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!”

Half and Half

Cass was a nightmare in white silk and pearls. Well half a nightmare. There was nothing to do but be attentive to the child as she enjoyed herself. It was all her father’s fault. He fell asleep on the couch last night watching classic horror movies. Cass came down for water at a pivotal scene as the title character walked down a street slinging mayhem about and a new idea was borne.

Unbeknownst to us parents until the moment she came down the steps she had made a few changes to the costume. Half of the lovely white dress was runny with red food dye and corn syrup – thank you so much internet for telling my child how the original movie did it, by the way. Though the movie character did not wear pearls, Cass being Cass insisted on them for her remake. The tiara was split in two and half hung tangled in her strawberry blond hair. The pearls, tiara and her hair was also spayed with the gooey mixture down half her body. It limited where we went because I could not find enough trash bags to cover the car seats enough to drive to around other neighborhoods, but she deems it worth it – so okay.

I knew it was going to be far from a breeze to get all that goop wash off, but I have to admit she did a fantastic job of it all on her own.  Two mornings ago, she was all about the pretty princess: lovely white dress and a tiara and pearls.  Only half of that walked the misty streets now as we stepped around the tossed eggs and toilet paper draped tress of the tricksters while we go treating. My creative daughter the very pretty Cassie on one half of her body, the very terrifying Carrie from the movie on the other.

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Written for:

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie | First Line Friday: October 26th, 2018
We’re given the first line, the rest is up to us. This week’s opening line: Cass was a nightmare in white silk and pearls.

The Sunday Whirl | Wordle 375
Eggs, Breeze, Misty, Attentive, Child, Drive, Movies, Sling, Runny, Find, Corn, Spray
Use at least ten of the words in a poem, prose or story.

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.”

<><><><><><><><><><>

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

Only Time Can Tell

Below the city’s cobblestones it shifted, restless and hungry.

Relax pet. You’ll feed soon. Need to find you the right one.

He slid a careful hand down his slate sharkskin suit, tugging the gleaming cuffs links, shaped like a tangled knot against the stark white shirt, setting the lapels just right. He rubbed out an invisible scuff on his well-shined shoes. It is a crowded street, but strolled at a decent clip, his hands in trouser pockets unencumbered by the masses that seem to give him berth. Sunglasses on, hiding the ever present turmoil in his dark eyes, he casually walked the pavement, the smallest smile playing along his lips as he sniffs the air.

Sadness. No.

Anger. No.

Depression. No.

Rage. No.

Too easy – you need, you deserve something much, much better to sink your teeth in, pet.

A handsome blond man was headed towards him. A doctor by the stethoscope draped around his neck. He talking away on his mobile pleasantly distracted by the conversation.

“I love you more!” The man grins and bubbles with laughter. “No, Mary I love YOU more!”

Unbridled happiness.

Oh yes! He looks sooo happy, pet. That will do.

“Hey, do you know the time?” He lets his natural lilt come through as he touches the man on the arm stopping him. He feels the bedlam of the feeding flow within him from beneath taking a desperate hold at the contact trigger. He sees its swirl in the stunned blues eyes that were momentarily vacant, but now glittered with precious malevolence that permeates the doctor’s entire being before he lets go and walks away. It was less than two seconds of contact, but it felt like more than two eternities before his pet is sated and retreats to below.

Oh yessssss. So good. So good.

His breath hitches as he luxuriates in the emotional calamity, his knees nearly buckling in pleasure as behind him he hears the blond start to scream into his phone.

“Look you fucking bitch! I honestly don’t what the fuck I’m even doing here. Get the out of my life you raging whore!” The man continues to string vitriol in the middle of the pavement, pedestrians gawking as they scurry around him. Moments later he suddenly stops. He looks at the phone bemused and aghast. Just as quickly apologies spew forth as the poor doctor attempts to salvage the conversation abashed by the odd behavior.

No one can hear or see him as he pulls his power to double over in delighted laughter on the sidewalk, the mirth bringing tears to his eyes.

Time suddenly freezes around him.

Well almost no one.

He smirks as a midnight black suited figure brandishing a silver skull head walking stick, along with a long hooded robe in crème with silver trim appears.

“What have you DONE?” Death swung out his walking stick, the power of his profession grabbing him by the shoulder and slamming him into a wall.

“Hello? Don’t sully the suit.” He steps from the wall, brushing at his lapels where Death had grabbed him, as if covered they were covered in offal, using the insult to cover his nervousness at the surprise of Death’s attack. Death is one seemingly emotionless man to deal with, passion at this level was unusual from him and the god was MAD!

Hmmm. Now, what brought THAT on and how can I use it?

“Here to read me the Riot Act, boys?” He shifted his gaze to the robed man. “Again.”

“Really Chaos. Your timing as always is impeccable and horrid.” Chronos cringed running his hand over his face and head, the move pushing the hood of his robe back. His unruly silver spikes of hair standing on end in the time frozen light. He pulled what looked like minute timer out of his pocket with the other hand and shook it.  The hour glass he always carries expands to its traditional full size. He swung it quickly towards Death, and gave it a gentle tap. Its sands flow black for a second and Death freezes in place. He then swung it towards Chaos, giving it another tap and the sands flow slate as Chaos freezes in place as well. Chronos nods once before shrinking it down again and putting it away.

“You can come now.” Chronos called out even as a celadon mist was already coalescing into the solid form of Gaea. He smiled as he marveled in the verdant scent of summer that surrounds her always. Today she appeared in an older guise and he knows it is the Mother that prompted this intervention between Death and Chaos.

“So this is it then? When it all started to go wrong for?” He glances around at the seemingly nothing of an ordinary day in the world.

“As best as we can tell.” Trechant sea blue-green eyes flash in motherly compassion for a moment as they pass over Death. Chronos knows she is also thinking of her elder son, War who also shares the mercurial eyes of his mother and brother. Gaea generally abhors interrupting in the affairs of her children, preferring to let them pick and choose as their hearts and the constraints of their posts dictates, but this is different. Fate found an upcoming snarl in the Tapestry of Life. Atropos was had her sheers ready to excise the entire thing. Lachesis tempered the action when she pulled some of the threads and realized War and Death would be involved in proportions so far out of the normal skein even Clotho knew only someone on their side could have had a hand in it. The obvious choice was, well, obvious.

Chaos on a whim accidentally set in motion a path of destruction. No, he did not mean to, for once, but he would have done so regardless for the joyous recklessness of it given the nature he was born into, had he known. That whim happened today when he unknowingly set a reaction that ruined the engagement of the blond. Fate could not give details anymore because once threads are pulled every changes, but she knew that blond doctor would soon become someone important to Death and eventually all of them.

Gaea glanced at the blond of the doctor, staring at his phone in frozen desperation. She nods to Chronos who comes to stand beside her, putting a hand on her shoulder as he pulls out the hour glass and expands it again.  He uses his power to shake it and then tilt it slightly back. The sands turn from the matching crème color of his robes to a clear crystal as times reverses a few minutes. Everything and everyone, but the two of them reverse with it. When he sets it right and time freezes again they see Chaos and his pet down the street not having spotted the doctor yet. Death blinked out of sight. Gaea knows has return to an appointment Sumatra. She steps to where the doctor stands now, his beaming face looking up to the sky, deep blue eyes shining in tender happiness.

I am sorry my child, I have to do this to you…

Gaea places a hand over the doctor’s heart. His shoulders sag, his eyes look haunted as his entire countenance takes on a dejected stance. Satisfied she stands beside Chronos, taking his hand. He shakes the hour glass and it begins to run in normal time.

The doctor starts walking “I’m sorry, Mary darling. I lost Mackenzie and Joseph today. I’m really not in the best of moods. Can we just stay in tonight? Please?” He realizes his stethoscope is around his neck and snatches it away. The grip on it folded tubing taking the brunt of what he feels. Chaos seeing the pain the doctor is in passes him by in search of something better.

Gaea releases the breath she wasn’t aware she was holding and smiles at Chronos automatically touching his forehead as he frowns. He smiles his appreciation as she eases the headache she knows that comes to him whenever any of the gods ask him to change Time on their behalf as his mind and body also has to adjust to the new reality even as he exists in the current one until all matches. The more of them he has to adjust simultaneously the more it hurts.

When his mind settles Chronos immediately swings the hourglass towards her and its sands flow celadon for a second and Gaea freezes.

“Sorry Gaea, experience tells me the less of us that remembers this happened the better it works.” His smile is rueful as he sets her back in Time. She blinks to her new placement and he closes his eyes to let his mind adjust.

He looks down the block where Chaos has taken a different person’s happiness on which to feed his pet. He taps the hourglass feeling Time within knowing is all as it should be for the present.

For the present.

Only he himself knows what had, could have and has now happened. As for what may happen only Time can tell.

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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: First Line Friday -July 21st 2017

Below the city’s cobblestones it shifted, restless and hungry.

Every other Friday Dylan gives the first line, and we get to write the rest.

The Sunday Whirl: Wordle 309

Nothing, Carry, Sea, Post, Trigger, Poor, Pick, String, Mean, Beam, Shake, Born

Write a poem or short prose using some or all of the wordle words.  Forms of the words are fine.  Challenge yourself to use them all, but it is not a requirement.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: Wordle #165

Shine, Clip, Abash, Read, Salvage, Celadon, Permeate, Sag, Nervous, Vacant, Offal, Trenchancy

Write a poem or short prose using at least ten of the wordle words.  Forms of the words are fine.

Of Life and Death

It was a bloody mess. There were no other words for it.

An oil tanker had jack-knifed on the bridge late last night, early this morning. Though the spill was minimal compared to its capacity, there was a spill. The bridge was temporarily closed and oh how the morning commuters loved that while a clean-up crew did its best. Still, they are only human and they were not in control of the weather, when they gave the all clear and opened the bridge again.

Several cloudbursts opened up over the city within a forty-five-minute period earlier that afternoon and a drunk driver spun out of control on slick patch of oil and rain. It caused a vicious domino effect that resulted in too many vehicles playing a deadly game of bumper cars before it was over. Emergency services from various neighborhoods were on the scene, sirens closed in from the distance with the promise of more arriving.

Ignoring the police blockade He drove directly onto the bridge and parked. He stepped out of the gleaming pale vehicle and stretched to His full height, His posture very erect as He walked away as the vehicle door slowly swung down and closed. His fair complexion and long limbs belied the strength of the nicely toned body beneath the black suit, shirt and shoes He wore. Though simply calling it a black suit was slovenly; it did not do it justice at all.  It was not simply black. A friend had once joked with Him that it was darker than midnight in hell and dubbed it hereafter. There was a certain something about it, the subtle sheen, the way it fit His form, yet it moved with His casual stride in an elegance that radiated bespoke. His dress shirt was open from the top two buttons that exposed a hint of collar-bone and chest and the expanse of His long neck. He wore an equally black fedora on his dark curls, tilted roguishly over piercing mercurial eyes, a patrician nose and full cupid bow lips. His leather shoes were near soundless, as soundless as the ever-present gleaming black walking stick with silver ferrule and skull head handle he carried.

No one noticed Him, as with a single determination, He stepped out into the middle of the tableau before Him and glanced around. His luminous eyes took in everything.

There was screaming and crying all around.

Two cars had flipped over. Three cars were on fire, a fourth was dangerously close to its own conflagration. A delivery car for Gladiola Florist crashed, flipped on its roof and landed on the roof of another vehicle that had slammed into a guard rail. The angle and weight of the car had it teetering dangerously on the sheer edge of the rail. Terror completely immured the young female driver unable to stop its slow, yet inevitable slide into the murky waters of the river below. He heard babies, children and adults crying and screaming alike. There was at least one body thrown from its vehicle in a tattered, mangled twist of bone, muscle, blood and clothing before Him. There several other vehicles in various states of damage. Those that could move on their own, slowly did, as their respective drivers settled and thanked their lucky stars.

He looked at the dust, gas, oil, carnage around Him and smiled; seventeen vehicles, thirty-nine lives.

Oh, it was a bloody mess, indeed!

With a small amused shake of His head He tapped the walking stick to the pavement.

And.

Time.

Stopped.

A quick tip of His tongue ran across his inner bottom lip. A rich baritone chuckle escaped from deep in His throat as a familiar excitement thrummed through Him.

Let’s dance.”

He grabbed the mangled body before Him first. Male, thirty-two, head chef at a restaurant, had not worn a seat belt, was thrown through the windshield and then struck by a SUV that crushed his torso, yet left him conscious. He had been a decent, if reckless, man in this life; there was no need to let him suffer that much pain.

The young female driver is the first to notice Him. Nineteen years of age, university student, late for class after making a delivery, the car was a present from her father, she had her hair recently cut at the salon. She smiled as her panic abated when He curved his hand from where He stands, yet caressed her face and eased her fear. He snatched claim of her before the car free-felled into the water.

A six-month old infant, shaken badly in the car seat from the impact, and his twenty-six-year-old mother, ribs broken that punctured her lungs in two places were next. The howls of the now childless twenty-eight-year-old widower, sat with them, his face frozen in the pain that will be his life for a long while.

An elderly couple was next. She, eighty-three, heart failure. He seventy-six, aneurysm.

Why you saucy little minx! Married a man seven years your junior. Oh, that had to be quite the tongue-wagging back in the day. I bet you were something!

They have shared fifty-seven years of married life together. In a blink of His eyes neither will know a day apart from the other.

A forty-one-year-old female was going into Insulin shock. He shook His head.

No, not this time. Next time you’re mine.

Even as He thought the words, He could see paramedics, currently frozen in time, were on their way.

He moved about the scene, laying claim to those whose time had come, noting those He sensed were close to His calling. He was moving on to another calling when a scene off to the side got His attention.

A man on the ground, tall, twenty-seven, athletic body – runner, his face frozen in a contorted scream. That was not what caught His attention. It was the man kneeling by his side. Mid-thirties, average height, solid form, blond hair streaked with silver, former military, doctor, his bloodied hands pressed on the athletic man’s abdomen.  An abdomen that was splayed to the world. There was a grim, but absolute determination on the doctor’s face.

He walked away to another scene that caught His eye. A woman, twenty-eight, average built, a nurse in the midst of falling away from the open door driver side of a car. The result of a shove from a meaty hand of the muscular built, forty-nine-year-old male driver, his grey eyes radiated hate that seemed to block out that pain he had to be feeling with the jagged shrapnel that protruded through the windshield into his chest.

Eyes narrowed He unfreezes just that scene.

The nurse hit the ground hard, then got up, and being professional attempted to get the man to see reason, but was cut off from speaking.

“Shut up you stupid bitch. I don’t want you touching me!” It was not as vicious as it could have been when only one lung functioned properly as he went into a diatribe of racist insults until the pain grasped him full on and he starts screaming.

Walk away, go help someone worthy of your kindness.

The nurse walked away to help a woman trapped in her car. Thirty-one, heavy-set, barista by day, student by night, mother of twins. The driver side door pushed in, in a way that was painful enough to render her unconscious.

No, not her; she is mine.

He took her. The nurse saw the moment she went from unconscious to gone, shook her head sadly and went to help someone else.

He looks at the man in the car, the screaming has become whimpering. The whimpering stops as He is noticed. And like the woman who spotted Him earlier, he knows it’s his time. Where she greeted Him in understanding, this one is terrified.

A life lived wrong, will do that to some.

The man belongs to Him, but He does not like ugly. And unlike the first man, He will not take this one yet, He will let him suffer in pain for a while more.

He returns to the scene with the doctor and unfreezes it.

“I promise you, it looks worse than it is.” The doctor keeps pressure on the wound, lashing material tightly around the man’s abdomen, essentially keeping his guts inside his body. “You are not dying today! You’re not!”

The doctor lifts his head looking around and for the briefest moment He is rooted to the spot with the impression of being seen as the doctor’s fathomless blue eyes appeared to look right at Him as he attempts to get the attention of paramedics. Unlike the good doctor, the athlete does see Him and starts babbling. It’s the fear and begging and galimatias of many when they see Him and know. By now He has heard it all in the final moments. He half shrugs, very much as the doctor is doing his job; He’s merely performing His. He sweeps His walking stick over the scene.

The athlete goes into cardiac arrest, becoming non-responsive.

“NO!” The doctor yells, his battlefield training kicking into high gear, applying countermeasures. “I’ve got you. Do you hear me? You’re not dying. I would fight Death himself if I have to. You are not dying on me!”

A sly twinkle appeared in His eyes at the impudence of the statement. Why is He so beguiled by this man, this doctor?

The irony of this literal fight between life and Death is not lost on Him as He watches the doctor, fascinated by his tenacity to keep his patient alive at all costs.

He remembers the other lives in the balance and collects them, including the racist, so he can return to the doctor, now working with paramedics who finally arrived by his side. The athlete is His to take, but for some reason He does not want to disappoint this doctor who has fought so hard.

He sweeps His walking stick over the athlete again whose heart immediately settles. His wounds are still what they are, he will have a harsh recovery, but no, he will not die from them.

He taps His walking stick to the ground once more and all time reasserts itself.

He’ll have to balance this with another life, but this life is His gift to the doctor. The immense relief in the doctor’s face evident, his smile genuine and warm as his patient comes around.

Oh, I will have to come visit with you again Doctor.

But works calls and He must heed. He walks to the pale car that opens to accept Him and drives away to the next site.

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MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie: Wordle-161
Insulin, Posture, Shake, Suffer, Cloudburst, Immure, Hereafter, Slovenly, Radiate, Gladiola, Restaurant, Galimatias
Use at least ten of the twelve words in a story or poem.

The Sunday Whirl: 305
Drunk, Snatch, Sheer, Single, Tattered, Lash, Rooted, Dust, Curve, Sly, Spun, Blink
Use at least ten of the twelve words in a story or poem.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: Tale Weaver # 126 – Death
Write a story about death – from Death’s point of view.

A Long Season

Feeling every second of the long season, it had been an especially rough time for her these past months. She can, and has done little else but, imagine how his penchant to skin a razor with his trade likely had him meander a little too long. She knows it was not greed that delayed him, compared to the mediocre craftsmanship of what was immediately available, he knew what their wares were worth and would not accept a sou less than. She did not begrudge him for an instant for it, but winter had assailed the mountain early. Its velvety white touch unusually brutal and endless, it was unsafe to travel the passage.

She thought she would go mad stewing in helpless isolation with the same cask of chores to occupy her days. Checking the store of supplies, because how on earth did those darn insects keep getting into the flour was beyond her ken, as if there were aught she could do had she run out. Checking the flue near religiously because only one lesson of waking, and nearly choking, in a dark smoke fill room was enough. He usually did that – checked the flue among other things. God how she missed him! His bawdy laugh, his soft whispers, his strong hands.  Her one solace had been her sewing. As his lutalica was what made him a master craftsman in his trade, she was with hers. A massive quilt in shades of blue, with white stars and one small red comet, with coordinating pillow covers, now adorned the bed she wearily crawled into.

She did not need a calendar to know winter was nearly over.  The winds were not so brisk. When she ventured out, the sweet scent of something green in the air adds to the warm sunshine finally reaching the foothills. With heavy lids she pressed her cheek to a star festooned pillow at last, even as she looked out of the window to the cold dark night and smiled with hope. The passage would be open and he would be home soon.

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Seeing Stars, Charcoal – Karin Gustafson

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Sunday Wordle #292
Sweet, Touch, Months, Adds, Sunshine, Stew, Cask, Red, Velvety, Smoke, Foothills, Long

MLMM Wordle #148
Cheek, Heavy, Insect, Skin a Razor(Drive a hard bargain), Instant, Greed, Helpless, Meander, Assail, Mediocre, Passage, Lutalica{Lutalica: The Part of Your Identity That Doesn’t Fit Into Categories)

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.

ManicDDaily – Seeing Stars, charcoal
This story was going to be something different, and from a male perspective until I saw Karin’s lovely art, then everything changed.

MLMM Wordle 147: Pride Love Letter

My Darling Vita,

I who would paint iridescent murals, pen epic tomes, sing the most tear-inducing of arias, for its sheer beauty, all in tribute of you, had I the talents for such, know that there is no earthly media truly worthy of encompassing that magical core that is you. All the hoardings of my imagination I have laid bare to you. So forgiveness is begged sorely as I attempt, still, to do such with this lowly pen and ink.

You are my Sol, and I a mere human heliotrope whose face, legs, arms, oh my entire being ever gravitate towards your light, your heat. My passion for your most beautiful mind burned long before you levitated in the chambers of this once hollow heart, now made hallowed by your presence within.  And once introduced to that flashover of heart, body, and soul – the harmonious ballet – of the grace of our physical expressions? Oh! Even when apart I am inseparable from you for there is not a recess in my being into which you haven’t penetrated wholly.  It is the impetuous which spurs me to beg of your return to my side as quickly as the gods allow.

Oh my love! What cost, on the pricelessness of us, can be latched? This war proves it is far too much and far too little all the same, but pay it gladly I will, when I know it garners this magic which is us. Upon my return, I pray that you hold as much fervor to endure its costs with me. Forever…

…and ever yours,
Violet

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In the early 1900s, in an era long before LGBTQA pride, but before LGBTQA shaming somehow became the societal de rigueur, English author Vita Sackville-West fell in love with writer and socialite Violet Keppel. The two embarked upon one of the most notorious love affairs in LGBTQA history. This affair is especially noted for Violet’s most beautiful, yet heartbreaking and poignant love letters to Vita. The above is my take on such a letter had gay pride and marriage equality existed in their day.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and Wordle: Week 147 graphic

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and Wordle: 147

Latch, Ballet, Levitate, Heliotrope, Iridescence, Media, Passion, Harmony, Inseparable, Legs, Heat, Flashover

Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem. The words can appear in an alternate form.

The Distance

I cringe at the horizon that gives me pause as I sit on a crescent ledge and stew over the possibilities. There be giant monsters here.  I only need to travel a short distance, but the terrain from when I last visited this place has changed. The comfort of the familiar, now replaced by the exotic of a new clime.  Longanimity among my kind has made me tough, but cautious. I know how dangerous it can be, but I will not let fear be the pasty jailer that holds me back. Belatedly, I remember I was out in the open while my mind filtered through various strategies when the world vibrates in sound and a rapidly approaching darkness looms over head.

I’ve been seen by one of the giants that roam here. Death is all but a certainty when afflatus strikes and I make a run across the emerald landscape for the crevice ahead. The blast of air that propels me toward my goal is only equal in terror to the noise of the impact narrowly missing where I just stood.  I skitter into the narrow space between counter and the oven, hearing the giant bellow in frustration as I drop out of reach.

swat-green

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Yes, this from the view of the cockroach.
I fully bless (blame?) the Wordle graphic for the inspiration.

wordle-145

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie | Weekly Wordle #145

Crescent, Exotic, Ledge, Longanimity, Filter, Stew, Pasty, Afflatus, Emerald, Jailer, Cringe, Noise

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.