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it is funny, you will be dead some day.
By you the mouth hair eyes,and i mean
the unique and nervously obscene

need;it’s funny.  They will all be dead

knead of lustfulhunched deeplytoplay
lips and stare the gross fuzzy-pash
—dead—and the dark gold delicately smash….
grass,and the stars,of my shoulder in stead.

It is a funny,thing.  And you will be

and i and all the days and nights that matter
knocked by sun moon jabbed ****** with ecstasy
….tremble (not knowing how much better

than me will you like the rain’s face and

the rich improbable hands of the Wind)
shyann raulerson Jul 2013
I heard faint noises downstairs, and I decided to investigate. I pulled on a pair of cut-off jeans and grabbed the old pump shotgun that had served me so well in Viet-Nam from under my bed and crept downstairs to check. My Ranger training came into play, and I moved soundlessly, down the stairs and into the living room. An air of vague shadowy figures were searching through the cabinet that housed my collection of antique silver. I announced my presence in a sudden and intimidating manner: I merely pumped the action of the shotgun, then immediately moved to the right so if anyone shot, he would shoot where I had been, not where I was now. That sound was a language that everyone understood, including the two figures before me. They froze, and were still motionless.

"Mr. Steve?" one of the figures quavered. "Please don't shoot!"

I recognized the voice as belonging to Lisa, the twenty-year-old daughter of my nearest neighbor. I didn't know who the other person was or who else may be in the house, so I kept the shotgun pointed in their direction and hit the light switch with my free hand. Immediately a car cranked up in my driveway, and tires squealing, raced out to the road and away. I looked at my midnight visitors. I recognized Lisa and Julie, who was a close friend of Lisa's and a frequent overnight visitor of hers. They were holding between them a laundry bag containing most of my silver collection. I lowered the muzzle of the cut down shotgun.

"You sure know how to get yourselves killed," I stated. "Mind telling me who was in the car? You don't want to take the rap all by yourselves."

"Please don't shoot! That was Mike, it was all his idea! He made us do it! He said he would put us out and make us walk home if we didn't do it! Are you going to call the Cops?"

Now I could understand why the girls tried to burglarize my home. It was a fifteen-mile walk home in pitch darkness on a moon-less night for the two frightened girls. It was just what a worthless **** like Mike would pull. Knowing what I did about Lisa's boyfriend, I knew what he probably needed the money for. He was nineteen; the only job he had ever had was selling drugs, and I don't mean at the pharmacy. He was a charmer though. Girls fell for his good looks and his charm, and would do anything for him, and he of course chose the best looking one of the bunch, Lisa. She never realized what a slime-ball he really was. The problem was that Lisa didn't have a father to threaten to put a bullet in Mike's behind, and her mother was just as deceived as she was.

"You broke into my house and attempted to steal my belongings. Why shouldn't I?" I said with false sternness. I wouldn't really turn them in, now that I knew the situation. I would give the girls a good scare, then a ride home. Maybe then Lisa would see through Mike's veneer.

"Because we'll do anything you want," Julie offered, speaking for the first time. "Anything at all!"

Julie stepped over and ran her hand up my leg, pausing to tweak the head of my ****, which was hanging out of the leg of my cutoffs. I hadn't bothered to pull on any underwear. Julie was almost as good looking as Lisa was. Both girls had fabulous bodies, large firm ****, and smooth well-rounded *****. Julie had a cute face, whereas Lisa was absolutely beautiful.

"Yes, anything you want to do!" Lisa agreed.

The girls weren't wanton *****, but scared out of their wits and taking the only way out that they could think of. Of course they weren't virgins. It hadn't occurred to me to take advantage of the girls like this, and I would have declined Julie's offer if she hadn't fooled with my **** like that. You see, I was developing an outrageous *******, and with my **** hanging down the leg of some fairly tight shorts, the situation was rapidly becoming painful and serious. I had to get those pants off fast! Also, I hadn't been laid in quite a while. I decided to lay my cards on the line.

"You kids know me. I never had any intention of calling the Cops. I was going to give you a scare to teach you a lesson, then drive you home. Does that mean the offer is withdrawn?"

The girls looked at each other and both breathed a sigh of relief, big smiles on their faces. Lisa winked at Julie. "Nope," Julie said, smiling, "It still stands. Lets go upstairs."

I escorted the girls to my bedroom, pressed the magazine block on the shotgun, pumped out the shell that was still in the chamber, then put it back in the magazine. I tossed it onto the dresser with a loud thump.

I turned around and both girls were stark naked. Lisa came over, dropped to her knees, and planted a wet kiss on the head of my painfully throbbing ****. My ******* became harder still. I had to get out of those cutoffs! Julie solved that problem. She unzipped and unbuttoned them and gently worked them down around my rock-hard ****, allowing it to spring up to freedom.

"Lets get on the bed first," I suggested, "Then we have fun."

"Lay down on your back," Lisa insisted. "Have we got something for you!"

I complied, and Lisa leaned over and put my **** in her hot mouth. Her tongue swirled over the head, ran up and down the shaft, and started over again. I looked over at Julie and she was watching avidly. Not having anything better to do with my hands, I reached between her legs and caressed her ****. Julie gasped with surprise, then spread her legs. Her **** was already hot and wet, so I slid my ******* in all the way, then started finger ******* her and massaging her **** with my thumb. Her **** hardened and grew. Julie had her eyes closed and was erotically tweaking her ***** *******. She was slowly lowering her body, deepening the ******* of my finger, and rocking her hips back and forth, intensifying the stroking of her ****. Julie's hot ***** juices ran down my hand while Lisa's mouth was still working on my throbbing ****.

I began to draw my hand from Julie's sopping wet ****, but she grabbed it and held it tightly to her crotch. I pulled my hand now, and she came with it. I grabbed her thigh and swung her leg over me, so she was now sitting on my chest. I pulled my finger from her hungry ****, grabbed her ***, and pulled her ****** right up to my face. As soon as I flicked her **** with the tip of my tongue, she went wild, ******* my face, filling my nostrils with the sweet aroma of her **** juices. I thought I would give her all the licking she could handle. I rammed my tongue into her ****-hole with all my might, then gently nibbled on her ****. Apparently she had a low threshold, as this was all she could stand.

"Oh God, I'm coming!" she screamed, ground her **** into my face one more time, quivered, then collapsed sideways onto the bed.

One down, one to go. I looked at Lisa, still ******* my **** for all she was worth. I was nearing the end of my endurance, and I still hadn't had my **** in any hot **** yet. I grabbed Lisa's shoulders and pulled her mouth from my ****. I turned her around and held her up, her blonde ***** triangle just inches over my waiting tool.

"Give it to her! Now!" Julie whispered.

Lisa's **** didn't look wet or ready to take anything in it yet, but my **** was ready to take some *****. Julie reached over and spread the lips to Lisa's still dry *****, and began tweaking her ****. Lisa gasped her surprise at her most private place being touched by another chick. Within seconds though, her **** and inner ***** lips began to swell, and her juices started flowing. I slowly lowered Lisa to my rod, admiring her glistening pinkness. Julie guided my throbbing rod into Lisa's wet love hole.

"Please, be careful! Ah-h-h-h! Go slow, I'm so tight!"

I lowered Lisa very carefully, for her hot ****-hole was indeed the tightest ***** I had ever felt. With that in mind, I fought the urge to slam her down on my eager ****. As soon as she was down, I grabbed her *** and began sliding her back and forth. Lisa bit her lip as a tear trickled down from one eye.

"Stop, Mr. Steve! It's hurting her!" Julie commanded. Then to Lisa, "You haven't done it much, have you?"

"Just once, with Mike, and he isn't this big. It hurt then, too!" Lisa sobbed. "I wanted so bad to do it with Mr. Steve because he's been so nice to me, and I was so scared when I saw how big he was. Oh, it hurts!"

"You'd better get up then." I reassured, "I don't want to do anything to you that you don't want me to do."

"I want to go on, really I do! But don't you have anything I could use to make it easier?"

"Yeah, any Vaseline, or KY jelly, or something like that?" Julie asked.

"I have some KY jelly in the bathroom." I answered.

Julie jumped up and padded into the bathroom. I watched her naked *** jiggle as she left.

"You're gonna have to get up." I told Lisa. I gently lifted her ***. She bit her lip again and moaned as my **** slowly withdrew from her tortured hole. With a pop from her *****, a shriek burst from her lips as my **** sprung from her nearly dry ****-hole. She knelt on the bed next to me, softly crying, clutching herself where it hurt. I realized that she had been wrong in pretending to be so eager. A more gentle approach was needed.

I reached over, pulled her to me, and kissed her lips passionately. She ****** once in surprise, then melted into my arms, returning my kiss, forgetting the pain in her ****. I ran my hand around to her firm **** and gently stroked her *******, feeling them harden under my touch. I pulled my mouth from hers and kissed the point of each hard ******. She moaned and gasped with each touch of my lips, but from pleasure this time, not from pain. While I had her aroused, I lightly traced circles on her tummy with my finger, each circle going lower and lower, until I finally reached the blonde **** of her ***** hair. Slowly, I reached down and cupped her ***** with my hand, being careful not to press too hard or insert my finger. I would know when she was ready for *******. She responded with a **** and a gasp. I pressed again, and she gasped again. I kissed each firm ****** one last time, then started kissing down her tummy to her love nest, which was now warming and starting to respond to my touch.

I spread her legs and gently ran the tip of my tongue the full length of her slit. When I reached the vicinity of her ****, she reacted as though she had been shocked. She arched her back, pressing her **** against my face. Maybe she was ready. I probed again with my tongue, harder this time, hard enough to separate her ****-lips and tickle her ****. She went mad again, jerking and twitching in response to the touch of my tongue, moaning and panting. Then I felt her **** harden, her inner lips swell and spread, and her delicious juices start to flow. Now she was definitely ready for more. I probed her ****-hole with my tongue, licked all the way up to her ****, swirled it around, bit it gently, and then probed her hole again. When I started doing all this, she went even wilder. She spread her legs, ****** and reared against my face, and pulled my head tight against her hot cooze.

"Oh-h-h-h-h, **** me," she moaned, "I can't stand it any more! I don't care if it does hurt! Please, please **** me!"

I put her throbbing **** between my lips and gave it one hard ****, drawing it completely into my mouth, and pulled my head back sharply, causing her **** to pop back. She screamed, ****** her hips at me, and grabbed her sweating *******.

When she had subsided, her legs still spread, I mounted her in the traditional position. I started to position my throbbing pole for a gentle entry, but Lisa released her **** and spread her ****-lips with one hand and guided my tool to her sopping wet ****-hole with the other. She was much wetter now than when Julie diddled her ****, wet enough to ****.

"Please do it now!" Lisa pleaded.

I began to insert my **** cautiously, and found that due to her juices, entry was no problem. Lisa groaned like a ****** as I slid into her hot wetness. When she had taken as much of my ten-inch tool as she could, I still wasn't all the way in. But she began pumping her hips, causing the swollen head of my **** to ram against the back of her *****. She was as deliciously tight as before, but she must have been stretching, for with just a few strokes, my ***** were slapping against her ***, and I was in to the hilt. My tenderness and foreplay had paid off.

"Oh-h-h-h, that's good!" she purred when I began pumping to meet her rhythm. She wrapped her legs around my waist, and was pumping as hard as I was. With each stroke, I would completely withdraw from her hot, tight wetness, then shove my eager tool back in to the hilt, never missing her voracious target, always sliding easily in, jamming against the back of her *****.

Her pumping increased in tempo, and I sped up to match. Each pump became harder and more frantic than the one before. Lisa's breathing became harder and faster. She was about to come, and I wanted to come with her. I raised her legs over my shoulders so that I had a better angle at the depths of her tight hole, and started ramming as hard as I could.

"Don't stop! I think I'm gonna come! Oh-h-h, its so good! Come in me! Oh, please, I want to feel your load in me!" Lisa screamed. She bucked and reared and screamed incoherently, then went limp. I continued to pump. In just a few seconds, she began to pump anew. For more times than I could count, she orgasmed.

Once I felt my ****** approaching, I gave her one last hard ram and drove my weapon in as far as I could. I came at this point, spurting her sweet, tender Steve **** full of my hot sticky come, like an erupting volcano. She gasped, trembled, and fell back to the bed. I pulled out my softening ****. Our ****** energies were spent for the moment.

I glanced down at the foot of the bed, and saw Julie, whom I had forgotten. She sat in the chair at the foot of the bed, her legs spread, working a coke bottle in and out of her *****. She had found the KY jelly, then found us ******* away. Feeling left out but excited by the ****** sight of her best friend getting a good *******, she slicked up the coke bottle and began using it as a *****.

I saw that Lisa also was seeing something she had never seen before, her best friend's ****, gaping open, a coke bottle almost disappearing inside it. "Look how far in she puts it! And see how big it is to go in her like that. How does she do it?" Lisa asked, amazed.

"Why don't you get a closer look," I suggested. "Ask her." Lisa crawled down to the foot of the bed and sat on the end, astounded, watching Julie *******.

Julie finally looked down, under heavy-lidded eyes and saw Lisa so close. "Why don't you do this for me?" Julie asked.

"How?" Lisa queried.

"Just do what I'm doing now," came Julie's reply. Lisa watched for a few seconds more, then pushed Julie's hand aside and grasped the slippery end of the bottle. "In and out, and twist it a little bit. Oh, yes-s-s, oh, yes-s-s. Do it good, oh, that's so good!" Julie purred.

My **** was hardening again at the sight of one female ******* another.

I had an idea. If Julie was as promiscuous as she seemed, she might not object to what I had in mind. While Lisa continued to work the bottle in Julie's stretched ****, I helped Julie out of the chair and down to the floor, her heaving **** on the floor, her *** up in the air. She stayed in the position, crooning wordlessly, **** juice dribbling down her thighs, Lisa still ******* her.

I picked up the tube of KY jelly that Julie had used, and liberally covered my ***** rod with it. Then I stood behind Julie, straddling Lisa.

"What are you going to do?" Lisa asked.

"Watch and see!" I responded. With that I grasped Julie's hips and aimed my **** at the delicate rosette of Julie's ***. Using my **** like a weapon, I suddenly shoved my tool in as far as I could. Julie let out a scream, tearing out fistfuls of carpet.

"Oh God, **** my ***! That hurts so good! **** me harder, give me all you've got! Make it hurt! Give me more of that bottle!"

"I'm ***-******* Julie!" I informed Lisa, who was now completely mind-blown.

I needed no invitation, and neither did Lisa. Both of us gave Julie all we could, Lisa with the bottle in Julie's ****, me with my **** far up Julie's clenching ***. Julie rocked back to take us both in, then forward, then back for more. I couldn't see
i was considering how
within night’s loose
sack a star’s
nibbling in-

fin
-i-
tes-
i
-mal-
ly devours

darkness the
hungry star
which
will e

-ven
tu-
al
-ly jiggle
the bait of
dawn and be ******

into

eternity. when over my head a
shooting
star
Bur      s

              (t
                  into a stale shriek
like an alarm-clock)
Look in the mirror. Let us both look.
Here is my naked body.
Apparently you like it,
I have no reason to.
Who bound us, me and my body?
Why must I die
together with it?
I have the right to know where the borderline  
between us is drawn.
Where am I, I, I myself.

Belly, am I in the belly? In the intestines?  
In the hollow of the ***? In a toe?
Apparently in the brain. I do not see it.
Take my brain out of my skull. I have the right  
to see myself. Don’t laugh.
That’s macabre, you say.

It’s not me who made
my body.
I wear the used rags of my family,  
an alien brain, fruit of chance, hair  
after my grandmother, the nose
glued together from a few dead noses.  
What do I have in common with all that?  
What do I have in common with you, who like  
my knee, what is my knee to me?

Surely
I would have chosen a different model.

I will leave both of you here,
my knee and you.
Don’t make a wry face, I will leave you all my body  
to play with.
And I will go.
There is no place for me here,
in this blind darkness waiting for
corruption.
I will run out, I will race
away from myself.
I will look for myself  
running
like crazy
till my last breath.

One must hurry
before death comes. For by then  
like a dog ****** by its chain
I will have to return
into this stridently suffering body.  
To go through the last
most strident ceremony of the body.

Defeated by the body,
slowly annihilated because of the body

I will become kidney failure
or the gangrene of the large intestine.  
And I will expire in shame.

And the universe will expire with me,  
reduced as it is
to a kidney failure
and the gangrene of the large intestine.
Dorothy A May 2012
Chad looked over at his sleeping son sitting next to him in the passenger seat. This little journey from the airport to his home still seemed so strange and uneasy to him. It astounded him that Ian was now twelve years old, nearly a teenager. To be honest, he still did not fully feel sure about this arrangement, this set-up for him to have his son for the summer. Nevertheless, he tried to project confidence to everyone involved, to his family and to Ian's mom. He kept reminding himself that it did not matter how he felt.

He needed to step up to the plate.

No, Chad Brewster never envisioned himself as a father, never dreamed of it, and certainly never once desired it or would have chosen it as his path. Though some of his close friends wanted or had a family, it was never a part of his plans to ever be a dad. He did not dislike children, but he just never expected he would ever settle down and have them.

He especially never expected to be a father at the mere age of sixteen years old.

The suburbs of Las Vegas were worlds away from the suburbs of Milwaukee. Driving down the desert surrounded streets and highways, sometimes homesickness tugged at his consciousness. At times, Chad’s craved the surroundings of his old existence—the shady pine trees, and spending time at Lake Michigan—and he would gladly trade some palm trees for the some of the pines he was so accustomed to. But this was the life he now chose to have, and he thought he should have no reason to complain or be too sentimental. Many people were not so lucky to experience any refreshing change in their lives, and he was able to have it.

While on the road, Chad reminded himself to give Ian's mom, Becca, a quick call to let her know that they were on their way to his home. He pulled out his cell phone before he got distracted. Ian already texted her a few times to let her know he was alive and breathing along the way.

Becca had her reservations about sending her son off to be with his dad. He had his visiting rights, though, and she couldn't lawfully deny him them. It was a tough decision to send him off alone on the plane to meet up with his father, but Ian had good sense, and he was taking a direct flight to Vegas. He loved to text, and his mother made sure he had his very own cell phone to keep in constant contact with her. It was so hard to let him go like this, for Becca cherished Ian. He had a much harder start in life than some other kids, and she felt partly to blame for it.

Chad got a hold of Ian’s mom. "No way in Hell! You are calling me now?" she angrily accused him, her tongue sharp with criticism. "You know **** well this is his very first plane trip by himself, and I thought you'd have the decency to tell me once he got off that plane! Please! Don't try to convince me that this whole thing is a huge mistake, some major lapse in my judgment. Can you do that for me? You could have at least had the decency! Put him on the phone! Let me talk to him!"

"Look, Becca, he's asleep. It was a long day for him. He's exhausted". Chad was trying his best to hold back any displeasure or to raise his voice, but he expected his calm wouldn’t last. "Don't ***** me out for not calling you the very second you are demanding. You know I would have called in a heartbeat if I felt Ian was in danger. You know I would".

"Oh, I'm really not so sure", she replied, sarcastically. "I'm tempted to fly over there and come get him! I've been sick about it all day!"

"Such a **** drama queen, Becca! Like it or not, the world doesn't revolve around you! You don't have all the control! “ The anger rising was rising up in his tone. Her judgment of him of was so tiring.

"Oh, really Chad?" she replied. "I've got my act together a long time ago, but you...".

"Look, he is my son, too!" Chad shouted loudly. He was fed up of her ****** attitude, ready to hang up in her face.

"You could have fooled me!"

His eyes were glaring as he drove down the arid Nevada highway, just as if Becca stood there right before him, her finger wagging in his face, her other hand on her hip. He pictured her now as if time and everything in it had stood still, and she was before his motionless car and in his face, still in step with time and letting him have it.

This little display was so typical of her. Only Becca Morgan thought she ever had any common sense when it came to their parental abilities. Sure, she was the one who really raised their son, but she never would have pulled it off without the huge intervention of her mother.

Without a doubt, Ian had to admit to himself that he had been avoidant and immature in the past, but Becca did not have the patent on good parenting or on maturity. In her eyes, Chad was never going to be a proper father, even if he proved it.

Chad vowed that he wasn't going to pay forever for his mistakes of being an absent father, far more absent than present in his young son's life.

He looked over at his son sitting beside him. Ian was sound asleep—thank God—for he heard his parents squabble about him far more than he should have. In fact, he never saw his parents talking in a friendly manner. No matter how they began talking to each other, their conversations always ended up with angry words.

Ian must have been dead tired to sleep through it all. He hardly stirred since he fell asleep. If Chad wasn’t driving, he would be studying his slumbering son in peculiar wonder, sitting there for quite some time and thinking how on earth he ever was able to produce such a child, a seemingly healthy and well-rounded boy. It was as if his child was an UFO alien, or something—someone to be discovered for who he really was, and someone to be fathomed with fear.  He felt that uncomfortable about being placed into the role of a father.

It gave Chad's stomach a funny, odd feeling to think he wasn't too much older than Ian when Becca—his loving girlfriend at the time—came up to him and told him the shocking news. It would be the news that would forever change his life, and hers.

She was pregnant. Chad was definitely the father.

It wasn't that Becca did not know what to do about her condition, for she knew what she wanted from almost the very start, and she had settled it in her mind without much inner conflict. There was no helplessness or hopelessness in her, not like some pregnant teenage girls that found themselves in such a predicament. She wanted to have her baby and keep it to raise as her very own, and not for a future adoption—with or without Chad's approval. She did love Chad, but in the long run, she did not care what he thought if he did not agree with her.

As far as she was concerned, this baby was hers.

Chad, on the other hand, was terrified, simply terrified. He did not want to believe the news, hoping that Becca would turn around and tell him it was a huge joke. He would be quite ticked at her if she did such a thing, but also very relieved. He would gladly kiss the ground for it not to be true.

If only it was a joke. Becca was quite serious, playing  no such prank on him, Next, she planned to tell her mother next about her unborn baby. But the first person she wanted to tell was her boyfriend, and she expected that he would be on her side—or at least be won over eventually.

As a dumbfounded Chad stared at her in disbelief and shock—like the classic deer in the headlights—Becca insisted that she was telling the truth, that she was even beginning to show. She could prove it.  Her periods had stopped, and three home pregnancy tests confirmed her suspicions.  Gently, she took Chad’s hand to place over her stomach. Freaked out of his mind, he ****** his hand away as quickly as it touched her belly. His knee **** reaction would always stick in Becca's mind of how Chad really felt about her. It was almost like she had a disease.

She suddenly felt dejected. It looked like Chad would not be on her side, after all.

Maybe it wasn't his? Chad knew that Becca would hate him if he ever implied such a thing. She was crazy about him. Chad knew that. But she had an equal amount of passion to go the other way if he betrayed her. The doubt on his face, and the hesitancy in his voice, did betray him and Becca’s heart slowly sank. She wanted Chad to care, to understand, certainly not to view her as the guilty partner who was ready to ruin his life.

Instead, it looked like the beginning of the end for them.

No way was Chad willing to break the news to his parents, especially his dad, Ed Brewster. He’d rather put a gun to his head than say anything about it. Chad really never saw eye to eye with his father.  Unlike his two older brothers, Michael and David, Chad always felt like he could never please the man. His mother, Nancy, had forever seen Chad as the role that life had given him—the baby of the family. He seemed to have more leeway with her, but not so much as an inch with his father.

Ed, a veteran police officer, wanted all three of his sons to do well in life, better than he had achieved. And as Michael and David were dreaming of such careers as doctors and lawyers, all Chad ever dreamed of was to be a drummer in a rock band. Playing the drums was fine for a hobby, but Chad's father wanted his son to see the garage band he played in as something temporary, something to grow out of.  His son saw otherwise, never seeing himself ever retiring his drumsticks for some job he was bored to death with, or that he hated. He didn’t care if he would never end up earning a dime from it, not playing the drums would be like not having arms or legs. Chad would never give up on his musical aspirations.

One of the first photos that his mother took of her youngest son was him as a baby, sitting on the floor in the kitchen and banging a ladle on the bottom of a pan. At that age, he would much rather play with kitchen utensils, using them like a drum, than any shiny, fascinating toy in his possession. His mom simply thought it was adorable. His father wasn't so impressed, especially since the racket he made was only the beginning in his musical journey of too much noise surfacing from the basement.  There would be plenty of times when Ed would warn his son to give the drums a rest, or he would throw them in the garbage, for Chad could practice for hours on end.

It seemed that music flowed in Chad's blood, was natural to him, but no one in the family had any such musical talents or ambitions.  While his father just didn't get it, his mother supported him with any help she could. When he was six, he was in his glory when his she bought him a child's drum set to bang on. When he turned eleven, she bought him a real set of drums, and encouraged his participation in school band. His brothers' interests were far more typical. They were heavy into sports, and they always had their father's blessings. When Chad kept on doing what he loved, he was seen by his dad as almost a delinquent.

Now that he was an adult, his love of music was paying off. Resettling in Vegas provided many opportunities, plenty of musical venues. With all the entertainment in Sin City, Chad could find enough work playing the drums. There has been a good flow of steady work for him to work in the casinos, and he also played in a local band that did such gigs as weddings, birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. They were a group of six talented musicians that got together to form their own band, and play just about anything—rock, rap, blues, jazz, country and swing. They soon voted with each other on what to call themselves. A good name had a lot to do with if someone got hired for gigs, and nothing they could think up sounded any good.  It seemed like all the great names were already taken, nothing new under the sun. The Sonic Waves sounded the coolest, but since that name was already used, Chad played around with the idea and suggested they call themselves Sonic Stream. That had good potential, and the others agreed with it. He was glad and honored to make such a contribution to his band.        

Chad could honestly say he was happy out here in Nevada. His mother felt like he was trying his best to distance himself from the reality of his problems, especially his strained relationship with his father. Chad disagreed. He just wanted to feel like he could accomplish something in his life, not proving anything to anybody—but to himself.

Would Ian be happy out here with him? It would only be for the summer, but would Chad make a good impression on him in his life out here? Ian glanced over at his son who still slept almost like a baby, seemingly wiped out, though the day was still young.

Several minutes later, Ian called out, "What time is it?"

Somehow awakened, he was rubbing his eyes, disoriented by the fact that he was in a different time zone and in an unfamiliar place. Chad smiled at him, trying to reassure the boy that he was glad to have him here.

“Almost two thirty", Chad returned. Ian moaned and tried to sit up straight, squinting from the glare of the strong Nevada sun. Quite groggy, his internal clock was not sure what time it was.

Your mom called”, Chad told Ian. “You know your mom, bud. She does worry about you”.

“I texted Mom. I said I made it OK”, he replied.

“But did you actually talk to her?” Chad asked. “You know how she is. Unless she talked to you herself, I am sure she was convinced some madman took control of your cell phone and pretended to be you”.

Chad laughed and Ian tried not to act like what he said was that funny, but he shyly grinned and tried to cover his mouth to conceal it. He did have a special bond with his mother, but he knew his dad was right. His mom worried way too much.

“I talked to her just before the plane took off”, Ian admitted.

They drove in silence for a while. Chad had to admit to himself that Ian was looking more and more like him the more he grew up, and Chad seemed to favor his mother's looks—of which he was grateful—for he never wanted to resemble his dad.  Lots of times, Chad and Ian were mistaken for brothers, Ian a much younger brother, but surely not imagined to be his son. Chad felt that Ian was already looking like a teenager, maturing fast for his age, and Chad often was perceived as younger than his twenty-eight years. Ian was growing up so much more than his father could envision, and Chad knew why. It wasn't like he saw his son so frequently that the change was not obvious. Every time he saw him, a big gap had been gapped by growth and change, and Chad was guilty of missing much of those experiences.

Was it that Chad did not really want to grow up? Becca surely accused him of that. His father did, too. Performing gigs in a local band seemed far from a man's job to Chad's father. When he still lived in Wisconsin, he knew he had better learn to have other work to fall back on, for band work did not always pay the bills in those days. That is why he trained to be an x-ray technician. It wasn't the job of his dreams, but it helped keep him afloat when making money from music did not meet his financial requirements. Even though Chad did achieve a fairly decent and respectable job, it did not seem to matter to his critical father.

At the mere age of sixteen, Chad had nothing to back him up against the anger his father would have towards him. He knew he would be knocked down for sure when his parents found out about Becca's pregnancy.

The words his furious father told him stung pretty harshly. "You don't have the sense to be a father! You don't seem lately to have the sense to be anything! You'd ruin that kid’s life, for sure!"

His father had to always play the street-smart cop, even at home, and Chad was fed up as looking like a criminal in his eyes. He almost wanted to cry, but refused to show his father any such weakness. Instead, he gave him the best stone cold, unemotional response that he could muster up. Replying in a monotone manner, though he really feared his father's anger, was the best way to stick it back to him.

"Sure, you're right. I take after you. Bad fathering runs in the family", he said back.

Ed looked like he wanted to punch his son, though he never laid a hand on any of his sons in such a way. Trying to repress his own sense of hurt, and remain with his anger, he replied, "If you were eighteen, I'd throw your *** out right now! Don't push your luck!"

Chad always aspire
To take my hands the way you do
and tie them tight behind,
I know by looking in your eyes
that to use me you’re intending.
What plan my sir do you have now
I never quite am knowing,
your mind is open to my look
yet a hidden secret’s pending.

Something new I cannot know
the wildest of surprises,
of causing sweetest suff’ring now
and intensifying wanting.
I sense my flow before you have
****** the last knot tightly,
and shudder with excitement in
your fingers deeply finding.

Trembling now and needing
to ****** myself against you,
you know how I do badly want
your deepest pleasure of me.
Your mouth comes down and
brushes mine with touch electrifying
I raise myself to taste you more
but in teasing you’re denying.

Instead you lift your fingers wet
and make me ******* juices,
I lick and **** myself in need
to know I’m ready for you.
We both devour just what I am
your **** who knows herself now
wanting to be disciplined
and used in ways you know how.

A blindfold now so softly closed
heightening of other senses
yet I trust you to take care
of all I am and here laid bare.
A gag is pressed close to my mouth
I open wide to take it
wanting so to please you now
and drive my own excitement.

Now your loving hands are gone
your body heat not beside me
instead I feel another here
fresh hands that soft caress me.
I tense and stiffen of myself
not knowing who this might be
yet in trust I have of you
this is but pleasure for me.

The hands so new in roaming me
exploring all I am now
no protest can I make to you
for I am what you make me.
To know soft fingers probing deep that
rouse me in such flowing
of wanting who this lover is
to force me into knowing.

I sense they are a woman’s hands,
no other could be doing,
of finding places in my soul that
make for such arousing.
I scent her softly warming skin
and hair that brushes ‘gainst me,
a woman is so very different
to that which a man ‘ere could be.

Soft teeth that find my *******
bite with lightest torture
closing hard to make me scream
were it not for gag that’s silencing.
I care not who this woman is
but that she uses me so
and forces me to melt in such a way
that allows me to be so free.

I sense that you are watching
that we two are pleasing you
the creature warm that you have brought
to bring me further pleasure.
But now I am so lost in her
and melt in liquid flowing
her tender hands that now
are finding my body’s treasure.

Her lips meet mine so openly
around the gag that silence keeps
and traces down my throat
brushing with soft caress.
My hands so bound that she
may do with me as pleases her
as down by body follows line
of kisses to her wild desire.

And then her mouth so burrows in
and begins to drink of me,
tongue finding that my body is
responding in wild full flow.
Nothing now can stop my rise
wanting fingernails to grip my thighs
to part them wide for her to reach
deeper inside than e’er I knew.

We lift together she and I
unseen I sense her raging urge,
as we ride the tide atop this surge.
Now just we two are held within
oblivious to but our driving needs
that builds and builds till we know
the ****** that consumes us both
in screams of mutual clasping joy.

*

From the Francesca Anderssen collection of 101 **** Verses 2016
I write novels and verse from my heart, reflecting my own lifestyle, where loving is between two people who care deeply for one another, and give in the fullest sense of the word.
In my writing there is no place for that which is not desired, no matter how it might present to those who do not know.

Crits very welcome---good or bad. I can only tailor my writing to my readers if I know what they enjoy reading about
The Francesca Anderssen book of **** verse  (101 ****** poems)  is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VU4CPCG/
together with my **** novel Need
Paolo C Perez Oct 2012
His Funeral was today.  Well, his wake rather.  It was in his old colonial home on Elm Street, a bought of irony that Paolo would never get.  Anyway, it was an odd set up at his house. Family and friends downstairs in the living room, acquaintances and honorable mentions meandering through the hallways clearly more interested in the intricate little floral patterns that adorned the wallpaper than how his family was holding up.  The company of the house was split, everyone either legitimately full of sorrow, or completely full of ****.  In everyone’s grasp either handkerchiefs or hand grenades it was as if the invitation read “Come see it to believe it!” In the study across the hall a small memorial was set up.  Big cards, tons of photos, some flowers, anyone who actually cared stayed there and stared at his once happy face, who knew what it looks like now.  
He had died of some sort of overdose, one that destroyed his heart, so he would have looked fine in an open casket.  The doctors say it was *******.  I don’t believe them.  Paolo had his fun in college, ***, *****, sure, but coke?  There’s no way.    The services weren’t to take place for another two hours, so his family rolled him onto the second floor balcony.  It was actually his dad’s decision, something about a “disgrace” and not wanting to look at his face.
Apparently his mom had felt bad letting her dead son chill on the porch for a few hours, so she rolled him across the hallway to his own room him and kind of laid him out on the bed, as if letting her baby boy take his eternal sleep where he’d have had most of his shorter ones.  
Picturing him lying up there was the first negative connotation I ever had with the image of him on that bed.  He had that kind of headboard that when we started getting at it the bed would hit the wall with each rhythmic movement.  Steady and almost tribal as our bodies danced to the ever increasing beat of a talking drum.  Our clothes off and our skin glazed with sweat it was like my own personal method for getting high. Now don’t get the impression that our relationship was based purely on a physical connection, we’d been dating for three and a half years, the love was there all right.  
We had met in the strangest of ways, through a mutual friend that I was kind of, almost, sort of, but not really having a “thing” with, you know?  Cisco was his name.  So we were together one day and he, being the adorable spaz that he was, had forgotten that his own birthday party was that same night.  He asked if I didn’t mind tagging along, it was a celebration for him and two friends whose birthdays followed his in sequence.  
This had been going on for several weeks, and I know we weren’t dating but I still had a feigning interest in the guy.  So we arrive to this girl, Cristina’s, house and I noticed this other boy almost immediately.  In a backwards cap and pair of boot cut jeans he was jumping around, tossing his arms, right in the middle of reciting some hilarious anecdote to any of his friends who hadn’t heard it yet; even those who had seemed riveted.  He was so full of charisma and with such assurance.  Besides that he was kind of cute so, though pathetically, I tried flirting with him for the rest of the night; he didn’t really catch on.  We left that night without having exchanged more than ten words between each other, I thought I’d never see him again, turns out I was wrong.  
“Broadway CAREols.  Show others that you care by enjoying a night of with your favorite blend of Christmas ditties and Broadway biddies” And before you ask, Yes, I did come up with that title, I think it was great and it was at the top of each flyer in big red and green letters and if you asked me “If you could do it again…” I would do it the same each and every time don’t judge me.
It was a show I had to direct for a community service project and of all people he played the piano for my show.  Only me and several other girls made up the cast, and I knew how easy it was to mistake a positive attitude for flirtation when it comes from a handsome young man.  He ran the music over three or four times individually with each cast member before the night of the show, but when Paolo and I worked that night he stopped me and just sang. For me.  
Each night after rehearsal I had to give him a ride home, I was a year older and thus had my license a year sooner.  I’d never mind allowing myself more time to bask in the glow of his perfectly understated confidence, so I was happy to oblige.  Technically Connecticut state imposed a law forbidding new drivers under the age of 18 to be on the roads past 11 at night.  My mom, being a government employee, really stressed this one.  His house was a solid ten minutes drive from our rehearsal spot, and my mom often warned me to allow myself enough time to get back home before 11.  What started as me beginning to drive faster and faster during the trip home ended as a routine each night, where I would finally allow him to step out of my car just as the clock read 11:00 PM.  
Our first kiss was in that car, my first uncontrollable breakdown was in the car, hell the first time he told me he loved me was in that car…right at the lip of the driveway.  I learned to ride my brakes perfectly to the point where I could park just beyond the edge of the sidewalk yet just before the point where the porch light would flash on, reminding his mother that his son is out past ten on a school night.  It was so warm.  I’ll never forget the cadence of his laughter as it trailed off, seamlessly merging with that next statement “Anna, I love you”.  I could have sworn the porch light went on.  

Now I know it may seem like I don’t care for his being dead right now, but the thing is, I did something.  I did something really bad.

You see, I had mentioned that he was up in his room, right?  Still, stiff, simply waiting to be brought down in a few hours as the catalyst to another round of tears.  Now don’t get me wrong, I did my share of crying the night before.  He’d been in the hospital for only a few days and when they told us he was dead…God, he was just so young, two years into college, the friend you have who was chasing his dreams down with a brand new pair of sneakers.  That kid the whole town knew because of the multitude of silly town functions he attended.  He would always insist.  Every other weekend was one silly thing or another “Oh you’re gonna love this.  Two words – ‘Poetry showdown’.  If you can’t take the heat, don’t stay in the kitchen”
The day of the funeral I just had to see him.  I snuck up the two floors to his room on the third floor.  As I neared his door at the top of that final flight of stairs each creak of the floorboard seemed to resonate through the house, followed by the hollow silence of my stillness.  I paused with each step as if stepping in larger spans of time would make what I was doing seem less suspicious, should someone hear me.  Upon touching his doorknob I felt an immediate chill. I couldn’t tell whether it was some ghostly feeling of being in the presence of a dead person, or the fact that the thermostat had been turned down to keep his body prime for viewing.
I held my breath as I opened the door, and blinked a couple times when I saw him.  He was wearing what everyone else was in downstairs, black tuxedo and a dark tie.  I know he would have scowled had he known he was going to be buried in a constricting penguin suit.  We had a conversation about it, you know?  Out on Academy Hill, right in the middle of a picnic. We were in enough shade that his transition lenses were only half tinted, and when he sat up, it was abruptly.  Pushing my head off his chest he kind of leaned in to the cemetery in the distance and pointed out how sad it is that no one really ever gets the chance to choose how they want to spend the rest of eternity dressed in.  He would have preferred his puma sneakers, still white after seven months, his striped green and blue socks, his only pair of ripped designer jeans and that express shirt he loved so much because it showed off his natural physique.  
I moved closer, inching toward him at first, then quicker as I broke through a place where I just relaxed, and for a moment he wasn’t dead.  For a moment he was just sleeping, all ready in his fancy get up simply waiting for me to wake him up.  I found myself sitting next to him, my eyes cast downward, half expecting his gaze to meet mine, and while stroking his hair I got an idea.  It happened quickly, and I kind of have a problem with acting upon my impulses, it’s something he used to criticize me on that and I never really improved.  Without thinking I threw open his drawer and pulled out what I knew he’d have wanted to be dressed in, should he have gotten the chance to create a will concerning his death-wear.  As I pulled of his starchy shirt my hand brushed against his chest, chilled as the room was, eerie as nothing else.  I finally got him down past his pants and saw, of all abominations, that he was outfitted in a fresh pair of tighty whities.  God, it’s as if the funeral home was asking to be haunted by his tormented soul.  I found his single pair of silk boxers and reassembled him in the way I knew he’d have wanted to be.
So great, now everyone will think I’m a loon for having desecrated his body.  Well what do they know; I’m the only one who ever really knew him! But how the hell would I explain it to his parents when the pallbearers march in and there he is, laying face up in his street clothes?  
This wasn’t right.  He didn’t belong here, he needed to be somewhere comfortable, someplace he enjoyed, not sitting upstairs in a suit with the lights off and the air blasting.  He hated the cold!  Certainly he would have hated a hundred people staring at his dead and lifeless shell, and he would, without a doubt, hate being six feet under, pushing daises at the Nichols Road cemetery.
I wrapped my arms around him, and as the building adrenaline made my breaths deepen I inhaled several moments of ecstasy off his clothes that still clung to his musty scent.  I lowered him gently to the floor and took care as I dragged him across the carpet to his door.  After fumbling, for what felt like several minutes, on his door handle I got him onto the awning introducing the stairs.  I even made it down the first flight of stairs without freezing up at the tiniest creak when I heard someone coming my way.  ******, they must need to use the bathroom, why couldn’t they just use the one downstairs like any normal person?  Without hesitation I throw open up the window near bottom of the stairs, heaving myself and him, sending us tumbling onto the garage roof.  Ignoring my probable bruises I spring up and slam the window behind me while taking special care to hide us both as far away from the bathroom window as possible.
Sitting up there, my heart racing, I felt his hand in mine and it was probably because my palms had gone clammy but I swear for a span of time he was alive again.  I closed my eyes and felt the breeze in my hair and was transported to a place where I spent a single moment in each day we ever shared.  Each beach side sandcastle, each afternoon spent cloud gazing, those same afternoons turning into evenings of star gazing, each and every night spent utterly and irrevocably lost with this silly boy that chose to love me.  
I was torn from my oasis as I heard the bathroom’s occupant exit and continue downstairs.   Knowing that my van was parked on the other side of the street I pushed his body as close to the edge of the roof as I could without his falling off and let him be. I hopped back inside and ran downstairs, but not before flying through the doors of the memorial and interrupting his mothers eulogy.  In an act of sheer brilliance I mustered a few tears and tore out the back door.  Everyone figured I was just so taken away by his death that I couldn’t stand to be there anymore.  Who knew anxiety could be mistook for remorse so easily?
I ran down the driveway, losing the grace I had composed in my dress in high heels the moment I slammed that door.  I jumped into Emmet, my van, because only crazy people drive around in un-named vehicles.  
I pulled out of my spot, nearly ruining the paint job on both my and his Uncle Ed’s car.  I flew my trunk door open and set the third row down, the general idea being his landing securely in my back seat.  I reversed up the driveway with the precision of a surgeon and the speed of a leopard right back to the edge of the garage where I had tossed his body.  I jumped out of my car nearly forgetting to put it into park before I shut off the engine.  I barely got halfway around my car before becoming transfixed on his hand, hanging off the gutter as if reaching for mine to grab hold and pull him to sweet salvation.  I jumped up a few times, unsuccessfully before I took off my shoes and got a good running start.  I flew up, grabbed his arm and ****** towards the car in a sideways downward motion.  He nearly cracked his head on the pavement coming down, he would have too if it wasn’t for my body breaking his fall.  I got up, too distracted by the sheer volume of my own heart to realize the pain I felt.  I shoved him into my back seat, slammed the trunk, stumbled into the car, stuck it in reverse and stepped on gas without even putting my shoes back on.

I told you I had done something bad.
This is a first draft, please, I welcome your critiques.
the air was filled with scented candles,
giving the room a red glare
featuring the sweet aroma of her perfume and my shower gel;
we were surrounded by nothing but white walls and blood-like roses that were aesthetically spread on black satin sheets

a once silent atmosphere
quickly transitioned
into a room full of light moans and groans;

we stood in the midst of it all,
lip-locked and engulfed in each other's arms.
she slipped my shirt above my head
and i unzipped her fitted red dress,
watching it drop from her body, onto the ground
discovering nothing but  an alluring bare body underneath.
her upper frame was prepossessing
and it took me a while to regain my sense of awareness.
"this is mine, all mine."
i felt like her thoughts mimicked mine
since we both gave the same smirk at the exact time.

we ended up on the bed sheets,
scattering the roses in our wild venture.

light pecks
quickly turned into deep french kissing
featuring hip caressing
and as my ******* grew
her wetness seemed to become more immense.

light bites
turned into a twilight ****** season
and a trail of purple blooms
trickled from her neck
to between her *******
straight down to her navel.

foreplay was always essential
so i tantalizingly used my tongue
following the flowery trail.
somehow, i got sidetracked
and ended up caressing her left breast,
then the right
and my mouth and tongue seemed to
be enticed by the stiffness of her *******
as they pleasurably tortured them with flicks and twirls.

her moans became louder
but i was unsure if she was ready.
as my mouth and tongue continued their torture,
my hand took a trip to somewhere warm and wet;
i stared her deep in the eyes as my hand slowly explored her walls.
i watched every little moan,
but mid-moan
my lips found their way against hers
and my tongue found itself once again
dancing its sensual dance with hers.

i pitched a bit at the sound of my belt buckle dropping to the floor.
i was left vulnerable and my ******* sprung to life,
pulsing as her soft hands caressed it,
forcing me to succumb and lean back,
giving her the power to do as she pleased.

as i lied there with
my back on the sheet,
my head on the pillow,
and my eyes closed,
i felt her warmth hovering over me
and again, her hand tightly
but comfortably gripped around my *******.

she leaned over me,
whispering sweet serenades in my ear;
the warmth of her breath and the slight touch of her tongue
gave me goosebumps.
it was obvious she realized the effect she had on me
because she repeated it over and over,
ear to ear.
suddenly i felt her teeth sinking into my skin,
sending a mixture of painful
yet euphoric sensations
throughout my body.
she tantalized me with the same purple blooms
but she traveled past my navel
onto the head of my *******.

the twirling of her moist tongue
gave me the impression that i had died for a split second.
i was far from a submissive but i allowed her some play-time
as she continued her pleasurable torture of tongue swirls.

her time was up.

i parted her thick but soft hair and slipped between her soft lips
which she already had wet for my arrival.
with slow twirling hip movements,
i repeatedly made an entrance and exit between her lips,
sometimes greeted by the tantalizing feel of her tongue
sending me off the edge.

things got heated and she pushed herself back,
parting her thighs,
looking me in the eyes and biting her lips.
the view was one to make any grown man succumb.
i crawled over,
playfully nibbling at her toes
up to her inner thighs,
leaving yet more purple blooms;
with each one,
i witnessed an exorcism
as her eyes rolled back and her eyes became more lustful
and her body seemed to crave me more and more.

sweet sweet pink matter.

my tongue found itself trailing along the inner parts of her *****
then circling and flicking her **** tortuously.
i felt her feet and hands
wrapped around my neck
suffocating me in the sweetest taste and aroma
and as i struck my final flick,
i ****** up her ****,
sending her to her ******,
as she clung onto my head as her body
repeatedly ****** and became tense.

it was time.

i found myself against her ear,
"are you ready princess?"
she nodded and my lips locked with hers
while my hands made their way down to her *******.
my *******, now pulsing vigorously,
found itself between her legs,
with tip at her entrance;
she began to let out slight moans and screams but
my kisses served as a suppressor for that.
my tip and shaft both made it's full entrance and
not even my lips could deter her screams now.
"should i stop my love?"*
she nodded no and
i felt her hip movements starting to matching mine.
with each *******,
her grip became tighter and tighter.
i felt her grasping onto my ***,
bringing me in deeper and deeper.
i felt my ******* soon succumbing  to the
wetness and tightness of her grip
then she whispered she's ******
and i found myself lost between her legs
and lost in a world of euphoria and relief.

(d.b.d.)
I guess this is one of my many fantasies..at least one of my 'vanilla' fantasies ;)
Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mount Crumpit,

He rode to the tiptop to dump it!

"Pooh-pooh to the Whos!" he was grinch-ish-ly humming.

"They're finding out now that no Christmas is coming!

"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!

"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two

"All the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!"...*



At the top of the mountain he untied his dog

From the sleigh. And the valley was filling with fog

As thick as the Who Hash he'd grinched just before.

He chuckled with glee at what was in store.

Now the Grinch grabbed the sacks from the top of the sleigh,

And with a mighty "HEAVE **!" he shoved them away.

The bags filled with toys well they weaved and they shook

With the weight of the things he so sneakily took.

Until finally momentum made things far less slow.

They fell 3000 feet to the jagged rocks below.

A sickening crunch and several sharp cries

At first startled the Grinch but caused him to realize

When he stole from the Whos down in Whoville his pride

Had gotten the best of him; he'd thrown some children inside.

He giggled maliciously, grabbed his dog Max

And got back in the sleigh, for he couldn't relax.

He had to go back, for his job wasn't done.

All the Whos down in Whoville, every last one

Every man, every woman, every daughter and son

Would be dead in their beds by the dawn of the sun.

The trip down Mount Crumpit was faster than up

As he growled to himself, "where's that ***** with the cup?"

He jumped off the sleigh, machete in hand

And marched straight into Whoville, whose gates could not stand

For the rage made him strong. How he hated the Whos

With their **** cheesy smiles, and their dumb pointy shoes,

Turned up noses and pigtails and hideous songs,

THE SONGS, THE SONGS, HOW HE HATED THE SONGS.

And now he'd make sure that the Whos sang no more...

At Cindy Lou Who's house he kicked down the door

And strode into the bedroom of Cindy Lou Who.

She woke with a start, murmured "Santa? That you?"

The Grinch, with a sneer, grabbed Lou Who by the hair,

****** her out of bed seven feet in the air,

And with two sharp knives pinned her arms to the wall.

Her screams roused her parents just down the hall.

They ran to their child to save her from harm.

The mistake that they made cost them each their right arm.

Writhing on the floor in their own ****** mess,

They looked at the Grinch in a state of distress.

"Why would you do this?" they managed to hurl,

"Please, you can **** us, just not our little girl!"

He listened to their pleas with a wry little smile,

He patiently heard them, then after a while,

He cut out their tongues with another sharp knife,

First of the husband, and then of the wife.

Then he turned to young Cindy with glee,

And hissed in her ear, "you'll do something for me..."

Cindy shook her head violently, but to no avail,

For the Grinch had the tongues on a rusty old nail.

He shoved them down her gullet. She started to choke,

Then she finally died, for the rusty nail broke.

He stepped over the body of mother Lou Who,

And the Grinch slithered over to house #2.

With this house he made quick work of the Whos.

He set them on fire to cure them of the "blues."

The blaze that resulted would spread down the street,

Drawing Whos from their houses like flies to dead meat.

A grenade waited for them in center of town.

A click, then a boom mowed, like, half of them down.

The other half attempted a weak attack.

With a Type-67 the Grinch kept them back.

The little Who children could do nothing but stare

In open-mouthed horror as the Grinch, without care,

Shot them down one by one till the snow was stained red,

And he would not stop firing till they were all dead.



And as the sun rose oe'r the grisly scene,

The Grinch drenched in blood of adult, child, and teen,

With a pentagram smack in the center of town,

And the tree in the middle would slowly burn down.

With the scalps of the Whos down in Whoville in hand,

The Grinch called his dog Max, who could barely stand

Because he was violently shaking in shock.

He could not even whimper, let alone walk.

Not a Who was left standing, not a song to be heard,

Save for that of a single Who bird

Which was quickly snuffed out by a single pistol round.

And after that there was not a sound.

The Grinch, his work finished, got back in the sleigh,

Cracked the whip over Max, and slithered away.

The last thing the poor town of Whoville would hear:

"If there's anyone left, well, I'll come back next year!"
The italicized section belongs to Dr. Seuss. The rest was me. It's a little late, but...
ughdrey Jun 2013
Before I met her, I wanted to be her. Does that sound stupid? I wanted to be that ****** up ****** that did a bunch of drugs and always had money because she led men on and lived free and just lived life despite a daily brush with death. I was eventually, and I had an amazingly horrible experience.

I met her when I was 13. I spent a lot of time just "babysitting" her really. My other friends hated her. We'd come over and she'd literally go in the closet to shoot up and we'd just be chilling in her bedroom listening to Hole and being really confused as to why she didn't just use the bathroom. But she liked the attention and audience. This might seem cliche or mean or whatever, but it's true.

As my decent friends grew further away from me because I continuously grew closer and closer to her, I did a lot of *******, not nearly as much as I would later on in life. but enough to say, "wow I did a lot of ******* when I was 15" and at the time, it seemed like an accomplishment. Maybe I thought I was cool, I don't know, now I just think I was stupid and weak and regret being like my father.

Obviously, as time went on, I did ******. The first 500 times Natalie offered me it, I said no. I always said no, but she still always asked. If you know a ****** addict, there's something else you probably know. ****** addicts love having other ****** addicts around because you guys will work together to make money and get more. This will probably turn into what it really is and what we were really were, and that's a co-dependent platonic couple, but I didn't know that until just now.

The day I finally did it, my god. My god. My god. My god. My god.

I feel slightly guilty writing this because I don't want to glorify drug abuse but Christ, did it feel good.

We were downstairs watching Hedwig and she gave me the eye to start talking to her mom so she could go upstairs discreetly. Then her mom was like "where'd she go?" so I went to go check, even though I knew.

I walk into the bathroom, scaring the **** out of her. She had lines of ******, diesel, whatever. We called it diesel, I don't know if that's like a common name for it? Is it? Whatever, I said "let me try it."

Why? I don't know why. To this very second I can't remember what I was thinking. She didn't ask, and maybe that's why. But she put some on her hand and I snorted it. I hated the taste. Sometimes I smell it, and I don't know what it is that smells like ******, but I find myself saying out loud, when people are around, "ugh it smells like ******."

This is one of my catchphrases I think, and I am not proud of it anymore.

People always ask me what it felt like the first time. I remember not feeling anything. I remember not feeling guilty for helping Natalie remain a drug addict in her parents house. I remember her pinching me and telling me not be obvious, but oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know that it was going to make me feel like a warm pancake that just wanted to sleep wide awake.

Sleeping wide awake, that's a good way to describe how it feels.

I tell people this a lot, this process of drug use, and how I ended up shooting ****** and kind of just ignoring that I was.

I smoked *** and said "well it's not like I'm doing E"
then I did E and said "I'm not doing coke"
then it was "it's not ******"
and then it was "it's not like I'm shooting it."

Once I started shooting it, I didn't have any excuse or cop out, I was just curious as to what else I could inject into my body and became that glorified drug addict who lived free and did anything she wanted and felt like she came out of a book or a movie or a ****** up story you only hear strangers gabbing about on the train.

I was that girl. Natalie was much worse though. But that didn't come until I was about 18.

I had morals, yes even heavily addicted to ******, I had morals. I didn't steal from my family. This was one thing that would not break for me even when I was maybe putting **** in my mouth for money. But that's not even entirely true because I didn't do it for the money, it just happened that way.

So I'm probably 16 at this point in the story. I'm meeting guys off MySpace with her, guys from rich towns that want *** or coke or ******, just guys who can't get it in their towns. She's ******* them, I'm stealing from them. We don't keep friends very long because they know what we're up to after a few times.

She also sold her parents wedding rings, I didn't even know until after the fact, or I would have tried to stop her.

Her mother was so good to me. I spent a lot of time at their house. Her mom always invited me for holidays, despite the huge family they already had coming, because she knew my home life wasn't too good and she just treated me like I imagine you're supposed to treat a daughter you like. She was also very religious, which added to the blinders she had when it came to Natalie. She thought she could pray the drugs away, the way she tried to pray my gay away.

I was absolutely heart broken and completely beside myself the day her mother yelled, "she told me what you did. She told me you took the rings."

I didn't take the rings but what was I supposed to do? Try and convince her that Natalie did? She knew, somewhere she knew, but she didn't want to believe it so I just walked out of the house and never came back. I cried about that for a long time because I loved her mother, so much more than I am trying to say here. She might have been oblivious, but she was the sweetest woman in the world and I feel horrible that she had a daughter like Natalie.

I met so many characters. Chris. I don't remember his last name but it was something really white boyish. He would drive 45 minutes to us so we could get him 8 bags of ****** when he paid for 10, but we'd pocket two. We did this a lot during the day actually. We'd get drugs for people and just never tell them you get a bundle (10 bags) for 80$, and they'd tell their friends we'd go for them, and they'd think the same thing. Why? Oh, because these were very white people that were afraid of the "ghetto." And it was the ghetto, it was Newark, NJ. The corner of Victoria and Garside, what up, what up. Come see me.

I never really liked Chris. He was a musician but he wasn't that good. I think he thought he was Conor Oberst, and at that time, he kind of looked like him. But he was just some rich white kid with an inflated ego and I didn't feel bad ripping him off, or his Trust Fund Baby friends.

I did feel bad though when one of them died in front of us.

So I guess this is where I'll start writing the "**** got real real fast" stuff, now that I've hopefully explained the type of person I am and how I got to this point.


Why drug dealers cut their drugs with poison and whatever else, I'll never know. Bad for business if you ask me, but I've never been a big fan of the business world, but this seems pretty similar.

Natalie is driving Chris' car and we didn't snort any ****** yet, which was weird, but I'm grateful we didn't. We bring it back to Chris and his friends, who are waiting a few towns over for us. They get in the car and are like "just drive around for a bit so we can do this."

They all have separate bags, and I feel terrible I can't remember the girl's name that died, I want to say it was Karen or something like that but I know it wasn't. She just rolls up a bill and snorts out of the bag and within like 10 seconds she's screaming and everyone in the backseat is screaming and I turn around and there's blood pouring out of her nose and it's all over her hands and the car and her boyfriend and Chris and I think her eyes are bleeding but I'm not entirely sure if that's what was happening. And I'm like "What the **** what the ****" because it wasn't a normal nose bleed, this girl was just, flowing blood out of her face.

Natalie is emotionless as always. I'm screaming "get to the hospital get to the ******* hospital" and the girl is like screaming "it hurts oh my god oh my god it hurts" and her boyfriend is like "yo man, what the **** bb are you okay bb."

It's weird that in situations like this everyone repeats themselves but I think your brain kind of stops working and you need to repeat yourself so the rest of you can process the magnitude of ****** up that your eyes are seeing.

Needless to say, Natalie didn't go straight to the hospital, she stopped the car a few blocks away. The girl died within 15 minutes. I don't know why Natalie or I wasn't held accountable for what happened, but I think it had something to do with me telling Chris who the dealer was, and this was the only time in my life I ever gave out a name, even when I was in jail, I didn't rat anyone out. But death is different and anyone who doesn't believe in being a rat when you're faced with that kind of guilt, is a *******.

Natalie got out and started walking, Chris got in the front seat and I followed after Natalie. He did take his friend to the hospital immediately after but Natalie was being inhumane, and it was just better she got out of the car because she probably would have driven us all into a river to avoid being arrested.

I really have no idea why she got out of the car though, she had no fear, I think she was just annoyed, like this girl's death ruined her day when it ruined my life. I guess making a joke out of it makes it easier for me to deal with, but it still isn't. For me, it was monstrous, it was desensitizing, it was mortality showing itself and I was like "I'll never do ****** again." But that was a lie. I found out a week later via MySpace message that the girl had glass (!?) in her bag as well as ****** and I have no idea. I have no ******* idea what why how. I just don't understand that.

Chris still came around for ****** though. And he still brought his friends, just not the ones that were there that day.

What am I, like 17? I'm still senior in high school and I have really ****** concept of age, and I meet this other guy.

MY GOD WHAT A MAN.

Yeah, I said it. He was 38, built like Hulk Hogan, and had the sweetest smile and the most honest blue eyes I have ever seen.

He also had been out of jail for a whole year before we met him. He was tied to a car ring where people would pay him to steal cars. He was in jail for 6 years and when I turned 21, I heard he landed himself back in jail for trying to **** someone or something.

He was nice though. I couldn't figure out why he was so obsessed with Natalie. But the niceness wore out and I finally learned what a creepy ******* he was.

He used to ride his bicycle to meet up with us and he had a lot of money, he just wasn't allowed a license. He was a construction worker for the union, made like 60$ an hour and what do you know, he was a ****** addict.

He told me how they get drugs inside jail. You get a girl to come visit you and sit down with you. You kiss them, like make out kissing because that's all you need. That like 4 seconds before someone is like HEY CUT IT OUT, and they have the drugs wrapped up in their mouth, and you get the picture. Just in case you were wondering how that works.

He also told me that I reminded him of his sister, that died of a drug overdose.
He also showed me his **** one day when he was at my house alone with me.
He also ****** off on my couch and tried to get me to **** it.
Then he tried to get me just to touch it.
Then I asked him to leave.
And then some other stuff happened that I don't feel comfortable writing about but I probably will another day.

He turned out to be a ******* ****** and I don't really trust anyone with pretty eyes anymore. But he was fun. Once he started trying to impress me, a 17 year old girl, and Natalie who was like 22, he decided he'd go back to his old ways and steal cars. I can't count the amount of porsches I've been in or how many miles per hour we went or how many car accidents there were that we shouldn't have walked away from it unharmed. He never hit anyone else, just walls and guardrails, rolled into ditches.

Seat belts, seriously, wear them. I don't anymore, but I'm going to start again.

He used to give me a lot of money. A Lot Of Money, just to hang out with him and watch him ******* and ****. I don't know sometimes when I think about these things.

Natalie did something stupid, she got caught stealing from him. He didn't mind giving us money and I think that's why he was so mad. He would have just handed it to her if she asked. So he started coming to my house a lot in stolen cars, then I introduced him to my other teenager female friends and it worked out really well for me.

He was gone for good and it was better that way.

I was still only snorting ****** up until this time of my life. The taste of ****** and the amount I puked from it was becoming too much and I was losing a lot of weight and it wasn't healthy looking so I decided to start shooting. I didn't even do it for the normal reason which is, you get higher, faster and harder.

Natalie and I are in a bathroom of my friend's house whose mother is handicapped, bed bound, so we just go there all the time to get high. The mother is also diabetic so there's a lot of unused empty needles. I help her shoot. And it's scary, she would shake and tremble and it was really bad. Sometimes I'd think to myself, "it's like your body is trying to stop you from doing it."

But if you like blood, watching someone shoot up is really cool. You mix water with the powder and, ew now that I'm thinking about it, what the ****. You wrap your arm up, so your veins pop up, put the needle into a vein and you pull some blood out, I don't know the reason behind this, and you shoot it back into yourself.

I'm really uncomfortable with the whole idea of shooting so I shot into my hands because I had very prominent veins there. I eventually started shooting speed *****, ****** and coke, which was too much fun for someone as emotionally unstable as I was, to be doing something so completely unpredictable. The first time I shot ******, I never snorted it again.

I shot Jack Daniels once and never did that again either. I figured I'd get drunk really fast, right? Wrong, it burned like a ***** and I started smashing my hand into the bathroom sink screaming "WHAT THE **** WHY DOES IT BURN."

It's whiskey, Audrey. Whiskey.

I met so many more people when I was shooting. I became friends with an entire *******, all the strippers, their boyfriends, their "daddies" and just, those kinds of people, and like I said before, I'll write about that another day. But that is where I met Janelle and Kevin, aka, Jack and Sally. They were these really gothy ****** addicts and this is going to be ridiculous, but it was so beautiful when they shot up.  

Kevin would be like "okay, baby, ready?" and he'd caress her arm and she'd wrap it, and he'd kiss her and then kiss her arm, then he'd put the needle in and I'd be sitting on the bed sobbing because I thought it was so cute, in like, a really disgusting "I'm clearly on drugs" kind of way.

I didn't hang out with them for that long, Natalie ****** Kevin and that ****** because Kevin and I used to make forts inside the house and talk a lot about nothing, but it was fun and I felt like a child, and I liked feeling like I was a child and that it was okay I was acting the way I was.

A bunch of people that hung out there eventually started doing ****** and I couldn't stand it so I had to get away from a bit because my guilt came back and I felt like I was killing everyone.


Natalie started setting up drug deals so they'd get ripped off if they went without her, she started turning on me, stealing from me, she had me set up for a deal and her dealer put a gun in my mouth when I started arguing with him about how he gave me like wood chips or whatever. It was not ******, but we still ran like thieves together.

She introduced me to the next guy we were going to use, his name was Pablo. He was about 42 and lived in his parents basement. He was an outstanding artist, I mean, I couldn't figure out why he was in his parents basement with the amount of talent he had. We used to smoked embalming fluid with him and angel dust.

Now, if you ever want to know what it feels like to be Alice in Thunderland, smoke embalming fluid. I went on a 4 day drug binge that consisted of nothing but dust, fluid, her
Mateuš Conrad Aug 2018
.i'm not here for the people, i'm here for the language, having observed it degenerate into modern hieroglyphics of emoji, and the acronym standard of american English... i'm here... for the language... the people? well... they're the people, and will always remain, what they always were... collateral... i can't speak for the organic product of what i am an inorganic byproduct of... why would there ever be a Hegelian dialectic to begin with? rather than a dichotomy? wasn't Kant the one to come up with a priori (thesis) and the a posteriori (antithesis) dynamism? no? then i guess i'm illiterate! must be! otherwise, how so?  i can't exactly command my a priori, given, with some "wonderful" a posteriori substitute of the global individualist! this urban Frankenstein! maybe the English speaker can... but i can't... given they allowed themselves the travesty of grammatical profanity... it's almost a shame, that the asylums closed down... when is cushioned room when you need one? oh... right... denial for the cases equivalent to jimmy salive... you attack grammar?! you attack us all... there's not qualification standards required... not all of us are required to have status as English language teachers... some of us? are just generically frustrated!

would i extinguish
cigarettes into my knuckles?

well... i was trying to
spot bone,..

but the real reason?
ha ha!

i was attempting to
count the number of eyes
on a tarantula.

not a funny joke?
i get it...
   i wasn't aiming for funny...

ever watch the grooving
bopping along,
seduced by the rhythm
bass player in a band?

you'd thin it was the drummer...
turns out?!
the intermediating
   focus....
   bass is all rhythm...
there's no such thing
as a rhythm guitar section,...

hardly any drums in
a classical music composition...
bass...
the subversive underlying
principality
of the fiasco...
the...
                          Pandemonium!

set your eyes on the bassist's groove...
pursed lips...
mm hmm ya ha...
           the *******
blood suckling artery
with not need for metaphor
presence of a band...

bass... bass... bass...;
hence the missing E i guess;
was, and always will be:
the base and bait
for listening to 20th century music...

whiskey lime & pepsi?
***** lemon & pepsi?
can't tell the difference,
both sound equally promising...

it pains me, to agitate a drummer's heart,
imitating a beat
without any drumming equipment...
bopping along, sly, shy,
and sometimes awry, fired up...
        
there were a few things i'd love
to have become,
a prof. cyclist doing the tour de france....
a vet practitioner...
    among others...
   what did i become?
a mediocre poet...
       a spewer of words
rather than their instigator...

had i ever the ability to write
pop **** jargon of
lost and wishing for awaiting loves...
i'd **** one of those
housewife harlequin novels!

alas... not to be, not to be...
     guess i tapped into Russian funk...
that Russian ex-girlfriend?
apparently she likes my writing,
she said: you should get published...
i did... little as **** did that do to
me in securing a stature of possible
fatherhood and a Tolstoy town-house
in the middle of St. Petersburg...

    i wasn't a priori to fiddle that
******* out into a castrated bull
******* an ****** with no *****
but pure muscle tension
of the phallus...

   wait... you never ****** off
as a man, prior to producing *****?
feel sorry for you...
guess the whole abortion debate
is killing you...
          you know...
  that's almost equivalent to theft...
what happens on the throne of thrones
and is dumped into a tissue?
ditto, i.e. remains there...

       thieving *****...
                  huh?!
                    **** it... do the Islamic take
on thieves...
ensure all the western men have
their ******* arms cut off...
to stop the thieving with
western culture jurisprudence
in-acting transgression
of transcending the allowance of
abortion, and...
enforcing...
                whatever the ****
fatherhood means...
when?
     a women proposes to you...
and then decides to throw away her
engagement ring, she, herself, chose...

as if... she never had the notion
of being young and being poor...
**** me! she forgot the beautiful part
of the equation!
  i liked her doughnut over-sized nose...
i loved to teasingly bite it
during *******!

      **** me... that contorted
face, Francis Bacon-esque
in the mirror doing *******?

      mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

look here: FULL MOON ALL OVER
MY FACE...

         there's no revenge ****
in this scenario...
                
  hey! resurrect the Bastille!
and i'll be the second Marquis de Sade
screaming the revolutionaries!
YOU FORGOT THE JUICE!
the juice?!
YEAH! THE MOLOTOV COCKTAILS!

                anarchy...

       what order is there to speak of?
when grammar is secondarily dictated,
outside of the teaching profession?
     these people are teaching me language,
or secondarily indoctrinating
me into the abuse of language -
with political bull's diarrhea?

   can't have one and the other...
   you attack grammar?
        everyone restricted to a grammatical
conventionality, will...
spank you with a naked russian saber...
   i'm not here for playing
unorthodox language games
outside of crossword puzzles
i don't entertain having the capacity
to solve...

               you play your game...
i'll play mine...
i have the integrity of the English
language at stake...
   not this post-colonialist quasi-English
*******!
Shhhh Dec 2016
you’re supposed to be, be on my side
even when I’m wrong, and always when I’m right
but never were you there
fighting me at every turn acting like a mother,
never as my significant other
i can’t be with someone who treats me like I’m two
i guess thats what a baby face will get you

then it went too far, that long day in the car.
you picked a fight, i was not surprised
it just another day in paradise.
you ****** the wheel and pulled to side of the highway
all to reach over and place your hands around my neck. i tried to scream but the sound couldn’t escape.
i decided that day i could no longer be in this place with you
i can’t be with someone who treats me like I’m two
i guess thats what a baby face will get you
Love Feb 2016
When you told me I was doing great for a woman my size, I passed you off and told myself that "compliment" had good intentions.
When you called me sweet cheeks I ignored you. A woman like me is used to men like you.
When you told me the stair master made my *** look bangin, I was both honored and appalled.  My *** may be my greatest feature but ****** comments have their place and the gym is not one of them.
When you asked me for my number, you were rude, acting in a way in which no gentleman should act. I told you no. And I meant no.
When you called me a ***** loud enough for the whole gym to hear, you were only making yourself look bad.
When you came up and wrapped your arm around my shoulder and told me you were going to take me out for a good time on friday night, I was terrified and suddenly praying for a **** whistle.
When you insisted I promptly informed you I was lesbian, and to let you down gently, not my type.
When you called me a **** I took no offense, that word has become meaningless. Then you told me it must be a phase, that I just hadn't been with a man like you. That you could change me.
When you said "hop on this **** ****" I was done with your games. I pushed you aside and when you ****** my shoulder back you were the one to end up with their *** on the ground.
Dear namless man at the gym,
When you said you could help me through my phase, you were wrong. Being gay is not my phase. Being straight was.
ॐ-i Feb 2015
My focus has been ****** since the day I was born
I was shot out of the womb, flipped upside down on my head,
And had my *** pounded until it was raspberry red

One would think that at that point in my life
My focus might have been on the colostrum
But being ****** to and fro is enough to pull anyones focus
Asunder, from the teet to the ceiling, to the wall, and eventually
Into pieces on the floor

My focus has been ****** since the age of nine
I wanted swing high on the swing set and play kickball with my friends
But my focus was torn by the torments of my ragged looks
The shame of my poor disposition
And the embarrassment of wearing my borrowed bra and donated clothes

My focus has been ****** since the eve of seventeen
When I thought that I was in love with a boy who never seemed to see me
I wanted to brush my fingers through his hair while we feigned awareness in American History
Or lie on his chest as he sang to me strumming on his ukulele
Which made it rather hard focus on geometry
But I was correct in my original assertion that he never ever noticed me

My focus has been ****** since the day I turned twenty-four
And I say that as I am sitting in class writing this story
Property is fun and law school is aight in general
But how could I possibly focus on executory interest
When failing out would ironically fair my nerves so much better?
Wrote this in class. I have officially checked out.
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2013
By Stephen E. Yocum

In 1974, from out of Kabul,
The bouncing open back of
An old flat bed truck,
Eating dust and Diesel fumes,
Two alone we journeyed.

A round the world exploration
Of adventure and discovery.
Of lands and cultures,
people never before encountered.
Naive Ecotourists, before there
Was such a thing, called by a silly name.

The land there about, dry and dusty,
Sparse vegetations, Inhospitable to all,
Featureless and drab beyond comprehension.
Harsh lands breed harsh unforgiving people,
Matching their dire extreme surroundings.
This being one of those places.

I was on an adventure,
More so than she with me,
A rocky marriage at best,
Stressed further by months of travel.
I seeking the raw, the real,
She wanting first class comforts,
Like the “Good Life as seen on TV”.
A rough open flatbed truck, eating dust,
Not even close to fitting that description.

We were going to a small distant town,
Where I might see a game as old,
As that culture, of those Afghan plains,
A game, no truly more of a passion,
A long held national obsession,
Not so much played,
As combated, a war on horseback,
Brutal, ****** and thrilling.

Under noonday sun, yet chill of weather,
An hour out, four mounted horsemen
Appeared over a low hillock horizon,
Their horses in gallop, snorting, prancing,
High stepping, bounding, on a mission,
Kicking up a cloud of yellow/red dust,
The riders making straight for us.

These were the days before the AK-47,
Before the Russian invasion of ‘97.
The tribal Afghan men back then toted old,
Long Barreled, flint lock looking weapons
Often adorned with ribbon or paint,
Looking at first glance merely ornamental,
Not quite dismissing their lethal intent.

I had seen a sheep shot by one of
These old rifles, the entry spot was
The size of an American Half Dollar,
The exit hole the size of a tennis ball exploded.

As they approached, at my direction,
She withdrew further back towards the
Cab of the truck, beside a wooden crate.
I still sat, legs dangling over the tailgate,
One hand holding onto the wood slatted
Vertical, side rail of the bed.
The other hand on the hilt of my 8 inch Buck Knife.
That given the impending situation, would have
Done me as much good as my ******* into the face,
Of a very strong hurricane wind,
Doing me and us more harm than good.
All the while, still watching the horsemen,
As they rapidly approached ever closer.

Ignoring our dust, they reined in less than
Fifteen feet from our rear bumper,
(If there had indeed been a bumper.)
Horses wild eyes rolling, saliva snorting
From their mouths and nostrils,
Lather of sweat coating sleek bodies.
Looking more akin to fierce Dragons than Equines.

Their dusty riders looked like mounted warriors,
Escaped from out of a Hollywood movie,
Full bearded, hard men, with Scars on their faces,
Their serious dust laden red eyes burning like fire.
Jaws firm set, faces otherwise devoid of expression.
Dressed in traditional head to toe garb,
A style unchanged in hundreds of years,
Large curved Knives in wide leather belts,
Two, sporting hefty British holstered revolvers.
All four with long rifles in one hand,
Horse reins in the other.

Just like that, there we all were face to face,
I could not avoid their eyes, locking mine on
The bigger man near the center,
Hiding as best I could, my concern, no my fear,
With a neutral expression, neither smile nor sneer,
That might give me away. Yet the hair on the back
Of my neck did tingle, throat too dry and constricted
To speak should it even be required.  

The bigger man into whose eyes I stared,
As if I had issued some challenged invitation,
With but a single practiced move of his,
Right arm and hand,
(Horse reins held in the other),
Quickly shouldered his menacing weapon,
And sighted down its long barrel, right at my head.

Perhaps it was only a few seconds,
Yet it seemed an eternity,
That gun’s bore looked immense,
Like the gapping open mouth,
Of some great ballistic cannon.
For a moment I ceased breathing.
It felt as if my heart stopped beating.
I could not but sit there waiting,
There was no escaping.

That throw back to a fiftieth century man,
Held the power, of Life or sudden death,
In his hand, my life on the tip of his trigger finger,
He and I both instantly understood this.

It was clear in that one moment,
That to him, this was nothing new,
Or even of the slightest importance.
A thing to which he was plainly indifferent.

Down that bore, was a place in which lurked,
A lethal bullet with my name written upon it,
I felt trapped, like screaming, but remained silent,
Eyes open, and then why I will never know,
Still looking at him I narrowed my eyes and smiled.

As perhaps a reply on the man’s harsh face,
There appeared an ever so slightest grin.
Then he hefted his weapon back down under,
His arm and silently smiled and laughed,
In my direction.

I could not help but notice that one of his
Upper front teeth was of bright gold, while the
One next to the gold, was completely missing.

He nodded just once his head, to me a message,
All said with no words actually spoken,
“Today traveler,
I could have killed you,
Taken your woman.
Out here no one would know,
No one would have cared,
Not even the truck driver.
You are in my homeland,
I control it and you,
Today I choose not to **** you,
Tomorrow I might feel different.”

Then he and his unsmiling companions,
****** their straining unyielding horses,
to their left, galloping away in an obscuring
cloud, of yellow and reddish dust billowing.

While adrenaline turned my arms and
Legs to jelly, and shortly thereafter,
My stomach to sudden fits of
Wrenching regurgitation.

When in a few years I first heard,
That the Russians had invaded
That harsh unforgiving land,
I told a friend,
“Those fool Russians,
Have grabbed a fearsome,
Tiger by the tail, and that beast
Might just devourer them,
And not the other way around.”
It came to pass, I was not far off,
In my knowledgeable easy prediction.

The lesson I learned that day?
No matter who you think you are,
Or where you might come from,
What Nations impressive seal,
That your Passport reveals,
When you travel far and wide,
Trespass in another man’s back yard,
You best beware, of all the possibilities.

Upon our return trip the next day,
We took a bus of public conveyance,
Imagining perhaps there would be,
More safety in a convergence of numbers.

Footnote:

Over the centuries many invaders
Have attempted to subdue the wild
Land of the Afghans’ and nearly all failed.
A land and a people offering absolutely,
No forgiveness, not even to themselves.

Rudyard Kipling wrote of the British Empires brief
Excursions into that land, offering some sage advice;
“When you’re wounded and left on the Afghanistan’s
Plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to
Your God like a soldier.”

All present and would be conquers take note,
This remains Wise advice.  No one truly conquers there,
They just visit and bleed and then eventually go away,
Tails tucked between their knees. If indeed they still
Have one.
I have not collected many regrets, however as too that
Day in 1974, on the back of that battered old truck on
The plains of Afghanistan, I have one.
Minutes before those four threatening Horsemen
Appeared, I had capped and return my Nikon F camera
to its dust and water proof cover, when the incident
occurred, that bag and my camera were at the time,
snugly strapped to my back.
zebra May 2016
i was looking at you
and thought it would be fun
to shoot you in the ***
and use a big gun

you shook your **** hips
and said do me in bed
you pursed your pretty lips
and said i like to be dead

how do you figure
i'll look good when i splatter
please pull the trigger
and watch my skull shatter

no not in the head
id rather shoot you in the belly
please, baby, i said
you know i love jelly

you prefer stench
to a hole in the skull
whats wrong with you
are you really that dull

ok lets compromise
a bullet in the ****
wow that will hurt
i will scream i will grunt

i'm getting the fits
i'm upset just a tad
i'll shoot off your ****
before i get mad

alright honey
let's make it fun
ill open my legs
you shoot the big gun

i shot her once
she ****** my ****
i did her again
she went into shock

i'm not dead yet
but i'm starting to fry
whew i am really wet
but when will i die

soon darlin
do you think you can ***
i'm tryin hard love
but i'm gettin pretty numb

i shot her and shot her
she spassed and she lurked
i cumed in her mouth
then she died when she ******

i kissed her good by
she was **** to die
i ****** her some more
and went to the shore

now she's dead
i'm in a bad mood
layen in bed
i'm starting to brood

two days later
i met someone new
she said i like guns
what about you?

i walked outside
i started to cry
she kissed my mouth
and said im ready to die

i fell on the ground
ready to scream
what a merry go round
what a ***** dream :)
Simon Clark Aug 2012
In my room alone,
I lay naked on my bed,
Magazines and videos - laid out nicely,
Not Andrex but Kleenex there instead,
I flick through the pages,
Holding on so tight,
While on the screen there's stuff obscene,
Ejoying this pleasing sight,
Up and down i gently rub,
'Til my head rolls back in bliss,
Faster, faster then i'll stroke,
Thinking of that kiss.

Wishing i were the one up there,
Getting ****** off by a pro,
Instead of spread eagle on my back,
I'd rather be getting a blow,
To have my **** ****** off by her,
The one with shaven lips,
To pull her close and enjoy the roast,
Driving at her hips,
Oh but alone i am with **** in hand,
Wanking myself to sleep,
But i know when i close my eyes,
The visions of you i'll keep.

So for now, content am i,
Playing with my ****,
Shooting out my *** in streams,
And tasting it til i'm sick,
I wish that you were back here with me,
To give me such a treat,
Then on my kness, for you i'd go,
And surely find something to eat,
But i'm stuck with magazines and videos,
Of ladies eating out,
So that's my tale for all to see,
What wanking's all about.
Written in 2004
(added) Prologue: "we'll get the baron, i swear. the ratings will go through the roof..." nick spoke nervously into the phone he held in his good hand. the other rested at his side, burned beyond use. one of the commandos whispered in his ear. "sir, we have his location.... yes... yes sir..." he hung up the phone and turned to the commando, "scramble the troops, we're going hunting..."


"N-no... not this again..."  Baronyx muttered in his sleep. "I wont... i wont do it..." it was the same nightmare that had plagued him for years. he was what the Two-legs called an Exotic, one of the few hundred dragons left in the world, and a showpeice for the high paying two-legs.
Baronyx had been captured once and forced into slavery as a circus act and performer for many years before he escaped and burned an entire city with his fiery wrath, killing some ten thousand two-legs in his path and sending a message, "don't cage a dragon..." ever since he had been plagued with nightmares of his experiences while enslaved. "stop... No!" he ****** awake and roared in fear. the full moon's light shone on his sapphire scales and temporarily blinded him until his green slit-eyes adjusted. his mate, a green scaled dragoness named Lyra licked his cheek and put a comforting claw around on his shoulder, "its the dreams again, isnt it ***?" Baronyx nodded and stared outside of their cave den.
He glanced over his shoulder at his daughter, Tali, her young yellow scales getting a tinge of green. Baronyx sighed and said, "she's growing so fast... she'll have your scales..."
Lyra looked as well, "and she'll have your eyes, baron." they watched their child sleep a moment longer before Baronyx stood and stepped outside the den. "i'll be right back." lyra nodded and lay back down with her eyes closed. he spread his wings and with a powerful downstroke took flight. Baronyx closed his eyes and glided into the wind currents and to the cliffside where he went to clear his mind and sort out his thoughts. his claws clicked across the hard rock as he landed and tapped rhythmically as he walked to the edge of the cliff and hung his claws off the side. a wild wolf howled in the distance somewhere behind him. something in the air was different tonight and Baronyx felt uneasy. he lay his head down and snoozed for a while, oblivious of what was happening at his den.
- - -
Tali screamed as
Two-legs with metal-spitters swarmed the den and threw heavy nets over her and her mother. "ma! ma! whats going on?!"
"tali! just stay calm.. just stay calm." Lyra roared in protest as the two legs brought lightning-sticks and began prodding at them. "don't you dare touch my daughter you *******!" she shouted even though she knew they wouldnt understand her. to her surprise though, one two leg stepped forward and said, "we won't touch you or your daughter if you tell us where the Baron is."
"i'll never tell you, monster."
the white man chuckled, "from my point of view, you're the monster. and you'll be a wonderful addition to the show..."
- - -
Baronyx heard tali's scream echo In the dark forest surrounding the cliffside. "No!" his roar resonated farther than tali's scream.
at the den a few moments before, the two-legs had caged Tali and Lyra and had set about stabbing at lyra with the shock-prods hoping to draw Baronyx back to the cave. Lyra kept her cries quiet and had refused to satisfy their wishes. the two-leg in charge snarled. "Enough... last chance, dragon. Tell me where he is!"
lyra growled at him, "i'll tell you nothing, worm."
"fine, suit yourself." the man turned his back to her. "lets see if you're daughter has the same resolve, shall we?"
"no! don't touch her!"
"i'm afraid its quite too late for that, dragon."
"tali i'm sorry!"
he turned to Tali and jabbed her in the side with a shock ****. tali groaned and gritted her teeth but did not scream for the man.
she growled at him said, "that tickled." tali grinned at the man with her sharp fangs fully exposed.
the man glared for a moment and then smiled cruelly.
"temporary pain doesnt have an effect on you... maybe something more... permenant will bring him to me. bring the iron!"
two-legs carried a white hot brand in the shape of a greek Omega. the man pointed to tali and said, "on her throat. make it burn."
more two-legs had muzzled lyra to keep her from screaming. the iron cut into tali's scales and burned into the flesh underneath, forcing tali to scream as loud as she could, even after the iron had been taken away. she collapsed on the ground and the tears spilled over her eyes as she continued to scream.
they heard a roar passing over them all as Baronyx rushed back to the den.
"well done, everyone. the prize is near. get your guns ready but DO NOT FIRE!"
* *
baronyx flew faster than he ever had before. he growled  as he swooped down toward his den and saw the two-legs. he screeched in protest as cables wrapped around his wings and limbs. forcing him hard into the ground. "Nick you *******!"
the white man grinned, "so we finally meet
Again, baron. and you have a nice little family i can use to my advantage now."
baronyx looked at tali and Lyra and loosed a mournful moan deep in his throat. "what do you want, nick?"
the man stepped forward and replied, "i want you, back in my show, just like old times. or i'll torture your mate AND this lovely little child of yours. sound like a deal?"
baronyx shut his eyes and nodded as a tear trailed down his cheek. "just know... when i get out, everything will burn... just like old times..."
(add on 1)
The white man and the other two-legs shackled Baronyx and his family with heavy chains and electric collars that would shock them randomly. they were put on a train car headed east and the collars were taken off. Baronyx immediately examined Tali's neck, the brand already scarring over in a whitish pink Omega. tali's voice was hoarse and tears came to her eyes. she buried her head into her father's chest. "i'm so sorry tali, lyra... this is my fault.." the family embraced as they knew there would likely be very little contact with each other after the train stopped.
the train traveled a little while longer and the family shakily said  their goodbyes as the air brakes hissed violently. the doors shrieked open and they were met by Nick. immediately. baronyx pounced on top of him and roared. they stared eye to eye for a moment before they heard the clicking of the two-legs metal spitters. baronyx kept his eyes on Nick and said quietly, "touch her again... touch EITHER of them... and
I swear, no amount of metal spitters or electricity will stop me from hunting you down and tearing off your head."
as baronyx stepped back, nick stood up and replied, "i won't harm either of them, hell, i'll give them whatever they want, as long as you do as you are told, Baronyx."
baronyx thought this over and after a few moments said, "i have one more condition, i want full access to them. whenever i choose."
nick chuckled a bit, "we'll see... we'll see... it all depends on how you perform."
baronyx nodded. "then lets get this over with..." the white man beckoned some two-legs to lead Tali and Lyra to the cages inside the massive pavilion that stood before them. two of the men brought the brand again and put the Omega on Baronyx's throat much like they had done with tali. he gritted his teeth and let the tears come but did not cry out or roar. when the pain had subsided, he asked nick, "when do i start?"
nick looked up at him with a sinister twinkle in his eyes, "right now."
*
Nick and a handful of two-legs escorted baronyx back onto the train, but not the same traincar. this one was blue and had ornate gold lettering on each side. once baronyx was inside, a string of lights came on and he saw his old armor plates each polished and the dents pounded out. he took his helm and stared into his reflection.  "i swore i'd never touch this stuff again..."
an intercom system beeped above him and nick's voice filled the car. "Baron, you have five minutes to suit up. the game starts as soon as we arrive."
baronyx sighed and donned the cold armor one peice at a time. he looked into the mirror on the wall and turned away in disgust.
"for tali and lyra..." there were a few peices left, the ones he never wanted to see again, they were sharp talons that fit over his claws. in the show, he had to use these to **** his opponent. nick's voice came over the intercom again, "arriving at the arena now, the press is fired up for your return, baron. DON'T disappoint them."
Baronyx growled and said a silent prayer for his family. the train screeched to a halt and the door opened. baronyx stepped out onto a black carpet and was assaulted by blinding camera flashes and the deafening roar of the crowding two-legs. over the crowd, an announcer shouted, "Its the Baron! he's back and looks better than ever!"
baronyx kept walking until nick stopped him for the game briefing. "you'll be going up against a group of wyverns, so you should have no problem killing them." the wyverns far outnumbered the dragons, wyverns being the dragons' slightly smaller, less intelligent cousins.
nick began walking away when baronyx asked, "what do they get if i win?"
nick turned, "they?"
baronyx bared his fangs. "my family. what do they get in return for my win?"
nick thought this over for a moment before replying, "they will eat, sleep, and live in their own hovel. and depending on your performance i'll let you stay with them."
baronyx growled, "then lets get this over with."
*
Baronyx was led to the arena doors and he waited patiently for his introduction and call to the game. he looked around at the all too familiar sights, the fight screens, the scoreboard, and the dim light that would signal his entry into the arena. it would be a few minutes before the match and in the meantime, he thought of all his old strategies and gameplans. "i wonder if tali and lyra will be watching..."
nick came out of the shadows and said, "remember, their future depends on what happens next."
the light turned green and the doors opened, spilling light into the room. when baronyx's eyes adjusted, he saw the all too familiar sight of the ****** arena, mangled corpses being dragged away from the last battle. "the baron! he'll be going up against seven wyverns from the northwest territories." baronyx roared as loud as he could as he stormed into the arena. the wyverns on the other side cowered for a moment before charging him. the first one lunged at him and was caught in his
Claws. baronyx looked into the wyverns eyes and saw the fear, the terror of a beast facing his own demise. "for them..." baronyx tore the wyvern's throat out with his claws and threw the body at the next assailant, bowling him over.
the next wyvern was impaled by baronyx's tail and tossed aside to bleed out on the ground while he set about killing the others in various other ways. when the bodies stopped twitching, baronyx's armor was coated in blood. the crowd was silent and he became worried. he looked to the trainer's balcony and spotted nick, who gave a subtle nod of approval. baronyx looked at the timer: one minute seventeen seconds. it was a new record, the shortest match in history. the crowd roared and applauded long after he was led out of the arena. "an amazing, record setting performance by the returning champion, the Baron!"
baronyx was met by the press' cameras outside the arena. Nick's two-legs stripped the ****** armor and allowed him some room to move around.
The camera flashes continued to blind baronyx but his mind was elsewhere. nick finally showed up to answer the press's questions, while baronyx glared at the group of reporters. after an hour of questions and his agitation reached its breaking point, baronyx growled at the reporters, silencing them. when they didn't move, he bared his fangs and roared, forcing them to make hasty retreats and fleeing the conference. once they were gone, nick turned to baronyx and sighed, "thanks. i thought they'd never leave..."
baronyx stared down at him. "we had a deal."
"so we did. and for that breathtaking performance, you will stay with your family in their hovel."
baronyx started walking towards the train, "then i have to go."
*
Based off of a poem i wrote earlier.
Deadwood Haiku Mar 2015
he said he just ******
off on its leg, but I think
Steve ****** Bullock's horse
Another girl walks away, with tears running down her face
Another boy is standing there, trying not to give a care
Two more hearts are given a little more wear, then they could ever bear
I try not to let myself in
Other then to help them heal what has been

I begin to wonder why, cupid's aim had been gone
Is my heart gonna lead through the same wrong
I can't grip on to the arrows, knowing that a chance of wasted time is there
When all along

I just wanna be with a girl that leads the stars
A girl that will help me travel far
Somebody that can light the candles, with nothing more then her smile
That girl who is ready for war, and never too afraid to show her scares
A girl that always is ready to dial, for the long talks when our hands are too far
A girl whose eyes drive me crazy, a little more each time they meet
The feel of her breath running down my chin, knocking out the sun
I just wanna girl who is ready for, constant endless nights

I walked over to her house later that night
Just to see if everything was alright
Her daddy was trying ask her about that fight
Trying to help his little girl through, the first of more
Her momma saw me outside
Hurried me in to her daughter's side
There was nothing more that they could do
Since she had sealed them away, ready to take away the pain

She heard me knocking at her bedroom door right as she had lost all hope
Little did I know, that I was what she was wanting
When she opened up I stood there, ready for whispers of despair
I found the knife and kicked it to the hall
She then jumped up to the kiss, casting out the haunting
It looks like I finally found

The girl that leads the stars
The girl that will help me travel far
Somebody that can light the candles, with nothing more then her smile
The girl who is ready for war, but never too afraid to show her scares
The girl that always is ready to dial, for the long talks when our hands are too far
The girl whose eyes drive me crazy, a little more each time they meet
The feel of her breath running down my chin, knocking out the sun
I finally found the girl who was ready for those constant endless nights

A few days later he saw us there, laying in the park watching the skies over our heads
He wanted to start a fight, thinking that I took his might
He grabbed a knife and tried throw it towards her
I stopped him before he could
And told him that he needed to end his thoughts
But just remember this

Someday you will find the girl that leads the stars
The girl that will help him travel far
Somebody that can light the candles, with nothing more then her smile
The girl who is ready for war, but never too afraid to show her scares
The girl that always is ready to dial, for the long talks when your hands are too far
The girl whose eyes drive you crazy, a little more each time they meet
The feel of her breath running down your chin, knocking out the sun
Someday you will find that girl who was ready for those constant endless nights

He took the my words very well and wished her that all was swell
I looked at her just one more time, only to find that she was gone
She ran towards the boys side, asking him why did he start the war
When he was the one that left her side
He told her that he was high, had to clue of what went by
She only got mad, to find out that he had lied
She told him to stay away, she didn't want to hear the truth
Thinking that it was her fault, she ran off in the blink of an eye
I chased her to the side of the canyon, knowing what she was gonna do
I grabbed her arm and shouted please don't go
She ****** and asked me why
Thinking that her whole life was a lie
All I had to say was

She was the girl that lead the stars
The girl that will help me travel far
Candles burn from light of her smile
She was the girl who is ready for war, but never too afraid to show her scares
The girl that I am always ready to dial, for the long talks brewing when our hands are too far
The girl whose eyes drive me crazy, a little more each time they meet
The feel of her breath running down me chin was enough to knock out the sun
She was girl who I was ready to spend those constant endless nights
It was the summer of my fifth year
“Papà voglio una bicicletta!”
(Papa, I want a bicycle!)
“Si avrà una bicicletta. Te lo prometto.”
(You will have a bicycle. I promise)
He held my hands with lingering hope
And promised me the world.

Then, there was one day.
Mama was in the kitchen
Cooking for Papa and I
We were going about our way.

I was waiting to eat
With my fork in my hand
Papa had the newspaper
Then Mama took her seat.

The front doors caved in.
Some men in fancy clothes
Yelled weird words at us
Papa wore the only grin

We went with the men
They said, “Come.”
We went along nicely
And followed the men.

I saw many people boarding a train
Thinking that I didn’t want a bicycle
Because I was going to see the world
When I got on the train

There were no seats on the train.
I could feel the heat of those around me
As if I was trapped inside an oven
Charring my life with pain.

The smell of death was trapped inside the train car
It crept up under my fingernails
And overcame my nose
It was branded on my heart like a permanent scar.

As the blood slowly drained from my skin
A mellow grey crept up into my face
******* the life out of me
Bleeding out, like a ballon popped with a pin

But I wan't the only one
The number of casualties reached morbid numbers
I could see the death in peoples eyes
Their hearts were put out by an invisible gun.

I asked papa what was our destination
And he said with a smile, "Camping."
But he betrayed himself
For he looked the epitome of degeneration

I tried to lean against the wood
With my hand on the wall
My knees were weak
The indication of my boyhood

I saw fears in the eyes of the old
And tears in the eyes of the young
Even though it was like an oven
It was desperately cold

I pulled my hand away from the wall
And it was splintered and smudged
The train ****** to a stop
And then began roll call

"Parisi?!" "Qui!" Papa yelled.
I said, "It must be like school here."
"Azzittire!" The men yelled.
"Be quiet," Papa said, "or you'll get expelled."

By now my spit had turned to chalk
And my eyes were moist
My stomach was like lead
And I began the sleepwalk

They gave us our "pajamas"
We wore them all day
We wore them all night
Our striped "pajamas."

One night, I didn't see Papa
I didn't see him the day after
Or the following night
"Dove ti trove Papa?"

I held on the taste of hope
For it had been ripped away from me
I stood waiting.
And swallowed.
I swallowed the overwhelming fear.
I dug my nails into my palms
until my knuckles were white
White and covered in bruises and dirt and dried blood.
Against the weakness in my knees
I tried to still my shaking body
But my shoulders sagged
My knees gave out
And I found myself on the ground.

The men came in.
"Lavarsi!"
They wanted me to walk.
Papa went on a walk before he left.
We went outside
And I saw the green grass
the first time in months

The barrel of the gun was staring me down
fixated on my chapped dry lips
and then I saw my Papa.
Mateuš Conrad Sep 2018
.i'm still an advocate of caesarean section... i believe in animal rights... it's just plain cruel exposing a European ****** to a pan-African phallus of a fetus head ****... isn't it ****, "technically"? **** me... forget the ******* ****, the latex... the ****** *******... one pregnant women *******, and talking Freudian implosion will do.

personally? i hardly think
******* **** is what men turn
to when excavating
*******...

ever watched
pregnant
women
*******
while filming themselves?!

ever watch pregnant women
film
themselves *******?
ever?

in the beginning there
was the word,
and the word was god...

you hear the talking
of pregnant woman *******?!

**** me...
who the hell needs ******* ***...
when you can *******
to a pregnant woman...
jerking off, talking "*****",
paradoxes of Freud
about her yet to be born
son
watching her *******...

    who the hell needs
******* ****...
just watch a pregnant woman *******....

oath of god...
   hand on my heart...
     it doesn't actually encompass a
desire for intricacies of latex...

            just a pregnant woman
*******...
*** mad... *** mad...
            *** mad...
            ******* *** mad as hell...
  Freud? pale as an uncooked
pancake dough...
   the **** that comes out
from the mouth of a pregnant
woman *******...

believe me...
  i ****** off to one of them doing it
helpless.
nice try... thinking
a man would turn to *******
*******...

  can't turn to more *******,
****,
than a pregnant woman,
*******,
while talking, Oedipal,
"*****"...
            try... try, ******!
try to bash that fact out
of existence!
Anna Marie May 2015
He was up late again, reading one of his many comic books, when he heard the usual scratching at the back porch. So engrossed in his title, the youth ****** from his chair and crept toward the window. A band of large masked creatures scurried off into the gloomy, moonless night. The boy thew on his coat and grabbed a flashlight and camera as he headed out onto the back porch. He glanced at one of the raccoons just as he scampered into the gigantic black berry bush below his field. The boy decided to take a closer look. He started to move toward the giant bush below his field when he suddenly tripped over something on the ground. As he across to his feet, he noticed a small door covered with branches and dirt. He brushed away the ******* and stared at the small door in the ground. With out much thought, he put his shacking hand to the handle and slowly opened the door. Hundreds of tiny stairs led their way to a huge room, miles wide and long, but only about four feet high. The room was quiet, he was about to scream when he heard the same scratching noise that was at his back porch, only this sound was louder. The boy slowly turned. His heart pounding in his chest; his body like steel iron. Then, a sudden hush goes over the whole room. He opened his eyes to meet a four foot raccoon staring at him. The animal lifted his head to the boy and whispered, "tag, your it!"
bucky Feb 2015
“instructions on how to destroy yourself from the ground up, and vice versa”
i say i think i am a better ghost-- and she says, dont be so cliche
this isnt a fairytale, this isnt Wonderland

, but i was born shoving the barrel of a gun down my throat like it was someone else’s tongue
and after a while they start to taste the same
less like a herald and more like sour lips curling around a sentence over and over “nobody exists anymore
welcome to the Forgotten era--”
swallowing glass just so my throat wont feel so empty
when she kisses me she says shes sorry
when she says my name it sounds like a swearword, like her mouth is too brittle to sound it out right
“instructions on how to build the perfect barricade”, start with enough wood to burn yourself to the ground
start over. start over. start over.
(seventeen crumpled dollars and a neon sign that says WELCOME TO PARADIS, comical in a way that makes a nine year old on a too-small bike start crying)
We Need To Talk / cutting your bangs uneven with a pair of scissors you found in an abandoned building / LACHRYMAL: CONNECTED WITH WEEPING OR TEARS
“instructions on how to change the way your name sounds”
i bleed empty promises,call people in the middle of the night just to say that I’m Fine
(i dont even remember the last time i ****** awake coughing up consonants, trying to
rebuild myself, i swear!)
she says my name right and it’s a tuesday. there are guns on a basement wall twenty miles away
, and it’s raining outside
, and she tells me she likes the way it sounds
(she swallows it whole)
zebra Jun 2017
come with me
to the ****** motel
it could be so tender
as **** as hell

we can kiss awhile
i'd lick you sweet
and then bend you over
and cut your feet

*** honey
you can't walk anymore
no matter darling
i'm a blood **** *****

**** me daddy
soon i'll be dead
i want it in the mouth
crush my head

not so soon
my sweet little ******
first lose some blood
to get you all woozy

stand on the toilet
a rope around you neck
on tippy toes
you'll soon be a wreck

i'd love to shoot you
want it in the ***
in the intestine
the bullet will pass

ooow honey yes
let me spread wide
then shoot me through
is that how i died

no baby
that was just for fun
i cumed in your ***
my **** was the gun

oh **** me soon
you begged and you cried
i need it my love
so your hands i tied

i ****** you and ****** you
ready to ***
i yanked your head back
and you licked up my ****

are you ready sweet girl
you lifted your head
my **** in your ***
a dagger of dread

i slit your throat
ever so slow
you ****** and you shimmied
and the blood did flow

you got on top
your **** in my face
i drank from your throat
you bled out with grace

i loved you so
and called your name
you fell over dead
but who's to blame

oh my darling
you wanted to go
black emerald death
an ******* show

pretty dead girl
im still kissing you
but i have to leave
boo hoo hoo
A sick poem unfit for consumption
which is exactly why i had to write it
It's only for certain people
I'm sure
you know who you are
and yes i do love you <3
Hal Loyd Denton Nov 2011
Essenntial love
Essential loveAugustus said I found Rome brick I left it marbleI find myself vile only through loving Jesus can I be righteous
What happened there was a time I encountered angels read his word ate what I read with a physical sensation I could feel in my
Heart just like I feel when I eat naturally somehow I flipped back to the way I was before these wonders were real I told before
How the love of God as a spear flew off of the record turn table from that moment at seventeen with a lapse of years from
Five to seventeen I lost a holy life because my parents turned from God went back in the world taking me and my sister with them
This is what the spirit said about my parents when he gave me a promise I also told I hitchhiked to camp slept with the cows in
A pasture a hill over from the main camp site this troubled the Illinois district superintendent but God spoke through the camp
Speaker this is what God has to say to someone to identify he said this and when he said it my aunt and uncle setting across the
Auditorium turned and looked directly at me you’re here your mother is a harlot and your dad is a drunkard a month later a
Camp speaker made the same promise but with this stipulation you can change the hands on the clock but you can’t change the
Time that has been forty one years ago it is still true God is not a liar but after the record player I did start back to church all
The time I would seek God to be filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking with other tongues no success and then I
Was drafted far from home discouraged I quit going to church this went on for the two years God remained silent humanist try
To tell you can improve all by yourself see if this sounds like improvement one who tried to live right now grass and alcohol was my
Lifestyle if you asked me about it this is what you would have heard Wolfman Jack was our hero for sure when he was forced to
Broadcast from Mexico after violating FCC rules as a DJ and he never sounded as good as when you were high the alcohol altered
My mental state I could think deep brooding thoughts only problem you couldn’t be around me because of self loathing I was like a
Mad bull I was destructive and self destructive that came from self loathing I knew my parents record I got in enough trouble
drinking twelve percent by volume slow gin I can’t stand the taste so I would force it down you drink a whole bottle of anything its
Lights out well it like the lost weekend I came back own leave with grass and alcohol I was a disgusting freak to kids I use to lead on
Jefferson St I found out at a get together at the park that I was the cause for one of them getting drunk the first time there no shame
Like that well except for this there was more but I will just give you the high lights it was night we were all in the barracks I was in the
Latrine standing there doing what boys do well I was holding onto this board up over my head inch wide it was nailed at about four
Feet intervals to these poles behind them was corrugated metal making the wall well I wondered what happened if I yanked on
The board nothing happened except it came off with a terrible crack again no big but is was a big thing to thirty bunk mates
I heard a commotion so I just looked around the door all of them were scared straight or something because they were all trying
To get out of the door at the same time that’s funny when Archie Bunker and Mike did it on all in the family but they thought
They were next on the list I got them calmed down I feel I made up for it when I stood up for them I called a bully outside to fight
That was making every bodie’s lives miserable just like all bullies he was a coward and ended up throwing his arms around my shoulder
Wanted to be my friend I know he was a coward because as I said before I are one next one more dangerous not for whom you would
Think I sent the Sarge to go to the NCO club and get me a bottle of slow gin they had a quart not a fifth but it was without the volume
I took care of the volume and the day room with it one hundred and twenty proof in the middle of this I called one of the saints back
Here well I can’t tell you much but the saint talked to me when I did come home I believe when I hung up the phone thats when the bull
Rang in anyway a Jewish kid was said to have run down the company street screaming a wild man was tearing up the day room it was
Made out of aluminum siding and I only drank half of the bottle if I had drank all of it I would have torn it down not up well trouble
Breeds trouble one guy was write one was wrong well that weaved in and out just like myself I came to myself and in front of me was
My pal from class that I was in Jose Torres an MP sorry but one of the ugliest Mexicans anywhere not just in California but he was
Fired up with that Latino blood he wanted to fight evidenced by the forty five he was waving in my face in that brief moment of
Knowing what was going on I reverted to the primal beast level if you get in a fight you become intensely aware nothing is hidden
I could see it in his eyes he could taste it he wanted to pistol whip me oh contraire my friend I was fifteen and me and two other kids
Were watching tables for the refinery pick nick the next day well six idiots show up drunk drinking beer that was alright but when
Duck tale white under shirt jeans engineer boots stooge started throwing beer on my friend’s dads navy sleeping bag I asked him to
Stop when he didn’t I stood up holding a cow boy belt with a raised horse head on the buckle in my hand for protection well bright one
****** it out of my hand and slapped me in the face with it remember I said bull he was two years older than me but I was big and all
Muscle then I threw my head back and when the blood rose through my eyes I was blind it didn’t matter is was black in the large
Pavilion I couldn’t see only red just before that I was in danger I have seen what a pack of hounds can do to a **** on the ground
I was the **** all were getting ready to rush in but when my blood hit my brain the volcano erupted on his sorry self I picked him up off
The floor then he needed protection God was there if he would have gone down on the cement floor or into the picnic table how they
Are made his back would have been broken but I threw him across the table two feet to the table over the table another four feet
Into a red fence that was stretched there one pole to the next he was going head first about four feet off the ground that fence
scrapped the floor then when it got to the two points those bolts snapped it sounded like a high powered rifle going off he and the
Fence continued two to three feet off the edge of the floor then three feet out in the grass where it folded up around him the fight
Was Over the others wouldn’t even acknowledge him lying out there groaning the fence had become his safety net the next day the
Dad who owned the sleeping bag looked at the two of us and asked what happened to you two I couldn’t see my face but he had three
Deep imprints of the fence stakes plus the twisted wire was plainly visible the marks were up and down you can say they lasted a while
so I looked at this pistol waving clown and just laughed turned and walked down to the MP station I did thirty days clerking in the
Headquarters office for rearranging the day room to the way I wanted it messing with the army is Childs play then God came on the
Scene not so fun I experienced the same thing that happened to a guy that I worked with at the refinery when I knew him he was
An old man I was seventeen but later when he was dying of cancer his neighbor who was in our church set with him and as she did she
Prayed for him until God spoke to her and said don’t pray anymore he rejected me when he was young now I’m rejecting him the story
Behind this was this man was driving a truck back then they had to go out and literally pull him out of the cab his hands were like claws
His nerves were gone that’s what happened to me the only reason I didn’t use lsd was the kid used it all and then the angel had to step
In before salvation came again I was unaware of this but I went to the fire house I set down at the desk next to this other kid and he
kept smiling finally I had enough I asked what’s so funny you don’t remember no remember what last night you ran in and stood at the
Top of the steps six seven feet up out of the office I ran in said the MPS didn’t catch me I then hollered I’m superman and I did a flip
Down on the cement floor I did remember laying on the floor hollering at the fire chief as he slept in the back room off of the office he
Finally told someone to take me back to the barracks so stupidity was running rampant but I was the crew chief and I did my job
And then it happened just like my friend in the truck that had to be pulled out I lost it I was a basket case I couldn’t think straight
Minor jobs that were simple overwhelmed me when that starts you start looking for answers it didn’t take me long to know what was
Going on this rebels running from God had come to a screeching halt I finally had the boys take me to Monterey and let me out I threw
Away the cigarettes checked into a motel a few blocks from the church had to literally cry for God to let me have peace so that I could
Sleep and in the morning dressed went to church as I walked by the windows I heard the congregation singing the songs of Zion a
precious peace settled over me I was home where I belonged.

This is long and serves as a starting point that I want to continue up to Christ’s day of Christmas if it doesn’t work out least you know
my testimony and you can see what God has done for me but I want to try and renew my life and maybe touch you along the way
(Glade, World, Master, Boy, Hero)

                                                 GLADE

There is a glacier.
Its blue tongue’s tip just tastes a frozen gorge.
There is a gorge, its walls shattered by cold; a once-green thing that, in dying, birthed a thousand aching fissures. It works its jagged way downhill, round ragged rifts and drifts until it comes upon a little frosted wood.
There is a wood, an island locked in ice.
Within this wood the gorge descends. It wanders and it wends; it brakes and all but ends outside a clearing wet with sun. And there, forking, its bent and broken arms embrace a strange, enchanted glade.

There is a glade.
And in this glade the black bears sleep, though salmon leap fat between falls. Here the field mouse draws no shadow, the eagle seeks no prey; they spend their while caressed by rays, and halcyon days are they. Here rabbit and fawn may linger, no longer need they flee. For in this timeless, taintless space, the Wild has ceased to be. (Outside the glade are shadow and prey, are ice and naked death. There blood may run freely. There the eagle, that thief, is a righteous savage, a noble fiend. But once in the glade he is dove, and has no taste for blood, running freely or otherwise).
And in this glade there nests a pool:  a dazzling, blue-and-silver jewel; profoundly deep, pristinely clear. All who sip find solace here, for this is the Eye of Being. They lap in peace, assuming blear, not knowing it is seeing. And ever thus this pool shall peer:  a silent seer, reflecting on—all that Is, and all Beyond.
(Outside the glade there lies a world where rivers ever run, where ghastly calves in random file revile a bitter sun. East, the day is born in mist. West she dies:  her rest, the deep. And North…North the Earth lies mute. Wind gnaws her hide, wind wracks her dreams. Wind screams like a flute in her white, white sleep).
But in the glade are tall, stately grasses, sunning raptly, spinning lore. Roots render the rhythms, blades bend without breeze, as signals ascend from the glade’s tender floor. (In this wise the glade weaves its word, airs its views. All the glade’s flora are bearers of news). They do not wither with fall, for in the glade there is no fall. They do not bind or wilt or brown—they gesture, spreading the mood, the mind; conveying, indeed, the very soul of the glade. As ever they have, as they shall evermore.
Bees do not hum here; they sing. They fatten the dream. Mellow and round are the timbres they sound, sweet is the music they bring. Birds do not sing here—they play. They carry the theme. Dulcet and warm are the strains they perform. Gifted musicians are they. (All in the glade are virtuosi. They were born to create. Melody, harmony, meter…are innate). Now the performance is lively and bright, now full, now almost still. For, though all in the glade may lean to the light, they must bend to the maestro’s feel.
And yet…there was a day, long ago in a dream, when this ongoing opus was torn. And on that day (so the lullaby goes) the wind brought a scream, and Dissonance was born.
There was a noise.
Moose tensed, their coffee eyes narrowed, their patient brows creased. Bees mauled the tempo, birds lost their place. The grass stood *****, all blades pointing east. There was a crash, and a shriek, and a naked, bleeding beast burst stinking through the fern, fell stumbling on its face.
Moose scattered:  unheard of. Sheep brawled, geese burst out of rhyme. The symphony, forever endeavored to soar sublime, fluttered, plunged, and, for all of a measure, ceased.
The pool was appalled…what manner brute—what kind of monster was this? Furless flank to forelimb, hide obscured by blood. As for its face…it had no face; only a look:  of shock frozen in time, of horror in amber. A deep welling rift ran temple to chin, halving the mask, caving it in. Such a grievous wound…the pool watched it stagger, on two legs and four, thrashing about till it came to a rise. There it labored for air, wiped the blood from its eyes, lashed at illusion, looked wildly round. Beholding the pool, the beast tumbled down.
And there this wretch plunged his thirst, drank his fill, fell back on his haunches.
The pool became still.
The two traded stares.
The glass read his features:  that durable eye pondered the wreckage and probed the debris. Revolted, the pool sought the succor of sky. But that thing remained—that face…in all creation…surely there could be…no other creature so ugly as he.
And he gazed in the glass.
Beneath the surface were…images…swimming in currents of shadow and light. He saw half-shapes and fragments…hideous men, exotic beasts…saw blue worlds of water, saw white worlds of ice…it was all so vague and unreal—yet somehow strangely familiar. Deeper he peered, but, as his mangled face neared, the sun smote the pool and the shapes disappeared. The brute pawed the ground and, dreaming he’d drowned, shook his head sharply and slowly looked round:
There were starlings at arm’s-length, transfixed with suspense, their tail feathers trembling, their dark eyes intense. Fantails and timber wolves, stepping in sync, paused for a sniff, stooped for a drink. Bees, pirouetting, threw light in his eyes. Seizing the moment, the pool pressed its hold.
And the glade revolved.
The freak watched it spin—saw the ferns’ greedy fingers reach round and close in, saw the tall grass rise high in an emerald sheen, swaying to rhythms from somewhere obscene. This place was madness; he struggled to stand, but, weak as he was, keeled over cold.
And the glade heaved a sigh, and the tall grass reclined, in curious patterns once rendered in whim. Far off in thunder the hard world replied, as iced pines exploded and screamed on the breeze. Down bore the sun, a chill just behind. The pool, grown blood-red, fended frost from its rim. Details dissolved in the oncoming tide. The pool dimmed to black. Night seeped through the trees.
Now flora found slumber while, pulsing below, the pool was infused with a soft ruby glow.
Soon birds bearing beech leaves, and needles of pine, laid down a spread and returned to the limb. But breath from the North blew their blanket aside. The wind grew in earnest, the air seemed to freeze.
And the wolf and the she-bear, of contrary mind, abhorring their task approached, looking grim. They sniffed him for measure, then, loathing his hide, growled their displeasure and dropped to their knees.
All night these glum attendants flanked his naked quaking form. The rising moon drew dreams in gray.
In time the man grew warm.

Morning swept through the glade in one broad stroke of the master’s brush, dappling the foliage with amber and rose. The pool was roused by the sweet pass of light. He opened his eye and the glade came alive:  into the whirlpool of life a thousand colors swam, chasing the scattering eddies of night. The magic of morning began.
Bluebird and goldfinch descended in rings, primaries clashing with robin and jay. Dollops of sun, repelled by their wings, spattered anew on the palette of day. Banking as one, the hues struck away.
There was a crowd.
And in this crowd that oddity sat, its chin on its chest, its rear pointing west. Its forepaws lay leaning, upturned and at rest. ***** and blood messed its muzzle and breast. Passed overnight. Or perhaps only dozed…tendril by tendril, claw by claw, the crowd decompressed:  the ring slowly closed.
And the stranger cried out and shifted his seat. His eyes sought his feet—rounding the arches, and topping the toes, the tall grass was questing. The little brute froze.
And the fauna took pause, and the flora went slack. Leaves followed talons, stems followed claws. Hooves tromped on paws as the crowd drifted back.
Not a breath taken. Not a move made. Stillness, like fog, enveloped the glade.
Now the grass tugged his feet, now the sea of jade splayed—left hand and right, the slender shafts reared. Gaining momentum, blade followed blade. The green field was torn till a deep swath appeared. The swath hurtled west, reflecting the sun. A hundred yards distant it died. Once more the grass stood, its tips spreading wide. The swath, born again, repeated its run.
Plain was the message, and clearly conveyed. The newcomer gawked. Confusion ensued.
The tall blades were swayed by the pulse of the glade.
But the swath was not renewed.
Something tiny bounced by. He ventured a peek, barely rolling an eye.
A chocolate sparrow, with pinfeathers black, popped past an ankle and paused to look back. The bird cocked its head, rocked in place, hopped ahead. It fluttered. It freaked. It glared and stopped dead. Vexed to its limit, it burst into flight.
The sitting thing watched till it passed out of sight.
Now a breeze bent his back, picked him half off his stern. The wind, done its best, grew flustered at last. It trailed to the west, thrilling lilies it passed. It wound round the willows and didn’t return.
So the fauna repaired to the live oak’s shade.
A strange kind of stupor fell over the glade.
From deep in the wood came a shape through the trees—a pronghorn, perhaps, or an elk swift and sure. But up limped a moose, a flyport with fur, low in the belly and wide at the knees. Wizened he was, scarcely able to see. Neither vision, nor vigor, nor velvet had he. He hobbled abreast, then groveled or died, his nose facing west, his tail flung aside.
The brute merely glazed.
But the glade was unfazed.
Those long shafts reshuffled. A tense moment passed.
The ominous shadows of badgers were cast. Three left their holes, as if to attack. They pedaled like moles and the stranger jumped back. He stumbled, fell flailing, and, kicking his guide, threw out his arms and tumbled astride. First he stepped on his tail, then he stepped on his pride. The moose bellowed twice and shook side to side while the little pest clung to his high, homely hide.
And the old moose unbent to his knees by degrees. He reeled like a drunk down the path of the breeze. Together they lurched through a break in the trees. And all morning long, and on through the day, both beggar and bearer would buckle and sway. The moose lost his temper, but never his way.
And the wind blew the sun to its deep ruby rest; the scrub, in obeisance, inclined to the west. Their slow taffy shadow in slinking would seem to slip round the rocks like a snake in a dream.
And the sun became a beacon, and the underbrush a stream. The wide Earth took their weight in stride, and the wind named him Hero.

                                               WORLD

When the sun was low the old moose began to stumble, at last limping to a halt beside a swift river lined with stunted pines. He’d half-expected a somewhat graceful dismount, but Hero, dug in like a tick, wasn’t about to let go. The moose knelt until his joints objected, shimmied, bucked, and with a sudden whirl sent the little bother flying.
Hero scraped himself out of the dirt and looked up forlornly. The ancient moose, his good eye gone bad, glared a long minute before hobbling away, his bony **** rocking with dignity, his scraggly tail fighting off imaginary flies.
Hero managed a few steps and dropped, staring in disbelief as the moose disappeared between half-frozen pines. He remained on his knees for the longest time, his jaw hanging, waiting for the moose—waiting for anything to show. At last a ruckus to his left snapped him out of it. His head ratcheted around.
Fifteen feet off the bank, three screaming gulls were dancing on an immense stone outcropping, fighting over a rapids-tossed sockeye. Hero was instantly famished. He wobbled to his feet and stumbled twice wading out, only regaining his balance by leaning against the current while rapidly wheeling his arms. The shrieking gulls reluctantly backed off as he stepped in slow-motion through the rushing water. Hero lunged at the slapping fish, cracked an ankle on the rock, and hopped around howling with both hands holding his shin. One foot was as good as none in the surging water. He went right under. Before he knew it he was being swept downriver.
This was glacial meltwater, so cold he quickly lost all sensation. Hero swallowed a mouthful and surfaced fighting for life; too disoriented to combat the current, too numb to realize his waving arm was striking something solid. That solid something turned out to be a swirling clump of rotted birches tangled up in scrub. He embraced one of these trunks as the mass slammed against isolated rocks, kicked his feet wildly, and somehow hauled himself aboard. The raft ricocheted rock to rock until repeated impacts sent it spinning. Giddy from the whirling and soaking, he clung freezing to the trees, retching continuously while the river roared in his ears. Through spray and tears he made out only cartwheeling fragments of the world.
But then the river was widening, its fury dissipating. The raft was approaching the sea. Hero gasped as the seemingly boundless Pacific swallowed the broad red belly of the sun. And as he spun he was treated to a panoramic, breathtaking spectacle:  the great indigo ocean with its slow traffic of driftwood and ice—voiced-over by the dismal calls of foraging gulls, and broken rhythmically by intermittent glimpses of the river’s rocky banks growing farther and farther apart. Whirling as it went, the dying man’s soul was taken by the sea.

At the 59th Parallel in winter, the Pacific coast plays host to numberless floes and minor bergs orphaned from Alaskan coastal glaciers. Hero cruised into a watery gridlock on a boat of ice-glazed birches, one bit of flotsam among the rest.
The cold wouldn’t let him move, wouldn’t let him breathe, wouldn’t let him think. He lay supine, feet crossed and hands clasped, terrified that to budge was to roll. An ice patina grew over the tangled trees like a white fungus—this growth soon webbed his fingers and toes, speckled his chest and thighs, glazed his hair and face, danced and disintegrated with his breath’s tapering plumes.
Floes and frozen-over debris tended to group with passing collisions; Hero’s married birches bit by bit accrued a mostly-submerged tangle of trunks and branches, all becoming fast in a creeping ice cement. Night came on just as resolutely, until land was only a flat black memory. The raft moved silently over the deep, still accepting the occasional gentle impact. And the floes became thicker and wider in a freezing doldrums; soon the proximate sea was all a broken field of packed ice, bobbing infinitesimally with the planet’s pulse.
Long ghostly strands of fog came striding over the torn ice field. They leaned this way and that, their mourners’ skirts tearing and patching and leaning anew. The ghosts were there to seal it:  their locked fingers and gray diaphanous wings were quickly becoming a wholly opaque descending shroud, its boundaries lost in the soughing wind.
Collisions came less and less. Darkness and silence, breaching some previously impenetrable barrier, began to take up residence in Hero’s chilling marrow. From his very center broke a weak little cry of refusal, of denial, as mind mustered frame in one desperate bid for freedom. His skin, frozen to the raft, peeled right off, and at that his inner brave succumbed. Hero’s smashed head arched back. His face contorted frightfully while the little lamp fluttered and paled within.
A raucous chorus slowly worked its way through the mist. It emerged a few hundred yards off—a tiny, terrified barking, growing in clarity as it grew in volume and urgency. It was a sound beacon. Hero strained eagerly, and when for one excruciating minute the beacon was cut off by a large passing body, was certain death had claimed him. Then it was back, and his heartbeat was quickening. He caught a heaving sound…something was moving his way down a wide tributary between floes. Hero could hear a gasping and snorting, accompanied by a hard slapping and splashing. The sounds vanished. In a moment the raft was rocked from below.
A sputtering muzzle blew salt in his eyes. A cold slimy flipper flapped across his chest and slapped about his face. The fur seal barked directly in his ear. Whiskers raked his dead cheek. The seal barked again.
Back below the surface it slipped. Hero listened anxiously as the splashing sound retreated whence it came.
The seal swam off perhaps a hundred feet and began barking hysterically.
From much farther off came a profusion of answering barks.
The seal swam back to Hero’s raft, circling and calling, circling and calling, while the responders approached en masse.
Now a sallow beam could be seen cutting through the fog. Several more showed vaguely along a plane yawing with some huge, barely discernible object.
A herd of northern fur seals burst into sight, barking madly, beating through the ice. They converged on Hero’s raft, really bellowing now.
Those odd yellow beams came in pursuit, and soon were close enough to eerily illuminate a gigantic wooden vessel parting the ice. The seals barked ferociously. Whenever the vessel leaned away, those nearest Hero’s raft would absolutely howl.
The fog deepened, condensed, crystallized, and then the collective light of a dozen lanterns was playing over a low, listing nightmare. Hero could hear the shouts of many aggressive men, but the waterborne seals, rather than scatter, boarded the ice and redoubled their din, fighting their way onto his quickly mobbed raft.
The sealers hurled serrated spears even as they clambered down rope ladders. When these men reached the ice the seals snapped and gnashed madly, refusing to be dislodged. The sealers lost all composure with the thrill of the hunt:  wielding clubs, spears, and hatchets—sometimes using iron bludgeons or any old utensil handed down—they crushed skulls, dragged carcasses, hooked animals still spurting and bleating. Clinging though he was, Hero was flabbergasted by the way the slipping and scampering men went about their butchery, hacking and smashing more with passion than with precision. But not a single seal attempted to flee—throughout the carnage they barked all the louder, egging on their slayers, carcass by carcass drawing the impassioned sealers to Hero’s ice-locked raft.
It was all so hazy and macabre. Hero’s eyes rolled back, and the next thing he knew he was sitting hunched on the vessel’s sopping deck. Two men were rubbing his limbs while another poured warm water down his back. He looked around in shock. The very notion of a boat containing more than one or two individuals—a sort of floating tribe—was way beyond his ken; so to see it, to have it come looming out of nothingness, was an experience almost supernatural.
He remembered some of those fur-covered men force-feeding him mouthfuls of halibut and seal fat, and he recalled a small group standing around him, shouting words that made no sense at all. After that he had a very vivid memory of their angry little chief repeatedly punching him while hollering one angry little word over and over and over. Hero couldn’t make out his inquisitor’s face, for the large feather-lined hood quite engulfed the man’s head, yet he could see those quick eyes flash as they caught the oil lamps’ light. Finally this man stopped boxing Hero’s ear. He stared hard. In these remaining decades of the tenth century it was fully within his power to administer as he saw fit—he could have ordered Hero’s immediate execution and not a man of his crew would have objected. He hesitated only because there wasn’t a hint of resistance in his prisoner’s pinched and frightened eyes. He leaned forward, studying the wound that all but split Hero’s face in two before grunting, raising his right arm, and yanking down its seal hide sleeve. Attached to the stump of his forearm was a primitive prosthesis consisting of a thick oak cap strapped to the arm with lengths of gut, and, hammered squarely into the center of that cap, a broad, cruelly hooked blade chiseled from a narwhal’s tusk. He held this obscenity in front of Hero’s eyes, traced the face’s deep diagonal rift, and once more demanded his captive’s identity. Hero then vaguely remembered being dragged along a tilting deck and thrown into the ship’s tiny hold. He retained a strong mental image of landing in a place of musty odors and dank projections.
There came a soft scuffling in the darkness, and presently a blind and exceedingly old woman felt her way to his side, mumbling as she approached. Her speech was comprised not of words; it was rather a running gibberish of cooing vowels and clucking consonants. The old woman was as mad as her circumstances; sick with sea and solitude, bedeviled by age and confinement. She sat cross-legged, patting her withered palms up his arm until she came to his face. Her strange mumbling soliloquy rose and fell as her bony fingers daintily explored the newly opened wound. Hero let his head fall back in her lap. A pair of hands like emaciated tarantulas scurried through the filth and tiny bodies until they came upon an old otter’s pelt bag that held her secrets. The woman loosened the bag’s cord and extracted an assortment of herbs, sniffing each in succession. She then scooped a handful of blubber from a bowl made of a previous occupant’s skull, kneaded the selected herbs into the blubber, and commenced gently massaging the wound, clucking and cooing while the black rats watched and waited.
For nine interminable days Hero remained in that cold, stinking compartment, rocking back and forth between life and death. The old woman never gave up on him. She clung to him during his seizures, rubbed his limbs vigorously when his blood pressure fell. She gathered various accumulated skins and, using woven strands of her own long hair, sewed him a multilayered, body-length wraparound with arm sleeves and very deep pockets, working by touch with a needle formed of a cod’s rib. By this same method she was able to fashion a pair of heavily lined snug-fitting moccasins. The old woman made him eat; she masticated the cod and halibut their keepers pitched into the hold, then shoved the results down his throat with a long gnarly forefinger. She called into his screaming nightmares, talking him out of sleep and back into their foul little reality. Together they lowed in the dark, while the keel groaned along and the waves beat time.
At the end of those dark nine days his strength was restored, but not his mind. Once again he was taken on deck.
The vessel had reached a chain of remote wind-swept islands, rocky and treeless, naked except for patchy carpets of hardy grass. These islands stretched far to the west, shrouded in mist. The ship was making for the smallest; just a chip on the sea. When they reached depth for anchorage Hero was hustled into a rowboat and lowered over the side. He looked up, saw two men climbing down by rope. These men positioned themselves at the oars and slowly rowed toward the islet. Seated between them, Hero felt like a man being led to his execution. He snuck a peek. The rowers’ heads were lowered, their features completely obscured by the heavy feathered hoods; they had all the somberness of pallbearers. Not a word passed between them as they rigidly worked their oars:  the only sound was the dip-and-purl of wood in water. Hero looked away. Against his will, he found his eyes drawn to that rocky islet waiting in the fog.
Not a bird, not a sea lion, not a shrub. It was lonesome beyond imagination.
Upon landfall one of the men used a spear’s point to **** Hero ashore. While his companion steadied the boat, he removed a skin sack full of half-frozen halibut, followed by a few armloads of precious tinder. These articles he tossed at Hero’s feet. He resumed his place at the oars and, without looking back, used the blunt end of his spear to shove off.
Hero watched the boat moving away, watched the men climbing their ropes, watched the boat being hauled aboard. As the mysterious vessel receded he saw a number of those silent men standing at the stern, stolidly returning his stare. Their hooded forms grew smaller and smaller, finally becoming indistinct. The vessel was swallowed up in fog.
Hero looked around, at a desolate world of rock and drifting ice. In the sunless pools at his feet a few purplish, flaccid sea anemones were waving in a sickly phosphorescence; along the rocks ran a tattered quilt of wild grass and lichen. It was the end of the world. He began to pace in his anxiety, only to crumple bit by bit inside his furs. At last he just sat with his face in his arms and wept. When he could weep no more he raised his head and opened his red, swollen eyes.
There were gulls all around him, staring like statuary in a madman’s garden. Standing in their midst were auks and puffins and murres, absolutely spellbound, unable to lean away. The silence was broken only by a wild, fitfully pursing wind—a wind that seemed, eerily, on the verge of producing syllables. And on that wind a flock of terns was rising slowly, their beady eyes fixed on the lone sitting man. The terns watched as he trembled, and banked as he swooned.
Then, beating as one, they threw back their wings and blew into the sun.

There was a blaze.
Behind that blaze a pair of black, bug-like eyes met his and immediately withdrew. A man wrapped in caribou hides stood abruptly, drawing angry swarms of sparks.
The Aleut peered queerly into the icy Pacific, his craggy profile merging seamlessly with a jumble of rocks showing just beyond his shoulder. The man was very tall, closer to seven feet than to six, and thin almost to emaciation.
He was also a mute. Soon enough he would display a talent for communication through gutturals, but now his body language spoke louder than words. It told the shivering stranger that he was not only disliked—he was feared.
The islander removed the hides he’d piled on the sleeping man. He produced a bone awl and strategically pierced a caribou hide, draped the hide over the old woman’s handiwork, and ran a cord of tightly woven tendons crosswise through his made holes, knotting it at the bottom to create a kind of cloak. He then killed the fire, heaped wood, fish, and remaining hides into Hero’s arms, and led him to a tiny cove where his long skin canoe lay in the grass. This was not the one-man kayak used by his people for centuries, but an actual canoe modeled on the graceful vessels he’d observed under the control of northern coastal tribesmen. After dragging it into the water he perched Hero in the fore, placed the cargo in the middle, and stepped into the rear like a gaunt furry spider. The Aleut dug out a paddle and began pulling with smooth strokes of surprising muscularity, his black eyes trained on his quiet companion’s back.
So began their long island-hopping journey. They stepped the chain one stone at a time, living off the sea. But much as the islander disliked Hero’s vapid company, it was not in his nature to proceed expeditiously; his people, remote as they were, had learned to count not in days but in generations. Given this, the Aleut took his time. He showed Hero how to build shelters of skin and gut; during bad weather the two would sit on an island in utter silence while rain hammered on their stretched seal-intestine window. And one very clear night he pointed out constellations while attempting to demonstrate, using broad gestures, just how the brighter heavenly bodies were in perfect alignment with the Aleutians. Hero followed his guide’s gestures as a pet follows its master’s movements and, like a pet, soon became bored. The Aleut did not grow flustered. He grew ever more wary:  behind that granite, weather-beaten exterior squirmed a very primitive imagination. Superstitious as he was, the Aleut was almost certain Hero could read his mind. So one time, and one time only, he threw a searing look at the back of Hero’s bowed and listing head. After a long minute of vigorous thought-projection he shifted his gaze aside. The brute appeared to feel this shift, and gently turned his head. And both saw the ocean break rhythm, and watched as otters and sea lions surfaced, noted their progress, and slipped without tremor beneath the waves.
In spring the fogs lifted. The grimness gave way to serenity, a generous sun buttered the dappled sea. On the islands grass grew lushly. Wildflowers leapt on the color-starved eye.
And one day the islander’s nape itched. He turned to see a flock of arctic terns casually tracking them under a gorgeous, white-plumed sky. As the day progressed the terns came drifting high overhead, slowly but surely taking the lead.
The Aleut squinted against the sun. He’d never known these birds to pursue a westerly migratory pattern—the terns were distributing themselves into a rough wedge shape, much like geese on the wing.
For a while he let the flock be his guide. Then, to test his stars, he cunningly steered his canoe north. At once the wedge disintegrated. Not until he’d lowered his eyes and pulled purposefully to the west did the disrupted pattern reassert itself. He peered up timidly. The wedge was now in the shape of a perfect arrowhead.
Just so were the fates of mariners and aviators inextricably entwined. At night, once the Aleut had landed his canoe on the nearest pearl, the terns would light in a quiet circle and remain until sunrise. As the Aleut and Hero took to sea, the flock would quickly form that same authoritative pattern.
In time the Aleut paddled his companion clear to the westernmost islands of the Aleutian chain. His people had dwelt, even here, a thousand years and more, but no contemporary islander knew for certain what lay beyond. Legend told of an enormous land mass forever gripped by cold, where a cruel people waylaid innocent seafarers for barbaric sacrificial rites.
So here the islander paused. But even as he vacillated he noticed the terns were veering south.
If the Aleut had been able to curse aloud he would have been vociferous. He was being compelled to follow an even less desirable course—that of the unknown open ocean. Now he looked upon his passenger’s hunched back not with fear but with loathing. He took a deep breath, rolled his shoulders, and defiantly continued west. The wedge broke up immediately. The terns dive-bombed the canoe, whirled around the windmilling Aleut, tore skyward and hovered determinedly. Something huge broke surface behind them, but the Aleut was way too frayed to turn. He dropped his head, a beaten man, and began paddling south. Little by little the birds returned to formation.
The tiny canoe had no business going up against the mighty Pacific. It would soon have been swallowed and smashed, had not the terns veered in close formation whenever the distant sea appeared too rough. Once he’d lost his bearings the Aleut religiously followed their serpentine course.
The days began to warm.
Now the sea’s bounty all but leapt in the canoe.
It seemed the Aleut was forever catching the finest currents, practically sliding down a corridor entirely free of peril. In this manner he was able to safely navigate waters no such craft had mastered before.
They were proceeding south by southwest, awed children of a plenteous, generous sea. The going became easier by the day, the ocean heavier with cod.
Nights the Aleut drifted comfortably, but a lifetime of wariness made him wake off and on. He’d slowly rise to find Hero sitting quietly under the stars, and soon he’d see, pallid in moonlight, a large body neatly pleating the ocean’s surface. The shape would precede them a while, only to vanish without a ripple.
All this strangeness kept the Aleut’s heart in a whirl, though he took pains to maintain his poise.
To allay his fear he kept a flat black stone planted squarely between them. It was his oldest treasure; an oddity he’d taken off the body of a mauled Tlingit woman when he was a child. Who she was, and how she’d come by the stone, were mysteries far beyond him, for no such piece had ever been known to Aleut or Inuk.
The stone was smooth and had been worked perfectly round. Bright yellow specks were scattered about its dull black face.
Long ago someone had etched a quaint and clumsy rune on that flat black surface—it was the crude, universal symbol for sun:  a broad circle surrounded by several rays. When the stone was rubbed against a pelt it possessed the curious property of growing quite warm and bright in the rune’s grooves, while the surface remained cool and dull.
This stone, both friend and overlord, had always “spoken to him”. It caused him to become restless when it was time to move on, and allowed him to relax when a destination had been reached. In this way he’d come to the familiar islet and discovered the unconscious little man. Just so:  the stone, he was sure, was responsible for making him “feel bad” as he watched the stranger shiver, and “feel better” once he’d built him a life-saving fire from the small pile of tinder he’d found nearby.
By now, however, the Aleut was wholly disenchanted with his stone, and deeply regretted having done its mysterious bidding. Never before had he been so long from sight of land, and never before had he felt so very, very small. The unimagined immensity of the Pacific was really starting to get to him when, after all their while at sea, a gray, seductive haze broke the horizon. They had reached another chain of islands, an Asian chain, the dark and smoky Kurils. Here a cold current kept the climate cool and foggy, and the chill, along with the prevalence of otter and seal, made him feel almost at home.
But this place gave him the creeps; he was a stranger, a trespasser somewhere sacred. There was a looming quality to the island mountains that made him extraordinarily aware of his transience, his pettiness, his puniness. He grew more and more cautious, sure their progress was being monitored—he could have sworn he saw wraiths in the trees, and wolves padding warily in the brush. The big islands looked on breathlessly. All along the rocky cliffs, thousands of auks and puffins followed the canoe in dead silence, their heads turning simultaneously, their countless tiny eyes peering redly through the fog. As the weeks passed, the Aleut’s anxiety was manifested in tics and sighs, and he’d cringe each time the crimson sun sank behind those black volcanic summits. In his imagination the mountains would rise right out of the sea, as though to pluck him. But the islands, in all their dignity, would always refuse to acknowledge so meek a stranger, and return their eyes to sea. The Aleut would hang his head, and timidly paddle by.
Then for days and days he pulled his weary canoe west—through a strait parting two mighty islands not part of the chain, and thence across a sea that was a warm, enticing bath. Spring had come to the East Asian coastal waters, and the Ainu, alone and in groups, were venturing deeper in search of increasing bounty. The Aleut, absorbed in his thoughts of sweet climate and bitter fate, was unaware they’d been spotted.
This first meeting between strangers of different worlds was a brief and awkward one. A lone Ainu fisherman, seeing the Aleut come paddling out of the unknown, dropped his net and turned to stone. The Aleut, for his part, instinctively froze with his body turned half-away to make the leanest target possible. Their stares locked. Never had the Aleut seen a face so heavily bearded, and never hair so fair. The Ainu began banging on his bronze catch pail. Other fishers soon appeared from the north and south, effectively cutting off the canoe. The Aleut caressed his stone and looked to the sky. The wedge had vanished. He put down his head and paddled for all he was worth.
With the word out, uncountable fishing craft appeared out of the blue and broke into hot pursuit, their pilots determined to force the canoe ashore.
Suddenly they were in sight of land, and the sea was absolutely riddled with watercraft. A train of small boats cast off from the mainland, even as a posse of two-man coracle-like tubs began to surround the battered skin canoe, their inhabitants calling back and forth in astonishment at the sight of these dark, savage newcomers. But the pursuing little coastal men, banging excitedly on the sides of their boats, were not Ainu. They had very straight black hair, prominent cheekbones, and strangely slanted eyes. And their speech, oddly marvelous as it was, was a rapid series of coos, chirps, and barks. Their boats formed a tight semi-circle around the canoe, forcing the Aleut to approach the mainland. The little men banged their boats maniacally, with more joining in as the canoe neared shore.
A bit farther south was a natural harbor swarming with fishing vessels of every description. As the canoe was forced into this harbor, people along the rocky coast began banging whatever they could get their hands on, until the air was filled with their lunatic percussion.
Tiny brown men came running along a soft yellow cliff overlooking the harbor, gesturing wildly. The canoe was squeezed between a chain of tubs and the shore, and, as it slowed, the tempo and ferocity of the banging decreased accordingly. When the canoe came to a halt the banging and shouting stopped. Hero creaked to his feet. The first North American to set foot on Asian soil stepped out shakily.
There followed the profoundest silence imaginable.
A second later it was as if a dam had burst.
Hundreds of hysterical, yammering voices erupted from hundreds of hysterical, clinging men and women. Hero was spun around, jostled about, handed along. He stared into their astounded, pinched little faces, and the sun, pulsing between their heads as he was turned, repeatedly stabbed his eyes. There came an excited outburst and frantic splashing which could only have been the Aleut’s violent demise, and then Hero was somehow limping alongside a primitive fishing village, blindly following a narrow dirt path that hugged the yellow cliff’s base. The warm spring sun caught the dust as he shambled. He rounded a bend and stopped.
Half a dozen children stood in his way, too fascinated to run. A chatter and scuffle rose behind him. He looked back to see that he was now in the midst of a small crowd of these children, and that more were running up with cries of amazement.
A stone struck his shoulder. As Hero turned another glanced off his chest.
A moment later he was being pelted from all sides, and the giggles and gasps had become something wildly unreal. He dropped to his knees in a hail of hurled rocks, covered his head with his arms, and slithered up the path on his belly.
A new voice broke in; an older, authoritative voice.
The children scampered off squealing.
Hero, shaken to his feet, found himself face to face with a diminutive, shouting, incomprehensible old man. The old man threw his arm around Hero’s waist and, jabbering all the while, led him to a secondary path cut into the cliff’s face. This path sloped gently upward over the waves. Together they picked their way to a place maybe halfway up, where the cliff’s face was honeycombed with natural alcoves and dug-out caves. Most of these spaces were used as one-man shelters; a few, cut deeper in the earth, as family hives. Strange gabbing people slid out of these holes like worms, reaching, but the little old man, who was evidently a little old man of some stature, embraced his find possessively and shouted them back inside.
The path narrowed as they climbed.
At its summit spread the upscale end of the neighborhood. Hero was led to a hovel nestled amid dozens of similar hovels, all scattered around a dainty stream wending between patches of stunted vegetation.
The old man’s place was basically a one-room hut fashioned of earth and salvaged boat hulls, with a slender side-yard surrounded by dry, dusty hedges. But inside it was clean and tidy, with rice paper partitioning and, built into the far earthen wall, a miniature stone fireplace. The old man sat his guest in the exact center of the room. There he fed him scraps from his bowl, using long sticks to pluck out bits of fish and clumps of tiny, starchy white pellets.
He studied the brute closely, watched him chew, walked round and round him. He poked here. He pinched there.
And that night he lit a fire on his crushed-shell hearth.
Hero curled up on a mat where the gossip of flames could reach him. Nearby, at his delicate wicker table, the old man sat in semi-darkness, illuminated only from the waist down.
But his eyes were alive. They spat and darted as they reflected the fire’s light, and, when at last they’d begun to sputter, his scratchy little voice came pattering out of the dark, muttering something vile and oddly modulated, sometimes in a whisper, sometimes in a gathering snarl.
Hero feigned slumber, unable to ignore those paired ominous flashes. Still, the room was cozy, and the fire warm, and the play of light and shadow kicked sleep in his eyes.

In the morning he woke in the old man’s side-yard, his head pounding, a rusty iron clamp securely fastened around his neck. This clamp was attached to the outermost link of a crude three-foot chain, and the link at the other end to a long stake driven into eight inches of solid rock. The chain and stake, like the clamp, were hammered of local iron. The clamp was too tight for comfortable swallowing, the chain too short to make standing possible. Hero could, however, spread out on his chest and stretch an arm to a low row of hedges. By parting the tangled undergrowth he had a limited view of the fishing village below, and of the harbor beyond. As the days passed he was able to tweak himself a view-space discernible only from his peculiar vantage. He accomplished this by gently breaking small branches strategically, then guiding their interrupted growth with the utmost tenderness. It was his secret garden.
He had no memory—none whatsoever—of being staked here. Obviously the old man hadn’t set this up overnight. Hero’s mind prodded timidly…how many others had been chained to this spot, and why?
But over the subsequent weeks and months he went beyond caring. Each day was the same:  just after dawn the old man would storm into the tiny side-yard swinging his reed whip wildly. The lashings were savage and unremitting. The old man, except for his eyes, would be mute. Only his whip need speak. And the snap of his reed had but one message:  when you see this whip you go down, and you go down immediately.
The naked savage, scarred head to foot, learned to go prostrate on the moment. Even so, the old man couldn’t resist the temptation to indulge in the occasional good old, all-out thrashing. And after each session he would toss the prisoner a vile mess of dead fish and rotting leftovers.
Hero lived like this for many months, lost in a confused world of pain and anticipation. Perversely, he came to look forward to the bite of that whip, for, whether he flogged him in passion or just for sport, the old man was always sure to make it personal. It seemed their relationship might go on forever.
But one day there was a great commotion in the sleepy little fishing village. Hero parted the leaves and beheld a small train of oblong coaches at rest near the harbor. Large oxen yoked in pairs lolled between the carriages, immune to the clamor around them. There were dark shaggy horses and colorfully dressed Bactrian camels. The horses and camels were tethered in the rear, but were occasionally paraded around the carriages by little men wielding long painted bamboo poles. The whole affair was exotic and mesmerizing, eccentric and profane. Hero watched all day in amazement, infected by the hubbub, though he was totally mystified by the crowd’s fascination on the carriages’ far side.
And late that afternoon he saw the old man come walking out of that crowd, talking heatedly with another man. The stranger was shorter and broader than the old man, with long stringy hair and long stringy mustaches. He saw them climbing the path, saw them crawl inside a hole lashing furiously. They were lost from view for a minute, then popped up big as life. Hero glowed and curled up eagerly as they approached.
The old man and stranger came into the narrow side-yard still arguing. The old man grabbed Hero by the hair and twisted until he was facing the newcomer.
The stranger had oily, porous skin, and a round but grave countenance. His highly slanted eyes were bright and restless. He studied Hero’s mutilated face with keen interest before borrowing the old man’s reed. When Hero scraped at his feet he grunted and returned the reed.
The stranger pulled out something shiny and hefted it in his hand. He then raised his other hand while considering Hero, as though weighing him too. The old man’s eyes glinted, and for an instant his expression became grotesquely servile. The stranger and old man, facing, nodded curtly in unison. The stranger dropped the shiny thing onto the old man’s itching palm. The old man whipped Hero frantically before taking a small ax to the chain. A few hard blows split a link, the broken link was bent back by the tool’s shaft, and the prisoner was at last released.
The old man handed the stranger a short hempen rope. The stranger bowed deeply. He then tied an end of the rope through one of the remaining links and began dragging Hero along. Hero’s hands sought the old man, who kicked and cursed him all the way to the path. The three stumbled single-file to the bottom. The old man waved his arms and shouted hysterically, trotting behind until he ran out of breath. But he got in a final kick and, before he came to a gasping halt, managed to lash Hero once for old time’s sake, and to spit on him twice for luck.

There were five carriages; a long one in the center hitched to four oxen, and two smaller coaches in the front and rear with a pair of oxen on each. The carriages were old and battered, built of splitting wood slats and rusted iron braces. Various hides, spare wheels, and a hundred odds and ends were tied to the sides and roofs. Hero’s new master, using him as a ram, shoved him through the crowd to the long carriage. He hauled him up the single wood step and watched the crowd’s reaction. Children hid behind mothers, mothers hissed and jeered, men spat in that smashed, disgusting face.
Satisfied, Hero’s master twisted the rope tighter and dragged him through the hide flap that served as the carriage’s rear wall.
A strange ruckus began at their entrance.
Inside the carriage were bulky shapes and quirky movements, yet the immediate and overwhelming impression was one of unbelievable stench. Hero, instantly covered with flies, was kicked and shoved down a foot-wide aisle. The carriage’s walls were riddled with black flecks of old dried blood, the floor coated with standing *****, a variety of small carcasses, and some clinging, indefinable slime. But the living contents of this hell were so horrifying, and so unexpected, that Hero at once dropped to his knees. Observing this, master grabbed a whip off the wall and lashed him along the floor.
A number of bamboo cages lined either side of the carriage, each four feet high, four feet wide, and three feet deep. In the first cage to their left, a quadruple amputee dangled in a leather harness in a cloud of flies, jealously gnawing a chicken carcass balanced on his belly. The second cage held a man who had been burned over ninety per cent of his body, and the third a middle-aged woman with no eyes or tongue, her head shaved. The next cage housed a fully grown black leopard, its bright eyes fixed on the horrified newcomer. Then an empty cage, and finally a cage containing a demented man whose long yellow nails were busily raking a face deeply scarred and bleeding.
The first cage against the opposite wall held two girls rolling in their own excrement. Siamese twins unable to part, they had developed a unique method of locomotion, and now executed a three-quarters cartwheel in Hero’s direction, their mangled, severely bitten hands attempting to reach him through the bars. In the cage next to theirs a naked dwarf glowered menacingly, his eyes following coldly as Hero’s master shoved him down the narrow aisle, occasionally pausing to lash a cage. The hissing and howling increased as each prisoner beheld the new neighbor.
The third cage held an intensely sick adult Bornean sun bear, so confined it was entirely unable to move. Its hide was a patchwork of scraggly fur and grayish skin, glistening with odd eruptions. It rolled its sunken eyes in Hero’s direction, its muzzle twitching feebly.
The next cage contained a man who was frightfully diseased. Broad fungal patches covered his face and limbs, terminating in waxy folds that dangled like a rooster’s wattles. Welling sores spotted his chest and back. His eyes were bugged and sallow; his lower lip drooped below his chin. He barked wetly at Hero’s passing legs.
The second-to-last cage housed a rare, completely hairless Chinese albino, and the last cage a very tall, skeletal woman. The albino snapped at Hero while repeatedly banging his head against the cage. The woman hissed and coiled like a snake, her spine arching amazingly.
Master hauled Hero to the empty cage on his left, swung its door open with his foot, and forced him to his knees by pushing down with all his weight. He kicked and punched until Hero had been squeezed inside, then shut and secured the wide bamboo door.
Master inched his way back down the carriage, hammering the **** of his whip on each cage as he passed. There was a glimpse of daylight as he lifted the flap.
Once he’d departed, the carriage grew eerily silent.
Hero cautiously turned his head. Less than a foot away, the black leopard was frozen in place, one paw waving hypnotically in his face. The beast’s fangs were bared, its ears straight back, its eyes glistening. Hero turned ever so slowly, until he was looking into the eyes of the demented man in the final cage. The man cocked his head quizzically. A second later he was screaming his lungs out in a bizarre downward spiral.
At once the carriage erupted. The freaks shrieked and scrabbled, the leopard spun in place. Directly across the aisle, the albino hurled himself against the bars of his cage. He batted his face with his fists, threw back his head, and just howled and howled and howled. The snake woman curled even tighter, her long scrawny legs entwined behind her head.
Hero sat with breath held, absolutely silent, absolutely motionless. He very, very slowly closed his eyes.

Later that night the flap was flung high. The menagerie came alive as master, weirdly illuminated by moonlight, slowly made his way down the aisle carrying a skin sack oozing blood. He stopped at each cage to toss in a dying chicken and a handful of smelt.
When he reached Hero’s cage he looked down thoughtfully.
He extracted a quivering chicken and held it above the cage so that blood dripped on the brute’s deeply pleated forehead. Hero lowered his eyes. Master’s face darkened. He smashed the bird against the cage, over and over, a vein throbbing in his temple. Finally he hissed and displayed the limp chicken high over the albino’s head. The albino yelped and kicked, thrusting his hand up between the bars and jerking it back to lick away the blood rolling down his forearm.
Master eyed Hero coldly before pointedly dropping the chicken into the albino’s searching hands.
Master hissed again. He slowly made his way out.
Soon there was a commotion outside. The carriage rocked a bit before settling. Hero, turning in his cage to peek through a rift in the wood, saw horses being urged forward. He could hear men shouting. The carriage rocked again. He looked up and saw the gibbous moon suspended in mist. For just a second something wedge-shaped cut across its soft white face.
But then the oxen were grunting, the wheels had been freed, and the horses drawn abreast. Master’s lash spat left and right, and the show proceeded…west.

                                              MA­STER

She was very round and very small, with very short, very shaggy black hair. Her arms bore the scars of numerous bites from beast and man, and around her neck ran long wheals from a particularly savage owner. Hero, having spent the better part of the morning watching master storm in and out of a strange screaming house, now watched him drag the little round woman through the dirt. For a while he listened to the song of his master’s lash, waiting for the woman to break. But there was never a whimper.
It had been a difficult transaction for master, and an altogether difficult morning. For hours he’d paced up and down the main carriage, alternately murmuring affectionately into, and lashing at, each cage he visited. The sun bear, long dead and stuffed, had been taken outside for barter. It had soon been returned.
Master had lingered over Hero’s cage for a good while, staring critically. He’d begun shouting, and three of his men had burst in through the flap, unlatched the demented man’s cage, and dragged him out by the feet for trade, master personally stomping on his torn and groping hands.
And now master was kicking and shoving the little woman down the aisle as his men restrained her by the hair and throat. Upon master’s command these men stripped her naked and commenced pinching and slapping while making threatening faces and mocking noises. The freaks sat right up in their cages.
The woman looked as though she’d fainted:  her arms were lax, her eyes rolled up. Her whole face seemed to purse, and her body, head to toe, began to run blue. Her fingers quivered, arched, and clawed—the woman was self-asphyxiating. Master fairly leaped with delight while the cages rocked around him. He had the men slap her awake. Once she was fully conscious they stuffed her into the demented man’s old cage next to Hero’s.
Master then looked in eagerly, one to the other, his hands balled into fists. The woman buried her odd round face in her forearms as she squeezed herself into her cage’s deepest corner. Hero gazed indifferently and went back to his peephole.
Master exploded. He smacked and kicked the cages over and over, swore up and down, ran the shaft of his whip back and forth against the heavy bamboo bars. Eventually he calmed somewhat. He stared coldly at Hero, made a ***** smile, and spat right in his eyes. A tense minute passed. Master slowly made his way outside.
Hero automatically relaxed. Across the aisle the albino ****** his face between his cage’s bars to sniff the newcomer. The leopard, bobbing rhythmically, emitted a high-pitched squeal that gradually descended to a steadily throbbing growl.
Hero looked the stranger over. Once she’d lowered her hands he saw that her eyes were crossed, her jaw slack, her face as round as the full moon. He looked closer. There were scars all over her throat and arms:  plainly, the small round woman had been treated very badly. Hero instinctively slid a foot between the bars; the woman cried out and scrunched even deeper. Across the aisle the albino quickly extended an arm. Without knowing why, Hero turned on him. The albino flinched, his eyes tearing into Hero’s. A second later he was stamping his feet and grinning wildly. Hero went back to his peephole.
Next morning master and two of his men dismantled the bamboo walls separating Hero’s and the woman’s cages. They bound the frames with broad leather bands, making a single cage of the two.
A common door was fashioned and secured. Master used his broad blade to shear away Hero’s rags. The men hunched around the long cage expectantly.
The naked couple backed away. Master was instantly exasperated—he shouted, lashed furiously, stamped and screamed, jabbed a broken shaft between the bars with malevolent intent, whirled and hurled the shaft at nothing. The carriage’s inmates went out of their minds. At master’s bellowed command a man scurried outside, returning with a long rope of woven leather strands. Master opened the cage and, applying all his weight, pinned Hero and his new mate in an awkward embrace while his men tied them together.
Again master and his men bent over the long cage to watch.
When Hero realized his predicament he made a desperate attempt to reach his peephole.
The men, misreading his struggles, babbled and cheered, but master threw up his hands. He then, through gesture, ordered his men to drape a number of hides over the long cage. Once these hides were in place he very quietly bent to one knee and placed an ear against the cage. After a while he cursed and rose to his feet. He shook the cage and stormed out, whipping and kicking the howling inmates.
In the semi-darkness the man and woman quit fighting their bonds.
A muffled patter began on the hide-covered roof.
Rain, as always, had a calming effect on the carriage’s occupants, causing the freaks and beasts to slip, one by one, into lethargy or slumber. Under such a spell, the attainment of master’s goal was inevitable.
It was a coupling both innocent and vile, without passion or celebration. Occasionally the freaks would surface, register their excitement by shrieking, shaking their cages, or otherwise clamoring…but very quickly the air would stifle them, weighing their heads and confusing their impulses. The atmosphere grew heavier by the minute. And, when night rolled over the carriages, the rain came down in sheets.

Leaning ******* the woman’s cage, master slipped his gnarly hand between the bars and slowly rubbed her belly in a counter-clockwise motion, his sinister features soft in the candle’s light. And he told, in nonsensical cooing whispers, of a lovingly secure and impossibly prosperous future.
How large and promising that belly had become! And how wise was he, the cunning and aggressive master, in his far-reaching business decisions. He turned his affection to the motionless gaping brute; stroked the battlefield of its face, tossed in another lizard. Master rubbed his palms together. From now on it was extra lizards daily, for both the woman and her mate. He remarked, with only passing interest, his star player’s continuing indifference. They didn’t know each other, didn’t need each other.
There’d been months of shows on the road now, broken only recently by this sensible rejoining of the mates at conception.
Hero’s horrible disfigurement was unquestionably top draw; he was a guaranteed crowd pleaser at every stop. So now master looked him straight in the eyes and smiled. He held the reeking candle high. The carriage was absolutely silent. Master smiled again, rose to his feet, tiptoed away.
Hero watched him retreat until the flap had fallen. He returned to his peephole, saw master round the rear of the carriage and slowly crunch by. For a time he could see nothing but the half-shapes of junipers bathed in starlight. There was a tentative movement to his right and a large shape came to obstruct his view.
The horse stood for a minute in profile. It slowly brought its head to rest against the carriage, applying its eye to the peephole. Hero froze. The two remained fixed, eyeball to eyeball, while a breeze played odd tunes on the outer wall’s hanging paraphernalia. The horse’s big dark eye rolled nervously. A long moment passed. Slowly the horse backed off. It stood uncertainly for a while, staring at the peephole. Then it quietly moved away.

Master kicked the cages one by one, left hand and right, as he slowly made his way down the aisle. Into each cage he delivered a personalized warning in passing—a growl, a hiss, a bark—but he was quickly losing control. Animal electricity hopscotched the carriage, cage to cage, ceiling to floor, front to rear and back again. Master froze. Much more of this excitement, he feared, could seriously agitate the woman—with grave consequences for master.
She was splayed on her back, in labor’s throes, her ankles and wrists bound to the long cage. Hero had been removed to give her room, and now sat hunched atop the snake woman’s cage, two men holding him by the throat and legs.
Master gnashed and snarled, listening to the woman scream, watching her stupid round head bounce up and down and back and forth. He knew it! He’d been suckered, hoodwinked, scammed—ripped off like a common rube. The woman was too ******* to handle even something as natural as childbirth. Still…it was too late to second-guess himself—all these months he’d been patient—he’d been supportive and vigilant and now he would not be denied. He flogged one of the men to alleviate his tension.
The blue lady was very slowly, very dramatically arching her spine. Master wiped the sweat from his eyes. When the bars were pleating her big round belly, her shoulders began drumming on the straw-strewn floor.
Master screamed one very colorful expletive.
A razor silence came over the carriage. Not a body moved or breathed.
At last two men tiptoed around their purpling master and leaned into the cage. One obediently ****** a foot between the bars. He pushed ******* her right knee while using a hand to grip the left knee, spreading her legs wide. The other man drew a broad leather strap between her teeth. After lifting the woman’s head he pulled the strap behind her neck, knotted it to make a gag, and yanked a skin sack over her face. He looked up anxiously. Master licked his lips and nodded. The man made a fist and frantically punched the woman’s face until her muffled screams ceased. She moaned gently throughout her contractions.
Master genuflected, brought a spitting candle in tight, and took a deep breath. As he raised his hand the candle’s light bounced off his knife’s chipped and scored eleven-inch blade. Master swore and reached down carefully. He flicked his wrist twice and the menagerie went mad.

The child was a tremendous disappointment.
Master had eagerly anticipated an infant ******* and deformed; something embracing the best qualities of its parents. He had even designed a special cage that could be expanded by degrees as the spawn developed. There also remained the tantalizing option of a family display, though such an undertaking would require the eventual construction of a structure even larger than the cage its parents now shared. Master anguished over the logistics, knowing it would break his heart to have to cut one of his jewels’ throats just to make room for a growing child. Nights he would slowly pace the carriage with all the possessiveness of a jealous suitor, one hand maneuvering a sputtering candle, the other tenderly rapping his whip’s **** against each visited cage.
But the boy was a flawless specimen; a beautiful, undemanding baby. From the moment master angrily tossed the placenta he felt cheated, even betrayed. He grimaced as it peaceably took to its mother’s breast, despite the surrounding horrors. Master hated it, immediately and entirely. The ****** thing was so docile it was almost charming. He drew his knife and was just reaching down, when an overwhelming sense of dread shook him like a rat in the jaws of a mastiff. Sweat poured down his squat, pig-tailed nape. He knew he would live to regret it, but decided to not cut the child’s throat right away. It was the oddest feeling. His knife hand had trembled for the first time in his life, and he had found himself momentarily contemplating right and wrong at the outset of a perfectly simple and commonplace procedure. That was it, then. His business instincts were letting him know there was a good, albeit unknowable, reason to let the sweet baby live. Master left the carriage anxiously, muttering in his ambivalence.
The boy grew to embody his worst expectations. Not only was it a poorly oriented child, clinging to its father rather than its master almost from the moment of weaning, but it soon proved a lousy draw with the patrons. Those who paid to view the child dangling in its special cage inevitably departed unsatisfied, some vocalizing, strangely, an acute sense of shame. So once again master entered the carriage with his knife hand steady, and once again he exited trembling, his heart in his throat and his soul in a whirl. He whipped the dwarf savagely before leaving. What place conscience in the mind of a businessman?
Soon as the boy could walk, master put him to work fetching and feeding. But the brat was slothful in his chores, preferring to hang around his family’s cage while staring wistfully at his father. For their part, the parents were wholly disinterested. Master would fume while Hero gazed for hours out his peephole—even as the mother lolled, perpetually ill. Sometimes that accursed woman’s condition riled poor master to no end. She could teeter at death’s door for months at a time, her body changing hues to the fascination of customers, only to bounce back with a hardiness that was of interest to no one. But at the peak of her performances the blue lady could really hold a crowd. Master produced an entire outdoors extravaganza around her:  within concentric rings of raging torches his men would slowly strip her naked before wild audiences, then allow the dwarf and albino to take her while the leopard strained against a gaily festooned chain. Master circulated his crew through the crowds to encourage his patrons’ cult-like behavior of breath-holding and fainting. No getting around it:  the customers were crazy about her—village to village, master’s Bactrian vanguard’s colorful robes shouted her approaching fame. And Hero’s popularity continued to soar. Many were the nights when master, pacing the perimeter, wondered just what devilry could have produced the lovely boy.
Overall, Hero remained his master’s favorite conceit and hottest property. Part of the little brute’s appeal was, of course, his exoticness. And certainly the ugliness arising from his deformity was compelling…but there was a detachedness about him that fascinated every soul with a fistful of copper cash coins. Whether they ****** him, cudgeled him, or spat in his face, he remained unflappable, staring only at the aching sky. Though many would leave uneasy, master noted with deep satisfaction that they almost invariably returned.
The boy soon evinced an amazing affinity for animals. No matter how agitated an ox or horse became, the child could pacify it with one hand on a lowered brow. This was a source of endless fascination for the crew. Wagers were made. The boy was pitted against oxen whipped to a frenzy. But they would not harm him; they would rather go prostrate and take the lash. Master tried to work this knack into a viable act, but his patrons just weren’t buying. They wanted freaks.
When the lad was a mere five years old, master had him trained in the peripheral art of the pickpocket. The boy worked well alone, and had all the makings of a fine little flimflam artist. Master sighed, his chronic nightmares a thing of the past. As ever, his business instincts were guiding him well.
Then late one afternoon he found the boy squatting outside his parents’ cage. The boy had done the unthinkable:  he had deposited his day’s pickings at the feet of his father instead of bringing the ***** to master. Master flew into a rage and raised his whip to give the little traitor the lashing he deserved. But before he could deliver a single stroke his other hand shot to his chest and he staggered back against the albino’s cage. He blinked down at the boy, who regarded him steadily while scooping the plunder into a little pile.
From that day on the boy placed whatever he could get his hands on at his father’s feet. As time passed he became ever more adroit at thievery, growing into a youngster both admired and despised by master and his crew; admired because theft was a cinch for him, despised because they were all that much lighter in their possessions.
Now, for eleven long years the strange little train had bounced along, sometimes camping outside villages for months, occasionally pausing on connecting roads. The show traversed the heart of Manchuria, skirted the Gobi in the north, and so eventually crossed almost the entire width of Mongolia before proceeding north to the confluence of the rivers Yenisey and Ob’. Much silver and copper had come to master’s coffer, much fame to his name, but he now sat looking over a vast, unmapped Siberian wilderness. The mostly nomadic characters they’d been encountering spoke in tongues unfamiliar even to his personal valet-translator-accountant, and the tone of these nomads had been unmistakably hostile.
Master huddled surlily under a canopy of sopping hides. Night was falling hard during a merciless rain, the wind was picking up, and his supplies coach was bogged in a growing sea of mud. At that moment he accepted the whole end-of-the-line concept, and knew he wasn’t going anywhere but back. And when he got back he was going to shine! He jumped from the coach.
The earth took his weight for a heartbeat—and he was up to his chin in muck, splashing about on his hands and knees, sliding forward on his palms and toes. He did a belly flop into a rain-filled depression and churned to his feet with the devil in his eyes. Wallowing in mud and bile, master stomped to the supplies coach and kicked wildly at the stuck rear wheels.
Somewhere between kicks he lost it completely.
Master broke for his whip. One minute he was blindly lashing his men, the next he’d succumbed to a mindless ferocity. He thrashed about like a berserker; whipping the beasts, the coach, the very night. His men were scarcely able to move in all that mud, but their dread of his savagery kept them hopping. They gathered as one and shoved the coach recklessly; slipping, splashing, shouting. A minute later, three lay splayed underfoot, but the mired wheel had been freed.
Throughout all this the oxen had swayed nervously, while the horses softly tramped their hooves in place. Master had his men turn the oxen about until the rickety train was pointing dead east. He checked the hitches and personally applied the lash. The oxen didn’t budge. Master swore and wiped the rain from his eyes. He had the horses hitched ahead of the oxen, but they were even less obliging. Master flew into a spectacular rage. His men, fearing for their lives, ran liberally with the lash.
The swaying of oxen picked up until the entire train of carriages was rocking. Yet the oxen could not, would not be compelled, under any amount of prodding, to take an eastward step. Master looked around in exasperation.
The night had gone insane.
Horses were fighting hitches, oxen walking on fire.
Master cursed the rain and mud and lashed all the harder. His men, seeking to please, whipped maniacally until the horses and both lead oxen broke their hitches and bolted west. The men immediately embraced the rear oxen, but the hitches shattered and the beasts stormed off. The remaining horses blew it, kicking at everything and nothing.
Inside the long carriage all was chaos. The albino was neighing and screaming, the aged leopard spinning in its cage. Hero stared out his peephole, amazed at the blur of figures stumbling by in the rain.
A pair of clopping blows rattled the opposite wall. Three slats cracked. A tremendous impact, and a huge section collapsed. A thrashing, hysterical mare burst through the breach in a veil of rain.
The horse went mad, killing the albino and snake woman in a flurry of hooves. She fell ******* the near wall, crushing the cages. The leopard shot into the air like a rocket, slashed at the mare’s throat and vanished in the rain. The horse reared above the family cage. She was just coming down in a wheeling storm of hooves when something made her freeze. Her stare locked with Hero’s, and a second later her eyes were rolling in their sockets. The mare kicked crazily and came down ******* her left flank, smashing the long cage’s side. She whirled upright and leaped outside.
For a tense minute the family sat in the rubble, rain bombarding their eyes. Nothing in their years of captivity had prepared them for such a situation. But by the end of that minute the son had taken full command. He rolled onto his back, braced himself, and kicked his parents across the aisle, through the remnants of the opposing cage, and out of the carriage. They all fell about in the mud and rain. To the west, the mare stared back strangely as she splashed into the night. The boy wedged himself between his parents, threw his arms around them, and pushed with all his might. Their bodies found a common center of gravity. Fumbling drunkenly, the family staggered through the rain in the wake of the mare.

The boy was the natural leader.
Master’s innocent-looking little ex-student could quickly assess and exploit almost any situation. He did the foraging and the figuring, slept with one eye open and one fist ready. He got what he wanted by charm or by stealth, slipping off at nightfall, returning at daybreak with small slaughtered animals and chunks of dark peasant bread. He also pilfered any bauble or oddity he could get his paws on, to be placed reverently at his father’s mangled feet. Breadwinner and watchdog, he faithfully held the family together; a nuclear son. He sewed hardy feather-lined cloaks of reindeer hide, and turned a cache of marmot pelts into a kind of side-slung backpack. He was doting nurse during his mother’s episodes, and unbending apportioner of calories in lean times. Dauntless when it meant crossing mighty rivers, relentless when it came to finding mountain passes. But the endless marching, the unreliable diet, and the countless predators made the three wanderers lean, haggard moving targets. There were times when the little lamp of family was all but extinguished, and long stands in places that seemed absolutely impassable. Still, the boy would work things out. He would stoop to any level to feed Hero, and for a stranger to threaten his father was to summon a psychotic, unyielding monster. He was both spear and shield.
The toughest job of all was maintaining a tight unit, meaning he was forced to become a hard-nosed ******* whenever his father was ready to wander off, which always seemed to be whenever the mother was hurting most. She’d become a tremendous impediment to Hero’s compulsion, and therefore her son’s chief nemesis. It wasn’t a big-picture concern anyway; the writing was on the wall. The blue lady’s attacks were increasing spectacularly on the steppe; her world had always been an enclosure of some kind, and the great horizon was proving just too much. Perhaps these intense affairs served as links to Hero’s suppressed memories, for at the onset of each attack he’d turn and hike, and then only exhaustion could curb him. The boy would press his mother on, dragging, shoving, and smacking—he could be mean when necessary, and though circumstances had made him the nucleus, their worlds unquestionably revolved around Hero. Where he sat, they sat. When he rose, they did the same. In this manner they marched for years across the vast steppes, single-file—father, mother, and son, respectively—unmolested, lacking possessions, always following the sun. Long before they could be measured they had drifted into obscurity.
The woman’s end came quickly and dramatically, in a rocky little depression on a half-frozen field. One moment she was responsive to her son’s prompts, the next she was flat on her back, her eyelids fluttering. That night she leapt from fever to chill, from alertness to stupor. The boy, squatting beside their campfire, watched her face and hands run cadaver-blue to fish belly-pale and back again. While he was staring her eyes popped open and her hands came scrabbling. He sweated through the clawing embrace until he could bear it no longer. He oozed out and ran down to fetch his father.
When they got back Hero watched incuriously for a while. His mate’s face was scrunched up and her skin the color of sapphires. She wasn’t breathing.
His gaze became glassy, his eyes returned to the night. As he rose the boy immediately grabbed an arm. Neither moved for minutes. When the boy at last relinquished, his father casually stumbled off.
Strange things were going on in Hero’s world. Some days he would notice how animals regarded him oddly, in a manner that seemed almost personal. He found, for instance, that particular creatures were recognizable even over great distances. A number of times he would sit with one in a stare-down, waiting patiently, until the animal’s natural disposition caused it to bolt. Though the meaning of these encounters was way over his head, he would watch, and he would listen.
In time he noticed an increasing skittishness in some of these familiar creatures. Something had them spooked. He then observed a number of lean gray wolves moving in and out of the picture with an air of complete indifference:  these wolves weren’t hunting; they were loitering—lounging in the grass, lackadaisically padding to the rear, filing by slowly in the distance. Once in a while a lounger would raise its head, yawn cavernously, and drop back out of sight. So unobtrusive was their behavior that even Hero’s ever-vigilant son began to take them for granted. They paused where the family paused, and halted whenever the woman broke down. Perfectly camouflaged by the gray boulders and dire sky, they were completely forgotten in the drama of her passing.
There were other, far subtler events existing for Hero’s senses alone. He could perceive patterns in everything around him; in the manner vegetation gave way wherever his heart was leading, in the way so many animals appeared to be not merely mirroring, but making his course. And wind, rain, running water:  these phenomena had voices. Yet not for everybody. No one—not his mate, not his son, not another soul on the planet could hear this call, for they were all of a sort. They were static, they were temporal. Hero couldn’t have cared less about the lives of his family, or about the mundane goings-on in the encampments and small tribes they skirted. Such beings lived in a world that was defined by the moment. They shouted, they banged, they clamored.
But west—west was music.
For his boy, once again watching Hero shamble off, the moment of truth had arrived. He looked back down, at his mother’s death mask being remade by the dying light of their campfire. As the flames dwindled he could have sworn he saw shadows creep into the wells of her eyes, while others, crawling up around her jawline, drew her bluing lips like purse strings. He hopped to his feet and ran for another handful of tinder. When their little fire provided enough light he dropped to his knees and looked again.
She was sinking right before his eyes, every aspect of her expression in collapse. The boy watched clinically, fascinated. As the flames began to sputter he thought he could see large purple bruises spreading across her cheeks like the seeping limbs of overflowing pools. He bent closer.
From deep in the night came the longest, the leanest, the saddest wail he’d ever heard. He turned to see the starlit ghost of his father, facing away, staring at a low barren hill. Uncountable stars embroidered the spot. The boy made out a low shape moving along the hilltop, cutting off patches of stars as it passed.
The wolf howled again; a mournful, spiraling cry to nowhere and nothing. Hero’s head notched upward. He began to hike.
Halfway to his feet the boy stopped dead.
It took a minute to sense why he’d frozen in place, and a good while longer for his heart to quit pounding. He was aware of a nervous padding, and, once his vision had adjusted, of a lazy stream of eyes gleaming in the dying campfire’s light. The eyes bobbed around him, glared momentarily, returned to the ground.
A massive gasp, and his mother was tearing at his wrist. He watched her hyperventilating, saw her bulbous yellow eyes sinking in a wide violet pool. With a sizzle and pop the last tongue of flame was taken by the night.
Then her clammy hands were all over him, pulling and demanding, caressing and beseeching. He had to pry them off like leeches, had to place them clasped on her shuddering arched belly.
A silky snarl rose almost in his ear.
With a little squeal he sprang to his feet, even as something nearby jumped back in response.
The boy stood absolutely still while the panting thing padded nearer. They stood very close, smelling each other. He instinctively extended a hand, palm forward. But it was no good; his arm was shaking out of control. The snarl rose again, not so tentatively this time. His mother’s nails tore at his ankle.
The boy gently stepped away, only to find himself surrounded by the shifting silhouettes of half a dozen gray wolves. They approached in a calculated manner:  two from the left, one from the right, another from behind. He was being goaded away from his mother; he could hear her fists beating the ground, and a few seconds later the sounds of a nauseating assault and ravaging.
He shakily raised his other hand. Now both arms were extended, and their message was clearly one of defense rather than control. Two snapping wolves stepped aside, leaving him a gateway into the night. A cold wet nose bumped his wrist.
Screaming like a woman, he took off after his father just as fast as his feet would carry him.

                                                  BOY

Alon­g the great Kazakh Steppe a man could wander a lifetime and never meet another of his kind—especially if his kind happened to be Alaskan Inuk, and if he happened to be the teenaged patriarch of a two-man family going nowhere.
Here history is mostly mute.
Upon this continent-spanning steppe, unnamed communities were scattered and rebuilt, lives blown about by the wind. The only centers of humanity a traveler might encounter, far removed from the Silk Road at the very crack of the new millennium, were temporary encampments of civilization at its rudest—shifting holes of cutthroat commerce existing solely for the barter of silk and spices and hapless souls. Life here was revered far less than merchandise, and the longest-lived men were those who kept their distance.
Hero and his boy hiked over permafrost and tundra for years; their meandering course a drunken mapmaker’s scrawl. Chronological entries along this imaginary line would reveal that they’d stopped, sometimes for months at a time, when the father had grown too weak and disoriented to continue. Hero’s internal compass was long-sprung, and his weight had fallen considerably. He’d sit on his lonesome, scarecrow-scrawny, wistfully scrolling a 360-horizon while his boy scouted and scavenged. Then, for no apparent reason, he’d just up-and hike—sometimes northwest, sometimes along a tangential plane that always threatened to spiral. It was brutal:  winters were frigid, summers, by odd contrast, running steamy to baking. Season by season these marches lost their tenaciousness, and eventually their heart. Hero’s obsession was becoming his demise.
Now, to a hypothetical observer, the ratty pair of woolly camels materializing out of the rising August heat might have been mirages.
These beasts were novelties here, and pioneers, for they were way beyond their normal stomping grounds. They’d tramped for months with a mind-numbing monotonousness, a thousand miles and more; round the Urals to the south, and through the hard territory braced by the Volga and Voronezh, avoiding anything that even smelled of men. They’d been wild camels; ugly, ill-tempered, and unpredictable, until the boy tamed them by touch…but this new pattern was a literal change of pace…for weeks the frail little man and his dark teenaged son rose and fell with the animals’ rhythm, lulled by it, sick of it, dreaming of lands far removed from hoarfrost and peat moss. In this manner they were borne clear to present-day Belarus, whereupon the camels’ stupefying march began to quicken. Mile by mile they put on steam, until one day they reached a broad area distinguishable from its bracing terrain only by its many deep surface cracks. Here the camels’ behavior became erratic; they crouched at an angle while tramping, their long necks oscillating, their noses bobbing along the ground. Eventually they came upon a dingy pool nestled in a pebbly depression. The local brush surrounding this pool was situated like iron filings about a lodestone. The boy hauled back his camel’s neck and laid a hand on its brow. The brute slowed to a halt. The other camel imitated its partner, move for move. Simultaneously the animals dropped to their knees.
The boy jumped off, catching Hero as he fell. The camels stood watching stupidly as son maneuvered father, but after a while grew nervous and began tramping their hooves in time. They slowly stepped to the pool’s rim and knelt woozily, their noses poised just above the surface. Their whiskers danced on the pool’s face, their lids became heavy, their hindquarters quivered as they drank. Their nostrils, having fluttered in unison, remained agape. They appeared to be asleep.
The boy began filling skins.
The water was quite warm; he slurped a palmful and almost immediately felt intoxicated.
He flicked it off his fingers; the water was bad.
Three heads were now mirrored in the pool; the camels’ at ten o’clock and two o’clock, the boy’s at six. He watched their reflections continue to ripple, long after the pool had become still. His face, melting and firming, rapidly fluctuated between extremes of age, and between his own recognizable features and those of some…monstrosity. The effect was hypnotic. He felt his joints stiffen; his eyes became weak, his thoughts muddled…his face was irresistibly drawn to the pool’s surface, and for a moment he was in real peril of drowning. He ****** his head aside and creaked to his feet.
Where the camels had knelt were only the prints of their bellies and knees. In the distance they could be seen galloping all-out for the horizon, right back the way they’d come. The boy watched until they were swallowed by their dust, and when he turned around his father was long gone.
Now he knew it was all just a matter of time.
And sure enough, after eleven more days of feebly staggering along, Hero completely ran out of gas. The boy bundled him up in a shawl, like an old woman.
Sitting there, cradling an unresponsive man weighing less than eighty pounds, he couldn’t help but let his morbid fantasies run wild. He was now old enough to realize his father had at some time suffered severe head trauma, and honest enough to accept that the man was rapidly approaching a vegetative state. This understanding accompanied him like a shadow, and that night he questioned, for the very first time, his own convoluted rationale.
He was just beginning to sense that his will was not his own.
He built a semi-permanent camp west of the Desna and foraged in a tight spiral, always returning in a straight line. Some days he came back feeling uneasy, sensing another presence. Then it was every other day. It bugged him to no end. At last, when it became every day, he hauled his father to his feet and began a resolute march to the west.
Again he became anxious, and after only a dozen yards.
He turned slowly while hunching, certain something bulky had just dropped out of sight. Nothing looked suspicious, everything looked suspicious. He walked Hero some more, occasionally peering back over his shoulder. There was…something.
He whirled:  only masses of rock and high brush. Yet, when he really strained his eyes, he was sure, pretty sure, that he could make out a large crouching body continuous with the rocks. Heart in his throat, he began a slow steady creep, only to pause, positive the bulge, whatever it was, had shifted in response. The boy very gradually raised his arm until it was level with his eyes, faced the palm outward, and extended the arm parallel with the ground. He could almost feel some kind of current passing between his itching palm and…nothing. He walked over to Hero, stopped again. There’d been the subtlest sense of traction. The boy propped up his father in a cloud of flies and waited.
In a minute the bulge drew *****.
Out of the brush strolled a furry gray wild ***, her back inclined from countless weary miles; stretching her neck, pausing to nibble, taking her sweet time. Grungy as she was, she fit right in.
At the boy’s first casual step she immediately hit the dirt and remained flat on her belly, one big dark eye staring between her hooves. Another step, and her **** bunched up. The closer he got, the higher her rear end rose. When he was almost at arm’s length she sprang back and danced away, seeming to bound with delight. But not to the east, as she’d come.
To the northwest.
She backpedaled while the boy came on whistling and cooing, matching him step for step. But the moment he threw up his arms in resignation she spun round as though cued, dropped on her belly, and peered over her shoulder.
The boy was first to blink. This time he approached fractionally, keeping movements to a minimum. She rose just as carefully, sauntering northwest in reverse, and at the first sign of hesitation turned, dropped, and cautiously gazed back. The boy glared at that huge mocking **** and broke into a sprint. She easily danced out of reach, plopped down, and continued to stare.
He began hurling stones, with venom and with accuracy, until she’d scurried into the brush.
But on the way back to his father he could feel her tagging along.
Twenty feet behind she halted, looking bemused.
The boy nodded ironically. He walked Hero over, murmuring baby talk all the way, and firmly placed a palm on the animal’s muzzle once her breath grazed his fingers. She stroked his hand up and down with her whiskers, gave a kind of curtsy, and waited on her knees while he helped his father mount.
At Hero’s touch a shudder ran down her body. She stood up straight. Her eyes became set, her back absolutely stiff. She put down her head and began the long trek northwest, never once breaking stride.
It was an amazing march, an impossible feat. For a little over three days and almost four hundred miles she progressed like an automaton, driving herself without rest, without food or water.
After trotting alongside for an hour the boy climbed on and force-fed his father berries and smoked meat, his dark eyes constantly searching the countryside. Occasionally he’d see a run of red foxes to their left, watching intently, padding cautiously. Sooner or later they’d vanish, only to be replaced by a train of feline or equine pursuers. Packs approached and receded while, high overhead, flocks formed triangular patterns that continually broke up and reformed. There was a peculiar rhythmic quality to this ebb and flow that lulled his senses further. The boy shook his head to clear it, but his exhaustion was deeper than he’d supposed—even the brush appeared to be leaning northwest.
That first day he grew numb with the pace, and that night the relentless pounding of her hooves drew him into a miserable slumber. He wrapped his arms around his sleeping father and lay half atop. When he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer he tore strips from his skins, then looped his tied wrists round her neck, his ankles round her belly.
On the second day she was breathing hard, but her back was still high and she showed no signs of faltering. Her eyes remained focused on the ground dead ahead. She always sensed the best routes; finding mountain passes, fording wetlands.
But by the third day they could feel her ribs quaking against their legs. Her breath exploded as she marched, blood frothed and caked about her nostrils. Still she pushed herself on, her pace so steady it was almost metronomic.
On the fourth day her legs were gone. She veered and stumbled, shuddering every few paces. The boy hopped off for the umpteenth time and tried to bring her to graze, but she wouldn’t be turned. He ran behind her as she staggered along, unwilling, or unable, to rest.
At last a foreleg gave and she went down hard. Sobbing and snorting, she plowed her muzzle back and forth in the soil, the useless leg repeatedly pounding the ground. After a minute she raised her head and brayed at the sky, her neck muscles taut, her head slowly swinging side to side. Her cry went on and on.
With a tremendous effort she pushed herself upright and butted the boy aside. Every part of her body was shaking. From her depths a low moan grew to a steady bray, and finally to a wild, pulsing howl. She came to a rise, but was too weak to climb without sliding. Stamping in frustration, she managed a few feet, reared feebly, slid some more. The boy got behind her and applied his back; it took all he had to assist her almost to the top. With a desperate lunge she crashed on her belly.
Amazingly, she dragged herself on, her howl now a scream, her head whipping left and right. When she could pull herself no farther she ****** forth her neck to its very limit and, with a shudder that ran from the tip of her nose to the tuft on her tail, shoved her muzzle straight into the dirt and died.
The boy hauled off his father and fell back. The animal’s eyes were fixed upwards, seeming, even in death, to be straining for a glimpse of what lay just beyond the rise. The boy half-dragged Hero the last few yards. They collapsed at the top, and together looked over the cold Baltic Sea.

At water’s edge a haggard fisherman sat on his boat’s ravaged deck, blindly staring out to sea. His was a queer vessel; a family structure built more like an aft-cabined barge than like seacraft typical of that period. The fisherman’s boat, like his mind, had been abused beyond repair.
He’d lost much in his life. Time had taken his dreams, pox his face, hardship his back and shoulders. And, more recently, a brawling band of drunken Baltic pirates had ***** his wife and daughter before butchering them along with his two fine sons, while he sat helplessly bound to the mast. Finally, to further their delight, they’d set the boat aflame and sent it crackling against the sun; knowing he could hear their hoots and howls, knowing he would drift undead, accompanied only by this last unspeakable memory.
But a squall, without prelude, had doused the flames and blown his home ashore.
There he’d remained for a full long day, staring at nothing, his shattered life caught on the rocks. On the second day he’d worked himself free and commenced staggering about in his memories, gathering shards. It was a pathetic claim. He made a pile of all the old bedding and linen and usable cords, and set about sewing a sort of mementos sail. All that third day he had sewn, and on the fourth he had hoisted this sail and been moved to see it billowing in a northwest-blowing breeze. Again he just sat and gaped. And later that day he’d become aware of a commotion taking place on the long grade leading down to the water, where a writhing mass of seagulls was proceeding like a tremendous slow-motion snowball. He’d never seen anything like it. It wasn’t uncommon to find gulls in a group of many dozens or more, but there must have been two, maybe three thousand of the birds now swarming toward his boat. They were making an incredible racket. In the midst of this cloud could be seen a couple of slowly walking figures; as they neared he made out a small man accompanying a boy in his late teens, both dressed in odd skins. When they reached the rocks his eyes were drawn to the small man’s face. It was a foreign face, brutish and dark, with a deep cleft running from above the right temple to the jaw’s left side. Whatever instrument had felled this man had been devastating—everything in its path was smashed, and with permanence. The forehead was caved in. There was no bridge to the nose, the left cheek was completely collapsed, one side of the mouth was a mangled mess. The jaw itself had set improperly, so that it jutted to the side. The general impression, especially from a distance, was of some unforgettable circus freak’s countenance puckering at an angle. It was a face right out of a nightmare. But there was nothing frightening about the eyes. They were the eyes of a child.
Maybe half the gulls hopped screaming on the rocks. The rest circled overhead.
The boy considered the fisherman curiously before placing a foot on the charred deck. His gaze went around the boat, lingered on the makeshift sail, returned to the slumped figure. He passed a hand before the eyes. No response. He then leaned in close and placed his fingers on the man’s forehead. Immediately that bleak expression became fluid, brimming over with horror and heartbreak. Tears rolled down the fisherman’s cheeks as he gasped, shuddered, and backed up the scorched mast to his feet. Thus propped, he squinted at his visitors and was overcome by a wave of homesickness so strong he had to turn away. The feeling bewildered him, for this vessel, and this sea, were all the home he’d ever known. He clung to the mast while the boy helped his father board. Once he’d collected himself, the fisherman tore a heavy crossbeam from the toasted cabin. He and the boy used this as a lever, and together they shoved the boat off the rocks. The wind picked up nicely, and the little craft was swept across the water.
Exploding off the rocks, the gulls shot after the boat as if it were brimming with fish, the loudest and orneriest vying for favored positions directly overhead. The melee attracted additional gulls—they came shrieking in their hundreds from all sides, banking and calling in the oddest manner, until the mass grew so thick as to cast a permanent shadow on the boat. All day long the clamor continued, and all that night. The fisherman rolled with the rudder, listlessly, allowing the sea to control him. Eventually he let go, that the wind might bear them where it would. His sail ballooned but held firm, and the boat fairly zipped across a sea somehow smooth as glass, broken only by the vacillating ripples of bottleneck dolphins and migrating humpback whales. The three tiny sailors sat hunched together, motionless, all throughout the next day, until the black coast of Sweden loomed in the twilight.
As the boat neared land the cloud of gulls broke up, shot to shore, and landed in groups of a thousand and more; a dizzying, wildly uproarious reception committee.
The dung-covered boat slammed into the rocks, shattering the fisherman’s trance. He intuitively walked his **** up the mast and, swaying there, watched the boy draw his father over the side and lead him to a clearing at wood’s edge. There in the dusk he made out what appeared to be a hefty spotted runaway heifer hitched to a rickety wood wagon. He saw the cow gallop up to meet them, saw the boy look around warily, saw him help the little man into the wagon and climb in beside him. The animal immediately began picking through the woods, the large brass bell round her neck clanging forlornly.
The clarity of that bell made him realize just how quiet it had become. He craned his neck:  there wasn’t a gull in sight. He fell back against the shot mast and slid onto his tailbone with a clacking of teeth. His eyes were misting up. In the gathering dark a few sail fragments flew past and were ****** into the woods. The boat rocked and relaxed. After that there was only the sound of the receding bell’s sad, monotonous song being batted about by the wind.

The little cow strode through moonlit woods until she came to a path formed by the rutting of wheels over many years. She followed this broken, serpentine track throughout the night, and by morning was passing farms and, occasionally, crossing broader paths that might realistically be defined as roads. All day long she bore down that ragged track, until she came in late afternoon to a clearing near a village. Here many such tracks converged. And here the boy slipped away while she grazed.
Sometime after dark he returned with a load of straw, a couple of pilfered blankets, and a fat iron kettle. Crammed in this kettle were salt, tubers, cheese, a few loaves of rye, legumes, and a plump foot of lamb sausage. Most of this ***** he’d brought in tied to the bowed back of a huge, puffing, highly amenable black pig which, thus laden, now followed the boy’s every step like a fresh convert tracing the heels of the messiah. The boy built a fire under the stars, filled the kettle with creek water, and commenced simmering their dinner. While waiting, he couldn’t help but note an odd feature of the local flora:  plants, especially trees, all seemed inclined to a northwesterly disposition, though no amount of wind could account for it. He shooed the pig. But rather than run along, it backpedaled in a nervous circle, round and round in reverse, until it lost its balance and fell on its ****. There it remained, a yard behind the wagon. The boy fed his father and lined the wagon with straw. They settled in for the night. The boy must have nodded, might have dreamt, but while he was drifting he became aware of a stirring in the woods. He sat up, saw the pig’s eyes gleaming inches from his nose. And there were a number of animals, some wild, some strayed from farmsteads, arranged in a broad circle around the wagon, their eyes glinting with moonlight. Not a rustle, not a peep, was lifted from the woods.
In the morning he woke to find the pig still staring. The fidgeting heifer, impatient to roll, began her long day’s march while Hero and his boy were yet stretching and scratching, and the ******* pig, galloping heavily, fell in close behind. Each new day this routine was repeated. They banged past farms and small communities until the ruts intersected a broad rocky road wending halfway across the kingdom. The cow addressed this road with vigor. They picked up followers—a goat here, a couple of sheep there—which hurried after the wagon as best they could. The cow stomped on with resolve, mile after mile, day after day, her bell keeping steady time. That bell’s peal attracted foals, lambs, and kids into the wagon’s narrowing wake. Hares hopped between hooves and wheels, boars and blue foxes fell in and withdrew. White falcons, normally solo fliers, whirled into wedge shapes high overhead.
At night the entire train would camp on the road while the boy raided proximate farmsteads, always returning fully laden. And as soon as the fire died the colony grew, creature by creature, and the moment the sun broke the horizon the heifer came to life and moved on, but each day a bit more resolutely, as though straining to meet a deadline. The march took on a sense of real urgency. The cow pressed on with attitude, the clang of her bell more strident with each passing mile. Soon her followers numbered in the hundreds, as animals deserted their farms or crept out of the woods to tag along. Tillers and traders stood dumbfounded, amazed by the bizarre flow.
Once they’d crossed into Norway the frothing cow veered hard to the west. The pace really picked up; no longer were Hero and his boy afforded the luxury of a night’s sleep in one spot. Days blurred into a single variegated flow as the bashed and lopsided wagon continued building its entourage; the riders were surrounded dawn to dusk by a confused and confusing scurry. Word of the flow’s weirdness preceded it clear to the Norwegian coast, so that now plowmen and merchants, wearily gathering their goggling families, found themselves lined in anticipation along the king’s highway. Horsemen went pounding to and fro with news of the procession’s progress and particulars, children ran through the streets banging pots in imitation of the cow’s approaching bell. Livestock wheeled and stamped, fowl leaped and crashed.
The slobbering cow broke into a run.
Bystanders trotted behind, calling back and forth excitedly, while the wagon’s permanent following squealed and squawked between their heels. The cow made a hard turn onto a widening swath in the brush. This swath, seeming to strain against the soil, ran straight down to the crest of a low hill overlooking the Atlantic. On either side a crowd had been studying the phenomenon for some time, but now all eyes swung to the dark and disfigured man and his son, clinging to the disintegrating wagon behind the careening spotted cow.
The trailing people traded views as they ran. Most—at the very outset of the new millennium, with Christianity burgeoning throughout Europe—leaned to the miraculous. Others, just as superstitious but prone to a darker point of view, threw looks of horror at the deformed little man. Yet they ran no less eagerly.
The galloping crowd made for the seaside, where only one local event of any moment was brewing:  on the coast a Greenlander Viking was preparing his longship for the rough voyage home. Impetuous son of the great island’s first permanent European settler, he’d just been baptized in Olaf’s court, and was now eager to sail—but not as a warrior—as a missionary. While his spirit remained in a tug-o’-war between his father Erik’s will and that of gods old and new, his duty was clearly to his king. And Olaf had charged him with the Christianization of pagan Greenland.
Something on the wind now made this destined man turn his head. From behind the gentle hill to his rear came a kind of thunder. Heads popped up, followed by a confused explosion of voices, and seconds later a frantic bug-eyed heifer burst into view, dragging the wheel-less skeleton of a shattered wooden wagon. On the wagon’s splayed frame a man and teenaged boy clung for their lives as the spewing animal made a beeline for his ship.
The new missionary, still egocentric enough to assume his Maker might actually toss him a personal, surreptitiously rolled up his eyes. The sky yawned at his arrogance. At his side a smallish cowled man rose irritably, but the missionary sat him right back down. He then snorted, squared his shoulders, and signaled his men to halt their preparations.
Knowing it was expected, he gathered his hard Nordic pride and coolly made his way into the crowd.

The priest clung to port, gagging above the waves.
After a completely uneventful minute he leaned back and stared through tearing eyes at the distant backdrop of gathering mists. Weeks now…a man of his constitution had no business at sea.
Along, too, were a quirky little man and his fiercely devoted son.
Through his pantomime, the boy had been so persistent in begging their passage that refusal, under the circumstances, would have been unbecoming not only a man of God but a man of the world.
So there it was:  a priest who couldn’t hold his lunch, a witless eyesore who couldn’t sit still, and a surly teenaged protector who snarled at the first hard look. This crossing just had to be some kind of divine test—of mortal patience as well as moral values. Norsemen weren’t made for babysitting.
The mists condensed.
And the shifting shape became a hard familiar coast.
And the longship was mooring, and the crew were jostling and clambering, and the big missionary had booted off the haunted little freak and his hypersensitive son, and was condescendingly half-escorting, half-carrying, the green priest ashore.
And they were home.

Priest in tow, Leif quickly took up the Christianization of Greenland’s Western Settlement, as per Olaf’s command. The mangled little man and his son followed him around like dogs, slept outside his door and annoyed his visitors, ultimately proving far easier to adopt than to shake. Barely tolerable shadows…still, the lad was simply amazing with livestock…and though the youth’s useless father seemed time and again to be just begging for a whooping, his son’s presence bore some ineffable quality that always curbed the missionary’s hand. Several times he’d witnessed the father approached by settlers bent on abuse. Each time the boy had stepped in, and each time the troublemakers were mysteriously repelled. The missionary of course didn’t attribute any kind of celestial intervention to these episodes, and certainly the popular notion of devilry was a natural reaction to the pair’s outrageous exoticness, but…in the son’s company, and even under the sharp eyes of his fellow Norsemen, Leif more than once found himself oddly moved to protect the father. And so the deformed man and his boy day by day blent in—as village idiot and mystic guide. And when in time a ****** brought tales of an unvisited land to the west, it was only natural for the restless Greenlander to buy that ******’s boat and, before stalwart comrades, weary family, and whimsical God Almighty, reluctantly accept the eccentric father and son as sort of seagoing mascots.
Hero was from then on irrepressible. During preparations he would pipe and stammer in his half-mute way, brimming with a confounding anxiety that kept him underfoot and at odds with all. On frigid nights he perched on the westernmost rocks, moaning to the horizon in the strangest fashion while his son stood guard. He positively spooked the locals; they’d gossip, nervously and with bile, of an answering wind that came wailing off the sea like a banshee in labor. The whole island wanted rid of him. And when his champing beneficiary, still clinging to the notion of Christian charity, bundled him aboard with his son and a crew of thirty-five, not a single settler was sorry to see him go.
Almost from the moment they cast off everything went wrong, as all attempts to control the longship were met with some kind of unknowable countermanding force. Vikings were not renowned for passive resistance—they fought, squaresail and steering oar, leaning oarsman to oarsman, until the ship rocked on the waves like a bucking bronco. An erratic weather system pursued them, worsening dramatically at each minute variation in heading. The Norsemen doubled down, and when the clouds finally burst wide, the cowling sea went mad. Dervishes whirled about the hull, crisscrossing winds bedeviled the sail. Patches of kelp belonging to much warmer waters came heaving alongside, fouling the work of the oars, while far to the west a humongous fog bank formed, eradicating the navigable field. The lightning-streaked horizon was a throbbing gray slit.
The longship became locked in a slow westerly current.
Fatigued crewmen complained of headaches and hallucinations, and of a nasty, slightly metallic tang to the air. There were numerous walrus sightings; bobbing flippers and snouts amid drifting ice chunks that came prowling the North Sea like a circling pack of famished white wolves.
Worst of all was the boy’s father—instantly agitated by everything and nothing, prey to some primitive impulse that caused him to periodically incline his head, shudder to his feet, and loop his arms as though embracing the sky. Leif would watch him scrabbling at the prow like a cat at a tree, furs snapping in the wind. He’d watch the boy re-seat him for the hundredth time, and for the hundredth time be filled with an immense contempt. By now he’d acknowledged that it takes a special kind of strength to shoulder charity and tolerance. That brown little freak struck him as an enormous malformed barnacle, slowly working its way back up the prow. Trying so hard to go unnoticed, looking and listening so intently, though there was nothing to see other than the growing shelves of fog, and nothing to hear save the rising, almost hysterical voice of the wind.
Leif sniffed the air, his ******’s instincts nagging him. This was a foul current, and a fool's errand; he took a deep breath and tentatively ordered the longship brought about.
The ship kicked twice, as though an enormous submarine hand had seized and released the hull.
A whirl formed in the water, causing the keeling ship to sweep around like a clock’s second hand. All about them, those drift-ice ghosts cruised dangerously near.
But they’d been liberated from that accursed current. Leif fiercely urged on his rowers, and at last the ship broke free. They made a bead due north.
Night came and the temperature plummeted.
Small sheets of ice converged, drifting between the hunks. The Norsemen, instinctively huddling amidships, passed out one by one in a massive pile of fur and flesh. In the freezing silence the floes bumped and recoiled, bumped and gathered, bumped and bonded. The tiny ship, swallowed whole, was dragged along in a labyrinth of black sea and interlocking slabs of ice.

The Norsemen came to in a surly, foul-smelling heap, lost at sea. While they were still groggy a voice cried out that a darker patch was developing in the fog. The men all fell to port. Under the confusion of their voices could be heard a distant rumble.
At this Hero hauled himself up the high curved prow. A half-light began to penetrate the fog, barely illuminating the irregular faces of drifting ice. The missionary stormed forward and indicated by gestures that if the boy didn’t restrain his father he would have the man tied down.
The longship stopped dead in the water.
The men found themselves regarding a perpetually frozen coastline swathed in bluish veils of mist. Directly before them loomed an immense ice cliff hundreds of feet high. Rising beyond this cliff were endless snow fields, where lean violet shadows seemed to drag about of their own volition. And upon those bleak fields a thin howling wind prowled, kicking up brief white dervishes, leaving a strange zigzagging signature.
Even as they stared, a darker shadow high on the ice cliff’s glistening face began to widen, accompanied by a cracking sound that could be felt before it was heard. With the illusion of slow-motion, a stupendous chunk broke out of the cliff and came screaming toward the sea. It hit the water like a bomb. The thunder of its separation and the explosion of its impact took a moment to reach them. Then, out of a spewing crater of crests and spume, the new calf came lunging, tromping the sea so hard the longship, fully a mile to sea, was swept out and ****** back in like a cork. The floundering mountain of ice bobbed and lilted, generating huge waves which continued to rock the ship long after the monster had settled. In a while the roaring in their ears subsided and there remained only the swirling, nerve-wracking howl of the wind.
The missionary’s eyes swept left and right. Whatever this place was, it sure wasn’t the fair shoreline he’d been promised. Hero again scrambled up the prow, and Leif again yanked him down. This time he made good his threat; he had the little nuisance bound, though he was half-tempted to let him take his chances overboard.
From somewhere deep in the haze grew a soulful, otherworldly call. It went on and on, electrifying the air, bottoming out once the ship had merged with that previously fought westerly flow.
By now Leif’s nerves were shot. He ordered the oars raised.
The longship began to drift. Ship and ice were pulled due west.
The clouds fell far behind as the ship embarked upon an amazingly calm sea—so calm its entire visible surface was featureless except for the faint wakes provided by the ship and its hulking ice companions. To the east a huge fog bank appeared on the horizon, and a while later a smaller bank to the north. Then a very dense one to the south. In time these banks converged, imperceptibly becoming a single mass that closed about the ship, bit by bit creating a slowly heaving dome. Tiny beads of water appeared on beards and eyebrows; in a minute everything was soaked. The only sound was that of the dragging steering oar. The men were now sopping ghosts, speaking only with their eyes.
Directly ahead the fog began to dimple. The dimple became a hollow, the hollow a cave, and then ship and ice were being towed through a low, ever-extending tunnel in fog. The current increased its pull. Ship and drifting ice accelerated through the tunnel.
After a while the missionary quietly stepped forward. He stood with one hand on the prow’s neck, listening to the mist, so motionless he might have been a carved extension of the longship’s aggressive design. Not a man breathed. The tunnel’s dilating and contracting bore was producing an all but seamless series of oscillating, near-phonetic sounds. Leif almost tiptoed back. No god, pagan or Christian, could account for the strangeness of this situation.
They were borne on a course that grew more southerly, and the following day beheld an inhospitable shoreline glazed by dazzling white beaches. Their course held. Two days later they came upon a far pleasanter, thickly wooded coast. Here the current released its hold, and here the missionary untied Hero and personally placed him and his son in a tiny oak faering. He was just as sick of them as he was excited by this promising new land. Once the rowboat had been heaved over the side, he and another man stepped aboard and took up the oars. They began rowing with easy, powerful strokes.
When the boat kissed sand the missionary stood unsteadily.
The first European to set foot on North American soil now placed one hand on his crucifix, the other on his sword’s hilt, and awkwardly plunged his leg into the thigh-deep, ice-cold surf. Before he could take another step the boat lurched as Hero leapt headfirst into the water, followed an instant later by his son. The Greenlanders watched sourly as the two splashed their way into a mad dash for the waiting pines. Leif wished them both good riddance and turned to grin wryly at his fellow Norseman. He must have blacked out for a second, must have been blinded by a shaft of sun, for he found he was staring stupidly at a point midway between his companion and the longship. It felt like he’d been kicked between the eyes.
Everything was dissolving.
He studied the beach and pines closely, but saw nothing of the man or his boy. He turned back, disoriented. With what seemed a superhuman effort he took up his oars. He rowed out sluggishly, in a dream, and the fog rolled in to meet him.

The boy broke into the trees and embraced a trunk, fighting for breath. What happened next happened so fast and so unexpectedly he didn’t have a chance to react.
Three savages stepped from behind the pines and beat him to his knees. They twisted his arms behind his back and hauled him to his feet. He’d barely processed the impression of a wild painted face when something sharp struck him ******* the temple and tore down his cheek to the jaw. Two of the assailants manhandled him into an upright position and held him in place while the third brought his weapon down again and again and again.
All but dead, he watched a nightmare countenance shouting through a shot veil of blood, and behind that image a reeling crimson sun. He lay there gushing while the savages went through his rags. They propped him against a pine and shrieked with triumph, tore the hair and gory scalp from his skull, threw back their heads and screamed at the screaming sky. Tooth and nail, they ripped apart his face and throat and, certain he would die, split what bits of fur were left and let his carcass lie.

                                                HERO

The weeks stretched into months while he fought his way back into the light.
He progressed in stages; only half-conscious, stumbling along in a blood-red stupor punctuated by a slow strobe of frequent blackouts. Days loomed and decayed, nights pounced and were gone; the backlit, swirling gray cosmos collapsed and expanded on every missed beat of his pulse. A thousand times he broke down to die, and a thousand times he clawed to his feet, driven to pursue a tiny, ghost-like figure fluttering in his memory.
Everything conspired to check him.
A bay like an immense landlocked sea was skirted over months or years—it was all the same. Cold locked him in, Hunger drove him afield, that rude ***** Wind lashed him blind, wore him like a shoe, screamed for his skin while he worked his way west.
Somehow he ate, somehow he avoided being eaten; the instincts that had served him halfway around the planet were still vital beneath the abused exterior. His simple burrows became sturdy temporary shelters. He relearned the art of fire, and began to cook what he killed. He manufactured crude snares and weapons and, when his recuperation was complete, paid closer attention to the on-again, off-again trail he’d been following…forever.
Sometimes this trail would call to him like a lover. Other times he stood peering uncertainly, trying to recapture meanings and aims. Then the ground would turn spongy and the sky revolve, and once again he’d be lying all but dead in the woods, while from the face of the sun emerged a vile winged horror, its ugly pale head lashing side to side, its cruelly hooked beak dangling something that glistened in the wild pulsing light…then the fat moon, rising like gas against the icy black night…the feel of the wind:  the slashing of her nails, the chafing of her hem…the sound of things crunching and pausing and sniffing…then the sun, blazing anew. And again that thing, descending, its wide black wings beating slowly, metronomically—but none of that mattered any more. For his mind had quit him, had flown howling into ice and pine to roost with things surreal. In the day his madness might muddle and run, or spend the light stalking, cat-like, watching and waiting. But at night it came creeping from all sides. Sometimes it came in waves. It could gnaw like the devil, or wrap around him like a warm second skin. But none of that mattered either.
The only thing that mattered was the trail—whether it was lost for good, or for only a while. He’d been following it through his episodes, always north, wondering just who and where in the world he was, and trying to shake a ridiculous notion of being led on a wild goose chase.
The cold was unbelievable.
The deeper north he delved, the more confused he became. He grew starved for colors and scents, finding nonexistent patterns in the stark contrast of shadow and snow. He thought he could detect a kind of otherworldly design in the overwhelming number of dead ends he encountered, and, too, in the diabolically frustrating locations of natural obstacles. He seemed to be forever fighting the wind—a hulking, despondent snowman, he hiked face down and focused, while another aspect of his attention floated just behind, disembodied, watching his silent pursuers…leaving no tracks, blending perfectly with the environment in their clever winter coats…not predators, but creatures that normally should have been hightailing it away from him. By the time he could turn, they’d become nothing more menacing than snowdrifts. But they pursued him nevertheless.
And so his paranoia increased…had there ever really been a trail…and when did this miserably cold, miserably anemic crusade begin…his long-term memory was falling apart a chunk at a time. It just got colder and colder and colder until at last, one snippet of a day during one blur of a year, he found himself utterly lost, and clueless as to his history or objective. His mind was a blank, as colorless and featureless as the endless world of ice around him. He’d come this far solely to learn that the only trail he’d been following was his own—and now even that trail was succumbing to ice. On all sides there was nothing to see but an infinite field of glaring whiteness, and nothing to hear but the ululating wail of the tubular polar wind. It was the loneliest, the unholiest, the creepiest sound imaginable. But it wasn’t insanity that made him wheel. It was his self-preservation instinct.
And then he was somehow on his knees in the woods, facing a furious setting sun.
Whole seasons had passed from his memory like chalk from a board. His only recollections were those of a broken, haunted animal:  of being perilously sick, of fearing the unseen, of blindly struggling across a solid-white wilderness. That he’d survived such an ordeal meant nothing to him. And that he had in some indecipherable manner stumbled across the cold-as-stone trail did not fill him with amazement or with thankfulness—there simply wasn’t anything visual or emotional left to draw on. A significant part of his life had been whited out.
But now he could focus entirely on the trail. And before he knew it, the fuzzy area between fantasy and reality found a seam. He began to analyze and plan. He paid attention to hygiene, and kept a kind of running mental journal. Things were sorting out. Yet there were nights when the old sickness would resurface, reestablish its hold, and leave him sweating and uncertain under the stars. Then, paradoxically, his perception would become razor-keen. And so he would see, on a distant hilltop, a pair of scrawny silhouettes, one on four legs and one on two, slowly crossing the faintly pocked face of the setting moon. He would become strangely excited, and thereafter retain crystal-clear images of himself, as if seen from above, hurrying with adroitness through the silent, graveyard-like setting of black and blue night and white-frosted trees. Then the fuzzy area would broaden, and it would be the next morning, and he would be staring at the prints of man and elk in snow. And he would see how the elk’s prints doubled back, and how the man’s prints terminated where he had obviously mounted his guide. An unfathomable glow would bring tears to his eyes. But, even as he gathered himself, a fresh snowfall would wipe out the prints. And once again the world would plummet into white. And the wind would howl as the snow hammered his eyes. And he would ***** on.

A haggard animal sat shivering in a small grove of frozen pines, watching his campfire die. His eyes were fixed. Like the fire, he was running out of warmth, running out of fuel. There wasn’t a whole lot of tinder round his bones, and not much feeling left in his limbs. The slowly heaping downfall was burying him alive, but he was too numb to care.
It had taken him six long years to cross an entire continent, and during that time he’d known only cold and excruciating pain. The pain was leaving him now. The cold was making it right. His eyes glazed over.
Along a narrow plain to the west a herd of caribou filed dreamily through the snow, cutting across a panoramic backdrop of dazzling white mountains. The slow-motion parade was hypnotic. After a while it occurred to the drifting man, in a roundabout way, that he was dying, that he was nonchalantly freezing to death. Concurrent with this notion there rose in his chest a wonderful liquid warmth. His eyes slowly closed and, once shut, began to set fast.
He was jolted from within. It was as if he’d been kicked in the heart.
He ****** to his feet, pounded his fists on his thighs, felt nothing. The breath spurted from his mouth in small white clouds as he stumbled downhill after the slow caribou train. He swam through the snow, hallucinating, imagining that certain individuals in the herd were mocking him by slowing and accelerating, while others glanced back with expressions of contempt.
As he burst into their midst the animals stepped aside indifferently. A few galloped ahead to keep up the herd, but most simply sidestepped while he danced there, stamping his feet and smacking his hands. The herd grew thinner, until only the old and infirm were filing by. The man desperately embraced a hobbling female for warmth, but she cried out and kicked, triggering a panic reaction in the herd. Clinging for his life, the man was dragged along beside her as the herd stormed into a maze of flying ice and snow. His weight caused her to stagger sideways until they slammed against the flank of a sick male. The man instinctively threw an arm over the male and, thus draped between them, was borne across the drifted plain for upwards of a mile, his freezing feet alternately dangling above and dragging through the snow. The herd broke into a hard run, forcing him to assume a broken trot. Soon his legs were stinging. Sensation rushed through his body.
Now the herd, still picking up speed, began to contract, jamming him between his bearers. There was a quick jolt to his right and he was lifted clean off his feet, nearly straddling the bucking female. It had become an all-out stampede. Through hard-flung snow he saw the cause:  just ahead, the caribou had run head-on into a solid wall of galloping wood bison, and both frantic herds had blindly veered to the east; were in fact running side by side down a deep, ragged canyon—were pouring over the canyon’s lip like a cataract. He was approaching, at breakneck pace, that very place where the converged herds so abruptly swerved. The hanging man snarled as he was borne inevitably to the point of deflection.
There came a concussion at his left shoulder, followed by a blast of snow. In an instant the ailing male was tumbling head over heels to the east, ****** into the stampede’s plummeting mass by the fury of its descent. The man and female, rebounding from this impact, were shot to the west in a crazy jumble of flailing legs. The caribou lost her footing, flew nose-first into a snowbank, and came up running. Kicking off, the man used the last of his strength to heave himself astride. At first she fought to shake him, but the spell of the run was too strong. She and half a dozen others went pounding in the opposite direction of the stampede, quickly joined by a number of bison that had likewise splintered from their herd. The riding man could make out their huge hulking shapes thundering by in a blizzard of flying ice, could hear their heavy gasps and explosive grunts. One passed so close he felt its massive flank brush his leg. He peered to his right and saw a black, pig-like eye regarding him excitedly, moving up and down like a piston as the beast ran alongside.
The eye shifted, focusing on the gasping, completely obsessed female. The bull dropped its head and slammed into the caribou’s side, sending her and the man careening down a ***** to the west. The caribou brayed hysterically and her backside went down, but she managed, despite the weight of her rider, to return to all fours and frantically continue along the *****. Again the bull charged, crashing into her shoulder. The man and caribou were launched sideways into the white searing air.
He sat up carefully. The huffing bison was straddling him like a bully laying down the ground rules. Its big wiry beard came right up to brush his chin. The stench of its breath was stupefying.
The bull stamped and snorted, thrusting its stubby horns left and right as the man used his elbows and heels to back away. The bull followed, move for move. When the man collapsed under his own impetus the bull shoved him along with its snout, bellowing furiously. Clear down the ***** they lunged, shoving and lurching, until the man lay sprawled on his back; up to his chin in snow, completely helpless. The ton of a bull butted and kicked, but only glancingly:  those hooves could **** with a blow. At last the man, in one clean sequence, spun on his rear, dropped to his side, and went rolling down the ***** using his elbows for ******.
At the bottom ran a narrow fence of frosted saplings marking an ice cliff’s precipice. He lay face down in the snow, too done in to do anything but **** at an air pocket.
And there came a high-pitched crackling, a sound like the protracted gasp of embers in a dead fire. He turned just as those saplings began leaning to the west, their frozen skins cracking with the strain.
The bison bellowed menacingly.
The sprawled man looked back and saw it still standing with legs spread wide, silhouetted against the sky. In a moment it began huffing downhill, lurching side to side, surfing the snow between lunges.
It chased him through the genuflecting saplings straight into a frozen gully where, protected by a few feet of insurmountable verticality, he was able to slide on the ice between its stomping hooves, downhill out of reach, then downhill out of control—spinning just in time to glimpse a breathtaking vista:
Partly framed by the gully-straddling saplings was a vast crescent of jagged white mountains seemingly huddled round a small stretch of snow-draped pines. The little wood these mountains surrounded was isolated in a broad lake of solid ice. Hundreds of fissures radiated crazily throughout this packed ice field, appearing to issue from somewhere near the frozen wood’s center, which was completely obscured by a ring of rising mist. Above this thumbnail panorama the sun showered gold.
Then the gully dipped radically, and he was skidding headfirst, slamming back and forth against its slick white walls. This uncontrollable plunge had the positive effect of getting his blood flowing. Yet it tore him up. Had the gully concluded in a cul-de-sac, or had further progress required a single calorie of uphill effort, his struggle would certainly have ended here. He would have been too weak to move, and death would have been swift.
But there was a glacier—a great river of ice pouring slowly out of the clouds. The gully, terminating in a little scoop formation near the glacier’s base, spat him flailing onto its gnarly glass hide. He went head over heels, bits of skin and fur flying like chips from a band saw. Somehow he gained his footing, and then he was running against his will, tumbling and recovering and tumbling again.
He didn’t catch much of that crazy run. He half-glimpsed whirling walls of ice, felt a fickle surface underfoot, and broke through an assaultive mist that clung to his ankles and arms. He remembered having the ragged hides torn right off his body, and then being skinned alive. And he remembered reaching the glacier’s base and crawling like an animal; round its sweeping drifts, past its peaked moraines, all the way to a twisting frozen gorge.
And he followed this gorge down; ricocheting wall to wall, delirious, small plumes of thrashed snow marking his descent.
Through a freezing wood he fumbled. In a veil of mist he tumbled down a steep and verdant grade. As cold consumed his closing breath, he fell upon, near-blind, near death, a strange, enchanted glade.

There is a pool.
And in this pool a man lay purged, his broken body half-submerged.
The stumbling man stopped. He knelt to weep, but lost his thread. One hand took a bicep, the other, the head. With a twist and pull the corpse emerged.
That visage…that face—misshapen mask, contorted, bleached; of life’s deposits fully leached. Essence dispatched—a void, sodden wretch.
He let it fall and the glass was breached. All a freak, all a stretch:  upon this act his grip detached.
And the bridge collapsed…one vagabond grasp…what were these feelings; recaptured and trashed…a span elapsed…who was this puckered mass…he hauled it by the waist and thighs…slid it in, watched the pool react:  purse and recover, expand, contract. The glass reformed, now silver-backed…a sudden mirror…the man leaned nearer…saw his reflection, just smashed, remade intact.
The pool grew still.
Within its depth a shadow stirred—visions gathered, some distinct, some obscure. What they meant, and who they were, was much too much to fathom. The glass became blurred.
He closed his eyes, let his heavy head fall, fell back on his haunches, felt the sweat seep and crawl. The air was a pall—as he struggled to rise, a nib crossed his wrist.
He opened his eyes.
Between his fingers the blades poked and crept. Round his knuckles they ventured, up his forearm they stepped:  they seemed to be triggered by prompts from the ground. He shook his head slowly and dully looked round.
There were jays grouped about him, their black eyes aglow. Red hens came running, their fat chicks in tow. Gophers engaged in a weird hide-and-seek. Bluebells and buttercups craned for a peek. Sparrows hopped past and, paying no heed, burst into flight. He watched them recede.
Westward they flew.
Bewildered, he slumped.
Bumped from behind, he jumped to his feet, flabbergasted to find an ancient gray moose near-eclipsing the sky, with grit in his snarl and fire in his eye.
The old moose took aim.
The man turned to flee and stumbled, then tumbled and fell on a palm and a knee.

But there lies a world (so the lullaby goes) where rivers ever run.
Poked from behind, pushed out of his mind, he staggered into sun.







Copyright 2020 by Ron Sanders.

Contact:  ronsandersartofprose(at)yahoo(dot)com
Sorry about the ghastly copy. This system makes graceful formatting impossible.
What happened that night? Your final night.
Double, treble exposure
Over everything. Late afternoon, Friday,
My last sight of you alive.
Burning your letter to me, in the ashtray,
With that strange smile. Had I bungled your plan?
Had it surprised me sooner than you purposed?
Had I rushed it back to you too promptly?
One hour later—-you would have been gone
Where I could not have traced you.
I would have turned from your locked red door
That nobody would open
Still holding your letter,
A thunderbolt that could not earth itself.
That would have been electric shock treatment
For me.
Repeated over and over, all weekend,
As often as I read it, or thought of it.
That would have remade my brains, and my life.
The treatment that you planned needed some time.
I cannot imagine
How I would have got through that weekend.
I cannot imagine. Had you plotted it all?

Your note reached me too soon—-that same day,
Friday afternoon, posted in the morning.
The prevalent devils expedited it.
That was one more straw of ill-luck
Drawn against you by the Post-Office
And added to your load. I moved fast,
Through the snow-blue, February, London twilight.
Wept with relief when you opened the door.
A huddle of riddles in solution. Precocious tears
That failed to interpret to me, failed to divulge
Their real import. But what did you say
Over the smoking shards of that letter
So carefully annihilated, so calmly,
That let me release you, and leave you
To blow its ashes off your plan—-off the ashtray
Against which you would lean for me to read
The Doctor’s phone-number.
                                                 My escape
Had become such a hunted thing
Sleepless, hopeless, all its dreams exhausted,
Only wanting to be recaptured, only
Wanting to drop, out of its vacuum.
Two days of dangling nothing. Two days gratis.
Two days in no calendar, but stolen
From no world,
Beyond actuality, feeling, or name.

My love-life grabbed it. My numbed love-life
With its two mad needles,
Embroidering their rose, piercing and tugging
At their tapestry, their ****** tattoo
Somewhere behind my navel,
Treading that morass of emblazon,
Two mad needles, criss-crossing their stitches,
Selecting among my nerves
For their colours, refashioning me
Inside my own skin, each refashioning the other
With their self-caricatures,

Their obsessed in and out. Two women
Each with her needle.

                                       That night
My dellarobbia Susan. I moved
With the circumspection
Of a flame in a fuse. My whole fury
Was an abandoned effort to blow up
The old globe where shadows bent over
My telltale track of ashes. I raced
From and from, face backwards, a film reversed,
Towards what? We went to Rugby St
Where you and I began.
Why did we go there? Of all places
Why did we go there? Perversity
In the artistry of our fate
Adjusted its refinements for you, for me
And for Susan. Solitaire
Played by the Minotaur of that maze
Even included Helen, in the ground-floor flat.
You had noted her—-a girl for a story.
You never met her. Few ever met her,
Except across the ears and raving mask
Of her Alsatian. You had not even glimpsed her.
You had only recoiled
When her demented animal crashed its weight
Against her door, as we slipped through the hallway;
And heard it choking on infinite German hatred.

That Sunday night she eased her door open
Its few permitted inches.
Susan greeted the black eyes, the unhappy
Overweight, lovely face, that peeped out
Across the little chain. The door closed.
We heard her consoling her jailor
Inside her cell, its kennel, where, days later,
She gassed her ferocious kupo, and herself.

Susan and I spent that night
In our wedding bed. I had not seen it
Since we lay there on our wedding day.
I did not take her back to my own bed.
It had occurred to me, your weekend over,
You might appear—-a surprise visitation.
Did you appear, to tap at my dark window?
So I stayed with Susan, hiding from you,
In our own wedding bed—-the same from which
Within three years she would be taken to die
In that same hospital where, within twelve hours,
I would find you dead.
                                                  Monday morning
I drove her to work, in the City,
Then parked my van North of Euston Road
And returned to where my telephone waited.

What happened that night, inside your hours,
Is as unknown as if it never happened.
What accumulation of your whole life,
Like effort unconscious, like birth
Pushing through the membrane of each slow second
Into the next, happened
Only as if it could not happen,
As if it was not happening. How often
Did the phone ring there in my empty room,
You hearing the ring in your receiver—-
At both ends the fading memory
Of a telephone ringing, in a brain
As if already dead. I count
How often you walked to the phone-booth
At the bottom of St George’s terrace.
You are there whenever I look, just turning
Out of Fitzroy Road, crossing over
Between the heaped up banks of ***** sugar.
In your long black coat,
With your plait coiled up at the back of your hair
You walk unable to move, or wake, and are
Already nobody walking
Walking by the railings under Primrose Hill
Towards the phone booth that can never be reached.
Before midnight. After midnight. Again.
Again. Again. And, near dawn, again.

At what position of the hands on my watch-face
Did your last attempt,
Already deeply past
My being able to hear it, shake the pillow
Of that empty bed? A last time
Lightly touch at my books, and my papers?
By the time I got there my phone was asleep.
The pillow innocent. My room slept,
Already filled with the snowlit morning light.
I lit my fire. I had got out my papers.
And I had started to write when the telephone
****** awake, in a jabbering alarm,
Remembering everything. It recovered in my hand.
Then a voice like a selected weapon
Or a measured injection,
Coolly delivered its four words
Deep into my ear: ‘Your wife is dead.’
Birthday Letters, published in 1998, is a collection of poetry by English poet and children's writer Ted Hughes. Released only months before Hughes's death, This collection of eighty-eight poems is widely considered to be Hughes' most explicit response to the suicide of his estranged wife Sylvia Plath in 1963, and to their widely discussed, politicized and "explosive" marriage. (From Wikipedia)

This is one of my favorite poems. Coldly emotional, gripping, and much more
Danny Valdez Mar 2012
We really couldn't afford it
but I got the tickets anyways.
We hadn't been out of the apartment
for months
didn't have money to go do anything
ever.
Louis C.K. was our favorite comedian
so I figured it'd be worth it
even if we had to live off
grilled cheese for the next week
it'd be worth it.
To be able to forget everything
the bills, the jobs, the ******* stress,
to escape that
even for just a couple of hours
and laugh our ***** off
would do us a world of good.
So I kept it a secret
wanting to surprise my lady
and give her a thrill.
Told her we were going to
downtown Phoenix
to get a drink and do the Charleston
at a 1920's themed bar.
On the freeway
just after sundown, we were headed to the theater
guided by the GPS on her phone.
We both were having full blown
panic attacks
the cars & trucks whizzing past us
at over 80 mph, bumper to bumper traffic
and we missed our exit.
The GPS re-directed us
and we pulled off at the next exit.
"See we need to get out more.I haven't been around this many people & cars in so long...ugh. It feels like we're gonna get in a wreck."
But I knew we weren't. I felt nothing inside. No butterflies.
"Alright, the GPS says to make a left turn, up here, at Adams..."
I said, navigating her through the old & dark
downtown Phoenix streets.
"A left here?" She asked.
"Yeah, that's what the GPS says."
"Okay."
Just when she went to turn
I saw the one-way street sign
that and the truck coming right at us.
"****! No, no, don't! This is a one-way street!" I yelled.
She ****** the wheel back to the right and we continued straight ahead.
"*******! Why didn't you tell me to turn down a one-way street?!"
"Hey it wasn't me. That's just what the GPS said!"
The machine kept talking, "Up at....Jefferson...make a....left...turn."
But it was another one-way street
that machine didn't know what the **** it was talking about.
I shut it off and threw it to the floor.
"Why'd you do that?"
"That ******* is gonna get us killed. We're only a block away now, I can get us the rest of the way there....alright, just pull up here and park it.
We parked on a deserted, dark, lonely street
in front of an old school house from the 1920's.
The two of us got out and walked the block to the theater.
As we approached the front, with the big sign that spelled out,
'Louis C.K.' in big, digital, yellow letters.
My lady started asking questions.
"Wait, so what are we doing? Just getting a drink and going home? I don't think I can drink, if I gotta drive home on that hectic freeway. Ugh. Is it too much to ask, to just have fun? Just for one night..."
"No darlin', it's not. That's why I got the tickets."
I said, standing under the marquee, a big ****-eating grin plastered on my face.
For a moment
it didn't quite register with her.
"Wha-what? Seriously?! Are you ******* with me? You better not be joking."
She said, unsure if I was joking, like I usually was.
"No honey. It's no joke. I mean, they're just balcony/nose bleed seats--"
With people walking & rushing all around us
she pulled me in close
smiling up at me
with that million-dollar smile.
She kissed me, like in the movies, pulling me in tight, grabbing my ***,
our tongues **** their little dance in our mouths.
"Baby, you really know how to make a gal feel special. First, roses this morning and now you surprise me with tickets to Louis? I love you, so ******* much, Danny."
Inside we sat with the other poor folks
packs of middle-aged couples
groups of teenage boys
and geeks in Star Wars t-shirts.
It was a great sight.
Strangers striking up conversations
with one another
all laughing and smiling
talking about their favorite Louis C.K. bits.
Finally
the comedian took the stage
after a roaring, packed house, standing ovation
everyone quieted down respectfully.
And for the next two hours
we didn't have any
bills
rent
electricity payments
jobs
*******.
Just laughs to be had.
And it was so great
like gospel
everything we thought in our heads
everything the two of us talked about at home
everything that made us crazy with anger
he was up there
talking about it all
reaffirming what we already knew to be true.
Dumb parents that didn't discipline their kids properly
how when you try to delete your Facebook, it sends numerous pop-ups
trying to get you to log back in
and stay connected.
That night the comedian
was able to help us forget our troubles
and laugh at the *******
society continues to eat up.
Comedians, poets, musicians,
these artists should really be called
therapists
because those two hours of sitting & laughing
did so much for us.
By the time we walked back to the car
on that deserted, dark, lonely street
we felt better.
A weight had been lifted
we could breath a little easier.
Standing by the car, I put my hands on the waist of her dress
and pulled her close to me.
"So were you surprised? Did I show you a good time honey?"
"Danny that was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. Thank you for making it a surprise. You really got me."
And we kissed.
In front of that old school house
with it's huge white pillars
and a yellow light overhead.
A cold wind blew.
"I'm glad you had a good time darlin'. Now let's get in the car and get outta here...before we end up like Bruce Wayne's parents."
We really couldn't afford it
but it was okay.
The rent could wait another week.
Hal Loyd Denton Jan 2012
Essenntial love
Essential loveAugustus said I found Rome brick I left it marbleI find myself vile only through loving Jesus can I be righteous
What happened there was a time I encountered angels read his word ate what I read with a physical sensation I could feel in my
Heart just like I feel when I eat naturally somehow I flipped back to the way I was before these wonders were real I told before
How the love of God as a spear flew off of the record turn table from that moment at seventeen with a lapse of years from
Five to seventeen I lost a holy life because my parents turned from God went back in the world taking me and my sister with them
This is what the spirit said about my parents when he gave me a promise I also told I hitchhiked to camp slept with the cows in
A pasture a hill over from the main camp site this troubled the Illinois district superintendent but God spoke through the camp
Speaker this is what God has to say to someone to identify he said this and when he said it my aunt and uncle setting across the
Auditorium turned and looked directly at me you’re here your mother is a harlot and your dad is a drunkard a month later a
Camp speaker made the same promise but with this stipulation you can change the hands on the clock but you can’t change the
Time that has been forty one years ago it is still true God is not a liar but after the record player I did start back to church all
The time I would seek God to be filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking with other tongues no success and then I
Was drafted far from home discouraged I quit going to church this went on for the two years God remained silent humanist try
To tell you can improve all by yourself see if this sounds like improvement one who tried to live right now grass and alcohol was my
Lifestyle if you asked me about it this is what you would have heard Wolfman Jack was our hero for sure when he was forced to
Broadcast from Mexico after violating FCC rules as a DJ and he never sounded as good as when you were high the alcohol altered
My mental state I could think deep brooding thoughts only problem you couldn’t be around me because of self loathing I was like a
Mad bull I was destructive and self destructive that came from self loathing I knew my parents record I got in enough trouble
drinking twelve percent by volume slow gin I can’t stand the taste so I would force it down you drink a whole bottle of anything its
Lights out well it like the lost weekend I came back own leave with grass and alcohol I was a disgusting freak to kids I use to lead on
Jefferson St I found out at a get together at the park that I was the cause for one of them getting drunk the first time there no shame
Like that well except for this there was more but I will just give you the high lights it was night we were all in the barracks I was in the
Latrine standing there doing what boys do well I was holding onto this board up over my head inch wide it was nailed at about four
Feet intervals to these poles behind them was corrugated metal making the wall well I wondered what happened if I yanked on
The board nothing happened except it came off with a terrible crack again no big but is was a big thing to thirty bunk mates
I heard a commotion so I just looked around the door all of them were scared straight or something because they were all trying
To get out of the door at the same time that’s funny when Archie Bunker and Mike did it on all in the family but they thought
They were next on the list I got them calmed down I feel I made up for it when I stood up for them I called a bully outside to fight
That was making every bodie’s lives miserable just like all bullies he was a coward and ended up throwing his arms around my shoulder
Wanted to be my friend I know he was a coward because as I said before I are one next one more dangerous not for whom you would
Think I sent the Sarge to go to the NCO club and get me a bottle of slow gin they had a quart not a fifth but it was without the volume
I took care of the volume and the day room with it one hundred and twenty proof in the middle of this I called one of the saints back
Here well I can’t tell you much but the saint talked to me when I did come home I believe when I hung up the phone thats when the bull
Rang in anyway a Jewish kid was said to have run down the company street screaming a wild man was tearing up the day room it was
Made out of aluminum siding and I only drank half of the bottle if I had drank all of it I would have torn it down not up well trouble
Breeds trouble one guy was write one was wrong well that weaved in and out just like myself I came to myself and in front of me was
My pal from class that I was in Jose Torres an MP sorry but one of the ugliest Mexicans anywhere not just in California but he was
Fired up with that Latino blood he wanted to fight evidenced by the forty five he was waving in my face in that brief moment of
Knowing what was going on I reverted to the primal beast level if you get in a fight you become intensely aware nothing is hidden
I could see it in his eyes he could taste it he wanted to pistol whip me oh contraire my friend I was fifteen and me and two other kids
Were watching tables for the refinery pick nick the next day well six idiots show up drunk drinking beer that was alright but when
Duck tale white under shirt jeans engineer boots stooge started throwing beer on my friend’s dads navy sleeping bag I asked him to
Stop when he didn’t I stood up holding a cow boy belt with a raised horse head on the buckle in my hand for protection well bright one
****** it out of my hand and slapped me in the face with it remember I said bull he was two years older than me but I was big and all
Muscle then I threw my head back and when the blood rose through my eyes I was blind it didn’t matter is was black in the large
Pavilion I couldn’t see only red just before that I was in danger I have seen what a pack of hounds can do to a **** on the ground
I was the **** all were getting ready to rush in but when my blood hit my brain the volcano erupted on his sorry self I picked him up off
The floor then he needed protection God was there if he would have gone down on the cement floor or into the picnic table how they
Are made his back would have been broken but I threw him across the table two feet to the table over the table another four feet
Into a red fence that was stretched there one pole to the next he was going head first about four feet off the ground that fence
scrapped the floor then when it got to the two points those bolts snapped it sounded like a high powered rifle going off he and the
Fence continued two to three feet off the edge of the floor then three feet out in the grass where it folded up around him the fight
Was Over the others wouldn’t even acknowledge him lying out there groaning the fence had become his safety net the next day the
Dad who owned the sleeping bag looked at the two of us and asked what happened to you two I couldn’t see my face but he had three
Deep imprints of the fence stakes plus the twisted wire was plainly visible the marks were up and down you can say they lasted a while
so I looked at this pistol waving clown and just laughed turned and walked down to the MP station I did thirty days clerking in the
Headquarters office for rearranging the day room to the way I wanted it messing with the army is Childs play then God came on the
Scene not so fun I experienced the same thing that happened to a guy that I worked with at the refinery when I knew him he was
An old man I was seventeen but later when he was dying of cancer his neighbor who was in our church set with him and as she did she
Prayed for him until God spoke to her and said don’t pray anymore he rejected me when he was young now I’m rejecting him the story
Behind this was this man was driving a truck back then they had to go out and literally pull him out of the cab his hands were like claws
His nerves were gone that’s what happened to me the only reason I didn’t use lsd was the kid used it all and then the angel had to step
In before salvation came again I was unaware of this but I went to the fire house I set down at the desk next to this other kid and he
kept smiling finally I had enough I asked what’s so funny you don’t remember no remember what last night you ran in and stood at the
Top of the steps six seven feet up out of the office I ran in said the MPS didn’t catch me I then hollered I’m superman and I did a flip
Down on the cement floor I did remember laying on the floor hollering at the fire chief as he slept in the back room off of the office he
Finally told someone to take me back to the barracks so stupidity was running rampant but I was the crew chief and I did my job
And then it happened just like my friend in the truck that had to be pulled out I lost it I was a basket case I couldn’t think straight
Minor jobs that were simple overwhelmed me when that starts you start looking for answers it didn’t take me long to know what was
Going on this rebels running from God had come to a screeching halt I finally had the boys take me to Monterey and let me out I threw
Away the cigarettes checked into a motel a few blocks from the church had to literally cry for God to let me have peace so that I could
Sleep and in the morning dressed went to church as I walked by the windows I heard the congregation singing the songs of Zion a
precious peace settled over me I was home where I belonged.

This is long and serves as a starting point that I want to continue up to Christ’s day of Christmas if it doesn’t work out least you know
my testimony and you can see what God has done for me but I want to try and renew my life and maybe touch you along the way
Silk blocks my ability to see
Soft pads circle my ears shutting me into silence
Music begins to flow coursing through my body
Jumping as hands grasp slender ankles
Fur circles one then the other
Turned around and around so disoriented
A hard bump knocks at the back of my knees
Buckling and graze the chilled feeling they land upon
Gasps escape parted lips
Melodic music seems to beat forcefully with each movement
Chills flow through naked flesh

A voice reverbs in my ears
"Are you nervous ****?"
"Y-y-eees" trembles out thinking it had to have sounded like some little girl instead of the mature woman kneeling here
Morose tones begin to play
Calloused palms greet soft ones
Pulling quick and efficient succulent flesh lays across
a thick padded cushion

The drums beat frantically, I realize it is my heart beat
No music playing last the time, my breathing comes through rushed paniced
Inhaling deeply filling lungs then blowing out forcefully
Soothing frazzled nerves, repeating the breath
Hands separate, one wrapped in something unsure what
then the other, they are pulled straight out
Allowing ample globes of blush coated tips to reveal to any that watch

Crying out at the forceful pulling,  rearranging of limbs
Thoughts run rampant scrambling calm with slight fear and confusion
Body jerks as the apparatus moves beneath my spread flesh
I feel my belly tight as muscles **** and pull tight and repeats
Crying out as booming dark music explodes in my mind
The movement jerking beneath again
Unable to fathom how I look I feel a breeze slither over pale half moons
Finger run along the inside of the restraint as something pulls it further away from the other, then repeated
Chill air hits my heated moist ***** sending goosebumps all over

My body fully supported arms up with back arched exposing glorious flesh
Legs parted wide as waist is supported by the bench
"Who do you belong to"? He asks.
" No Ones"
A slice of fire then a second close by erupts pain across the backside
Teeth sink deep into my lower lip as the same words come through the headset
Senses impaired heighten every syllable
Still ******* air from the first blows as four reign down upon my  
arched back, tasting blood as teeth cut through plump skin

Thick fingers grasp the hairs upon nether lips yanking
Digits knead the skin of my *** soothing the first marks
Feeling the tug on hairs again, squirming as the moisture flows the cavern, body begins to move
Yet again "Who do you belong to?"
"Myself" I say proudly
Again heat, white hot, kisses thee skin
One, two, three, four, five
Labored breathing panics me
Fingers grtip and knead the marks, it is not pleasurable but it hurts not either

Thin pieces dance across my body
I figured out it had to be as flogger
He was an expert, especially with this contraption leaving everything but my stomach bottom of thighs urtterly exposed to the wicked implement
The tongues begin touching all over as I strain to hear and see
Nothing but blackness and morrocan drums playing tribal beats
Lightly stroking, followed by searing bolts of lightening touch silk flesh,
Breathing raggedly, gasping for air, pressure building in the pit of my stomach

As the flogger hits every piece of exposed white
Fingers massage puffy lips that swell to protect the golden pearl
Not hearing him he chuckles knowing he has me
Thump goes the flogger, chains clank as I squirm
Pressing towards his hand wanting to be touched that special way
Pleading escapes, I cringe knowing I have made that mistake
Something slides into my throbbing center, stretching my walls
I know I am soaked as I feel pinches against flogged streaked skin
"Please" I cry
Again he asks "Who do you belong to?"
I form the y sound suddenly changing to once again "Myself"

The implement is left inside my love tunnel
Vaginal walls gripping and releasing
My breath catches hard in my throat as something cool
bites hardened peak,
Breath let's out with a loud moan as the other peak is trapped in the vice grip
Hair is cinched tight pulling the upper body up more
The clamps bite harder
He turned my head towards his as lips touch I feel an excruciating heat soar through my succulent peaks
Tears flow across cheeks gliding down until we both taster the salt

His teeth sink into my lip as the hand twists the chasing, the other the chain to the clips torturing my *******
My velvet reaches out to run across the teeth
He releases the bite as our tongues clash like symbols
***** throbs as it struggles to not drop the object
Pressure still building, traitor body plays to his tune
Rejecting nothing
Balking not at all
Wanting, needing, yearning for this
Our tongues dance as he pulls and releases that murderous pleasure wreaking havoc over the numbing rosebuds
Fiery locks are released
Fingers remove the implement deeply embedded in my sweet honey
Digits slide deeply into my well
Pushing against them yearning for deeper

I feel the pumping in and out
Each ****** grows harder and goes deeper
My hair being used as an anchor
Burning the scalp as it pulls
He must be able to hear the music as each move is punctuated with the caressing noise
The headphones are removed relief flows over as I can hear

He whispers "Who do you belong to?"  He asks again
I feel his fingers pull out causing a sense of loss
Something presses sat my entrance pushing lightly
Trying to glide over the honey
Lifting on tip toes pushing back
Feeling the thick mushroom push into their tight entrance
Gasping for air as he growls loudly trying to fight plundering
Needing my answer first
The tip teasing me without mercy
Pulls and releases my hair

I feel something strange being smeared in my thick juice
The warm presses against my clenched puckered hole
Crying out as he teases both orifices
My body strains tight like a bow drawn for firing
"Please oh please **** me, take me"  
I feel both openings being pushed against more
Knowing he won't do much more unless I give in
He pushes the egg deep into my tight ***
Cries of pleasure float over the music still playing in the room
His hard length still teasing the slippery tunnel
Leaning over pressing my body hard against the contraption
Growling out "Who do you belong to?"
You! You! You!
His **** rams home plundering my overly taut well
Buried to the hilt my cries louder than the night

He begins to move in Ernest
Taking and consuming His
My body being played like a well oiled machine
Slamming into me, our bodies slapping
Skin to skin
Pressure building faster as I was already close to exploding
He knows I am close
Salt from the sweat drips into my mouth
His hand yanks the egg from my *** starting the spasms
Rippling over his rock hard length
His growl rumbles within vibrating upon my back

Pace grows faster, frenzied
I feel juices dripping down my thigh
My love tunnel overflowing with essence
Crying in frustration I scream harder
The machine moves as he pumps in and out
Loud moans flow out as the movement let's him go deeper

The music is crescendoing cannons errupt
As he plunders the chain is suddenly ****** based
A reaction like dominmos begins
Hips buck against his as sdpasms caress his ****
Floods of honey burst free coating his implement
Flowing down my thighs as the explosion rocks through my body
Riding every ****** as his teeth sink into my neck
The shooting **** hits my wall spewing until empty
Laying against my body, his sweat mixing with mine

Both breathless and satiated for a spell
Blindfold and restraints removed
Lifting me up as my legs give out like they were jello
Cradling my head to his chest
He lays me upon silk
Eyes close as lethargy begins to settle
Soothing ointment is rubbed into red stripes
"Sleep Mine". He whispered
" Yes Master" she says sleepily

A smile crosses his rugged features
Finally he had pushed past that wall
She is Mine he thinks
I won't let her forget, took way to long for her to admit
Next time perhaps he would try a cane
Moving her on through
The joys of pleasure and pain
Property of Jennifer Humphrey copyrighted.  Please do not use without giving credit to the author.  I can prove it is my work so please write your own don't steal mine.   JH
Vish Jun 2013
When the moon light shown, on the lake deep blue
You stood next to me on a bridge admiring the hue
I wondered then if this was a dream,
For making you mine was a fantasy.
The twinkling of stars decorated the sky
Looking into your eyes, it had a divine shine
You held my hand as we walked down slow,
I wanted to dance like a floating boat.
We stepped on the grass that was sprinkled with rain
Monsoon was here, the best time of the year.
We sat by the lake, your reflection so clear.
Like a teenage boy, you smiled and blushed.
Dear Lord, I had an adrenaline rush!
You pulled out a ring that smiled with glee,
And you said “Will you marry me?”
A shiver down my spine, my heart beating fast,
My skin stood up, and I blushed!
My hand felt cold and froze like ice.
I was floating like a feather, on cloud 9
You waited for me, with curious eyes.
Would she say yes? Or simply smile?
I took a deep breath and was ready to reply…
When “THHUUUD”! The door open wide.
I ****** and turned my head to see…
You walked down the street with utmost speed.
I sadly sighed and watched you go,
Wondering what it would be like, to walk beside you…
Very slow…
Growing up, as a ten year old, was nothing new to me, for that’s all I felt I did at the time. I was, and still am, the oldest, but now of 5 and the two after me are now twelve turning thirteen within the next six months. Man, really makes me feel like an old hag… no offense to any elder I don’t literally think you and or any other elder is a so called “hag” its like the saying “old farts” your older but not really old and you don’t… really… well, you know… never mind, anyways, as a child or when I was ten or eleven years old to be exact, I use to have the same dream or more like nightmare every night, for years. It wasn’t something that happened spontaneously, it was every **** night for three maybe four years. And uh, it had its effects on me, for as young as I was I didn’t quite know how to take it other than horrific and again at the time didn’t know how to interpret the dream either. Well, it might sound a little goofy but if you read into it, it’s pretty dark. I remember lying in bed most nights contemplating whether or not to close my eyes, fearful of what came after once the dark curtain fell. On nights that I’d lose my endless battles I’d fall into a world, much like the one you and I live in, but with a twist… go figure. It was kind of trippy, like it was one of those dreams where like you don’t exactly know how and or why you got to the place your at or how and or why things got as bad as they did, you just sort of jumped into it. Which ***** may I add? I remember it was nice and sunny out and at the time my mother and I, along with my little brother David, baby sister Deanna, my step dad, my grandparents and my tia and tio all lived together in the same house… ha don’t hate, us ethnic people… well I don’t know why but that’s just how we do. Anyways the house we lived in was huge and actually really nice for a home being in the area that it was in… 48th and Southern, yup good old border line Tempe and Phoenix. We were all just chilling like on a normal Saturday at the house when we’re all home, some adults sleeping their hangovers away and some of us children playing in the Arizona room and my tio trying to, simultaneously, watch all of the ESPN programs all at once, you know normal stuff. There I am having a grand old time, when I suddenly get this off, cold, abnormal feeling of just somebody watching me with eyes that are filled with just pure evil. I sit frozen on the floor waiting for what’s to come next; everything around me is bright and sunny, warm and cozy then all of a sudden it warps and I see it before me just leaving… everything then feels dark and hopeless, cold and frightening. My brother is no longer sitting next to me on the floor and I no longer hear the TV screaming penalties on the previous play, the once simmering rice now smells burnt to a crisp and all curtains are now closed. I try to get up in a hurry to run to the door to see where everyone has gone, but time and space is not of existence, as I am now slowly running through the archway of the kitchen I find that I have again jumped but to another part of the house. I’m now standing at the very end of the hallway in front of the door to my room, I can now see the sunlight again and this time everybody is in their rooms, just sitting there waiting… for something. Suddenly, **** gets weird. All of the pirates from the Disney movie Peter Pan came barging through the front door, making their way down the hall, retrieving my family members as they walked past each room. My mind was quick to react, but again almost paralyzed, I couldn’t move a muscle. I could have sworn I screamed or said something, it just didn’t come out clearly or loud enough or maybe even at all. Before my little eyes I watched as these large, animated men took my family away from me, once they turned their backs to walk out the house, then was I able to run after them, but by the time I reached the door, they were already outside and the door was closing before me. I reached out as far as I could in hopes of maybe opening the door to pull all of them back in or going along with them, but instead helped slam the door shut as I was suddenly ****** or pushed forward by an angry force, with my fists pounding into the door I watched as they chained up my house and mocked me. It was weird, the house was then floating I was just chilling in the sky, the closest thing I could think of relating it to is when Dorothy is caught in a storm. The next few moments are kind of a blur, it slowly goes dark again and as tears roll down my cheeks, leaving a burning trail of confusion and a sense of abandonment, I am pushed back to the end of the hallway, curled up into a ball, with arms wrapped, hugging my knees closer to my chest, feeling helpless. I let out the most painful, gut wrenching sob that turned into a scream releasing every ounce of oxygen my body was capable of holding and back into a whimper once I was able to catch my breath. I then wake up to my mother standing over me shaking me profusely tears ran down my face and as my whimper turned into heavy breathing, I realize I’ve woken up everybody in the house and to see all of their faces, in one room… the same room I myself occupied, turned tears of absolute terror and confusion into immediate tears or relief and happiness.
I didn't really know what to name this one... so that was the first thing that came to mind (:
Love Nov 2013
You started out with me,
You were part of my family.
You called me *****.
And then you got ****** away from me.
I didn't see you for 3 and a half long,
Agonizing years.
And then all of a sudden you were back with us.
You don't remember me anymore,
I used to be your favorite person.
You stayed for a few months,
Long enough to get to know me,
Start to love me,
And call me ***** again,
And then,
You got ****** away.
Its been a year now,
And I've barley seen you.
I hear you're coming back,
To stay,
Possibly for good.
I hope you do,
I fear that if not,
One day the memories of me will fade,
And I'll be nothing but a stranger.
Your big sister will be nothing to you,
But a semi-familiar face in old photographs.
This is dedicated to my "sister" Emily. Shes now 8 years old.
Hal Loyd Denton Nov 2011
Night thoughts
Where do they come from nocturnal musings and dreams I have done my best to push back deaths pain if even only an inch that is a gain for you a little bit of space a touch of comfort if you ask me what do you know about pain. In a six year span I lost my only living sister four years later her only daughter two years after that a mother that I never had to lose in the first place. Now for some of the names I know personally Jack Jeffrey Jack Cloe Buck and Josh, Howard Greg’s wife’s dad big Tom **** P. Jim M. Homer Rick there are others that read this I don’t know your loved ones but it written for you as well because God knows. So many times people ask well why God doesn’t do something. I can’t answer fully and I surly don’t want to give some small folksy half hearted attempt. I will answer a couple of ways God hates death he could have said anything in any language but the first thing he said that would be destroyed is death he didn’t create it it is the unalterable fact that springs from sin he dealt with it I will speak about it in a minute. Another part of the answer I said this is unreachable Why did Socrates die after drinking Hemlock he didn’t have to yes he did truth left him without a choice God is the same way sin demands death truth for Socrates was death rather than betray the very men that killed him he willing to his spirit the hemlock was sweet as life giving water. He became a part of truths everlasting fountain Jesus circumvented death all of our sins are bitter to him let me relate these stories and drive the point to the deepest level. The first one is personal my wife and I went from the bay area eighty miles south to Monterey California we spent the day at the sea shore and our final stop was at fisherman’s Warf four to five hours later Mexican gang bangers pulled up to two young female students from the Presidio and shot them dead then went over on Fremont street in Sea Side shot down a middle age Mexican woman animals don’t have a race true to the predators code everyone is fair game. This was all done so they could earn their gang colors. For two and a half years I lived in and out of Monterey and Sea Side after getting out of the service I had a painting job on the Presidio. It was personal but this came even closer to home I told my cousin if you go hunting you have about fifty percent chance ending up the prey in someone’s gun sight. Two months pass a kid up the street on Blacow Rd I Lived on this street for twenty five years all he was doing was pedaling his bicycle a shot rings out broad day light he is gone his crime his mother country flies a Mexican flag. Two nights later a mother misses her ride to work she is scared of the dark streets her teenage daughter walks with her it’s two in the morning it’s just unjustified fear at a corner in the better part of Fremont a car pulls up along the mother and daughter the human thing would have been can I give you a lift this was no human the monster picked up a fallen limb and beat them both to death as they screamed to their family in the cell phone they were poor Mexican immigrants. This is gut wrenching writing but this is the very reason your savior hung between earth and heaven this didn’t have to happen this is human evil in the extreme.
The evil perpetrated against the pure innocent Son of God was explained in search for truth a bible study program our church has if I knew what it contained I wouldn’t have read it I wouldn’t put it here I’m trying to drive death’s initial pain and it’s lingering effects off of souls that they can breathe a little freedom. It described the crucifixion in two ways the physical and emotional or moral revulsion Christ felt. First they beat him we all know that then they took a cat of nine tails and tied to each end they had fixed metal or bone then they beat him with it forty times until it cut him open leaving entrails exposed pulled out his beard. Rammed a crown of thorns into his brow then mocked him calling him king of the Jews. Then there were the sins and their raging affect was put like this take your sainted mother out of her home away from her family then install her in a ***** house. Jesus felt even more no one can feel the depths that he feels and has suffered because he loves us the cross his Hemlock It was not sweet but the rivers of living water you can know were dug at Calvary I don’t know it but I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t the many tears he wept before Calvary and after. I can’t verify this but I can verify he still cries today you decide I was working at a car auction it was late I was by myself as I walked up to Karen’s desk she had a picture where she was sitting on a car the sun was shining bright she had her arms over her head in exhilaration it was a beautiful picture. I knew her story minimally I never talked to her I knew she was nineteen a single mother and had a fifteen month old little boy. Then unexplainably I started to cry uncontrollably this went on for an hour I had been praying for the people who had desks there I thought that was it. The next day I showed up the place was closed the guard told me Karen was killed when her and her friend were on the golf cart they used to get from building to building it was such a big place. Her friend driving in fun ****** the wheel it threw Karen out on the asphalt breaking her neck. There is a song that says he saw my need I stood by her desk Jesus was there he knew what tomorrow held I was just caught in the blow back from his sorrow and tears he was shedding. Yes he agonizes for you he carried into his domain the agony I felt was tremendous though I was unaware of what was going on. I’m sorry I can’t finish this as I was going to I wrote to many sacred things then even to express even those things for your comfort isn’t right to put them here.
-----------------------------------------------------------­---------------------
Damian Acosta Apr 2010
The Children watched in playful awe at the man with the gentle eyes and the fungous feet...
"Jump!! Jump! Jump!!" their tiny voices squeaked.
Some raced around its trunk-- others sat upon its roots, but all of them beamed with glee,
at the man perched atop The Wondrous Tree.
"Today is but a dream to yesterday's fragile memory" his gentle eyes wished they could say.
Instead, they filled with longing tears, at the meaning of the day.

From this height their giggles were but the chorus to the wind's sweet melody.
Their pitter-patter-- gentle chatter-- in the heart of The Wondrous Tree.
The familiar pungent scent and bitter taste that rose,
From the custard yellow toe-nails up to his leaky nose,
Was nothing new, but something old, like a fable long foretold.
He didn't mind it, he quite liked it; after all he could not fight it.
They were his since age six, not a problem for anyone to fix.

But it was he that had a plan,
To be fulfilled when child, became man.

Long he listened, as a boy, to the tortured cries of Men of Age,
Who said that earth and Life was nothing but a stage.
"This pain, this torture, this life-- I cannot wait to pass.
This body's fat, this skin is lax-- in death I shall be free at last!"
And yet the boy, with fungous feet but gentle eyes,
Always knew that 'neath every surface, something Wondrous lies.
Within his mangled feet something struggled too for Life.

So, he paid no mind to those who had none,
And in his hand, his one true plan,
A great big seed of a rare sweet Plum.

"This lovely seed shall be my stage, when I am of the older Age.
And to those that doubt, and mope about, shall I free them from their Whining Cage.
For the greatest gift is Life, filled with love and plenty of Strife.
Life is given, not sustained, and without struggle nothing's gained.
We have always been around, from rocks to monkeys to people; we've all come from the ground.
And there we'll go without a peep, to that restful slumber, back to sleep.
So while you're here, shed many a tear for those that never were.
Then share a smile, for a longer while, and enjoy this whooshing blur"
Then, the boy, gave the future tree a quick quiet gentle lick
And ran toward the sunset, never feeling ill or sick.
Upon a hill he planted the sweetest Plum's seed.

In time, he loved, he married, his pain only he did carry,
On the feet the fungus feed.

But never did his eyes grow cold or distant, not even for an instant.
Nor even when his Lover‘s eyes, sickened, flickered their goodbye.
“No need for hurt or greed. Why try to say goodbye? Why?
When we all know, ‘neath every surface something Living Lie”
So when regret and sorrow would make his body ill,
His mind and soul would soar, to that Miraculous Hill.

Now the boy, dressed as Man, was inches from his youthful plan;
While the seed, now a tree, was eager for its final act.
“It is true the world’s a stage, and we its only builder—
Not a Buddha, not a Krishna, not a Priest or Holy Sister.
Let it rain without strain the sweetest Plum-- your only fruit--
From the highest fragile leaf, to your strongest hidden root.
So give and take, and Live and die,
For where there is death neath its surface there is Life”
He closed his gentle eyes, and rubbed his itchy feet,
But instead of jumping, smiling he did leap.
In his final breath, not a word of this did he speak,
Because as we roam, together or alone,
It is a discovery worthy of your seek.

The kids below played a funny game of duck-duck goose,
As the man’s purple bloated neck swayed tightly on the noose.
And Plums did rain, And Life did remain and death a whisper on the plain.
The groundless feet ****** and pranced, a short and happy little dance.
And the ducks and the goose, excitedly let loose-- faces slobbered in Plum juice;
Allowing death not a jealous wink or a pained side-glance.
2009

— The End —