeless as well. In a lesson learned the hard way – when Chaos first entered the Turbulence as Chaos he thought he had only been gone for a few minutes. Chronos, the only Office holder who can sense their normal earthly time there, had to come for him, for he had been gone  several hours. Long enough that each of the Gods felt the pull on their Lifeforce. For ill or good, it is a balance and non can survive without the others, for while immortal as they hold an Office, their lives still move through the Tapestry as one. When one of their lives has not moved they all feel the stagnation on their own lives after a time. Another few hours and all human lives would have felt the pull. It is said if the Tapestry is ever finished so would all existence as is known. None of the Gods were willing to test that theory.

Clotho stood holding a large distaff of bright glowing filaments. The raw energy that she will spin into the silken threads that feed into the Tapestry. She dealt with lives from on high, the giving, living and taking of them when it is time. It would supply her needs for some time.

In contrast, Chaos lofted a small orb of his own roiling mass of dark energy. In the center was an avatar of earth, dark spots where his influence reigned. Some appeared as mere pinpricks, others as craters as though dirty, rotted. Where the energy she pulled was bright and shining, his looked of dark and ominous. He dealt with lives from below, throwing the proverbial wrench in the gears of lives. The necessary chaos that appears in all lives from time to time in order to appreciate the calm.

Chaos proved to be unusually well suited to his Office.  He and Fate spent their time in constant moves and counter-moves of the mortal lives in balance between them. For the most part the good maintains the upper hand as she often has the other officers to help her. Still, there are times he gets the upper hand, and lives up to the title of Chaos with relish. That there is still fighting in Afghanistan was as much Chaos’ influence of insurgent powers-that-be as it was War’s.

Chaos knew Clotho tried to time her visits to avoid meeting up with him, but on occasion, he can get their paths to cross. He leaned at the opening of the Access, the only way in or out of the Turbulence. His dark eyes were alight with madness, but they missed little.

She’s in a nostalgic mood for her dancer days. Haven’t seen her wear that pretty little number in a while.

“And where do you think you’re going, old lady?” An amused smirk was his answer as his dark eyes raked over her.  It tickled him to no end when he met up with Fate as Clotho. Though she looked a good ten years his junior physically, she was much older mentally and thus continually addressed him in her older identities.

“Seriously Clotho, you act like I’m the enemy. Every good old fashioned fairy-tale needs a villain, yes? I’m just doing my job.” His voice slid into its natural lilt, along with a little sing-song as he took one step across the opening.

“Need you enjoy it so much?” she huffed.

While Lachesis and Atropos were immune to his charms, pay him little mind; Clotho could sometimes fall prey. It was risky, but he wanted it one be one of those times. Why? Well because he’s Chaos, why not?

He stepped back just enough so that they both straddled the opening. One foot in their reality, the other in the Turbulence.  No one knew why, but other than Chronos, the only Officer whose power works within its confines, no two office holders can be in the Turbulence simultaneously. Stripped of the powers of their office they are mortal for the time they are within the Turbulence. However, no office holder can use their power through the door, bridging the threshold between the two states as they were brought pain to both, but neither were willing to concede to the other.

Perfect. Stay right there.

“Did you not enjoy your job, then? Don’t you sometimes miss feeling that thrill of an audience captivated by your raw charm?” He leaned in a little, ran a hand over along the side in the Turbulence hovering just over the diaphanous material of her dress at her shoulder and down her bare arm, not quite touching her body, but he knew she felt the heat, by the quick change of her breath. They each accepted the demands of their office graciously, but there were certain things they all missed from their mortal lives. “You danced so well. Should I not take pride in what I do? Especially when we all know I my job so well.”

“Too well sometimes. That’s why it often falls into mine to fix it.” Clotho eyes flashed, he knew what that meant.

Chaos rolled his head, the cavitation of his neck sounded loud in the otherwise quiet space. He knew she did not like the sound and smirked when Lachesis flinched as she morphed into place, holding the distaff as Clotho had. She brushed past him and placed both feet solidly in their time. The relief from the sharp pain of straddling the entryway evident as Lachesis  took a deep solidifying breath. Her eyes narrowed. “What are you up to, Chaos?”

What a stupid question. Boring!

“What am I up to? EVERYTHING!” His face all innocence until he screamed the last word. Then the innocent expression face transformed into a primeval malevolence. His voice echoed in the arch of the Access. Lachesis eyes flashed.

Dammit, not her!

“Do NOT test me young man!” Atropos morphed into place with brandished shears and a slate thread in her hand at the ready even as she still held the distaff, the threat clear.

Chaos hissed in fury as he felt the pull of his own thread in her hand as he was still half in their reality. He fully back-stepped into the Turbulence where she could not touch him. Having made her point, she gave a nod of her head then walked away. He watched her retreating back and smiled darkly at what he saw.

Go ahead, old gal – mission accomplished, I got what I wanted.

She will not notice it until it’s too late to do anything about it.

He just had to wait now.

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The Sunday Whirl | Wordle 325
clear, taunting, body, test, fury, war, mission, lesson, dirt, slide, pay, disbelief

 

Tapestry

Chronos, War and Death stood with Fate looking on that beautiful scroll of life known as The Tapestry.

Clotho, cheeky and young, her hair pulled into a loose braid to keep it out of the way as she works, sits crossed legged  at one end of the loom feeding it threads from her skein. The threads comprised of silky glowing filaments, are a storm of commotion controlled in her lithe fingers until the moment they touch the Tapestry where they flash a color and become Someone. A new baby born into the world full of despair and hope, ease and struggle and always the potential to hate and love.

This is when the more mature Lachesis with her nimble, near sensual fingers flash her needles and hooks takes over. All the important people Someone will ever meet, know, love or hate are due to the gentle, or sometimes quite the rude shove of her fingers and tools pushing and guiding every thread into and through the ever flowing stream that is the Tapestry into its design.

At the other end of the loom sits the matron among them, Atropos. Quick to tell you “I’m not your judge.” she often comes off as somewhat feeble to many upon first meeting her. As you get to know her, you realize just how tough and ruthless she is as she lifts the threads Lachesis is done with and the ever present, ever deadly, ever gleaming shears of her bailiwick sigh mercilessly as Someone’s part of the design ends.

It always amused Death how the human myths stories have the Fates as three different women. It took him a month to realize that the three women were in fact the same female at different ages. The power of her bailiwick enabling her to display them separately to work independently as they were now. Only War figured it out faster, taking a couple of weeks.

Whenever he stood before the Tapestry it never failed to impress Death that one of those threads is His own. It took him ages to discern which one was his and those of his compatriots. It is one thing to know the mystery such as an abstract myth, it is a daunting thing to actually see your life is literally in the hands of Fate. Death felt a sudden charge thrum through him, his dark curls lifting as if his body were suddenly receiving a boost of li…

Clotho?!

He just caught the sudden glow of his thread and immediately raised a brow at Clotho. Her warm eyes glitter with mirth as she snatches her hands away in time from the whack of Lachesis’ needles. Atropos merely shook her head.

“Dammit Clotho! I told you warn me when you do that to one of us!” Chronos cringed running his hand over his face and head. The unruly silver spikes standing on end glinted in the light. He pulled the minute timer out of his pocket with the other hand expanding the hour glass to its full size. He swung it towards Death, and gave it a gentle tap. He nodded before shrinking it down again and putting it away.

“Sorry!” Clotho winced, clearly not sorry at all.

“Is.. is that allowed?” Death asked shocked.

“To extend a life, including our natural ones? She has that ability, yes.” Lachesis nods, a slight smirk lifts the corner of her lips.

“Is it allowed to be used as recklessly as she did just then? No.” Atropos glared at the girl, but was equally, if secretly pleased as she loved the dear boy after all. Only one among them loved him more. Fate senses before she sees the mist and corrects herself to make that two among them.

Gaea appears in a celadon mist and lays a light touch on Chronos’ forehead. “I felt the shift as it was one of Us and thought you would appreciate it.”

He nods his thanks as his pain eased to nothing.

“She rarely uses it because it can wreak havoc in the Design to extend our lives, not to mention it throws off Chronos and I who have to adjust Time and Nature to account for it. Though you sometimes give her, and us, no choice on the rare occasions you choose not to take a life in your list.” Gaea cups Death’s face and lays a hand on War’s arm. War’s face remains stoic, but she can feel his flush of pleasure and comfort at her touch.

“So, any headway on this?” Her luminous eyes light upon the Tapestry.

The scroll of The Tapestry covers an expanse of loom several yards wide visually.  Visually. With a touch of Fate any section of the Tapestry can become enlarged enough to fill part or all of the room as it is now.

Usually the whole of it a moving thing, flashing in swirls and whorls of colors. Suns, moon and stars flow in and out marking the passing of days.  For the moment the almost whole of it was stilled except for one small section and that is a most frightening thing. As with any tapestry minor blips and snags happened from time to time in a design, it was expected.

What they were looking at was not minor.

There was a major snarl in the very fringes of the design, something that should never happen. They were only seeing the outer edge of the dark shimmering mass, but experience told Fate this was going to be bad. Essentially, a new world war to end all wars was in the making, but not one of War’s direct doing. Set to happen within by the end of the next century, it was a very long time in human years, not so much in their godly milieu. This was why the group now stood there conferring over it trying to figure out how if formed and how to untangle it. No one, including Atropos, wanted to simply excise the mass. The repercussions of such were nearly as dire to the Tapestry as the threat itself, but they would if they had to save the Tapestry, humanity, as a whole.

“Serbia again, Brother Mine?” The pale lanky brunette peer at the scene in front of him. His mercurial eyes taking in the moving parts.

“Yes and no, Brother Mine.” War pointed at a section with his sword in one hand, while picking some microscopic thing that dared mar his impeccable armor with the other. “This new skirmish in Serbia is the end result. You’d know that if you followed these three threads that twisted here.”

“No, you’d know if you followed these two threads here and here.” Sherlock used his skull headed walking stick to point out a different set tangles.

“Boys, do not start!” Gaea clucked her tongue gently, but definitively, a tiny flare of lightening cracked in her eyes.

“Yes, Mummy.” Both men chorused. War at least looked contrite, Death simply smirked.

Chronos hid his own smirk behind with the sudden need to cough, “Anytime now. I don’t have forever.” His gravelly voice chided the group as he pulled out the Hour Glass again to its full size again.

“But why those threads, those lives?” Clotho asked looking closer at the strands “They each started off normally and then twist.”

“Why any of them?” Gaea asks shrugs “It’s just not natural.”

“Really?” War cocks a brow at the pun.

“Hush you!” Gaea waved her finger at him threateningly, even as she smiled fondly.

“You did not cause this skirmish, War, but you may have to go down there and end it. Regrettably, there’s naught to be done for the lives lost if you do – else it is going to be massive. I’d really like to avoid going down that road again. It took Death and I weeks to sort out the snarl of WWII. That was horrific enough and this looks to be much worse.” Chronos shrank the Hour Glass again.

“Oh, how I detest legwork.” War groaned. He sees Death leaning over Clotho brows knit in concentration.

“What do you see, Sherlock?”

“I don’t know it’s too nebulous yet. All of the threads you and I pointed out seem to flow back into our natural timelines.”  Death spread his long pale fingers wide over moving section,

“Your natural timeline?” Chronos squinted.

“No, all of ours. Yours, mine, Death’s War’s, even Gaea’s…” Atropos joined in “Something in our natural lives, we’re all in this. All of us…”

“STOP!” Lachesis’ voice thundered. The very walls and the Tapestry shook with the power of it. Wordlessly she held out her hands to her other selves as they coalesced into one.

“What is it?” Death felt the pull on his Lifeforce. He could tell by the reactions of others around him, she had done the same to them.

“There’s a gap.” Her voice shook as she expanded and contracted several places on the Tapestry in rapid succession.

“Martha you’re scaring me.” Gaea reached out to the middle-aged woman before her.

She turned to face them, a look of horror marked her face, as her three voices spoke as one.

We’re missing a thread.”

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Haven’t done this in a long while. Nice to be back for a visit.

The Sunday Whirl – Wordle 320

struggle, power, fringe, mystery, list, star, swirl, road, storm, sigh, lift, charge

sundaywordle320

Precipice

She stands at the precipice.

The dark blue of the ocean stretches out before her, so calm and deep.  The first whispers of the breaking dawn, in the far off horizon. Even the Baracelanra wind, usually brisk this early in the season of Karisnaan, is gentle.

Far off sounds, hidden in the early morning mists of the Asiv forest, loomed nearer.

She couldn’t decide which was worse.  The nightly terrors of the forest, of which she had never encountered before this waning night, the known dangers of the same untamed, dense forest in the daylight, or the far off sounds which she knew better than her own heartbeat.

She breaths deeply of the air, heavily scented of the marlesh blooms native to the nearby mountains.  Even in the near dark the presence of the Mount Lanig could be felt.

For centuries, her people attempt to cross over the near razor sharp edges of the mountain; many die in the attempt. For centuries, her people attempt to pass through the mountain; many die in the attempt. For centuries, her people attempt to till the land at the foot of the mountain; all flora and vegetation except the marlesh died in the attempt. Her people have learned that the Lanig will not be easily crossed over, passed through or tilled on.  Yet, the marlesh thrives.

She listens again to the sounds breaking the quiet of the dawn.  She has time yet to enjoy this view, and sits on the still dew damp grass of the precipice.  Her feet mere inches from the sheer drop to the ocean below.

She had been born on this precipice.  She had frightened her family to no end during her early youth, with her constant wandering to this place; at least until she grew older were certain she would not go over its steep edge.    Here in the Second Coming of her Etol N’gavet she still cannot fathom her attraction to this place.  Like the Lanig – it just is so.

The once far off terrors of sound are now fully upon her and she slowly rises to face its source.

No words are spoken between them.  The time for words had long since passed, when she tore through the horrors of the Asiv itself in her attempt to escape the inevitable.  The expressions exchanged between them however spoke volumes.

Submit!

Never!

What choice have you?

She glanced at her surrounds.  The ocean, an unnaturally brilliant blue in the rising sun of this new day, is to the right of her.  The Lanig, to her left with it beautiful flowers and jagged edges, glinted in the sunlight. The Asiv behind her? She had barley survived her flight through as is trying to reach this precipice.  She knew she would not make it to the terrors of the forest this time, let alone through it again.  And finally, that which she could not escape, unabashedly enjoying this moment of triumph, waited patiently to claim her.

What choice did she have? The alternative was equally final and eternal as far as she was concerned.

Sighing deeply, resignedly, she feels her soul depart from her body as she takes the final step towards her fate…

And leaps…

She relishes in the screams of frustration coming from above her as she sails through the air to the rocks and ocean below, she couldn’t help but smile.

It was a beautiful place to be born, and a beautiful place to die.

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The Daily Post
The Daily Post | Daily Prompt – Precipice

MLMM: Atriocaval Shunt

Can I live without him? Unfortunately, yes.
Will I want to? No. God, No.

I sit here and listen to the beep of the heart monitor. It used to be a most gall and wormwood noise before – when it was attached to someone else. It is the most wonderful sound in my world right now. For as long as I hear that sound, that beep, I know his heart still beats, and as his beats – so does mine. Because he is my heart and no one ever wants their warm heart to be attached to a frigid heart monitor. It was so touch and go in the beginning, he coded twice in the ER. The damage to him was that massive. And I sit here by his side, again in the fruitless mental exercise of how we got here.

My bike was showing its age; I didn’t trust it enough to participate in the upcoming Annual All City Cycle so he and I were at our favorite bike shop perusing for a new one.  I was looking at a ridiculously expensive silver and carbon frameset when he called my name to check out a vintage apple red Schwinn that was on display near the showcase window facing the street. I turned just in time to see a car careening towards him at a rapid speed. A woman having a massive heart attack, lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the window of the store. It was less than a heartbeat’s pause – just time for me to scream, not enough time at all for him to dive out of the way before the car jumped the curb, shattering glass panes and my world into a million fragments.

I have been here nearly every day and night for over three weeks now. Our assistant Margie has been such a godsend, showing her talents by holding down the fort at the office in a cinch, but I can see the strain is beginning to get to her. We will give her one hell of a raise once we are back at the office. I will feel so guilty if the business falls into a less lucrative position that what it was before all of this happened. However, its potential failure will not appease the guilt I will feel if he awakens and I am not here. I have only left his side to shower because it drives me more than halfway insane – the grimy feel of being in a sterile hospital 24/7, and yes, I appreciate the irony of it.

There is a difference between sympathy and empathy and you learn it at times like this. Most of our clients are sympathetic, but business is business – they want theirs taken care of, and logically, I understand that. Yet I take one look at him lying there and I could not possibly care less right now.  One of our overseas clients, who had gone through what I’m going through now, sent over a nature sound machine. When I called to thank him and ask why, he says that he had used one when his wife was in a coma a few years back.  He does not know if really worked, but what could it hurt, right? I checked with his doctors first, who also agreed it couldn’t hurt, so I have played different sounds over the past few days.

Tonight, to accompany the palinoia of the heart monitor, I chose wind and rain sounds as it reminded me of our last trip to the coast a few months back for a different race.  A really great picture of us leading a pack of cyclists had made the papers and I pulled out the folded-up copy I always carry with me and grin. I remember the moment the shot was taken, the concentration on my face was less about the race and more about me not stopping to cuss him out yet again. That day had started out with rain and a three hour long argument, but ended with sun and our engagement.

Listening to the sounds and reminiscing, I fall into an exhausted sleep. I wake with him holding my hand.

Wait…he’s holding my hand…

I slowly move my hand to be sure and feel the grip tighten more.

My head pops up to see him smiling at me and I hear the raspiest, but most wonderful sound in three weeks, outside of the heart monitor.

“It’s about time you woke up.”

mlmm-cyclists

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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie | Weekly Wordle #143

Apple, Frigid, Pane, Gall and Wormwood, Dive, Cinch, Halfway, Grime, Wind, Vintage, Palinoia, Pause

Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem. The words can appear in an alternate form, in any order that you like.

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Writing Prompt February 19th – Randomize!

For this week, we are asked to seek inspiration in random places. What does that mean?

1st  – Use the Wikipedia! Random Article button, and the article you get, is the title of your write, in my case Atriocaval Shunt.

2nd – Go to http://writingexercises.co.uk/random-image-generator.php, to receive a random image. Post this image and connect it with your written piece. I feel the Muses, especially Calliope, were being ridiculously generous to me when the bike race image came up. Thus the above story.

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Real Toads : Tuesday Platform

MLMM’s Wordle # 139 – The Coroner’s Tale

“How she lay sprawled across the triptych. A human pupa awaiting the sweet kiss of Thanatos, but getting the cruel tongue lashing of Keres instead. The triptych itself, a most ghastly thing, was pinned to the wall as though it were a bed, and she to it.  Had I only seen the drawings, I would have sworn she lay across a divan in repose. Except for the missing toes, the only part of her the mice could easily reach I suppose.  As we came to collect the remains, I had wished it were only a mere image as opposed to the horror that was before me. There is a reason that was my last case.”  The ancient gnarled hands of the erstwhile coroner lit an equally ancient pipe.

“You know I am not a man prone to pleonasm, so forgive me this if I tend to such now. I must detail this as I recall it, or not as all, for the image of her like that sears my mind still. I remember I had to quickly grab hold of the nearest door jamb to steady myself it was such a shock.” I think it was not until he lowered his hand again that he realized it was raised to his nose as though to somehow ward off the stench of the scene then. Even his nose twitched in memory. “You sure you want to hear this, son?”

I nod and settled back in my chair waiting for the rest of the tale, somehow knowing it was going to take a while.

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week-139
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie | Wordle #139 “January 23rd, 2016”

Bed, Pupa, Image, Pleonasm, Nose, Sear, Mice, Collect, Grab, Ward, Triptych, Pin

Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem. The words can appear in an alternate form, in any order that you like.