The Confession

“My life was a shitshow. Oh, sure, you can chalk that up to teenage exaggeration. I was nineteen — so, a late bloomer into teenage angst, but the term still applied. I had finally got my head out of my ass enough to see the world I was actually in. It sucked.

Like any decent angry and depressive teen, I wished my family dead many times. Like a phoenix — or most any heroic protagonist — I could then rise from their ashes and become something mighty: my own person, for one.

So when I went out walking in the woods, that’s usually what I was thinking of. A life without them. And then of course, it came true.

I came home to find the door slightly ajar. You know the details almost as well as I do — or perhaps better, as in retrospect, I might have been in shock. Regardless, I’ll assume you can fill in what I found there. Eventually, as I stood there, an idea popped into my head. I think I laughed. I’d wanted to kill them how many times? What a good joke it would be, I thought. I’d watched enough crime shows, I figured I could do it. And I did.

I wiped down all the doors, theā€¦ weapon. I made sure my fingerprints were in damning places — but not so obvious ones that I could be considered a stupid criminal. I hated the thought of being considered a stupid criminal. I dumped the murder weapon in a neighbor’s trash can, I burned my clothes, I took a shower, and then I called 911.

I can’t remember half of what I said to the officers who came, or to anyone after. I barely remember you, and that because you were frustrating. I do remember being very proud of my performance though. I sowed doubt without being painfully obvious, and it wasn’t too long before most people were convinced that I was secretly a monster. Even the shrink they sent me to thought I was insane. Though I suppose that didn’t require much acting.

Then I was here. I was very pleased with myself for a while, and the attention certainly helped. But the high didn’t last. Eventually it sank in that it was just me alone. My family was gone. As for the real killer, any trepidation I might have had about him disappeared when even months after my sentence, he failed to show.”

“Until now,” the detective finally spoke.

“Yeah, until now.” Abigail shrugged, looking away.

“Why did he come? Why now? He stole a police badge just to get in here; it’s not as if he was afraid of the trouble.”

“I don’t know why he waited so long, but he said he wanted to play a game with me. That when the time came, I’d know what he meant, and that I should ‘stay tuned.’ I was thinking of watching Silence of the Lambs, or maybe a nice Ted Bundy documentary.”

The detective gave a stern look. “I don’t think I need to tell you that this is a serious matter, or to keep an eye on the news.”

“And yet you’re doing so anyway,” she smiled with feigned innocence.

He sighed and stood up. “I’ll be back the moment we learn more,” he set his card on the table, “don’t hesitate to call if you can think of anything further.”

“Yes sir,” she said, saluting and glancing at the card for the name she couldn’t remember, “Detective North.”

The Painter’s Dilemma

Too many self portraits deface a soul
And I’m but a painter with too few to paint
All I see is the same in all of my models
The same variations on different taints

I once was a painter who looked up at great heroes
And secretly hoped that one day I would be
A sculpter of clay such that conquers all battles
And somehow of that clay I could recreate me

But now all I see are the base imperfections
That block out my way to what could never be
I can paint over, but always corrections
Can never be true when truth is just me

Basilisk

What claim can Cupid’s arrows have
To have triumphed through your armor
When you with but a devil’s laugh
Can lay waste to they who harbor
Such weapons as might penetrate
Your skin of sorrow and of scale
And with a look you seal their fate
Wrapping them in stony mail
Never more to strike at you
With beauty and with song
Never more to bid adieu
To the moments they were strong
There is only weakness now
Brittle, gray and dull
But if your eyes could only life allow
They would be fairest of them all.

The Slitherine Knight

“It was many years ago,”
He whispered back to me
As he grimaced at his hand
And its fist full of jewelry.

“I am scion of the longest line
Of the noblest knights that you could find,
And a bishop I’d known from my youth
Asked if to help I’d be inclined.

We were to exorcise a demon
From the body of a child;
But the thing we thought was weaker
Proved obstinate and wild.

It held my friend’s life in its hand,
Its alone to steal;
And to free an evil from the land,
I chose to make a deal.

It lives safe inside me now:
A beast of avarice and greed.
Good fortune they don’t speak in words;
Though some things are harder not to heed.”

He looked again to his handful,
And I said he was absurd:
Why not simply kill it now?
“A knight never breaks his word.”

Futile

I could call upon the storm:
The wind, the piercing rain.
I could make a whirlwind form,
But I would do it all in vain.

I could call upon the sky:
Watch the flash as thunder plays.
I could raise the waters forest high;
But I couldn’t turn back all the days.

I can’t call upon the clock
To hide its face and yours;
Moments pass, each with a lock,
To shut all open doors.

And I could call upon your name
As a plea or as a chant for war,
But there’s nothing there for me to claim
Except a broken heart forevermore.

Selkie

She’d been alone for all she’d known
And so to spy him by the sea
With his broken heart beside, unsewn
Struck her own so tenderly

She ached to come up from the foam
And ached the more that he could see
No more a seal without a home
But a beautiful selkie

Instead, she only watched him go
And her sadness filled the sea
But the ending would be always so
And a binding would not make her free

The Inkwell: Julius

The other two Inkwell fragments can be found here and here.

***

Splitting pain and calling voices
Hints and hurts, motives and lies
Another day and far more choices
Until it comes, the day we die

***

Julius’ eye twitched as he watched his men gather the scattered pieces. Another day, another death. And another headache. They were getting worse. With the way things were going in The City, was it really any surprise? Losing Tannis was a blow; he was annoyingly optimistic, but the man at least had the sense to hold his tongue most of the time. Unlike the majority of these blubbering idiots.

“Julius!” A familiar voice, though not any of the ones he expected, came to interrupt his thoughts.

“Wells,” he spat back, turning. “Come for an even greater education on earth wyrm anatomy? My men are just cleaning up, I’m afraid — the butcher’s already come and done his work.” He noted Cynric’s companion and, if possible, tensed further. “What is she doing here?”

“We were wondering if you had any more information on Officer Tannis’ death,” Joy Wells answered.

Julius scoffed. “What more information could I possibly have, girl?”

“You always have more information than you should have,” she observed, smiling in amusement a moment before catching herself and reasserting gravity.

The man frowned at her. “The body is still at the morgue, in the process of being autopsied. Though I suspect he’ll be found to have been eaten by an earth wyrm,” he added with undisguised sarcasm.

“Nevertheless,” Cynric Wells finally chimed in, “you will send us a copy of that report?”

“Will saying yes get you and that sister of yours out of here?”

“For now,” was the answer.

“Then fine,” Julius agreed with a dismissive wave, turning back away. He listened to their fading footsteps with relief — for a moment he thought that darn girl was going to try to hug him again. Of course, she was right about one thing: Julius always knew more than he seemed to. But telling them about the other murder would’ve just been more of a headache.