Dark Horse

They say he means death.

That seeing him ends your life. Or means that you’re going to die very, very soon. If you can hear his gallop, or can see his silhouette, it’s best if you get your affairs in order.

That’s what I’ve heard.

The tales they’ve always told about the black horse. The one that vanishes before dawn. He has no rider, and they say its because he’s only an omen. Only a warning.

He comes back later, they say.

Rider on his back.

And, guess who they say his rider is.

Guess who they say he belongs to.

Continue reading “Dark Horse”

Wash Out

I can feel you blinding me.

Brilliant, bright light. White against my eyes. Draining the color from the world, eating away the perspective. It seeps, that fluorescence, dragging my vision out from behind my eyelids. Merciless, as you try to disarm me. As you try to cripple me. As you try to force me to yield.

As you force me to face the light.

It’s…

Deplorable.

Senseless.

You suck the color out of everything.

You know that, right?

It’s harrowing, what you do. Pointless.

Cruel.

I’d much rather have washed out colors than this. Rather have nothing—have total darkness, because at least darkness can have variation. At least you can adjust to darkness.

This complete white-out though…

It’s tasteless.

A dull, pale void.

Don’t you think?

I know why you do it.

To desensitize me.

At least, you try.

I think that, in the end, it does the exact opposite of what you intend it to do. Rather than let it wash over me—bleed me out, make me blinding as the sun, blinding as you are—I cling tighter to my shadows. Grip tightening around the dark.

When you combat me with that vivid, piercing light, I don’t give in. Not an inch.

I fight back. Continue reading “Wash Out”

Rise Again

For a while, I believed I was forgotten. That my skill and my hammer and my forge were all lost, somewhere beyond myths and legends. Dark in the minds of man. For a while, I believed that they’d stopped telling the tale. Stopped speaking of my works. For a while, I thought I’d never have another visitor.

And then, he showed up.

Him.

And when he walked into my forge, he knew where he was going. What he was doing. I realized then that it wasn’t a matter of being forgotten, but, rather, a matter of being feared.

Why else would you memorize a land not of your own?

For the sake of keeping your head, yes?

As he approached my forge, his eyes shifted around the room. Cataloguing everything in sight. Ready for something to pounce, to jump at him. To make an attempt on his life.

He walked into my forge—my home—fearful.

Terrified.

Determined, and yet:

Very much afraid.

…good.

At least they’ve got that much right.

My works are nothing to scoff at. My hands building only the finest of beasts. My forge brutal, a fire that shows no mercy.

Mercy makes for weak metal, anyway.

For making creatures that are not-quite-so-mythical beasts.

There is no room for a cool fire.

Not in my forge.

He walked in, afraid, and yet…

He knew exactly what he wanted.

Though I don’t think he realized what kind of hell I’d have to make first, in order for him to get it.

Ha.

Foolish mortals. Continue reading “Rise Again”

When We Fall Apart

“It’s falling apart.”

“It’s always been falling apart.” As I walk away from the glass dome, I poke him in the head, doing my best to smile as I call him, “silly goose.”

And then, I feel it.

The ship gets rocked with the blast. With fire cracking tectonic plates to bits. Crumbling lives, calling for rescue. A million things left behind.

Destroyed.

I feel the shockwave. Tremors of love and loss. Of desperation and pain. Of joy.

Of hope.

Beneath the glass dome of the ship, he stands and watches as it happens, and I can’t blame him for not looking away.

The world beneath us burns. Continue reading “When We Fall Apart”

Consequences

Whiskey burns the back of my throat as I exhale, settling my gaze on the placid man before me.

A shadow of what he was before.

Because, before, he had light. Had life. Something to look forward to. Something to hold on to. Back then, he thought he was tough-shit. Thought he was the bee’s knees. The cat’s meow. Thought he was something better than the rest of us, stepping on anyone and everyone to get his way. Rabidly pursuing any who thought differently, who dared to try and make him face fact.

Before, he was confident.

Stood proud. Stood tall.

But, now…

Now?

Now he cowers, a glare dying in the corner of his eye. Weak, because he knows.

I am the one who snuffed that light.

The one he should’ve left alone.

The one creature that he wasn’t tougher than.

I was the one who showed him that he wasn’t anything special. That he was no bigger than a sneeze. And, I’ll be the one to seal his fate, too.

To steal the son. Continue reading “Consequences”

Beyond the Moonlight

Blitzing moon that glares down at the forest, streaking the undergrowth with tendrils of lunar light. Small specks are lit up here and there, disturbing the tranquil dark. Upturning the critters in the wake of the night’s gaze. Always questioning, always wondering.

Always hoping.

In the night, there are things that are seen that can’t be unseen. And there are things that are unseen that can be known, and yet, remain unseen. The forest at night is a magical place, a new realm. Home to the darkest of beings, the most silent, the most watchful. Night in the forest is a place, not a time. It is an essence, a creature unto itself.

And there, in the dark.

Sitting between the sparks of moonlight.

Hiding under the gaze of stars.

There.

That’s where you’ll find me. Continue reading “Beyond the Moonlight”

Mountains to Climb

“You’ve grown.”

Looking out over the hills, the towering trees, the things that were falling prey to the heavy breeze, I knew he was right.

I’d grown.

How many years had I vowed to never climb this mountain? Claiming that I would never dare try to scale these massive hills? Declaring that this life wasn’t for me?

So many.

Too many.

Half of my childhood, I’d rejected the idea. Dismissed it completely. And, when I grew and finally knew I’d have to eventually leave those flat plains for this mountain, I’d rejected it completely. Claiming that those plains were fine, that that was all I needed to know. All I needed to have. All I could learn was at my fingertips, I thought. All I needed was already sitting in front of me. I didn’t need to leave, I convinced myself.

For years, I thought that it was true. That there was nothing out here that my hometown didn’t already have. Nothing to be gained away from those plains, nothing new or out of the ordinary to behold beyond its grasp.

But that was before. That was the old me.

The foolish me.

The arrogant me.

The ignorant me.

The me that rejected mountains and heights and soaring.

That was before I knew what it was like.

What it was like to climb. Continue reading “Mountains to Climb”

Standing Storms

“Are you ready?”

It was a shout over the winds. Clarity cutting through the chaos of the wind, the rain.

The thunder.

It rocked the sky. Bellowing a challenge above us. Barking through waves of lightning—dangerous, sparking smiles that made the hairs on my legs stand up. Clouds coming together, forming a mutiny above us. Cackling at the open ground below.

At the terrified people.

Cowering beneath the dark, bruised skies.

Looking up, I felt that fear. Felt the wicked grin of the storm pressing on me, pushing me. Urging me to roll over. To lay down and die.

But.

That wasn’t what I came here to do.

So.

As the wind roared, and the thunder croaked, and the lightning tickled the earth—tagging the earth’s surface—I nodded.

“I’m ready,” I yelled back.

Unafraid of the storm. Continue reading “Standing Storms”

Stealing Stars

The sky was blackening, the exact reverse of a whiteout. All of it going dark, simmering away into nothing. Wisp-like. Smoke-like. Stars winking out all over the damned place. Giving in, giving up, giving out.

And he stood there, smirking. Eyes hollows, empty holes. Eviscerating anything that dared venture closer to those dismal openings. That hellish hunger.

He stood there smirking, beneath the dying stars.

And I stood there, too.

Glaring.

Staring him down.

Unafraid.

If this is the end… then…

So be it.

I’ll use it all—I’ll use everything.

I’ll give it everything I’ve got.

I won’t go down so easily.

I will fight.

Continue reading “Stealing Stars”