The Moonlight

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I’ve been posting a lot of poems of late and people have been asking for story bits. This is one of my favorite little pieces of writing. I admit, I am ridiculously fond of it. I haven’t decided if it’s a “fragmeant” that I may develop further or if it’s complete as is. “The Moonlight” is only a working title. I’m not quite sure what to call it. Ideas?

A magical thing doesn’t lose its usefulness if it changes its state.

PhotographerThe moonbeams scattered everywhere, fractured light spilling all over the carpet!

“Oh no!” the Sunny Marmalade Cat cried out softly, “You’ve broken them! Every single one!” He tried to sweep them into a pile with his tail but they began to degrade into a shimmering powder, transforming into a dancing puddle of light. Bits of silver stuck to his fur like beads of mercury and scattered as he flicked his tail, vexed.

“Oh Dear!” the Asynchronous Clock ticked nervously.”Oh Dear. Oh Dear. Oh Dear. What shall we do now?” And though she tried to keep her hands from moving, they clicked into place, striking the hour and she began to chime!

This caused the Good Mourning Dove to coo and cluck and leave a little icing on the edge of the window sill.

Everyone froze, poised to flee at the sound of a breath or a step, but all remained still.

The Midnight Velvet Cat hissed for attention and once she had it she pushed at the remains of the moonlight with her paw. “We have to be moving, now! We mustn’t let ourselves be discovered. But we can’t leave this here. They will never understand.”

The Good Mourning Dove pecked at the silvery soot with his beak. It was very cold and left a slightly uncomfortable tingling sensation. He shuffled away mumbling, “Well isn’t it useless now? If they find it, they’ll have no idea what it is. In the daylight it will look less like diamonds and more like dust, won’t it?”

The Midnight Coal Cat fixed her great green eyes on the bird and shook her head gently. “No. That will not do and it wouldn’t be safe. They might not know what it is but they will know that it doesn’t belong here either.

A magical thing doesn’t lose its usefulness if it changes its state. We just don’t know what its new purpose will be! We brought it here and we must take it with us. We have to figure out a way to transport it.”

The dove pecked at the curtains thoughtfully, walked the length of the ledge and back, opened and closed his beak a few times. Suddenly he exclaimed, “I have an idea!” Then he hopped off the ledge and disappeared into the night. When he returned a few moments later, the Hopeful Little Dog, who had been diligently keeping watch appeared next to him.

“How can I help?” she panted eagerly. Then she noticed. “Is that? Oh no! How? Oh nevermind, what are we going too…O-oh, I’ve got it!”

And, in a blink she had gobbled up every last bit of moonlight, licking the floor and even the Sunny Marmalade Cat’s tail just to be certain of her thoroughness.

The Asynchronous Clock could not resist, “Good…. Dog!” she ticked happily.

“So it’s true,” the Sunny Marmalade Cat said wryly, “A dog really will eat anything without checking to see if it’s food first.”

The Midnight Coal Cat batted the orange cat’s pink nose with a cushiony paw. “It’s time for gratitude, not jokes.” she chided and rubbed against the Hopeful Little Dog in appreciation causing the her to wag her curly nub of a tail furiously. She wanted desperately to bark her excitement but she held it back. She was chilled and tingly inside, full of energy yet somewhere deep within was a new calm center. It was a little like the time she had chewed wild peppermint as a pup but without the strong flavor and much, much colder.

The little party made their way over the window sill and back outside, quickly navigating the garden path and the meadow. They made it into the woods without further incident. As they moved farther away from the treeline into the dense forest, it became much harder to see the path. They debated the lost time of waiting for daylight against the possibility of missing a marker, getting lost or hurt in the darkness.

The Hopeful Little dog paced back and forth, her blue eye glimmering faintly, her brown eye virtually invisible in the murkiness, just like the Midnight Velvet Cat. Suddenly, she stopped, looked straight ahead and opened her mouth. Light spilled out illuminating the path.

“Well that settles that.” said the Midnight Coal cat. “Purrfect!”

And they all started down the newly moonlit path, suddenly feeling much more optimistic.

But they were not alone and despite their combined, superior senses they did not seem to register it. Surely they would have perceived fear or predatory focus, but lacking that simply assumed they were hearing and smelling a mere resident of the forest busy with it’s nocturnal habits. Maybe, the magic was working and they did not sense me. All the same, I held back, keeping as much distance as I could without losing them. Walking so slowly and quietly tensed my legs and they started to ache.

If only I could be an owl, I thought. I could glide above them on wings of whisper quiet. I could rest up when I got ahead of them, up in high branches, seeing them perfectly with my spectacular night vision. And I could easily make out every word of their conversation. As long as it served me, I would so like to be an owl!

And I was.

-LM 2015/2016

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Over The Edge

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Sometimes I write pieces that could become a fleshed out story, become part of another story or just remain a fragment, a piece of a story that is a story itself. A piece of writing feels complete as incomplete, like a teaser for the imagination or just a peek into another world, a glimpse of someone else’s’ experience.Often when I write, I am perfectly ok if i write a few paragraphs and leave things hanging. After all, life is like this more often than not. We meet interesting people, we have friends who are going through a rough time and they slip in and out of our lives for various reasons. We find ourselves wondering later, “I wonder what happened to so and so? I hope that thing they were going through turned out all right.” I used to think this was just a terrible thing for a writer to do and that I must be a real freak. Then I discovered, Kelly Link, a fabulous writer that very often leaves the reader hanging, and I didn’t feel like such an aberration.

So, I am just warning you, gentle readers that this is one of THOSE fragmeantz. it’s not very long so perhaps you won’t get invested. I have been on the fence since I wrote it. Is it complete though it seems incomplete? Is it a metaphor? Is it a story to be continued?

I actually do know where this story is heading. If I want to continue it, it waits. What do you think? Should I continue?

redryder1

Over The Edge

I stood at the edge and imagined EVERYTHING.

I went over all the possible scenarios in my head.

I made it day. I made it night. I moved ahead a year. I made it five, ten, an eternity.

I even removed myself from the equation, in my head, made myself moot. I know that sounds ridiculous because without me, none of this would have happened. It’s not like an alternative life would have taken my place and followed the footsteps I had never made. Even if I disappeared today it wouldn’t fix things. The world would still be hanging on a hinge with nothing to be done about it. Not that I could figure anyway. Not without help.

So then, that was it. There was nothing left to do but jump.

The map had said that height was merely an illusion. That flailing through the air was like splashing around a pond in summer as long as your leap was one of faith. Faith was something I was short on these days and I was terrified of heights.

I knelt down and rummaged through my bag until I found, the book. I leafed through it until I found the map one last time. It could be a complete fabrication, the hallucinatory imaginings of a wizard who’d smoked too much leaf mold. If I didn’t jump I wouldn’t know. And it wouldn’t be long until I was discovered. Damn it! I had to move quickly!

I tucked the book back down in the bag, dug out my flask and took a sip, letting the whiskey burn it’s way down my throat. It served me less as liquid courage and more as a reminder to my blood to start flowing through my limbs again. I had been standing in one place too long.

Suddenly my ears caught noises from further down the mountain. It was time to do this or give up. I knew too well what giving up meant so I quickly tucked everything back in the pack, secured all the compartments and strapped it on tight.

A few yards away, my horse was grazing. Sorry, my friend, you’ve got to come too. I hope I’m not going to kill us both with this crazy plan. She nuzzled me. At least someone trusts me, I thought and swung myself up onto her back as quietly as possible. Now, how to get her to leap off a cliff without her balking or making a fuss? I decided riding wasn’t feasible. Instead I dropped to the ground again, untied the scarf from my hip and made her a blindfold. One blind horse, docile as you please, one terrified human with probable assassins at her back.

“Ok. Girl. We are taking a walk,” I whispered. And with that we walked to the edge, I closed my eyes and stepped off, yanking the reins hard.

That Foolhardy Muscle

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Here is a bit from a newer story I have been writing, working title, The Elixir. I will tag any new segments under The Elixir as I post them.
TheFool-sacred isle tarot
Isadore loved Henry. Not a moment passed that this ever made her happy. Even at the height of his most ardent attentions she would imagine the freedom that would come if she could switch her feelings off like a light, or engineer a sudden course adjustment sending her heart careening down tracks to a more fruitful destination. The blissful glaze had turned into a fervent wish that she wouldn’t care enough to blink should karma cause his head roll to a bloody stop at her feet.  

She had stumbled so willingly into the trap as he professed his uncontrollable obsessions, his unworthiness, his vice. The confessions of his unsuitable nature were the gleam of truth in Henry’s lies. It was true, he did not deserve her affections. It was true, he was not a good person. Isadore had crumpled his declaration and discarded it, jumping headlong into his arms because she wanted to believe that everyone deserves to be loved. She wanted to believe he couldn’t hurt her. Now she knew better.

No, the man who had yanked her chain for two shameful years had never deserved or appreciated her. Henry was a bad man wrapped up like a good one; a package of deceit, wrapped up in plain brown paper, then tied with a sincere bow. After a great deal of time and effort, the layers of wrapping were still thick enough to obscure the contents but one started to suspect, that the package contained no gift, as the distinct smell of rotting fish wafted up from the folds. By then it was too late because Isadore’s gullible little heart had convinced her that to love someone, one accepts them as they are. It never even occurred to her that you can love someone as they are and yet walk away.

Love can be foolish like that.  You can kick it, gore it and throttle it. Still, it will wag its tail then roll over to show you it’s bleeding belly. When the steel jaws have snapped on its tender foot it will  calmly wait for the hunter to set it free. If there is a cliff, love will step off of it every single time, because someone will be there to catch the falling imbecile just often enough to convince it that impulsively stepping off cliffs is a reasonably safe, even sensible plan. Isadore’s foolish heart, perhaps the victim of too many shock treatments, stared blankly past the likely future, oblivious to the creeping gangrene that wound it’s way up her leg like a stocking, the noxious lingerie held in place by a delusion that love would conquer all. That delusion carried her deep into trouble and it kept her there. For Isadore it had started as a mission and ended as a sentence that could not be commuted. She loved Henry. Done. Finite.

And now she found herself sitting in the dark, silently seething, Isadore willed her foolish heart to stop, just STOP! She had walked away. She had cut him out of her life cleanly. When that didn’t work, she had been messy and brutal. She reclaimed her heart in words but her chest felt hollow.  If she couldn’t stop dreaming, thinking and breathing Henry perhaps she needed to stop dreaming, thinking and breathing. But she knew he wasn’t worth it and she knew she couldn’t go through with something so final. She still hoped her heart could heal and find it’s way to someone more deserving, someone who would actually love her back.

The months went on unnoticed, Isadore pushed her pen over paper, spilled her voice into the phone, sat in traffic, punched the clock and met social obligations in a fugue state. Her friend Tina took on the role of fearless motivational coach, making sure that Isadore vented and didn’t spend too many of her days retreating to her cave. Tina also dragged her to their ritual theater group for which Isadora was grateful. They were in full swing, preparing for the annual DramaCon and there was much to plan for. Isadore was more than a little thrilled that she wouldn’t risk running into her ex. Henry had been to DramaCon once, dragged there by some girl he fancied and he had made it pretty clear he had no interest in returning. They weren’t his kind of  people, they were hers. Isadore found herself perking up. Sometimes her chest felt less hollow, as if a bird was building a nest, filling in the space with expectation. It was good to be clear headed, to feel like she was finally making decisions without being manipulated!

Henry was a masterful manipulator with a pout that would put the high school prom queen to shame and a smile that could oil the most stubborn gear into motion. There were moments of cruelty no one had witnessed or lived to tell about. However, when the right people were looking he could be exceedingly charitable and generous with his time. Image was important to Henry. It was imperative that he be perceived as a good man with a good heart. He must be a good friend. A good boyfriend. A good employee. All good.

Yet despite needing to maintain and even believe in that good image, he would confess his ills to certain people, usually women, as a sort of disclaimer before seducing and mistreating them. When he felt the first pangs of what he perceived must be guilt, generally after he had milked all the validation and sex he needed from them, he would declare himself the victim and work that angle so deftly he would convince his friends to dismiss the injured party and comfort him. He often bamboozled the woman into questioning and scapegoating herself in the process. He was such a good guy, how could he be an abusive one?

But that didn’t work with Isadore. He was under her skin, but she knew he was evil. She called him on it. And people liked Isadore as much as they liked Henry, even more in some cases. It was a complicated break up, but in the end Henry managed to escape with most of his secrets intact  while Isadore  nursed a hole in her chest and wished she could be angrier. He wallowed in paranoia while she prepped meaningful dialogue for workshops and skits, painted props and filled her suitcase with costume bits. Henry made grand declarations to his friends that he would be single and celibate for a year. This meant he would be keeping up appearances while cruising online for someone with low enough self esteem that he would be guaranteed his debauchery  without the risk of discovery.Meanwhile,  Isadore happened upon Winston who was handsome, funny and genuinely delighted to have her on his arm in public. Every time Winston made her laugh, she longed to regain custody of her heart long enough to give it to him. After a few months she let Winston slip away, a kindness she told herself, but it felt like she had dropped a ruby down an elevator shaft and she hated herself for letting a truly good man get away, for pushing him away.

LM-2015