The Autumn King.

Autumn King, with the Fae in your eyes, let your spirit bind my heart within the forests of crimson leaves and heady words that spill from your lips to my ears. Let the way you roll your wrists over my hips be the dance that I follow with every beat of your drums. The night does not give pleasure, only aids it, and I am willing to wager my soul in this life and the next that you, Autumn King, will be in my heart and throat for evermore after that. The worship and hymns that I would douse upon your mind would send you higher than your mountains when I speak of your prowess, your cunning, your sly smile and devious footsteps that you take when you stride towards me. I would sit at your right hand on bended knee, Autumn King, for you are all I can taste in the air; the sweet scent of decay and renewal, a jumble among the scents of rain and soil and new endeavors that the season’s change brings.

Autumn, like you, is vibrant and wild and beautiful, capturing my heart every year, no matter what. Autumn, like you, revives my husk of summer, tossing aside the meaty fingers of the summer, with its heat and sun, and replaces them with the caresses of cold fingers and warm toes, and the special way the creek water meanders down and across your arms. There are lights in the sky that you put there, Autumn King, with your crown of gold and antlers four feet tall. I hang my wishes and wants upon your crown, leave offerings at your bedside for a restful night, and give myself to your needs in whatever form you require them to be. And all because you, Autumn King, have the Fae in your eyes and a mirror in your heart, residing in the ever-depths of the forest you call home within your chest. Let me get lost in the cabin you built riverside, let me put snow angels in the drifts behind it, cut cords of wood with the smell of fire heavy around us.

Autumn King, you sit on your throne of ashwood and mountains, and I cannot help but be in awe of the presence you present, the aura you exhibit, and yet I stand here unscathed, nay enshrined, in the promise of adoration and love. I care not if the world says your soul did not know mine until the year’s turn. I would and will pledge it to yours for the rest of my returns. I have no wish to leave your court, nor want to stray from your side, nor lay down the arms I took in your name. Autumn King, you leave me turned over like so many leaves, spellbound in the way the frost follows your footsteps. The way you turn the skies into masterpieces. You are in a kingdom of your own, and you fit the way a tree branch does within the foliage of the forest. There is never a dullness in your aura, and you waste no time on time wasted, for time is at your fingertips, and you are eternal and forevermore. 

Autumn King, I proclaim before your court that I do so swear to love you through the winters and springs, and love you through the summers of heat and scorching flames. I will love thine body, mind, and soul for all the years you wander the fields and trails, and within those years I will call you home, for home is where you reside and it is there that I may bask in your presence. There is no place I would rather reside than in the cracked marble and stout wood, the gaudy prismarine and dark oaks, the soft wool and stretched silks and smoothed furs that line your bed and fall upon your shoulders.

I feel you here, Autumn King. Your leaves of passion cascading around me as you open up to the glory of your reign, and what may a sea witch do when she embraces the heart of the mountain?

The walk from the foot of the peaks is a pilgrimage I take gladly and with longing, as the changing tides swirl around me, following me up the stone-cut steps to the Autumn King’s realm, steady and willing. The sway of the birch that watches my journey whisper words that echo in my eagerness, ready to catch me if I should fall – but I will not fall. No, not I, not for anything but the King. And so I press up the rocky face, writing down the things the King may deign to grant me, though I dare not ask him for more than I think I am due. The way he perceives my magics and the way he watches my movements makes me feel like a hare beneath a wolf, and it is an exhilarating thrill to be considered good enough to be eaten.

The doors are of oak and steel, sturdy like his roots, and I press them open with the tenderness of a lover shutting the door on their dozing partner. It was never my intention to be starstruck, and yet I was when I soaked in the gold and green mottled together in a stunning hue of the spirit of the wild. The court was filled with hardy grass, thick and lush, waiting for soft footsteps to befall them. Logs of spruce and the way the ceiling tilted away from the door to the sky made me feel as if I was already being watched. Of course I was, I was the King’s and that is the way one feels under his gaze, in the umbrella of his protection. He knows and he will give and take as his desires and whim wish. I prayed for the times he gave, and prayed harder for the times he took away. 

***

My body dances a wild, shamanistic rhythm that the Autumn King conjures within my bones, already ready to embrace the way I kiss him. So, let me tell you the ways the Autumn King delights the sea witch.

The first step is to lay eyes on him. 

The orbs that gaze back at me are buried with intelligence and wit, ready to twinkle with a laugh, and ready to raze entire kingdoms if they so wish. Seeing the Autumn King is like watching a bonfire build in the hills of the most majestic mountains. You can watch the embers twirl into the air, giving thanks to the jagged formation that protects us from the southern winds. Seeing him is like sharpening a sword and licking the blade immediately after. He is a room full of presence, and he does not need to be in the room to feel him. The Autumn King moves in a predatory way, and it sets my senses aflame when he stalks his prey. There is no stopping his kill, there is no mistaking the claws that dig into the ground to root themselves with the ancestors to become more.

There is a way his jaw moves when he thinks, the way his eyes tilt to the sky as he considers his words. The sprawling plains of his chest and shoulders, bearing the universe like a woolen cloak. The Autumn King embodies the energies of the wild with the reach of the cedars and evergreens, tasting of mint and sunshine-soaked acorns. He carries only what he wants to. The throne suits his cut figure, impressive and overbearing – just the way I like it. He fills the halls of my water-locked chest with the way he fingers the bracelet around his wrist, when he must dig deeper into a mystery. The Autumn King charms me with his laugh and grin, and I cannot help but swear fealty to the way he breathes. The rise and fall of empires resides in the palm of his hand, and with merely a word, he will topple usurpers.

The second step is to listen to him.

The way his laugh rumbles like a snowy avalanche, smothering me in the same way a lullaby may lull a child to sleep. The pronunciation of his words are careful and invigorating and always leave me pondering what I can do better to match the elegance and might that fill his throat. His humming is intoxicating, a sound I wish I could hear every morning; the coffee of the gods living in his noises. The way he sighs when I am too much, when I am more than too much, the way he adores nature and the rustling of the weeds and grasses between the trees. The way the Autumn King breathes is synonymous with the feeling of flying without wings – daring and addictive and perhaps dangerous, but I would risk the wolves to hear his howl in any of the moon phases.

I study the words between his words, the music he tucks away into the sentences he lays out for me to read and research. There is an order to the library of his mouth, and I want to spend years reading the experiences the Autumn King has felt and lived. For where else would I learn to sink into sleep and love and empowerment than when he fills my ears with the singing of a hundred lifetimes? He is a choir while the world is off key. Golden leaves grow from the litany of his knowledge, and in the grand scheme of things, what is one witch mewling at the King’s feet? I am unremarkable and yet he makes me special in the way he reserves words for my ears. I am a court of intrigue to his tongue.

The third step is to taste him.

Notes of steel and ash surround me, and the Autumn King’s tongue carries the taste of whisky, fresh air, and telltale notes of chocolate. He is sweet and soft, and loves to remind me what royalty tastes like. Thunderstorms of nerves and lightning casts itself from me to him, where I drink the magic that he allows me to. There is nothing without governing and when he says swallow, I do. When he wishes me to wait, I do, and when he wants me to drown, I will do that too. The senses are perfectly intimate and the tip of my tongue delights in tracing the sharp edges of his jaw and collarbone, the hollow of his knee, the cusp of his wrist.

Don’t clean up the mess around my ankles and throat, no, let my skin soak it in to savor you regardless if you’re touching or not. The wine you serve paves the way to new places on your body, like the ice cubes you drag over my hands and set loose down my spine. You cling to my lips, where the lingering feeling of smoke and bones settles itself into my head, and forevermore you are the fog and mist that brings to life the fireflies that ready themselves to feast on the evening. I want to be the food you indulge in, the resting flank before you, the thing you tear into when you are insatiable. I want to be the feast you return to every evening.

The fourth step is to touch.

My favourite spot is between the Autumn King’s fingers where mine may intersect when he grabs mine. The way his back slopes into my hand when I knead him soft, is delightful. I revel in the way my palms fit over his shoulder blades, the tips of my hair dragging along his spine and across his neck. The way he cups my cheek, the way his lips fit mine just so. The way my face angles into the crook of his neck where I drop kisses like butterflies. The way my legs curve around his when he cradles me to him. I love the way I fit into his lap when he sits me upon him and his throne, daring the court to whisper of the witch. I celebrate the way he taps his foot to our song within our blood to annoy a lesser man, a lesser woman. I glory in the beat of the Autumn King’s chest beneath my ear. I want to live in the hollow of his throat, and call hearth and home the rugged peaks of his shoulders. I want to dance down his abdomen with kisses and praise, cross the rivers of his hips and blaze a trail down his thighs, exalting each in the way they are meant to be exalted: with care and attention and pointed playfulness. I will fall into the footsteps he leaves in the bed, and I will follow the finger that dips between my lips. The descent of his hand is a signal of quiet, and the splaying of his fingers is a sign of pleasure. 

The last step is to scent. 

When he enters a room, the presiding smell of the Autumn King is power. Of that tantalizing aroma that so many aspire for, and will never truly grasp. The way of holding oneself as a king translates into notes of stone and musk, of evergreen and flighty rivers, of the exquisite pouring of commands. It is in the smell of the hunt, blood and fur and leather and adrenaline, when the King wants to buck even after he hunts. Might so lingering that I am drunk from the mere idea of being in the throne room with him. The Autumn King is of deep trails, of thin air, and the threat of snow and ice; of the dagger that traces the wood and the wild, of the steel that rends life from death, and carries it like a trophy. I can smell the way he tastes, sweat and exertion and the clean taste of what the body does to the mind when you want something more than you want to breathe. I can feel the drifting of want, the desire underneath the robes of gold and green, of the way he bathes in waterfalls of quartz and sandstone, carved to fit him the way all things should fit the King. I want the scent of the gods to fall flat before him, and I want the way he drifts into a room long before he ever arrives, and long after he has left, to be the one I remember in all my life and times. The one I can trace across the seas and trenches. The sea witch will bottle the way the Autumn King bears his title. And I will never forget the way he knows how it makes me feel, and the way he casts it knowingly over me.

***

I awake in the hall of the Autumn King, trees stretching on the ceiling above my head and heart. The sheets of cotton are held back with my knees as I let the chill air flow in from the balcony. A mastercraft of wood and stone, my four poster bed is decorated with the dances of stags and the flight of the sparrow. The rug tickles my feet when I swing them onto the floor, reminding me of softer things that held me last night, the welts in my thighs a reminder of the harder things that cradled me last night.

I dress and wash the way the Autumn King likes; a dress of blue and gray and an anomaly in the land of sage and thistle. A witch is a previously strange creature, and the gods would watch me closely as they do their charge. I would not disrespect either powers that are within these grounds, or ever. Not if I wanted to return to the side of the Autumn King, and I do so wanted to return to his side. He haunted me between the sheets, long after he left in the wee hours of the morning. I had seen the barefooted steps across the floor after he had left, and I wished they had turned around at the door to embrace me once more. But I will walk for that embrace. 

The corridors are quiet, empty, warm, and I gathered my skirts and shawl as I headed to his rooms for breakfast. It was a tingling sensation to be at the beck and call of such power, such hands and command. It was slavery, in the finest of forms, and I adored the shackles the Autumn King placed on me with care and love. The way they fit me tells me they were mine alone. The tingling spread from my fingers to my body, like drinking tea before it’s cooled.

Portraits of places and faces line the hallway. I can smell breakfast, but what it is is still a mystery to me. I hope my first meal is not bread but him. The King tastes sweeter than any fruit or wine I have tasted in my life. He does not wait for things, but he waits patiently for me, and I hurry to keep that minimal. The King is kind and demanding and I would bend to his will every time, without question.

I find him in his rooms, every bit as much a presence here as he would be in the throne room, presiding over court. He is burnished and soft, a stalwart defender, yet tender and yielding to the right hands. I touch his shoulder gently, before bowing low. He smiles, and it is the one he presented me with only hours before I became the tool in which he used for so many long star turns. The King burns me up just in his presence, and when he leans in to kiss me, it feels like coming home after eons of travel. The walk from my room to his went from miles apart to nothing but a step in the moment it took him to press his mouth to mine, with that fire he likes to consume me with.

I am the kindling of desire, and I wanted the Autumn King to turn me into that which adorns his palace: gold, red, and a higher purpose. To serve, that is a higher purpose in which I fall into gracefully. None would see the King without the passage given by the sea witch. Curses strewn among his enemies so strategically, they pin the blame on only themselves, and corrupt the ranks in which they circle. Leaving the King to his realm and better people to serve him.

The King wants me to taste the drink he has offered, and I take the goblet with no hesitation, running the spirits over my senses. Fruit and wood and musk. 

***

I will accept everything he gives me under no other terms but the ones he lays out for me. His, the Autumn King’s witch. She who watches the waters in the name of the mountains, she who curves the tides for the forest of the King. She who hunts the depths for the heights of his glory. I will cast circles and create runes and circumnavigate his enemies, no matter how they prefer to strike.

I love the wilds with as much fervor as I put into loving the Autumn King, and the blooms that crop up around his heels smell of the ocean rains and of the safety of the lighthouse. He will reign from on high, and I will guard the stairs to his abode. No resistance shall be given, not until he asks for the knees of the witch, in which he will receive all of me and more. The powers that flow from my hands are akin to the powers that are wrapped around his fingers. He brings a presence to the room that I will never shake from my body, nor would I want to. There is too much to love, there is too much to exalt. Will he ever wonder if the Sea Witch casts her nets with him in mind? Will the King think of my waves as a luxury, not a burden? No, these thoughts are gone – the Autumn King is one in mind and body and soul, and no other would understand better the way the waters always greet the earth. Why else would he build upon the ocean if not to steer the waves in which he controls to the best way it pleases him? There are no reins needed if the waters move with his pleasures. And she will always move for his pleasure.

Yours faithfully,
The Sea Witch

dawn to dust

There was a stretch of land, filled with the harvest of Mother Nature’s bountiful corn. They shook in the breeze like a child with a tambourine, and the sound whistled over the tops of the stalks like a hot air balloon. The sun was the most brilliant azure on a late afternoon, so beautiful it made even the hardened of veterans realize just how small they were in the wide, wide world.

A path ran straight through the field, leading in a pattern that no one ever quite understood. But if you walked for long enough, you would come to a clearing, almost in a perfect square. A small house stood there; white washed rancher, sun burnt just as anything else could and would be in these parched lands. The window frame were cracked, splintered just enough that if you ran your fingers across it, you would come back scathed. The door was wide open, also in that dim white color that seemed to make up the house. You couldn’t see inside properly, but it gave off the feel of a very old home, that had almost seemingly fell out of the sky to land where it sat now. A dirt path ran around the house, and a small garden lay at its side, with enough desert fauna in it to make it appear to be something from nothing. A dusty and beaten ‘Welcome’ mat lay at the front of it all to complete the picture.

And to the side of this picturesque house sat an old Cadillac. The burnished red color blended into the dying light that permeated the very air. Its tires were the color of chalky coal, and looked like they hadn’t moved since it was built. The windows were rolled down, as if the car needed to breathe in the prairie air to move once more. The windshield was wholesome, if dirty, and small animal prints covered the left-hand side of the glass; someone called this vehicle home on cold nights. The leather seats were cracked and worn, and matched the leather steering wheel. Small pieces of duct tape were wrapped around the handle in some places, making you feel like that time your bike broke down at your best friend’s place, and all you could do to fix it was wrap it with the duct tape your friend offered you. And on this old piece of history sat three girls. Perhaps only a year or two between each other from youngest to oldest, but they sat there nonetheless. They wore similar gowns, as if ready for bedtime. The tallest (perhaps not the eldest) wore a gown of purple, the hem trailing the bottoms of her knees. It hung comfortably on her shoulders, and was just barely starting to hug her hips as she grew into herself, and she stood near the hood, leaning against it to watch the sun go down. The middle child’s gown was the color of sea foam off the Caribbean, or so I hear. It threw itself around her calves like a contemporary dancer, and fit her just the opposite, rustling against the trunk of the car where she sat. The shortest girl had a gown of beautiful blue, the color of the prairie skies on a hot summer afternoon. It flowed past her ankles onto the roof of the car, where she had settled herself contentedly to watch the spectacle of a dark colored rainbow while the sun bowed off stage.

There was hardly a sound to be heard, except the crickets and the soft breeze grazing the stalks. The girls watched, unblinkingly, hardly daring to move lest they miss something that could change their home. It was a scene out of a fantasy, and old western. Time was frozen here; there was no changing that.

A shooting star crossed the navy blue that was finally descending onto the fields, and the shortest (perhaps not the youngest) gave a trill of laughter, the sound so pleasing to the ear. It would remind one of the early morning birds that woke you up ever so quietly, that you just knew it couldn’t have been anything else. Their eyes were turned to the skies even more intently now, focused on spotting the falling star before it burned up in our atmosphere. To imagine such an otherworldly thing could disintegrate so gracefully in the view of our very plain eyes, was such a concept that wouldn’t be dreamed of by those girls until very later in their lives.
The moon began its ascent into the sky, crawling from the horizon after it had kissed the sun goodnight. A crescent moon, divine and destined to leave Earth dwellers in awe for many, many moons to come. Its finely shaped contours easily outstripped any mortal beauty; who could match the curves of the sculpted Luna? She was finer than all the others in that visible sky. Many years from now, in a house similar to this one, the girls would discuss the moon and her properties, and their husbands would wonder just how they could talk about something so alien as easily as if they had met the moon in person. They would never understand that their wives had spent many sunsets watching the world turn just to try and understand that they, too, would someday turn with the world – and in a more intimate way. For their views on life were that of the here and now; the men of the world in that time had to worry about the present, what was visible to their eye there and then. The rare women that could hear the universe spinning were often left to their own devices, alone when they finally went back to the stars they had called family their whole Earth lives. And even then, on the seldom occasion that their men would sit back on the porch they had built with their wives, they still wouldn’t understand that their women were those stars, always there to turn with them until they, too, turned.


A 25 minute sprint I loosely based off this image
https://www.deviantart.com/kyendo/art/1996-465220806

Do not fall in love with a writer.

Do not fall in love with a writer.

   They can paint with colors that you have never heard of before, and create new worlds with one strong emotion. They have a heart that outstrips any fuel source, and is full of butterflies and frustration. They come alive in the early hours of morning, when the only noise they can perceive is the one coming from your sleeping form; they sleep when the sunlight isn’t quite in the shape they need to work their magic. They can conjure up the most simplest of cliches, and leave you in a burning wake of words, singeing your arms and eyes with embers of passion and misnomers. They have moments of weakness, and brief seconds of strength, and the only thing they will keep to themselves is how many times they said, “You can do better than that”. They’ve fallen in love with the impossible, and wept over the improbable. Their wishes comprise of fanatical love tales, and the harmonizing of fates that were almost lost to the dusty shelves of old book stores. Ink once flowed through their veins, replaced now with the telltale signs of the clinically insane; one with the world of imagination.

   Do not fall in love with these writers, for they will smother you in complicated words and rumpled paper, unbridled attention and time laid at your feet, willingly or not. They will kiss you a thousand times to make sure they record the correct flavor of your kisses, write pages on the way you breathe when your eyes are closed. They understand cliches like the sun setting on your cheeks and starlight in your eyes, and can immortalize wounds like pieces of Da Vinci’s art. Unbeknownst to you, your very fingertips will unlock places inside them that they have been waiting to dust for years, and they will use your soul until it becomes a dried leaf in the autumn wind. Snow storms and catastrophic earthquakes mold their faces, lined with the visions of heartstrings and dark alleys. They will envision waterfall kisses, and embraces pooled in moonlight – cliffhanging their demons beside your own and wondering if they will help or hinder themselves. Lightning storms gather around their throats when they speak your name, and the atmosphere is charged with the static of what should come from them next.

   If you should fall in love with them, understand you will have a legacy that will last a lifetime. The halls of their mind will reverberate with your name, and a single touch will venture into volcanic territory, where they have hidden you away in their ever-green glade. They will build monuments in your name, and shout them into the cavernous masses that envelope their creations. Every deduction, every thought, every question they ever had about you will become a matter of who and how it will be alive to them in just the right way. You become their perfect universe, a paradox of the one their physical lives play out. They will love every piece of you, from the way you say hello to strangers, to how you brush your teeth at night. They will find every piece of you fascinating, from how you put your socks on to the way you push your glasses further up your nose. Things like tying your shoes, drinking coffee, running an errand – all fodder for an extraordinary article of continuous love and intrigue. Their tired eyes will drink you in like the fountain of youth, and their smile will be rare, but will always play when yours does. They will capture the moments you call ‘every day’, and configure them into artwork. They will love your storms, your rainfall, your sunshine and green valleys, and even your blizzards and tornadoes. And they will never stop writing about you.

determined footsteps on slick obsidian

I wish you had stayed in the guest room. My feet treading my floors heavily, black as obsidian, slick where you lay. I can’t be alongside you, I can’t let it flow from me to you anymore, it burns the night and slays the dawn and I am so lost, so lost in you. There are fingertips making me lose my religions, but you can’t leave me alone. I can’t leave you alone, you said you loved me and I said it too, but what does that mean when we can’t be in the same room?

The guest room, the guest room, it was all my fault – I got naked first. You were in the guest room, right next door. I could feel you through the walls, and it was all my fault. The obsidian is calling to me, you are calling to me. Underneath your teeth, it was like home, breaking me apart like a jeweler looking for a gold mine in their false gods. I keep thinking about you in the worst way, just laid out, your footsteps running down my arms. You never told me what you thought about obsidian, did you? Did you know it was supposed to give you strength, did you know it was supposed to ward off the pressures, the excess of stress – the excess of what was coming from the gods damned bedroom. I wish you left my tongue alone, left me alone naked in the rug of fire, wrapped around the consciousness of a god, entrails leaking from the eyes and sifting through my soul like a dog through the garbage bin. Coyotes don’t know what excess means, but they see a dying breed when they come upon it. I am the dying breed, it was all my fault. My obsidian floor did nothing to save me, it left me alone, it left me alone. What kind of witch is abandoned by her own? It was all my fault, and I stayed in your guest room. You pinned me down, teeth in my hair, ripped my heart into diamond shards, and carried me to bed.

Don’t let the night stay black, turn me away, don’t look back. Bring the obsidian to my door, leave it on the floor. My feet are black, my heart is black, my arms are cold, I lost myself to you again. And I don’t think I want it back. I don’t think I can take her back. She’s gone, isn’t she?

water sinking into sand

Easy drips, running between the loss of one mountain turned one million. There are one million people under one sun, and they only choose to rejoice when the future steps up and presents a problem. When do the people know when to stop and think for the world? When do the people learn not to sin on themselves for enjoying what the sun has to offer? Will they ever learn to love themselves and not to disgrace the life they were given? I will rejoice, she said, as the water sank into the sand. There is no higher calling than to expand on that which makes a woman a woman. The yellow brick road does not open to just anyone with a pair of red slippers, it is a journey just to get there, and a journey to walk it. There is nothing easy about the road, and if you do not rejoice at it, it was eat you alive, turn you into the green witch.

Do not sit there lost in your own mind, do not let your silt sink to the bottom of the floor of your heart. Let it flow, let it move. It is there to nurture, not to harm. What can a flow of water do that a sitting silt pile cannot? It can grow, it can harvest, it can tame and explain and tell the rejoicing of the masses that the mountain sacrificed for their one million. You need to get your mind out of trouble, and when you do, you can get everything else out as well. You will find the prospects of your devil in hell to be dwindling. No enemy can imprison you, you will rejoice if you come out of your shell. And let it be known that you came out of your shell! Do not hide your rays among the clouds, let it spring free in your words, your countenance. Let the joy flow from your fingers, your tongue, your feet. Let the tiny dreaming grass awake to your life force, and let you be the god you are meant to be. There is, perhaps, a higher power, but have you considered the following:

The prayers you say to yourself to a higher power, are always turned back to you? Gods do not have faces to protect the innocent. If you knew you were a god, would you listen to yourself?

A perfect iron loop

Let it be a perfect iron loop around the hemisphere of the world. A testament to a good deed done well, well enough to keep the magicks of the world together. At least, for a short period of time. The cycles of time do not know where they start or stop, so why should humanity? They search for the end times, the beginning times, the what-happens-in-present times. There is no need to follow the sun so closely, when time will shun us when it is ready. The sounds of the passing of life are echoing between the bars, and the tightened rings of time squeeze our arms like a bear hug that will poison you if you squeeze back.

The undead don’t linger, do they? They lose themselves to time, become the coordinates that we bind ourselves to. And we let them. We do not stop them, but we pine for them. We pine for the way they let go and forget what it means to be a tick on their cell wall, and hope they cannot find their way home. There is no stopping time or its wanting hands, but it will show you that while it can kill or erase, it can also heal, erode, and rebuild if given the chance. There is nothing sacred to time, and the only thing that is worth looking into when exploring immortality and divinity is how well you can get along with the passing of it.

The way we shift to hold it between our hands? It’s a plot. A way for us to let go and let ourselves think ourselves dead and insurmountable, but it is a lie, as we know. There is no way to close the windowsill, we must sit and watch it turn on the street lamps and shut the cat away while it prowls the dark streets for loose change and dead cigar butts. It will strangle you in your doorway and do not let it convince you that living is a wild temptation. It is not. It is not worth crying over, but it is worth living and it is worth living all the way to a natural end; or as natural as time will allow you to go through with.

We think the Reaper is a killer, but he is an Agent of Time, and he is here to collect the hardiest of minutes and the softest of hours and the wildest of seconds between the slowest of eternities. Do not take it for granted. Time will catch up, always.

The Academy.

Glory marched up the stone steps, the Grand Hall doors ajar. Music and chatter wafted out, but neither were remotely enough to pull her in. Stalking by the warmth, Glory headed up the winding tower stairs towards the dorm rooms, her jaw clenched tightly. She refused to look anywhere but at the floor until she reached her door, throwing herself into her room and slamming the door shut behind her. 

She slumped against it hard, rubbing her face vigorously. She should have known. She should have fucking known! Another who wanted her for her fucking magick, for her stupid powers and not her. She was nothing, just a battery pack to be burned through. A curiosity among them all. Fuck this school, the stupid kids, and especially Professor Evermore. Glory’s throat prickled, and she shook her head furiously. No, she would not shed tears. 

She stormed to the vanity, pulling the ornaments from her hair and tossing them aside. She wasn’t a porcelain doll – never had been, never will be. As she was scrubbing her face of makeup, her door flew open and snapped shut. Trying to blink away the water quickly, Glory swung out. 

“You’re not supposed to-”

A hand grabbed her wrist, anger flaring up in her again. Swiping her hand across her face, Glory looked up to see who had come in, only to find Mikaeus staring at her. 

“Glory,” he started, as she yanked her hand out of his grip. Pushing her hair out of her face, she glared at him, her chest tightening.

“What the fuck are you doing here? Who do you think you are-”

Glory, please, just listen for one minute,” Mikaeus started again, but Glory shook her head.

“No, you listen, Professor Evermore,” she spat his title out, jabbing her finger at him, “I’m sick of being nothing but a lamplight for all you assholes! I don’t want to be studied, I don’t want to be just a stupid energy source! I hate me, I hate everything about me! And you!”

Glory pushed Mikaeus’ chest, face red as a tomato. “You made me think you cared about me! That I was someone, someone worth knowing and l-loving! And you lied! You lied, just like the rest of them. You weren’t supposed to be like them!” Her fists hammered on his chest as her eyes grew blurry.

Mikaeus’ hands shook as he pushed the hair from Glory’s face, sorrowful eyes boring into hers, before he pulled her into his arms. She fought for a moment, squirming and calling him names, before giving up and sobbing into Mikaeus’ chest. He hugged her tightly, burying his face into her hair.

“I’m sorry, Glory. I’m so sorry. You’re right, I’ve been an absolute bastard,” Mikaeus muttered, voice thick. 

They stood like that until Glory’s sobs had faded into the lamplight, and she peeled herself off his wet shirt, rubbing her face as Mikaeus let his arms fall away from her slowly. 

“I…I want to make it right.”

Glory shuffled to the edge of her bed, eyes turned down as she sat. “Why.” 

The Silent Guns

“You are sure this is the course of action you wish to take, my love?”

Eva’s soft voice felt like it filled the entire room with emotion, though he would never admit to such feelings. He had long put emotion aside, as he had done with any hope of painting. He turned to her, his devoted creature, a solemn expression on her face. He had never truly loved her, if he was honest with himself. She had been loyal to a fault. That was why she stood here now, alone with him in their soon-to-be mausoleum. Her reward for being stalwart in her belief in him. How ironic that they die now.

“It is the only way. I will not be made a fool of as they did with Mussolini. This is my final word on it.”

A revolver hung loosely in one hand, a small capsule in the other. Eva’s hands shook ever so slightly as she held them out, and felt that tiny pill drop into her palm. Such a small item, such a final impact. She looked upon the face of the Fuhrer, and studied it for a moment.

She knew him better than herself, and to this she was not sure she was proud of or not. Her entire life had been devoted to this man, but … for what? He had married her, as a token of his appreciation, he said. She could care less for the token, she had belonged to him since her teenage years. And now here they were, about to commit their final victory against the enemy, though she would never call it that aloud. Adolf had become particular about victories and losses as of late, with good cause. 

“You first.” Adolf’s voice was low, and she barely heard him. He looked less of the charismatic leader than he had been before, and more like a tired old man. She nodded once and popped the cyanide into her mouth. She had a moment to register the bitter taste as she bit down into it, before she could feel her breathing coming up short. Her throat felt dry, as if she had not had water in years, and it felt as if her very body was on fire. The last thing she saw was Adolf raising a gun to his head before the world turned black.


Johanna sat by the radio, her nails digging into her palms as she waited with all the patience of a runner at the starting line. Six years, she thought, that familiar feeling of determination and desperation filling her once more. Six years we have all been working towards this. If there is a god, let him shine through now

She looked out into the night, through the grime streaked windows, and saw the Red Army pushing through the fallen walls of homes, stepping over the rude protruding angles of lost bodies and misplaced dogs. The closer they got to the Chancellery garden, the faster her heart beat. She sat back in her chair, the crackle of the radio white noise for the moment.

It felt like decades had passed since she had first met Gustav Bruhn, in her small editorial office. He had come armed to the teeth with knowledge and a purpose, and murmurs of a resistance group being formed trailed behind him when he left. He was charismatic, almost fiery, and it had been contagious, like wild fire in a dry wood. Men of all walks of life flocked to him and his partners, all eager to put the Fuhrer down in their own way. She herself had committed to the cause without truly understanding the consequences that might take place; she only knew that she wanted Germany to be at peace once more. But that was almost 5 years ago.  She had worked her way through the ranks of the resistance to where she was now, as lead communications officer. The title felt overbearing to her, but the role was supremely important. Working in editorial had infused in her the importance of communication, and if she had learned anything during her time in the Bästlein-Jacob-Abshagen, it was that this was more critical than anything else. And that duty was why she sat where she was now, waiting.

She cast a wary eye at the radio once more, but it gave no clues as to what was happening outside. She heaved a sigh, and lowered her head into her hands. They had murdered him, last year. Gustav. And his wife. The Nazis had carted him and Elisabeth off to Neuengamme, one of their numerous concentration camps, to be executed. All of the Bästlein-Jacob-Abshagen group held fear in their hearts for the Bruhns, until word came from a family friend. Alfred Baumbach had driven to Neuengamme to see what he could do for them, hope very slim – it was for naught. A message was sent out, and in the early hours of February 15th, 1944, the resistance learned that Gustav Bruhn and his wife Elisabeth had been hung by the Nazis. They had mourned greatly for them, Johanna included. It had been a wounding blow, though not fatal, and a terrible reminder of what they were up against. She heard later that Baumbach had gone underground after he had informed the resistance of the Bruhn’s fate. No one knew if he was still alive. She prayed he was safe.

It had been because of their leader’s actions, including Gustav’s, that had led them here. The resistance had undermined companies that supplied the regime, whisked away hidden funds and caches, taken every back door – legal or not – to ensure supplies would not reach the Fuhrer and his fanatics. And they had largely succeeded. The linch pin of their operations fell into place when Karl Wolff, an SS-General, had shown up on their doorsteps several weeks before with his hat in hand. He heard of them, and had come to them for aid. Johanna had been going through reports with fellow members when the knock on the door had brought them back to the present. Surprise was an understatement if used to describe the expressions on their faces, before a deep-seeded suspicion settled over them.

Wolff was taken in for intense interrogation, and Johanna learned afterward that he had come to seek their help in surrendering the German forces in Italy. Johanna didn’t want to believe it for a moment, but her superiors seemed to be convinced with the evidence Wolff had provided with him. From then on, they went in deep to help Wolff achieve his goal. She heard very little about any of that business, and wondered what had come from it. The only request Wolff had asked of them was to send cyanide capsules to the garden, but refused to say why. She found it highly suspicious, besides dangerous, but she carried out the orders to their group to be done, and left it at that. 

The memory of the Bruhn’s fate in her mind, she bitterly thought about Hitler, wondering what he was doing now that he knew he had lost. Would he surface from his bunker, a prisoner of war? Would he point fingers at all those around him? Or would he go quietly? She didn’t have to wait long for her answer. 

The radio began to crackle with a choked voice, and it felt like the entire night had come to a stand still. Johanna froze in her chair, every sound gone but the radio frequency that she turned up as the words fell forth.

“Unser Führer ist mit seinem letzten Atemzug für Deutschland gegen den Bolschewismus gestorben. Ich wiederhole, unser Führer ist gestorben.”

She felt her ears ring with the sudden announcement, and for a moment, she didn’t move. Then, a swooping feeling of utter relief crashed through her, and she leaped to her feet, tears in her eyes and a laugh on her face. They had won – they had won. Hitler was dead. A sickening feeling of betrayal and anger rode over her for a moment: He had chosen the coward’s way out. A double suicide, she would learn later. He had shot himself in the head, while his new wife had taken cyanide. Johanna knew she was not the only one who felt swindled out of justice, but she would take it. So that’s what the capsules were for, she thought, remembering Wolff’s request. She put the General to the side – that was for another time. Instead, she grabbed her own radio, and concentrated on sending out the most important message of the year to the many who had waited, to the many that had died, and to the many who were lost.

Adolf Hitler was dead.

Nothing Personal.

“Janey? Janey, you in there? Open up!” Mary pounded on the screen door, praying the neighbors wouldn’t stick their heads out and see who was causing a ruckus.

It was 2 AM on a Thursday, and Tuesday Avenue was as quiet as could be. The trailer park across the street was ominous looking, with its shabby awnings and dead grass fences. There were bottles of god-knows-what lying next to rubber don’t-want-to-knows, and Mary’s eyes strayed down the street with fear. No shape of a person coming her way, no whisper of a smile on the wind. She was safe – for the moment. If only Janey would open the damn door.

“Janey, I swear to God – there you are!” 

The door creaked open and a bleary-eyed woman stood there, frazzled blonde hair in tight curlers and a tattered robe tucked around her body. She blinked at Mary for a moment, before rubbing her eyes. 

“Jesus Mary, it’s late, what’s -“

Mary edged her way inside the house, and Janey slid the door shut behind her, following her lover to the couch. A brand new cigarette pack lay next to an ash tray on the coffee table, filled with debris, and Mary briefly wondered when Janey had started smoking, before turning to her.

“Janey, you gotta help me. I think I fucked up real good this time.” 

The woman rubbed her face vigorously, then frowned, looking slightly more awake. “What do you mean? What did you do this time, Mary?”

She wrung her hands, glancing at the windows. “Remember that place I told you I was gonna get a hit on the other night? Well, I finally got inside.” She glanced at the blonde, who was watching her attentively now. “Janey, it’s not a morgue. It’s a fucking lab.”

Janey squinted. “Like a meth lab?”

“No, much worse. They had … people, suspended in this .. stuff. And there were these people in coats talking about some place on 90th Avenue where they were going to ’round up more of the filth’. They’re testing on people, Janey!”

The blonde sat back, thinking hard, absently grabbing a cigarette from the table and lighting it. “This sounds pretty bad. What else did you see?”

Mary felt a modicum of calm come over her: she was taking her seriously! Taking a deep breath, she went over her steps at the morgue once more.

“Well, I went through the back door, where the police enter. I made sure the Giovanni’s didn’t hear about anything, I swear to God. I’d have been dead before I touched the door if they knew I was going in for their mother’s shit. Anyways, I got inside and was creeping by the security window, and I saw a guard talking to someone in a long white coat. I figured it was one of them autopsy people, uh … dieners, you called them?” Janey waved in acknowledgment, and she pressed on. 

“Anyways, they were chatting it up and I was wishing they’d hurry the hell up because I really wanted to get outta there, and then they mentioned something about waiting for the police to lose their reports, and I thought, ‘Well that doesn’t make any sense’. So I listened a bit longer, and they started talking about the security in some room below the morgue, and it sounded too good to be true, Janey! I just wanted a peek, you know, maybe there was something better down there. So I follow the suits downstairs, with a lovely view mind you, that security was gorgeous, I wish I had hair like hers – sorry, right,” catching a raised eyebrow from Janey, Mary pressed on. “Well, we get down there, and there’s this massive door with some fancy scanner on it that the lady touched and the door opened. I figured it’s not gonna let my grubby hands in, so I followed quick behind, and crept around to a pile of boxes and fuck me, Janey.”

Mary turned to stare at her lover, horror in her eyes. “It was bad. They had children and women in there, mostly, though a couple old guys were there too. All of ’em floating in this liquid stuff, most were asleep-looking, but one or two were awake. The fucking look in their eyes! I dunno if anyone saw me or not, but it’s not like they could do anything about it anyways, stuck in those damn tubes. And they had one woman on a table nearby, out cold, and she looked just like Sasha! You remember her, the one with the tattoo on her right eye? The one the fuzz were trying to catch after she gate crashed Arnie’s wedding? She was stretched out over the table looking almost dead , until they stuck some contraption in her ears, and she perked right up. They gave her a moment, and I swear to the President she got up like a zombie, and just wandered out of there without so much as a fart in their direction.”

Mary had taken to chewing her nails and glancing out the window, and didn’t see Janey had finished her smoke, and started another. “I don’t think anyone saw me, but it was fucking scary Janey. I am never doing another hit like that again, I’ll stick with grave digging and to hell with these inside jobs. What kind of sick fucks would do that? The government? The military?” She glanced at Janey. “What d’ya think?”

Janey sat back, her face passive as she watched Mary blather on, her eyes glazed over. Taking one last puff, she stamped the smoke out on the arm of the couch. “You’re sure no one saw you?”

Mary frowned, eyes searching over her face. “Yeah, that’s what I’ve been saying, have you not been listening? And by the way, when did you start smoking, Janey, it’s making me ill.” She waved the smoke cloud away from her face, her nose scrunched up. 

She didn’t get a chance to scream as Janey lunged at her, covering her mouth with a scabby hand. Mary finally saw, deep in Janey’s ear, the same contraption that she had seen in the morgue. 

“Just covering our tracks. Nothing personal, Mary.”