One Raging Lion

He was older when I took his pelt.

That’s why it was an easy kill. Why tearing his jaw off wasn’t as hard as it should’ve been. In that moment, I wasn’t akin to Hercules, not like I wanted to be. Instead, I was only proving that I was a brute. Strong, yes.

But not like a god.

Not like the son of a god.

Not yet.

People stopped believing in the beasts forever ago. Lost faith in the lore. Took to science, to thinking that superpowers were a thing of biology. Left mythics behind. Left it to crumble, to rot. Do whatever it was that old, abandoned things had to do in order to cease.

But.

They were fools.

In their lack of understanding—their strive for solid, concrete knowledge—they cut themselves off at the knees. Made themselves weak. Turned off a faucet that granted power, that granted real, true understanding.

Fools.

But, not me.

Not me.

When I killed the lion, I still had to rip the fur off his body. Still had to skin him. Still had to prove I had enough strength to pull even the invincible apart.

On that day, my proving began.

And it continues.

Even now, it continues. Continue reading “One Raging Lion”

Demon in the Mattress

Used furniture is never a good idea.

I told her that. I definitely, absolutely told her that. You have no idea what happened on that couch. No idea what kind of creepy-crawlies could be lurking inside that cabinet.

But, what does she do?

Does she listen to me?

No, of course not.

She goes out and buys a used mattress.

used mattress.

How the hell am I supposed to sleep? Huh? How can I sleep not knowing?

How can I sleep when the mattress moves?

How am I supposed to live with that? Continue reading “Demon in the Mattress”

Midnight Ride

I’ve often thought about Paul Revere.

Not because I thought of him as a hero. In fact, I know almost nothing about him. Just have heard about his famous midnight ride. His holler, crying through the town. Alerting the people.

They’re coming.

Riding through the town, yelling at the top of your lungs. Hoping someone—no, everyone—hears you.

They’re coming.

In the dead of night, when your voice is the only protest. The only thing piercing through the dark. A last line of defense against what’s to come. Against the impending attack. The looming doom.

They’re coming.

I think that, maybe, Paul thought to himself—at least once:

God.

I hope they believe me. Continue reading “Midnight Ride”

Real Monsters

I remember the first time I told my dad there was a monster under my bed.

I remember the way my voice was factual, honest. Clear. I cut all other words away, just left the root of what I wanted to say.

“There’s a monster under my bed.”

And I remember what he said. How it was a mirror of my own words. The way he cut out all nonsense. All description. All in favor of cutting to the root of what he wanted to say.

“There’s no such thing as monsters.”

My dad was a liar.

He still is.

Because everyone who’s got a brain knows:

Monsters are very real.

Very. Continue reading “Real Monsters”

Wings of Disbelief

If there was one thing in this world that I believed, it was:

Nothing should be believed wholeheartedly.

If you believed in something with all your heart—be it someone else, like a friend or a spouse, or be it a creature like the Loch Ness Monster, ligers, or the Tooth Fairy—it made you a bigger target for hurt. For disappointment.

Never believe in something with all your heart.

It’s safer that way.

Plus, who believed in anything with all their heart? That’s just… weird. Bizarre. A completely foreign concept.

How could anyone be so confident?

So wholly certain?

You have to have a little bit of doubt… right? Continue reading “Wings of Disbelief”

Timeliness, and the Importance of Timing

“At three thirty-seven tomorrow, I’m going to get attacked by a dragon, and I need you to save me.”

The words were so strange that they actually managed to draw me out of my book.

I looked at Cliff and blinked a few times. As if I might wipe away the serious look on his face. As if I might blink, and he’d stop giving me that look that asked for promises.

But it didn’t work.

“What?” I asked.

He nodded, then repeated the statement.

“Tomorrow, at three thirty-seven, I’m going to get attacked by a dragon. I need you to save me.”

“…you’re joking.”

He didn’t have to say it because it was written plainly, all over his face.

He wasn’t. Continue reading “Timeliness, and the Importance of Timing”

Dive

This place is so cruel.

Light shining only through darkness. Day only reaching out after the light. Beauty only existing because ugly things take root here.

This world is so cruel.

And I’ve known that. For so long—all my life in fact—I’ve known it. Lived it. Experienced it.

So why?

Why did I think I’d get away from it?

That I could outrun this, my greatest fear, and still reach the light?

Kind of stupid, really.

What a dunce. Continue reading “Dive”

Reviving Passion

“Listen, I did it right.”

“Uh huh, sure you did.”

“I did!”

“If you’d done it right, it’d be working, now wouldn’t it?”

“Listen, if I did it right, and you bought doubly-dead parts, it wouldn’t work no matter which way I put them.”

Excuse me? You’re going to try and put this on me? You cheeky bastard.”

Continue reading “Reviving Passion”

Wayfinder

Find a way.

The motto of my life. A directive given at birth, much like a plague or a hereditary disease or a birthmark.

Find a way.

Not to get your way. Sometimes your way is wrong. No, don’t find a way to get what you want.

Find a way to earn something.

To make people feel at ease.

To be the thing that lifts their spirits.

Find a way to make a difference.

I think that’s what Dad always meant. He never directly said it like that, but I still think that’s what he meant. When he was egging me on, encouraging me, wanting me to help. To give people something to look forward to. During training and during his lessons, it’s what he always said. Usually, he’d say it right before I was about to give up. On the tenth mile, or during the fiftieth set, or in the middle of my rope climb. I’d hear him call out to me, the words lost in the fog of fatigue and in the roaring of my blood in my veins. I’d look at him, confused, panting, and then he’d say it again.

Find a way.

I hear it now, in his voice, as I stare death down. As I look this threat right in the teeth.

I’ll find a way Continue reading “Wayfinder”

Star Power

Wishing upon stars wasn’t something I did as a kid.

But it was something she did.

All the time.

Every night we were together—having sleepovers or hiding from our siblings outside—she would always look at the sky. And she would find a star, and she would make a wish.

Sometimes it was the first star. Sometimes it was the last. Sometimes she’d make up an excuse, right on the spot, as to why you could be allowed to wish upon that particular star.

Not that I minded. I didn’t wish, and I didn’t know the rules.

The ones she made up were just as good as the ones those other people made up.

Once she announced that she was going to wish, she would close her eyes.

Shut them real tight.

She’d mumble under her breath, things I could never hear. (I wasn’t allowed to know, that would break the wish.) And then, when she finished her wish, she’d open her eyes.

And she’d smile.

Starlight blinking in the backs of her eyes. Thousands of tiny suns, unable to refuse her their light.

“You know what I wished for?” she’d ask.

“No,” I’d say.

“Good. It’s a secret,” she’d tell me.

And I never pried. Never did ask what she was wishing for.

But now…

I kind of wish I had. Continue reading “Star Power”