"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

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.”


  1. I thought for a second there that Cynder was going to become...whatever the Hunters are.

    This has been such a cool, weird story.

    1. That would've been overdone, and I'd have felt it was a cop-out. I can tell you the hunters are a different species from human, but beyond that, I'm not even totally sure what they are.

      I'm glad you've enjoyed it thus far.

  2. What a visual! I'm still seeing this in anime and hearing it in full blown surround sound.

    1. I guess those are the images I get as well during composition. Glad you're enjoying it.

  3. I was really nervous while reading this. It seemed as I was right there, next to them and I could almost smell the smoke... Brilliant.