"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

30 October 2012

Atop the Bull's Head

I sat atop the Bull's Head under a big turquoise sky, contemplating emptiness and everything. Next to me was Whistler, enjoying the bits of apple I tossed him to snack on, his own treats already consumed. I was much more contemplative.

I am presently in the bardo between motorized vehicles. Muses of what to make for dinner, and, more immediately, lunch equated to the mathematics of my thoughts. Lazy mental meanderings, much as part of the walkabout had been a physical one.

There was a slight bite to the autumn breeze, but, as always, the views were magnificent. Someone once told me there were those who became complacent living in the mountains. I offered to hunt those poor souls down and administer euthanasias. After all, I am a big believer in euthanasia, as well as youth in Africa and other places of the world.

The youth are our future are they not?

I could say I'd not a care in the world, but that would've been a lie. Whistler, sitting so companionably beside me with a shared apple, had difficulties reaching the the top of the Bull's Head with me. In fact, I had to carry him up the rocky natural steps. I noticed how he occasionally lagged a little further behind me as we walked the trail.

Were I to anthropomorphize, I would say his canid gaze carried a bit of an apology. That he was reminding me he is nearly fourteen years old. Twice my chronological age in his lifespan. An active senior.

I am the one who refuses to age any further. To get old. Over and done with that noise, I say. Whether or not one of my favorite walkabout companions can achieve the same feat is another proposition. With a resigned sigh, I sat back, scritching Whistler behind the ears as we finished the apple. I couldn't help but wonder if this time atop the Bull's Head might be one of our last. 

25 October 2012

The Aspects of Snow

Meteorological professionals down below called it the second snowfall of the season. I suppose such an event is a matter of aspect. True, there was about an inch of powder on the grass back at the beginning of the month, but, aside from documentation, that almost doesn't count. Besides, there were dustings up upon the tundra a week or two before that. As I shoveled my walk in the pre-dawn light, I was willing to call it the first real snowfall of the season. Then again, depending upon your philosophical bent, real can be a dubious proposition. A matter of aspect.

Because I'm committed, or perhaps should be, I am still being a footwalker and a bike rider. We've all but sold my vehicle and are in the process of procuring a new one. One without the metaphoric albatross of payments. I'll start driving again then, or during the coldest of January, whichever comes first. Then again, me being me, I'll probably catch myself coming up with rationalization not to burn fuel, and still be riding, walking, or perhaps even snowshoeing to where I want to go. I have layers, and I'm not afraid to use them.

That's how I ended up on the bike path in the snow...

If you think about it, a bicycle is essentially a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Like driving a mechanized vehicle in the snow, one needs to be mindful of conditions. Under dry conditions, when riding down valley, I hurtle down at the speed of pure inertia. It's fun! The vertical feet whizzing by like that. With the snow, and a thin crust of ice beneath, I was more inclined to use my breaks, moving at just a bit more than walking speed. There was still the wind of motion, threatening to leave ice crystals in my beard. Next to me on the Road, things with combustion engines did not move much faster. Snowflakes swirled around us. Low hanging clouds coiled about the peaks in manner of serpents and Chinese dragons. Our Sahel looks strangely beatific in those first snowfalls.

A wise man of my acquaintance once noted that winter isn't bad, just different. I brought this up to a preservationist I know when she mentioned the sense of mysticism in the the first snows, the preludes of winter. Living within the bosom of the Rockies, I've come to see that snow is not bad, just different. Even with my twisted skeleton, I find myself not dreading the coming of winter. After all, I have layers, and I'm not afraid to use them.

17 October 2012


An autumn bluster raced through the valley, sending my wind chimes spinning and flailing to a soundtrack of cacophony with a roaring backbeat. My daughter, visiting for a few days on her fall break, but fettered to obligations down below, helped me heft boxes full of books into her vehicle. Donations for the library. It was a conflicted feeling; I'm all about acquiring books, reading books, sharing books, giving books as presents to fellow bookworms, but this donating books that haven't made it out of their boxed time capsules since moving to our Sahel is a different proposition. A subject I struggled to approach.

I oscillate from packrat, holding onto fliers from special nights at juke joints and art gallery openings, ten years or more gone now, because of mastery of its composition or a particular memory, convinced I may one day have a use for it, to bing, purge, and burn nihilistic minimalist, remembering excavations from after my grandmother and mother walked on, bemoaning with other relations all the shit they accumulated, swearing to never inflict that on someone else. Sabina suffers from a similar bit of packrat, or perhaps she enjoys it, I've never been one to pry. Then there's the fact we live in a cozy little former miner's cabin-molted-into-a-Victorian that's not even six-hundred square feet. We share this domicile with three dogs, three cats, six ferrets, and my daughter on occasion. Not to mention the occasional spider stowaway I will not allow Sabina to kill.

One can see where packratisum-is that even a word? It is now, fuck you-can present a problem...

"We better do this before I lose my nerve," I told my daughter.  Something I said to Sabina a few months before when I purged another number of boxed books to a thrift store.

So we hopped down valley two miles to the library. The woman behind the desk, a smiley thing with a nose stud, wolf-blue eyes, and dyed black hair helped us in and thanked us for the donations. Apparently, I was not the only one unburdening myself of tomes that day. I returned one documentary I'd checked out and renewed the two David Attenborough ones I was still working on. Mission accomplished.

"Want to do lunch?" I asked my daughter as mountain breezes tickled out thick manes outside. "It's before pittance, so we'll have to go dutch, but I know where we can get tacos for pretty cheap."

"It's a date," she said and I grinned like a cheshire cat.

So we ate tacos, chips, and salsa. Drank dark Mexican beer and soda. We spoke of the divinity of the Beatles and Bob Marley. Eviscerating hipsters for sport and dissecting tourists for curiosity-these are a few of our favorite things. My daughter asked if I'd mind her company in the next few days for supper, which was probably asked more out of courtesy than anything. She wanted to bring her boyfriend of nine months up again, and he's not too terrible. I was gentle upon our first meeting, and I'm sure after some therapy, reconstructive surgery, and a new central nervous system he'll be able to walk again. He did survive, after all, and that should mean something.


As an aside; I told Jezebel of my first encounter with my daughter's boy, and I was accused-quite baselessly, I might add-of being melodramatic. Me! I informed her of the impossibility of this; I might be in touch with my feminine side, having gone as far as to shave it, but I do not have a drop of estrogen in my physiology, ergo, negating the possibility of me being melodramatic. She said some who shot john about me being a storyteller, and how storytellers, by their very nature, are given to drama, sometimes worse than midwestern housewives, goth royalty, and/or drag queens. At this point, I mentioned what I'd recently done to her mother involving midgets-you've got to have midgets-and marionette puppets, and she just giggled, as if I vindicated her slanderous assertion.

But that story is not this one...


So, I bid my daughter farewell under the last bone-rattle aspen leaves of breezy autumn day. I shouldered my backpack and headed to the general store for a bottle of clam juice. Etouffee was on the evening's menu, and I required clam juice. The proprietor and I spoke in the easy tongues of High Country off season on a weekday, with wistful half-prayers for a good winter. A certain simplicity made manifest in the human affliction, which left me with a warm feeling, as though the sun were in my belly, even if I am far too skinny to contain the daystar therein.

I still needed to get home. There was tea to drink, David Attenborough documentaries to watch, and etouffee to make. I had a busy relaxed day ahead of me and wanted to get moving. So, I cut up the canyon, occasionally wandering the narrow-gauge tracks. This time of year, the train only runs on the weekends, so I didn't have to worry about getting run over. Even then, I'm pretty familiar with the schedule. My route brought me to a boulder field, meaning I was going to have to do some scrambling.

Climbing on rocks? Along with walking in woods? Oh no! Madness, I say, sheer madness! Please, don't throw me in that brier patch!

You believe me, right?

I cut through wind and season stripped groves of aspens, including the Lair of the Boogieman. Past great boulders and along a very, very, very low river. The walkabout was meditative. I would stop for periods to allow the breezes flowing through the trees to was over me. It was perfect, or as close to perfect as it can get without becoming boring.

Thoreau was once quoted with the mantra of simplicity. There are those who said he ate his mother's cookies and fucked Emerson's wife when he was supposed to be living the life of an ascetic. Still, I like dig the quote. Besides, which of us is perfect? Perfection is boring. It's the quirks and flaws that make things truly interesting.

Gunpowder tea is good for afternoons; light and simple. As I put on my whore-red kettle I contemplated the concept of simplicity; the purging of years boxed books and walking up a mountain canyon with belly full of taco and beer. Watching documentaries in the lazy afternoon light and creole dinners. The rhythm of the seasons and the friendly conversations in that context. I couldn't help but think I was having a wonderful day, simple though it was.       

14 October 2012

Epilogue; Under the Blanket of Night

Her wounds had healed, though she looked liked she’d been burned in places all across her body. Scalded droplets of scarred flesh. If queried, she would say someone threw acid at her once, leaving the scattered marks across her skin. Her hair covered the scaring where fangs had once punched through her scalp.

If withdrawal hadn’t gotten her away from the seeds for good, then nearly overdosing certainly did. Sometimes, she would tell recovering addicts at the refugee shelter she’d overdosed once and went through withdrawal. The one thing that helped her through was the vision of an angel. She never mentioned that the angel she spoke of had the eyes of serpent and spun webs like a spider.

The wind had taken on its cool autumnal bite. Once more, Cynder found herself wearing a coat at night. On some mornings, there was a thin layer of frost.

It was a warmer night and they all were gathered at the silo. Poison cradled Eclipse in his arms whilst Cynder leaned against Scarecrow as he occasionally ran his talons through her hair. All four of them were looking at the stars, marveling at their cold diamond brilliance.

She realized that she loved him completely. It was a sense of love she had never felt for anyone or anything in her life. She could not imagine her life without him, that part of her would die if they were to ever become separated.

Yet, although she knew she loved Scarecrow, it wasn’t like love girls she worked with at the refugee shelter would describe with songs they heard or poems they were given by suitors. The love she felt wasn’t like that between child and parent or siblings. It wasn’t like the emotional attachment of very close friends. It was far deeper, stronger than that. Something Cynder sometimes wondered was a different emotion altogether from love, but love was the only word she could find to describe it.

Whatever it was, Scarecrow felt it too. She could sense it. He had helped her through withdrawal and protected her when she was in danger. When she had been poisoned in more than one way, he worked desperately to save her life. He was always elated when she came to watch the stars with him. When her gaze met his cold blue eyes, the emotion she could only describe as love was evident.

Being there at the silo, in the company of the hunters, looking up at the stars was perfect. Nothing existed beyond the moment under a blanket of night. She truly relished these times. Scarecrow’s company, Poison’s odd humor, Eclipse’s games of chess. This, along with her late night walks and her work with refugees, was her life now. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

At one point, Cynder felt eyes on her and turned to meet Eclipse’s gaze. It was for only the briefest of moments before the hunter’s amber eyes once more drifted upward toward the night sky. In that moment, Cynder sensed a sort of longing mixed with a little bit of envy. She realized the bonded pair missed the lama. They still hadn’t found a simian, and Cynder’s company was the closest they were getting to that, even if she had been chosen by Scarecrow.

She looked up at him, almost desperately. Poison’s anger over the lama’s murder had subsided somewhat, and was replaced by the dull ache of not having a human companion. Eclipse just seemed genuinely heartbroken. Cynder felt for both of them, even if she was unsure of what to do.

“When do you think?” She started, unsure of how to further word her inquiry. Even sensations and images seemed inadequate.

What looked like a smile formed on Scarecrow’s face. His tongue tested the night air as his mind brushed gently against hers. She could feel his talons softly working through her hair.

“In the fullness of time,” he said. She leaned against him with a slight smile, returning her gaze to the stars. His answer was all there was, and, right then, it had to be enough.

12 October 2012


She was swept into a vortex of rainbow colors. Lightning clawed across her field of vision. The one reality she knew for certain was the burning within her. Tendrils of smoke wrapped around her like the tentacles or some otherworldly beast.

Her heart throbbed within her chest and her breathing felt labored. Whatever the feral did when he put his fangs into her was obviously causing the burning. It had briefly caused paralysis. It was hard to tell if what else was happening was because of that as well or the three handfuls of seeds she took. She was pretty sure she’d overdosed.

She was going to die, she realized. Whether it was because of hunter’s poison or the amount of seeds she wasn’t sure. As the hallucinations flashed before her, she figured at least she’d die on a fun high. She just hoped it wouldn’t be too painful.

…No!…Scarecrow’s voice ripped into her mind…Cynder, stay with me!…

His cold blue eyes came into focus. He was holding her close, not breaking her gaze. She could feel the hallucinations, but it was as if he was using his mind to keep them at bay, a maelstrom in the background, threatening to drown her. The burning became more intense and she cried out in pain.

“Trust me?” He asked her.

She tried to speak, but her mouth and tongue worked for little else than whimpers of pain. She reached out with a shaky hand, the venom had made it look as withered as an old woman’s. With great concentration, she strung her thoughts together and reached his mind.

…You know I do…

What looked like a smile formed on thin lips. His tongue flicked out, testing air. His embrace on her tightened. She could sense how worried he was. Whatever he meant to do might not work.

“Good,” he said. “Hold on. Stay with me.”

He placed his mouth over the wounds in her scalp. She could feel his forked tongue probing into the punctures. It was curiously soothing. Then, she felt him start to suck at the wounds. The heat began to abate a little.

Scarecrow pulled away briefly. Cynder heard him spitting, fighting back the urge to retch. Again, he placed his mouth over the punctures, repeating the process.

The smoke dissipated first. Looking at her hand, it didn’t look so shriveled anymore. There were still some open wounds where the smoke had escaped, but she no longer felt like she was burning inside. She even felt the effects of the seeds were lessened.

Eventually, Scarecrow pulled away for the last time. This time, he allowed himself to vomit fully. Cynder looked beside them and saw a pool of thick black fluid. The realization that that was what was inside her made her sick to her stomach. Scarecrow looked into her eyes and another smile formed on his inhuman face.

“Cynder better?”

All she could do was nod. Tears began to flow freely from her eyes. Scarecrow pulled her close as she sobbed. She could feel his talons stroking her hair.

“I’m sorry,” she wept looking into his cold blue eyes. “I’m so sorry.”

“No need,” He said. “No need.”

“But I ran away!” Cynder cried. “I took the seeds again! You must be mad at me.”

“No, no,” Scarecrow said gently, hugging her tightly once more and stroking her hair. “Cynder clever. Very, very clever.”

10 October 2012

Bad Seed

As the feral began to close the distance between them, Cynder began to think malice might not be as fitting as she initially thought. It was as if he wasn’t really concerned with her other than as prey, and as a means to an end. He didn’t even really seem to care there were other hunters in the city; he wanted territory with a steady food supply. The others were an obstacle to overcome, nothing more. His goal was to be well fed, and being the only hunter in a city would insure that.

She brought her hands to her mouth, as though to stifle a scream, and swallowed hard. It seemed unlikely she could talk to the feral or that the hunters would have any interest in doing such. Perhaps this was unfortunate. She swallowed hard again as the first webs began to shoot from his clawed fingertips. She was going to die, and she found there was no way she could bring herself to accept it.

“Stop!” Scarecrow’s voice barked out of the darkness. “Now! Enough!”

He emerged from the shadows flanked by Poison and Eclipse. All three carried themselves in the manner of being ready to pounce, their eyes blazing in the low-light. The feral made a sound, which came across like a satisfied chuckle. With a quick snap of his wrist, he pulled Cynder closer to him. She swallowed hard one last time before moving her hands from her mouth, setting her jaw. Eclipse cocked her head quizzically, as his noticing what may have been some black staining around the young human’s mouth.

“Cynder mine!” Scarecrow hissed, stepping forward. “Stand away!”

The feral hissed loudly, holding out a hand to stay the other three hunters. There were hisses and clicks, sensations that Cynder could not make out. Strange images and sounds. She wondered if they were trying to negotiate.

“How it is,” the feral said finally, looking down at her. “Accept it.”

His mouth opened wider and two very large and cruelly shaped black fangs dropped forward. Briefly, Cynder wondered if that’s why the hunter’s speech carried the clicking sound it did. Not that it mattered. She tried not to let her fear show as the feral brought her closer to him.

“You’re a fucking coward!” She spat.

The fangs punched into her scalp, past flesh, muscle, and bone. The pain made her yelp, despite trying not to. She could feel some sort of liquid seeping into her. Instantly, a new pain surged from deep inside of her; it was as if she was burning, smoldering from within. She tried to scream again, but found herself paralyzed. It was then she noticed what looked like thin wisps of smoke surrounding her. She was able to get her eyes to move in their sockets enough to see a split that had formed along her left forearm and the smoke emanating from it. Her eyes turned helplessly toward the scowling hunters, who were now slowly advancing; if they couldn’t rescue her, they would avenge her.

The feral suddenly stopped, his red eyes wild with anger and confusion. He pulled away from Cynder quickly, tossing her aside like a soiled rag doll. She found she could move again, though it hurt to do so. There was still smoke coming from newly formed wounds on her skin and she still felt as though she was burning away inside. The only comfort she found was the slight flashes of light forming on her peripheries, an old sensation from just the past winter, and the feral’s reaction as he leered at her.

“Was it something you ate?” She asked, noticing her voice was somewhat slurred, something she had expected to happen.

“Bad!” The feral roared, desperately trying to spit out what he swallowed. “Rotten!”

“Cynder?” Scarecrow’s voice got her attention, she turned to see him coming quickly toward her, his voice touched her mind…What did you do?…

She opened her still free left hand. It was stained black, as though she’d been holding onto tar. Three small black objects rolled out to the pavements.

“Seeds,” she said weakly. “Three handfuls, and whatever was absorbed into my skin. Probably overdosed myself.” Then a wave of hallucinated light and color washed over her as she spasmed, causing her to laugh wildly. “Plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ball!”

The feral, still spitting, and trying to fight the effects of the seeds himself, prepared to spring. He was still going to kill Cynder, though, not in the same manner or for the same reasons he intended. Even as he launched himself as her, the back of Scarecrow’s talon caught him in mid-air, sending him flailing back, spurts of purple hunter’s blood spraying into the night. Poison and Eclipse started to move closer to the feral at greater speed.

Scarecrow reached Cynder, who was still smoking away and staring blankly ahead. There was no time to figure out what she was seeing or whether or not it was real. He pulled her close to him and cast a glance toward his fellows.

“Cynder sick. Very sick,” he said to them…I must help her…

Both Poison and Eclipse nodded, their understanding obvious across their features. The feral was attempting to get up, but was fighting with his own effects from ingesting some of the seeds. He spat to the side to try and purge the drug from his system. Looking up, he could see the other two hunters. The smirk forming across Poison’s lips as his multicolored tongue tasted the night air was anything but whimsical.

“’Will you walk into my parlor?’ said the Spider to the Fly,” he hissed as he advanced, the sensation emanating from him was that of retribution.

08 October 2012


The temple decided not to report the lama’s mysterious death to the authorities for their own reasons, which suited Cynder fine. She did not relish the idea of having to speak with someone in uniform on the subject. The excuse she gave the refugee shelter was the lama had always been a friend, but was even more helpful when she was quitting the seeds, so his death, a heart attack, she told them, was devastating. She needed some time away from work. Because she was good at her job, she was placed on leave, no further questions asked.

Scarecrow saw to it she was made comfortable at the silo. No one knew how long she would be staying, but it was made plain to her none of the hunters wanted her to be the feral’s next victim. Out of the three of them, Poison seemed the most upset, almost spoiling for a fight. From what Cynder could understand he ranged and raged far into the city searching for the killer of the lama. Prey became an afterthought to normally whimsical hunter.

Despite the danger, the first week or so was not so bad. Certainly, not being able to stray very far from the silo carried a sense of annoyance, but she understood why. It was after that she found herself starting to get edgy, wishing the feral would either appear or go away so she could resume her life again. She missed her late night walks.

Eclipse would come and play chess with her, in an attempt to assuage the growing sense of cabin fever. Cynder would indulge the hunter in playing, but her heart was not in it. She wanted action. To do something, anything. She knew she was being kept at the silo for her own safety, but now it was beginning to get to her.

That was why one night, almost a month from when the lama’s body was discovered, she slipped out. She felt she had to. In her mind, she kept projecting assurances to the hunters, especially Scarecrow, the whole time hoping that would also help them locate her if needs be.

Being on the streets again was liberating. The silo had been simultaneously a sanctuary and a prison. She let the presence’s, the thoughts and emotions of the crowds of people wash over her like warm water. The burritos she purchased were the best she had tasted since her first meal after withdrawal.

Sometime later, after being by the gaming-house, she realized she was being followed. It was a hunter, but not one of the three she knew. Cynder concentrated on Scarecrow, his mind, his presence, and kept walking. Her alleyway was not far off. Jamming her hands deep into her pockets, she picked up her pace. This new presence followed briskly. There was a sensation of savage amusement and outright cruelty. There was no mistaking that she was in danger.

She was halfway down the alley when he dropped down in front of her. The feral was taller than Poison, and almost half-starved looking in his build. She remembered when Scarecrow was trying to explain the feral, he used the term malice. Looking into his burning red eyes, she couldn’t help but think that was an apt name. Nowhere in his psyche was there any sense of compassion.

“Frightened?” He asked her, his tongue flicking out menacingly. Cynder set her jaw defiantly.

“Next week is my twenty-fourth birthday,” she said plainly, bringing her fists from her pockets. “I’m afraid to die. But of you?” She spat. “Never.”

06 October 2012


When the calendar turns October, I find myself owning up to the reality of autumn. The aspens have peaked, and what is left is but tattered opulence of what attracted the the lookie-loos but a week or two before. The last of the wildflowers, battered and defiant, hold on and the highest peaks carry the first slight powered sugar dusting of snow upon their northern faces. When the wind and rain come, there is a bit more of a bite, and fires become a regular occurrence, the woodsmoke cologne still a novel scent in the thin mountain air. The first real cold hits in October.

October is the kissing cousin to April by virtue of being a time of limbo. We pass between summer and aspen and ski season. Sempi refers to it as falling off the cliff in terms of business, but he's constantly half-convinced we're all going to starve, even during days of milk and honey.

Miguel Loco shutters his shoppe for two to three weeks out of the month for backpacking trips in canyonious regions and perhaps some high peak in South America for something to do. Sabina wants to drag me to lands of canyons for us to get our Edward Abbey on-deserts, of course, fascinating me, as the mountains do. Dragging me out of the mountains, when I feel there is still so much to explore, even within spitting distance of my own backyard, however, is a different proposition.

Chalk it up to the somedays. I'll get to it. Trust me.

I have learned to appreciate the beauty of all the seasons. Though this was not always the case. Quite some time has passed since I disliked a season or a particular meteorological occurrence. Be that as it may, there is something about autumn that makes it my favorite time of the year. When I'm willing to go by white-man's time keeping, October is one of my favorite months, and Samhaine/Halloween really has nothing to do with it. At least not any more.

There is magic and mystery to be found in the deathrattle of warmth and the birthcries of the cold. The shifting casts of light, the scents in the air. Those moments of bardo transition have often held a sense of fascination for me. The changes I bear witness to in autumn do not threaten to fuck with my allergies the way changes within the context of spring do.

October is when I begin to hunker down. Truly, albeit begrudgingly, putting away my sandals and shorts for long pants, trail-runners, and boots. Stuffed roasted chickens, chili, and lasagna replace fish and grilled fare on our menu. We pull up the plants at the community garden plot, thinking of what to plant the next year. I watch the sky, noting the clouds, not looking for rain, but wondering when the first flakes will fall, and whether or not they'll stick. Heavier coats are moved to the ready. These are the songs of October.

I listen to the sound of neighbors splitting wood, hearkening to winter's calling. It's on its way and will be here soon enough. However, here and now it's still October, the avatar of autumn. In this time of transition, the very heartbeats are filled with halcyon magics. If you stop and pay attention, you might just spot on to what I'm on about.

04 October 2012


I had the nightmare again. You know the one. The sounds of break-in violation, shattering glass, disrespecting home and hearth. Your voice, slurred by alcohol, mania, and tears screams it cannot be over. You'll not allow it. My proclamation of done and over does not apply to you. I can almost hear Queensryche in the background;

"You're through with me?
I'm not through with you!
We've had what others 
might call love..."

This time, I'm able to grab your arm before you grab the glass shard. This time, my father is there instead of the constabulary placing me in manacles, demanding to know what the fuck is going on. I tell him and he scowls. He tells you if he ever sees you again he'll shoot you. Twice. Three times would be excessive.

You scream obscenities at me. Saying things about my daughter and the memories of my mother and grandmother. Things meant to hurt. Things spoken from a sewer water tongue when one is not getting their way.


My eyes open to darkness. The small hours. I'm soaked in sweat. It takes me a bit to realize I'm years and miles away from that night, which still haunts me so. I look over at the clock and chuckle ruefully that it's closing time at the juke joints. About the same time you'd try phoning repeatedly after the incident, begging for my forgiveness, hoping I'd forget that I've never believed in such a thing. After all, if to forgive is Divine, there'd be no Hell. I never answered those calls, and the voicemails went from pleas of forgiveness to gin and tonic and anti-psychotics laced rants of venomous hate. I curse my memory when those words once more enter the mathematics of my thoughts.

I try to close my eyes and sleep again, I have obligations in a few hours and I could use the rest. It's a futile effort; the image of your feral contorted face and the things you said-both remembered and dreamt-strobe through my skull. I know the truth; I'm not sleeping again.

I had the nightmare again. You know the one. You fucking gave it to me.

02 October 2012


Cynder ran almost blindly toward her alley. The heat of the summer night weighed oppressively upon her as she cut through the crowds. She struggled to make sense out of what had just happened. The last few minutes seemed more like a bad time on the seeds, but she knew better. It was all horrifically real.

She knew something was wrong before she even reached the temple. Since winter, she’d gotten to where she could sense the lama before she actually saw him. Sometimes, he was reaching out to greet her, which she found comforting. This time was different; there was only silence. A cold void she could not traverse no matter how hard she strained.

Slowly, like static, the thoughts and emotions of the others whom resided within the temple walls began to seep in. It was like a sort of subdued bedlam; something terrible had happened, but no one was quite sure what to make of it. There were questions of calling the authorities or covering it up. Riding as an undercurrent to it all were the sensations of overwhelming sadness and fear.

She reached the muraled room where she often met the lama and almost screamed. There were webs everywhere. On the floor was a set of robes covered in ashes save a desiccated skull with two puncture marks through the scalp.

…Cynder! Cynder!…

Eclipse’s voice grabbed her attention. There was a sense of desperation to it, which bordered upon panic. Concentrating, Cynder reached out.


…Good! Cynder good. Come! Come now…


…Come now!…

And she was running, following Eclipse’s mental calls. This was important. The desperation was still there, but Cynder sensed other emotions as well; loss and an almost blind burning rage that burned hotter than the night winds.

Poison and Eclipse were waiting in the alleyway. Eclipse was crouched down, hugging her lower legs. The sadness was obvious in her amber eyes. Cynder wondered in that moment if hunters cried. She reached out, but was greeted with only the absent flicking of a tongue.

“Eclipse? What happened?” She asked.

“Our simian,” Poison hissed, his anger barely contained.

He was standing next to Eclipse, his arms folded squarely across his bare chest. It was from him that Cynder sensed the rage. His purple eyes seemed to blaze in the low light, the scowl on his face bordering upon demonic.

“Our simian,” he said again. “Not food! Wrong!”

“Who did this?” Cynder asked. “And why?”

“Feral,” Eclipse replied softly. “Kills simians. Simians not food. Wrong.”

“Cynder come,” Poison said, reaching out with to her. “Danger. Come now.”

“Wait,” she said. “I want to know who this feral is. I want to know why.”

“Cynder come,” Poison hissed, his impatience becoming apparent.

“Answer my questions first.”

“Stupid simian!” Poison snapped. “Leave you! Let feral feed!”

“Enough!” Scarecrow snapped as he emerged from the shadows.

“Scarecrow, can you tell me what’s happening?” Cynder inquired.

“Feral,” he replied. “Malice.”

“I don’t understand. Not completely”

Scarecrow crouched in front of her, locking his gaze with hers. Slowly, images and sensations began to play out. The ones hunters called feral were often lone ones of their kind whom decided they wanted a particular territory. In order to do so, they needed to be rid of the other hunters. The quickest way to draw another hunter out was to go after its respective simian. This is what was happening now; a feral had come to the city. The lama was its first obvious target, meaning Cynder was next.

“Now understand?” Scarecrow inquired as he pulled away, and she nodded. “Good. Come. Keep you safe.”

“But if I’m with you than this feral will come to you,” Cynder protested.

There was something like a chuckle behind her. It was wild and maniacal. She turned to see Poison. He was smirking.

“Hope so,” he said.