Confessions

You awake?  Good, because we need to talk.  What you said earlier really freaked me out.  I know this whole things is new, but I wasn’t ready for that yet.

The thing about the man following you home from work … well, that was weird enough, but what you said happened to him …  It bothered me in a way I can hardly describe.  I just don’t understand how … no, never mind.  I don’t want to think about it.

What the dogs and cats have been doing around you is equally unnerving.  I just don’t think I’ll ever understand what in nature causes that kind of violent reaction.  But still, I wish you hadn’t told me.

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I need to go.  I can’t deal with all of this stuff, not when its coming at me so fast.  Its too much.  Just … 

Look, there’s nothing you could have done to prevent this.  I mean, it isn’t even your fault, really.  I know you didn’t mean to tell me any of it; its just that, you were talking in your sleep.

Writer’s Block

Fear is a blank page.  All of its potential stares you in the face, and it screams: 

Don’t waste me!  Don’t throw me away, dreaming of all I could have been, wishing I’d amounted to more in my time!  Don’t cast me aside at the beginning of my life!  I’m not ready!

You stare back, and wonder at your failure to grant the page its dying wish.  Inadequacy kicks you in the chest like a mule, and you stare up at it from the floor.  This is the end of your potential; the inevitable ending to your foolish dream.  This is where your creativity dies.  You are no writer; just a child playing at a man’s game.

But, tears are cliche, and crying never solved anything, so you pick yourself up off the floor.  Shame is foolishness in disguise; feeling sorry for yourself is a cheap way of wasting time.  So pick up the pen.  Put it to paper, and do what you know you can do.  Do or do not, and so on, and so forth.  You stare at the bottom of the page, the only space left without words.  Now, turn to the next.  Fear is a blank page.  Face it.

Treader

Bandron tipped his hat to the respectably-dressed lady as she approached, straightening out his shoulders and puffing out his chest as he did so, as if such posturing could make The Treader  (his skyship) look like something more than what it was, which was a mash up of sails, nuts & bolts, and scavenged spare parts that kept the engine running.  ”Top o’ the morning to you, ma’am, and isn’t it a fine morning?” He gave her a hopeful smile that showed he could be trusted (unlike some of the lowlifes in this city), and tried to brush the dirt off of his mid-length brown coat.

"Umm, excuse me, sir-" she began, but was cut off.

"Captain," he corrected her.

"Uhh, yes, captain," she continued, as she looked down at her billowing green and black dress.  "Is this your ship?"  She pointed to the ugly, patched up skyship.

"It is, m’lady," said Bandron, with some amount of pride in his voice.  "This here is The Treader, the fastest, most maneuverable, deftest skyship you’ll ever lay your eyes on.  She may not look like much, but she’ll outpace the swiftest ship in Stormbeard’s entire pirate fleet, gauranteed.  Where can we take you?”

"Oh, I just wanted to do a little sight seeing before the lunch hour is upon us.  Maybe just out along the Mississippi River, South a ways, and then turn around and come back to St. Louis.  What do you think, Captain?"

Bandron DID think for a moment, as that is the most reliable way for a skyship captain to stay alive and in the air.  The Treader was certainly small enough to give tours, though she was big enough that he routinely transported cargo (legal or otherwise).  She was recently refueled, so that wouldn’t be an issue.  He glanced at the society lady, who, thus far, hadn’t introduced herself.  The large lady’s bag that she carried certainly held enough room for a large amount of currency, as well as any number of other unmentionables.  Still, she didn’t look like a criminal or con artist, so that was something.  In fact, she was pulling out a large amount of money from that bag.  So, that was that then.

"Well, come aboard, m’lady, please," said Bandron.  "We’ll depart in mere minutes.  Feel free to stand on the deck, but make sure you’re near a hand rail or you’re tethered in.  The skies can be a bit windy during take off.  Has to do with the engines.  Hard to explain.  All very technical, you see."  The lady, who, now that you mention it, was rather young and pretty, smiled at Bandron, and made her way onto the deck.  Together, the unlikely pair took to the skies, he with his skyship of stolen parts, she with her hidden badge and high-velocity revolving pistol.

Love Letter

I’m sorry, Baby.  I know its always best to start with that.  And I’m not just saying that because I think I should.  I actually mean it.  This whole thing was my idea (something I might end up regretting).  So, let me just say, before we go any further, that I am sorry.  Baby, I just want you to come back to me.

I know how hard it will be for you, how you might never trust me again, but when I look back on my life, I only ever see you there, in my hands.  Years from now, I want to look back, and still see you here with me.  I want things to be like they were, sugar.  I want to put this whole thing behind us, and explore the future with you.

Please believe me, sweetie.  I know that I pushed you away before, but I was only doing what I felt was best.  Our time apart has made me stronger, but I’ve missed you like a starving man misses water.  I need you, don’t you see?  I need your brown skin, and the taste you leave in my mouth.  I need your reassuring presence in my hand, and the sweet scent you bring into the room.  Things will have to change between us, but only a little, and only ever for the better.

What I’m trying to say, chocolate, is that I’m ready for you.  Easter is upon us now, and your absence has made my tongue grow fonder.  Come back to me, love.  If you agree to join me once more, meet me tonight, at midnight.  I love you.  Let’s never fight again.

Sincerely,

Peter

Coping

He covered her face with the bedsheet, shuddering with the pain of what he knew would be his last time touching her.  He broke down int a strong, sorrowful sob, just letting everything go completely.  His wife was gone.  His little girl lay still on the bed.  His world was dead now.  His life had lost meaning.  He had no reason to move from that spot on the floor.

Days passed without movement, and the sounds of the dead lessened, if only a little.  The man waited for a death that would not come, crafting a world that would need him again.  His body aged slowly, and stored energy for the time when it might be in movement once more.  His mind began to slip, blending tales of devils and witches, soldiers and superheroes, dark chasms and inhuman cities.  Creating something more.

When the man finally rose up, he was something altogether different from what had lain on the floor, broken.  His eyes told a story of loss, but determination.  He couldn’t even see the dead, as he stepped outside.  Mad visions were calling to him.  He removed the dangers surrounding him, and ventured out into the cold, dead world.

Previews of Silk

An Expedition was planned many years ago, to explore the Collective Unconscious.  Not all of it, of course; just a small area within.  The two explorers responsible for this mental excavation had been to this place before, separately and in their darkest dreams.  It was a place that they dreaded seeing with full comprehension.  It had called to them.

The city had hung from the heights of the cavern for far longer than recorded history, birthing multilegged hunters that would prowl the landscape that eventually became humanity’s shared mindspace, where they still roam today.  Its inverted towers raced toward the ground, pocked with holes that might be considered windows, or doors.  The entire structure was massive, beyond any reasonable facsimile of scale.  The things dwelling inside its many thousands of spires must have been unfathomable in their size.  Enormous strands of webs could be seen everywhere.

Here did the two dreamers finally arrive, although they wanted to be anywhere else.  And here it was that they uncovered treasures forgotten by men, and lore thought lost for milennia.  Things that were taken from men, and knowledge they could never know.  In that city, they found the birthplace of humanity’s primal fears, and faced the architect of their life’s work.  It watched them, as it had for years, with many eyes looking on from the webs.  It greeted them warmly, and they prepared themselves to destroy it.  And when all was done, none of them were the same again.

Twelve

When we finally crashed together, it was with all of the passion we’d built up denying it. Forbidden, and all the better for it. You trembled at the thought of those before you, and feared your one would not be enough. I loved you all the more for that. I don’t think you knew, but I was scared too. We were more than what lay outside the doors, and the circumstances didn’t matter at all.

“Oh God, this is really happening,” I remember thinking. My heart beating out of its cage, and your baby blue eyes locked into mine. It was every sex scene you hated to watch, and more. Your hands graced my shoulders, and you told me you loved them. I smiled then, looking down at you, and we couldn’t have been better.

Your back was my favorite thing about you, y’know. Stretching on forever, and giving you the grace of a classic film starlet. I don’t think I ever told you that. It was perfect. You were perfect.

Crash

Blanx pulled into an alley, and parked his motorcycle.  4 hours into his patrol, and he needed a little break.  Stopping that mugger was a cakewalk, but fighting all those gang members who were trying to rape that teen girl had taken a lot out of him.

Blanx checked the back pocket on his black and white costume, and made sure he’d brought some cash.  He pulled out a fiver, decided that was enough to grab a snack at his favorite fast food joint, and took off in pursuit of tacos.

A few minutes later, he pulled into  the drive-thru and ordered a #7.  At the window, he handed over the cash.  Blanx ate his tacos with his mask halfway over his face, speeding through the city streets.  Being a superhero was hard work, but at least it kept him in great shape so he could indulge in late night meals like this.  In fact, he was … already … already … what was he … ?

                                                      *****

The crash was harsh and fast, and if he had been at his full consciousness, Blanx might have survived it.  He might have jumped off of the bike, tumbled into a roll, and stopped at a safe distance.  The poison in his system was strong enough to prevent that.  It was strong enough to put him to sleep, and keep him there through the crash.  Most importantly, it was strong enough to keep him from fighting, when the assassin known as Soul stepped out to finish him off.

When the hero stopped sliding across the pavement, Soul came forward to observe him.  Blanx didn’t have any family to speak of, so there was no need to take his body.  Clean up was all that was left.  Soul turned on the power-dampener on his belt, drew his pistol, and with three shots, confirmed the kill.

Old Days

"Room in your cab for one more, handsome?" she asked, then entered the car with petite grace.  I studied her form while she instructed the driver on where to go.  She conjured up a hand mirror, and powdered her face before looking at me.  She had to be fixed up to the nines before engaging in anything.  I always admired that quality in a dame.

"How have you been, Dora?"  I said, looking at her with a grin.  She gave me her usual melancholy smile.

"How do you think I’ve been, Matt?  I’m lonely, I’m depressed, and I’m holding the world together with a thread."  She looked down for a second, and I watched her force away a tear.  I looked away; I didn’t want to be rude.

"He’s doing fine, doll," I said to her, mostly because I didn’t know what else there was to talk about.

"Oh, I don’t want to talk about him," she replied.  She was lying; why else would she have got in the car.  "He can rot in Hell, for all I care."  But, still angry.

"I’ll let him know," I said.

"Well, don’t tell him that!" she said, eyes wide with concern.

"Heh, alright fine.  I won’t tell him,"  I said.  "But he misses you and he loves you, Dora.  You oughta think about that before you write him off."  She just sat there and looked at me like she was trying to read my face.  Then, she started crying.  Dames.  Always with the waterworks.

Limbo

I’m not sure how I got here; when things got to be this way.  Maybe they always were, and I just didn’t know it.  Was I seeing things through colored glasses?  Was I telling a story that was all in my mind?  I might never know, so that I stay here forever.

When it rained, I looked upward, blinking from the drops’ assault on my eyes.  I wanted to see where they came from.  I needed to see past the gloom, the clouds and fog I’ve been in.  Beyond all of that, I could see the two of us.  We were happy together, and I wondered if the raindrops were tears of joy (ours or another’s).  I wanted to be there so badly.  The vision lingered on after the storm had gotten tired and gone away.  It stayed with me, a reminder of never days.

After the rain, I was tired enough to lay down.  When I closed my eyes, the earth rumbled and the cavern floor disappeared.  I grabbed hold of my surroundings, and held tightly, as images from below rose up with the heat.  Beneath the fire, I was watching myself, alone with my thoughts.  I was rage and hate, darkness and despair.  I hated myself, and the world’s joy.  And you.  The whole thing terrified me more than I care to admit.  It was a reminder that deep down, the darkness never goes away.  I shut my eyes to shut it out, a future all too possible, I didn’t wish to see.

I awoke with a start, and lay without moving.  Visions get worse at every turn.  I don’t know where to go, which way I should proceed.  Too many paths, and none of them good.  I still haven’t moved, when I hear thunder in the distance.  It will be raining soon, and I’ll look up at the sky.