Paths

All paths will this traveler meet
They pass by woods and roses sweet
They pass through town and rising city
Never more the stars to pity
For their loneliness has given way
To obscurity in night and day
And paths that lead not to the sky
Can only move on with a sigh
And worm past tilled and untilled dirt
And along the sea and ocean skirt
Until they come to where all do
As eventually, they meet Death — you.

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.

The Inkwell: Cynric’s Rumination, and a Piece of the Past

I was supposed to do this last month, with this entry inspired by/including the word “revolution…” Goldie, who I’m borrowing these prompts from, already has done the entry for March… which… is almost over, isn’t it? I feel like now would be a good time to mention that I’m terrible with time. Anyway, if you care to, you can find the story that this is an extension of here.

***

Cynric’s Rumination:

“It starts like this, little sister:
With a silent, failing song
And we find we know the steps
And we start to sing along

And people call it revolution
As if it’s something new
But it’s as old as the world
And even older too

See, here comes the crescendo:
If we can keep in time
Then perhaps we’ll solve this mystery
And might one day solve mine.”

***

20 years ago:

The little girl screamed and screamed as her father’s hand, open or closed, found her brother’s head again and again. She cried and begged for the ten year-old’s sake, pleading for the staying of her father’s drunken rage. But in his red-tinted eyes, he saw only her age; not the age that he and a bitter world had made her, but the one that told him she was three years more of a child than the small monster upon which he now poured his temper.

“You’re no son of mine!” slurred the drunken man, smacking the boy again, who inched fearfully backwards. “You’re the devil’s son, you are!” Another blow, another retreat. “If your mother were alive, I’d throw you into the fire, spare her the pain of having to see the beast that you are!”

At the words ‘your mother,’ the boy froze, and fear gave way to fire. He became aware that he was standing just before the furnace, and at his father’s words, something rose up within him. “Do it, then,” the boy hissed, and for a moment he felt he might truly be some son of the devil. But he went onward, the words spilling out almost before he was aware of them. “If you were more of a man you might, but you’re not. You’re a coward and a fool. She’s dead, because you’re weak.”

The room went deadly silent as they stared at each other, the one with such a look as made the other flinch, the other with eyes that grew wider with each second that passed. “You really are a monster,” whispered the latter, horror slowly dawning into righteous anger. He went into motion, grabbing the boy by the collar, thrusting him into the furnace and shutting him in. There came up screams like a howl, and they seemed to go on and on as the father staggered backward, hand over his mouth. The little girl stared in shock, tears spent, as her brother’s screams finally died off.

The drunken man, much sobered now, turned toward his daughter. His eyes softened at her pitiful countenance, and he took a step towards her. She flinched. “It’s alright, Joy,” he said, coming closer, beckoning. “It’ll be alright, just come to me, child.” She shook her head, tears finding their way to her eyes again.

“I had a dream,” she whispered. “You tried to hurt me… But Cynric saved me.” She looked up at her father. “He was all burned up.”

“You…” The man groaned, a sound like a strangled animal; something faded from his eyes. “You too?” He grabbed a length of pipe from a nearby table, debris from a project he never began. “I see now,” he said, nodding sagely. “I should have done this before. Demon children, both of you.” He took a step forward. Then another, and another. Her fear was a glue that held her to the wall as he approached, and she sat crouched, shaking, when the first blow came. It hit her on the head and knocked her sideways, and the next she was aware she was on the ground, helpless as the second blow came down upon her side, accompanied by a cracking sound and a terrible pain.

Consciousness was beginning to take on sand-like qualities; but she looked up, and the last thing she saw was her father’s slumping body, and her brother standing behind him, clothing — what remained — in burnt tatters, a bloody knife in hand.

Letter Without Address

Eliza wrote about how she has a dream of having a collection of letters from a bunch of different people, sort of open letters to anyone who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Letters without address, meant for anyone who needs them. I don’t know if this qualifies — I’m definitely no Eliza — but…

***

To whoever you are, whatever you’ve done:

I dance with fire. I dance, and everyone around me burns trying to drag me away from the flame. No matter how cold they get, or how many buckets of water they try to bring, often it just makes the flame seem warmer, that much more enticing. The more they try, the more of a failure I realize that I am. And I can’t escape the fact that if I just stepped into the fire, then they wouldn’t be rushing to and fro, worrying. I can’t help but wonder if all I am is a burden… Or maybe even a monster. I don’t know about you, but as for me, I’ve gotten very good at using people. I’m not good at much else; but you don’t have to be if you know the right things to say.

It scares me sometimes. And at every encouragement, every eager entreaty, every assurance that yes, I am worth it — at every one, I wonder. Do they know? Can they? If they can’t see the monster inside, the pathetic little beast that I am, how can they pass any kind of fair judgement? And often, I’ll smile at the well wishes, shake my head, and then stash them away in that deep, deep place in my heart where bright things still dare to live, but so rarely dare to come out. I think a part of me is hoping that if I save up enough of those, I’ll be able to afford a highway between that bright place, and the world outside.

Maybe whoever’s reading this can beat me to it. Whatever kindness I have, is yours. Death is always there. Life? Not so much. Give Life a chance to prove you wrong. Give others a chance to make their own choices — yes, even about you and your worth. If they hate you, let them hate you. If they love you, let them love you. And if you’re completely alone, then forget about yourself for a moment; Be for someone else what you always wished someone could be for you.

And maybe, embrace a platitude or two.

Good luck

The #1 Most Inconvenient Thing In the World

Shall I call down Death from on his throne,
An abdication to declare?
For his lordship over worst of woes
Has a challenger!
Often it’s been whispered
That there’s a thing that’s worse than Death;
And it’s this very thing that’s snickered
As I’ve cursed under my breath!
It’s a nuisance I can scarce compare…
(Do tell if you’ve a metaphor to lend!)
And I call myself a poetry connoisseur —
But no, meter is not my friend!

***

Sorry for being absent these last few days. Had some things on my mind… Still do. But let’s see if we can work poetry into it, eh? Just don’t expect perfect meter. I’ve never been able to fully wrap my mind around that…