Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Upon Their Wings

Short story for WDG, inspired by this picture:

~400 words


Kaleo ran beside the beautiful butterflies flying in the dusk light, tittering before him like fairies, zipping this way and that. They came in the fall, when the rest of the valley became a barren landscape of skeleton trees and scraggly bushes. Yellowed grass crumpled beneath his sneakers.
With the sun behind the largest mountain—though it was really more a tall hill—the sky blossomed into a deep vermilion, and the half moon grew more powerful. Yet between that and Kaleo were the butterflies.
            Underneath their fluttering, he laughed and danced as they did. With dusk nearly complete, light fading in each passing moment, the butterflies and their iridescent wings brightened.
            Kaleo followed one in particular. It seemed to coast more than the others, flapping its brilliant emerald to violet to cerulean hues only to settle on incandescent gold. The butterfly arched high in the air, completing a twist and coasted toward its vibrant brethren. They swirled together in a rainbow vortex before breaking apart like a meteor shattering across the atmosphere.
            Kaleo fell to the ground and lay there, quietly, with his hands rested on his stomach, watching the angels pass in the air. 
He dozed for a time.
When he woke, he smiled; they remained above, as always. He held his hand up, inspecting it in the ghostly moonlight. So plain, the skin. Affording no shimmers in the night.
A brilliant idea occurred to him.
With zest, he leapt to his feet. Then crouched.
Overhead, the butterflies continued their striations.
His mother called to him from the porch.
Just a few more minutes.
Make it one minute, Kaleo, dinner is ready.
Nearly there.
A butterfly broke off from the glittering haze, a lost star. It spun alone in the air, keeping time to its own rhythm. Slowly, in downward spirals, it came.
Kaleo cupped it between his hands. He smiled to himself. It splashed around within his hermetic finger cage. Slowly, he separated his thumbs, peering in. Only darkness. He frowned and opened his hands. Nothing remained but black splatters across his palms.
A tear fell from his eyes, smudging the bloody stains.
Above him, the other butterflies flickered and went dark. But he knew they were there. He thought they would never light up again. Their vigil lasted seconds. They left him in the quiet night, upon their iridescent wings.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Upon Me

Short poem for WDG.

just a seventh of a second
all it takes, revealing my penchant
to stand against what may come
maybe better yet worse than some
this moment fast to the grave
keeps me alone in this cave
of my mind where solace finds
a lean somber clock that chimes
it is time for hell or heaven
can I believe and reckon in

just a seventh of a second

Thursday, July 16, 2015

This Monster of Mine

Another short I wrote for WDG.
About 550 words.


You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I have a monster. We all have one—personal demons lurking in the dark, stale corners of our souls. In the deepest of my being, I can visit my monster. I shudder to think of her.

I have neglected my monster. For so long, in the pit of my humanity, she has lashed against her fraying tether, never biding her time. I admire her relentless fury, and I fear it.

She howls at me as I approach a pretty girl; she snickers when I speak before a group; she laughs at me always. I never confront her about these things—horrible as she is. I’m not brave enough.

You don’t know my monster like I do. She’s different than yours. You’d realize this the moment you met her. This is one crazy sonuvagun. And she’d stare at you through her red, gleaming eyes, quivering maw waiting to spit condescension.

Under the dawn’s light, I plopped into the tractor seat and disked the rows between my fruitless apple trees, riling up the dirt. The green leaves dimmed under the churned dust. I had just completed the last row when Miss Jasper showed up on her horse, Nilly. I turned off the tractor, the loud engine cutting with a cough. I wiped my brow and nodded as they neared.

“Hey Nilly.”

“Very funny, Travis,” Miss Jasper said. She leaned in the saddle and stroked Nilly’s smooth hair. Miss Jasper had fine auburn hair herself. What I wouldn’t give to—

Very funny indeed, my monster says. Why don’t you tell her about all those feelings?

“Sorry, Miss Jasper, how can I help you?”

“Travis, would you please call me Heather? Makes me feel like my aunt when you call me Miss Jasper. Yes, I know you respect tradition. Thank you.”

I nodded, smiling at the wondrous way she always stared into my canopies, as if discovering them for the first time.

“Anywho, I was wondering…” Miss Jasper’s voice continued on, a pageant of beautiful tones and inflections.

From her darkness, my monster thought, How many times are you going to nod like an imbecile? She knows you’re a dumb ape: your jaw too slack, barely sitting straight.

I gritted my teeth behind tightened lips, yet my soul ached under Miss Jasper’s meandering smile. My heartstrings were at their limits.

I won’t fear you, I thought.

Oh, come down to chat for a change? My monster’s voice was cool and confident.

I won’t fear you.

Easier said than done, little man. You’ve not been down here in some ten years. We all know how that shook out. What makes you think this is any different?

I paused, a fleeting moment, collecting myself. Because I can admit that you’re right, yet I’m also right, and if not for you, I couldn’t prove to myself that I can be different. I’ve always been convinced that you are not me. But that’s not true. I am my monster. And I can be greater than myself.

“Travis, are you listening?” Miss Jasper sounded annoyed, despite her radiant smile.

“Yeah, Heather, I am.” 


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Lunar Girl

Small short I wrote for a Weekly Write-Up at WDG.
Roughly 600 words.


Her name was Flora, the lunar girl. She tended the Crescent Glaive flowers, those towering silver blades that grew and swayed with the moods of the moon. She glided among them in their patchy groves. Some townsfolk respected her—most fearing her mastery of the Glaives, her instinctive expertise demonized as witchery.

Flora smiled at these accusations. But she never did protest.

A curious old man appeared at her groves one night. He leaned against a wood staff, polished from years of use. He peered between the blades, calling softly, “Flora, I wish to speak with you.” The Glaives rustled beside him. He glanced at them nervously.

Singing to herself, her fingers dancing along the Glaive blades, Flora appeared from the silver spires.

“Hello, my old sir, is there something the matter?”

He waved at the Glaives as they moved with her rhythms and melodies. “I wish you to cease this madness.”

“What madness, old sir?” She tilted her head at him. Her eyes shone like quicksilver in the moonlight. The Glaives seemed to crowd closer, closer yet.

The man took a step back from Flora and reset his staff in the ground. The words came slowly to him.
“You have no idea how your Crescent Glaives are used, do you, Flora?”

She shook her head and smiled, bright white teeth. “What idea do I need to have but that my Glaives are beautiful? That they are grown with love and care and are unrivaled in this world? They are the children of the moon.”

“And they are murder in the sun,” the old man whispered. He ran a cautious finger along a Glaive but pulled abruptly as a thin line of blood bloomed from his skin. “They go to market but are bought for wars and used for death. You know this?”

Flora looked at him suspiciously. “You lie.”

“I do not. My son was killed by one of your Glaives.”

“You lie!” Flora screamed. “They are beautiful. They bring me peace; they grow as only the moon allows. There is no death in them. It is the world that spoils them.”

He raised his thumb to her, the blood congealing. Except it was silver blood. “I will die from this wound,” he said. “As we speak, the blood morphs to liquid silver, poisoning my body. I have a few minutes perhaps. Yet that seems more than I should need.”

Flora stared in horror at his finger. She held it between her hands, mourning it in the moonlight, silver tears falling down her cheeks. “I know nothing beyond these groves.”

“And none know so delicately the power within them. The money from your Crescent Glaives has kept this town alive, yet brought death to many others. Is such beauty worth the destruction it sows?” He staggered, snapping his hand from Flora and clutching his heart. “There is a man, the Silver King, who has made his name in the silvered blood of your creations. They say you are not one of us, just a lunar girl. They are so very wrong.” He collapsed before her.

The townsfolk came from their homes, horrified and awestruck by the fires consuming Flora’s groves. The flames licked the night, burning the stars.

Flora watched, a single shorn Glaive in her hand.

“The Silver King,” she said.