Excerpt: The Cursed

“Why’d you do it?”

Her voice was small, but steady as she stood before Norflus and the bodies of the three young children.

“I had no choice, Saya.. You must believe me.”, said Norflus, taking a step towards her.

“You sick bastard… You murdered them! Your own children!”

“I only did it to save them! They were sick! You know that!! You’d seen Maya and Aliana yesterday! They could barely stand. And Ria hasn’t opened her eyes in 4 days! They’re at peace now, and I’m not sorry for what I’ve done!

The sound of a gun cocking made both of them turn around in time to see a disheveled Shade standing at the door, his eyes sweeping across the ransacked room.

“Saya, what the fuck is going on?”

 “Shade!”, Saya exclaimed, instinctively moving towards him, “What are you doing here? You need to be resting! Where are Tonya and -“

She stopped in her tracks as Shade pointed the muzzle of the gun at her, “I asked you a question.”

Saya stared at him in disbelief, dismayed at her training having seemingly failed her at this crucial juncture. She had no idea what to say to him. Besides the fact that it was dangerous for him to be here.

She watched his eyes sweep over the room, pausing over the bedsheet strewn carelessly over the bodies of the three young children. Oh, no.. Aliana…

Norflus now stepped up to Shade. “My Lord, I did what I thought best. Now you must do the same.”

Saya’s heart began to race. The Imperium would never forgive such a transgression. Already the walls were tainted with the blood of three innocents. Shade would be held responsible. The council was waiting for just such a transgression. The last thing he needed was to kill the one man who could offer proof before the Most Honorable Assembly of The Highest Justice.

She moved closer to him, and Shade drew back his pistol, cracking Norflus across the face with it. It took all of Saya’s training to not gasp out aloud at the sudden violence. Norflus fell to the floor in a faint, and Shade swayed himself.

“Shade!”, exclaimed Saya, slipping her arms around his waist to steady him. “Guards”, she called out into the hall, cursing the Others for letting him out of the Healing Ward and into this mess. He must have followed her. But why was he alone? His body was tense against hers, and she resisted the urge to dig her nails into his back, shocked at the suddenness of the thought.

In anger or in love? she asked herself, suddenly miserable.

Shade looked down at her, “I’m fine. You can let me go.”

Reddening, she stepped away from him. “You tried to shoot me.”, she accused, already aware of what was going to happen next, as if she had seen it all happen before. In the ghost of a dream, she thought, feeling her skin tingle as she watched Shade turn away from her and walk towards the murdered children.

Even though he wasn’t supposed to have entered the room before dawn. By then the girls would have been prepared for the ceremony. And he wouldn’t be walking towards their still-warm bodies on a floor slick with their blood.

It wasn’t your fault, she thought, her heart aching for him. But she couldn’t say that out loud. Because it wasn’t what she was supposed to say. He will curse now. Swear vengeance on the Introducers of this Vile disease. And Norflus.. And even me..

He stopped before the outstretched hand, that would have tugged Saya’s heart right out of her body were it not for her lessons in Momentary Isolation Techniques. “They need a proper funeral”, she said, finally, because that was what she was supposed to do, even though it was six hours earlier than when she was supposed to be saying it.

He will curse now.

A sudden movement on his part drew her out of her reverie, and she saw him on one knee, hand hovering around the youngest child’s hand, which stretched out from below the bloodstained sheet, fingers curled around a crumpled piece of paper. He took the piece of paper with his left hand, then covered her hand with his right.

She took a step closer, concerned with the different direction the situation was taking, and then stopped as she heard him speak. The Ancient Tongue! Tears sprang unbidden in Saya’s eyes..

He was praying for the children.

What had they done?

Beware the Rose’s thorns

 Her Last Letter to Lord Stone

In this world of pain lies betrayal, you were the only person I ever fully trusted with myself. The only person who learned the truth about me. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why you loathe me so. Because of a weakness I shall never have the chance to correct. Because I had already disappointed you before you had ever even laid eyes on me, even though I redeemed myself from the image of the life you once thought I’d lead… Even though you were straight fingered and caught in your own pots of honey back then. While I, while I drowned in endless rain.

Sinister thoughts overcome my mind sometimes. Maybe that’s why I hate white. Or maybe that’s why I prefer the color of skin when it is devoid of any color except undertones of blue and white. But then I remember other paler faces, and I know that that’s not true. (Is this when I’m supposed to feel relieved?)

Remember when we were flung out so far in that distant painted phony looking sky? When we laughed so hard that I began to cry, like I always do when I can’t stand how happy I am, and you wiped away every last tear even as we fell freely to the ground that was so so so far beneath us. Whispering over and over, Don’t cry, sweetheart, I’ve caught you.

Except I took too long to fall, and the ground was actually an ocean, and the ocean swallowed you whole, and made you see me from a whole new point of view, and you could tell how broken and damaged and worthless I truly was. And I could not find you. Can not find you. Because you do not want me to, and no one can reach you while you’re gone.

And I’ve followed you into this ocean, beloved. This ocean of ash and dust. You cannot turn your back on me now. Not after all this time. Not after everything we’ve been through together. Not after everything I have been through in your name!

But now I see just how this test was designed for me to fail. How the past year was designed to lead to no other outcome but this. It was clever of you. An almost automatic response, I would assume. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see it happening. But I thought I had more time. I thought I had at least as long as some real betrayal.

If I had known that this is what it would turn into. If I had only known that the easier path would be all that attracted you, that you would rather run from something as simple as pain than stand your ground and be the man you swore you were, if I had known that you would actually choose mediocrity over meaning, as long as it meant the stabilization of your dominance and authority…

My father was right about you.

And this is the price of my disobedience.

The Fall

Sleepy child,
fall a while
The World is wide
and full of guile
Rest your eyes
It’s dark tonight
Love your demons,
Pick your fight.

Oh, pick your demons
Love your fight
The darkness beckons
Long is the night.
Child of darkness,
Princess of Sin
If you never end,
Where do I begin?

Lost and wandering
turn around
what you’re seeking
isn’t meant to be found
The World is wide
There’s no need to cry
Fallen child,
Sleep a while.

The Lost

Yesterday drifts through the mind
With memories of winter and frost
The signposts have been left behind,
But not the anguish of the lost

I knew a man, who had sailed the sea
and I asked him to be my guide
He told me of a better World
But I think he may have lied

For I live in palaces, always golden
but the real World waits just outside
Where poverty is bought and stolen
and it’s justice that’s denied.

All by myself, what is it I can do?
I asked both the brave and wise
You do what you can, you do what you must
But first you must survive.

Ah, surviving is half the war
That much, I swear, is true
And what mountains will I ever scale,
If that alone is too much to do?

And it was in those trials of ice and fire
That I first met the One I desired
And it was in those trials of fire and ice
That I lost not just once, but also twice

But that is a story for a different day
for first he showed me what I must do
It’s true, my Lord must have his way
But, my lonely soul, you must, too

So I walked on edges, watched and guided
Like a princess of Blood and Fire
Until the kingdom burned, and my Lord decided
that my feet deserved glass and wire

And it was I who hung up my dreams
In strings and strings of rope
It was I who set my kingdom on fire
It was I who strangled hope

Forgive me, forgive this dithering child
Every step I take turns into a mistake
I loved you, and the way you smiled
And it’s my own heart I most callously break

For now you no longer smile for me
I have transformed into all that is wrong
In breaking vows to reach where you sleep
I am no longer worthy of your song.

In colder times, you held my hand
You walked me home, said you understand
I remember winters, white, covered in frost
Ice and Fire, and the things that I have lost.

You will always mean, what you did to me
On that morning so old and golden
Before you could tell, and before I could see
just how irreparably I lay broken.

Of Freedom and Peace

The scorching sun
continues
to rise,
shine,
set.
As if
trying to remind men
of some
twisted
sad
irretrievable past.

But,
the men
have long gone,
in search of wine and shade.
And they’ve found a place
of some song
and some
trade.

And now
all surround
the goose made of gold,
while eggs of gold are bought
and eggs of gold
are sold.

While in a dusty corner,
the hungry caged bird
finally ceases
to sing
even though her
once captivated audience
has long stopped
listening.

For
even the
blinded fools
need something
to gape and gawk at
And her dark, unruly
blood-red mane of hair
tumbles freely around her frame
in a slow caress so seemingly warm
that the entire slowly-turning room
that she has quietly wandered into
suddenly seems to be made of
falling snow and frozen ice
and the coldest things
that have ever been
known to man since
the first ever
storm.

Meanwhile
someone has stolen
the great golden goose,
plucked up from right under their noses
And the
naive princess of sin
knowing not what begins,
instead spends all her time chasing roses.

Every day has its price,
every truth drowns in lies
Every rock pales to naught, besides dark Obsidian
Every memory has its ties
Every last man shall die
But, I think peace can only be found in true Oblivion.

What we are, we choose to be

For all your talk of freedom and rage,
My pet, you are, but, a bird in a cage
Flap your silver wings as hard as you like;
This cold golden ceiling is your only sky.

Oh, your disposition may be smart & sunny
And your voice, lovely, sweeter than honey
But you will never see the dawn of day;
for your golden palace faces the other way

And sometimes, you cry, lament and complain
But, princess, you do always sing again
And that is why, I know, you shan’t leave this cage
Despite all your talk of freedom, and rage

The emperor makes traps in his tower of ice
Alas, no one ever taught him how to play nice.
You wait in your prison spun with your sins & snares,
and worry about drowning in forgotten cares
When it matters little, princess, can’t you see?
Your World is on fire, and it’s not just a dream.

But if it’s all the same to you, it’s all the same to me.