Swamp Thing

There’s a certain stench that accompanies stagnant water. Waters that have risen and fallen with the same stretch of green floating across the top. With the same moss hanging off the trees. With the same plants rooted in the muck. There’s a certain stench to swamp water—waters that don’t churn very often.

And the stench is horrendous.

Uncomfortable.

I claws up, into your nose, whether you like it or not, and it tends to linger long after you’ve left the swamp. In the smell, you can sense the old age of the water, the different types of mold that creeps along tree roots, the green muck that adorns the backs of the gators you pass by—their beady eyes lit up in the light of my lamp, glowing like dying coals.

Swamps, to put it nicely, are disgusting. Places to go and stay stagnant. Places to be when one wants to smell what dying is like. Places that have nothing new to offer.

Places that hold old, old waters.

And the old beasts that come with them.

Continue reading “Swamp Thing”

Armored Dragon

“You could be brave.”

“I could be.”

“You could be strong.”

“I could be.”

“And you could be the champion.”

“I could be the champion.”

“So then… why not?”

I can’t help but laugh a little at how incredulous he sounds. How perplexed. It would make no sense to him, being a former champion and all, but:

It makes sense to me.

Turning from the ring of fighters, I walk away as I tell him.

“Not all things that could, should.”

Besides.

I have better things to do than win titles.

I have a king to slay. Continue reading “Armored Dragon”

Failure to Fly

Sky blue.

I remember being young and seeing it from afar. That infinite mass of cool, kind blue. Watching as they rose to meet it—soaring far above me. Touching the white fluff as they went. Seeking out that calm, soft blue.

Steady.

Beautiful.

Accepting.

That blue that spoke for days upon days about the grandness of the heavens, the glory of the skies.

When I was young, I remember looking up and watching. Mesmerized as the others rose, greeting that serene baby blue.

And I remember thinking:

One day, I won’t just be looking.

One day, I’ll reach it, too.

That’s what wings are for, after all.

Reaching for the sky.

Continue reading “Failure to Fly”

Kings and Thrones

A king is only as strong as his throne.

That’s why the Right of Kings is so important. Such a special, meaningful occasion. It’s a way for the king to make a declaration to the people. For him to show what it is that he’s about. What kind of ruler he will be.

The Right of Kings is when the king reveals his throne to the people. A throne that is of his own choosing, his own design, because, as I’ve said:

A king is only as strong as his throne.

And my throne?

It will be the strongest of all.

Continue reading “Kings and Thrones”

Beginning

I cleave the building.

Split it in two.

It crumbles, the giant skyscraper. Creaking like an ancient door, cracking like lightning. All of its stories falling, echoing thunder. The building roars as it falls, and people run from it. Completely terrified.

But I don’t stop.

I don’t stop.

I throw another bolt of lightning. Shake the earth with a kick. Yell, and the foundations all shake.

I am not done destroying, not yet.

I won’t be done for quite some time.

This must all come crashing down, you see. These terrors and raging beasts. The creatures that carve out destruction, that lay waste to each other and the beasts of this earth.

I won’t stop until they’re all gone.

Until all this ends.

Until there is nothing but a clean slate left.

This all must end. Continue reading “Beginning”

Bone Dragon

It rose.

From the dark that separated the lava’s dim light and myself. Rose up, from the burning earth. A tan color, singed at the edges, that poked through the folds of red, glowing earth. It rose steadily, meaningfully. It’s sockets were empty, dark. I could feel death seeping from them. Hades itself spilling from the empty holes.

It rose.

The bone dragon.

Continue reading “Bone Dragon”

Bog Monster

Whenever I passed the bog, I made sure to avert my eyes. Made sure to walk quietly, move quickly. When possible, I avoided the bog. Skipped that part of the woods altogether.

No one told me that it was dangerous. Nobody explained what lurked in the water. What kind of things belonged to bogs. No one had to. I just knew:

I didn’t want to find out. Continue reading “Bog Monster”

Share of Hearts

The knock was gentle. Timid. Meant to be heard, but not to disturb.

I knew who it was, of course.

So, of course, I let him in. Continue reading “Share of Hearts”

Beast Master’s Mountain

Beast Masters were hard to come by. It’s been said before that they’re a dying breed. Their secrets passing as the older generations held the secrets to the trade tight within their closed hands, refusing to pass them along.

I’m not sure if all that is true. If that’s really the reason why Beast Masters were hard to find. They were dying out, that’s for sure, and that seemed like a plausible reason, but, I don’t think that’s why they’re going out.

I don’t think that’s why at all.

Beast Masters were hard to come by.

But.

Mine was more than willing to share his wisdom. Continue reading “Beast Master’s Mountain”

Dragon’s Fire

A dark story about murder, and also, complacency.

The first time I saw him for what he was, it was nighttime.

I was out for a smoke on the porch. Enjoying the summery breeze. Listening to the cicadas scream and the owls give the occasion protest. I was smoking, imbibing in my worst habit.

One of my worst, anyway.

When I was halfway through my smoke, he pulled up in his red pickup. Pulled up, parked, turned off his headlights. Got out with a fire under his ass, moving real quick, his movements clipped in a way that showed his focus. His extremely narrow intent.

He pulled something out of the back. Slammed the tailgate down, dragged something out, then slammed it back up.

And dragged it.

A burlap sack that was large. Quite large. Probably weighed a buck fifty or so. Maybe more. A sack that, as he dragged it up to his porch, was illuminated by his motion sensor light. A sack that, once in full view, looked as though it might stand at about five foot five. A sack that looked long as he dragged it. Lumpy. A sack that was not just the dingy brown of burlap.

But it was blotched with shades of red.

Red that ran out of the sack, up his porch.

Red that stained the ground with dark streaks of pooling liquid.

Red that was coming, most certainly, from whatever was within the sack.

I saw what he was then.

Saw him for what he truly was on that humid summer night.

At his front door, he paused. Turned sideways. Noticed me.

I nodded to him, nearly done with my smoke.

“Hot out tonight, ain’t it?” I asked him.

His face was… hollow then. Shut off. As if none of his skin were real. All of his bones were blades under the thin facade.

He nodded to me. “Too hot, I’d say.”

“Definitely,” I agreed. “I best be getting inside, much too hot out here for me. Not like anything interesting is going on anyway. Goodnight.”

I put my cigarette stub in the ash tray.

Walked inside.

Locked my door.

And, that night, I shut my eyes. Went right to sleep. Because, even though I saw him for what he was, I figured:

Why poke the dragon? Continue reading “Dragon’s Fire”