I remember heaven.
I remember the glory that reigned there. The peace of it all. I remember being so fulfilled that I thought about nothing. Wanted nothing. Needed nothing. I remember sitting in the mouth of heaven, laughing for no reason at all, other than to let some of the light out of my soul.
I remember hearing it.
I remember heaven.
And I remember heaven cracking.
Remember hearing you calling me.
I remember the moment I remembered that I used to be alive. That I used to have a life. That there were people I loved and respected.
I remembered, then, that I used to have you.
That I left you.
And I remember a voice gently calling me. Asking me if I wanted to try something.
Just for a little while. Just for you.
I remember the day heaven let me go—just for a day, mind you—just so I could visit.
So I could comfort you. Continue reading “Time’s Loss”
Looking out over the hills, the towering trees, the things that were falling prey to the heavy breeze, I knew he was right.
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?
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”
It was the end of the world, they said.
Burning acid rain spewed from the hole the sun had bitten into the atmosphere, searing the surface of the planet. Scorching a line across the equator, merciless as it combed its rays over the land closest to it. More than likely, to the sun, the lands at the equator felt like an offering—so close, so dense, so populated.
Lots of people lost their lives that day.
And yet, somehow…
Mankind, as a whole, I mean.
Honestly, everyone thought that that would be the end of it. When the sky opened up, nobody expected to survive—no one. We thought that was it for all of us. That the planet was doomed.
That wasn’t the case.
That day, I stood, watching the sky. Feeling the heat waves engulf the planet. Rolling over us, though we were so far north—so far from the sun’s gaze. I stood and saw the glare, the sweltering fingers that razed the land, that evaporated portions of the ocean, that decimated our numbers.
I saw it.
I saw the sky open up.
And, just as it was then, it’s the same now:
I’m not afraid. Continue reading “When the Sky Opened Up”
When I shudder, it’s not because it’s cold.
It’s summer now. Summer, in this muggy, swamp heat. Here, the sun drools on us, breathing hot ragged breaths over our necks. Dragging us across hell’s palm. Scalding us the moment we step outside.
No, I don’t shudder because it’s cold.
I shudder because it isn’t supposed to be cold.
And yet, here I am. Feeling that hand creep across my back. Tracing the outline of my clothes. Clawing to get into my system. Wanting to dig deeper. To tear into me.
I don’t shudder because it’s cold.
I shudder because it’s apparent:
The cold has been brought to me. Continue reading “Through the Snow”
Which, in their book, translated to:
They were going to throw me out. As if I were trash.
As if I weren’t human.
They were going to throw me out because I’d somehow become “incomplete”.
That’s how they saw it.
But, luckily for me, they weren’t the only ones looking. Continue reading “Fixin’”
I can feel the wind.
I have seen the clouds form and break. Seen the sky crack and crush thousands. Watched the earth shatter and split, spilling hundreds of lives right into the abyss. I have heard the war cries, heard the drums, the clanking of shields and the splintering of spears. Watched the dark beasts rise, and seen the dragons of blood and bone call us to Hades’s grip.
I have seen all these things. Watched death vomit its curse up, over whole fields, whole towns, whole cities.
I have seen many, many battles.
Fought in many long wars.
I can feel the wind rise, and die. It’s breath becomes just a whisper on my skin.
Just like the rest of us.
Just like me.
I have won this battle, but…
I don’t think I’ll win another.
I’m done for. Continue reading “Battle Born”
There are cracks in the wall.
I can hear the creaking of the floorboards. See the rot from the water that leaks in. Here, the floor isn’t sturdy. You could fall right through—the boards are as thin as wet paper. Here, there isn’t much shelter from anything. This old, desolate house. Oozing and creaking and moaning along with the things that fill the walls.
Where do you think the cracks came from?
Obviously, they came from them.
They spill out some nights. Flooding the house, over and over again. Playing like a song on repeat. Scratching and screaming and scurrying over the ceilings. Wailing and terrorizing and eating away at the souls of others. Desperate and jealous. Creatures that haunt, that steal, that kill—all for pleasure.
I was raised with them, you know.
I grew up here, in this house.
It screams at me.
And I hear the rhetoric again. The chanting that always filters through the screams. Words that float through the panic, through the muck, through the mire of spirits unrested. I hear their demand. The threat of what’s to come if I don’t heed them, if I don’t obey. I hear the words, carrying from the house to this faraway place, and I suppress a shudder.
Protect the ghost. Continue reading “Haunted Nevermore”
Mercenaries have no mercy.
That’s what I was always taught. That we, the unlucky few, manage to get hired because of that reason and that reason alone.
We have no mercy.
When we fight, we pull no punches. When we dive, we swim with sharks. And, when we speak—
We don’t withhold the truth.
Don’t ask a mercenary for anything. Not unless you can handle the clearest cut.
That’s what goes around the galaxy. That’s what we’ve been taught—what everyone has been taught.
If you want someone who’s going to hold back.
Don’t hire a mercenary. Continue reading “Sitting In The Dark”
At the time, I was nowhere near him.
When I heard the voice roll off the mountain, I thought I was hearing things. Whisperings of the wind. Coyotes cackling at me, trying to play tricks on my mind. Or, perhaps it was a bear roaring. His voice blasting so far and wide that it distorted. That it sounded like a person shouting.
It was no wind, no bear, no coyote. It was not a trick, and it was not in my mind.
Because he spoke again.
Yelled once more.
And I knew:
He was calling to me.
The wilderness itself.
It calls to me.
What choice did I have but to run?
Continue reading “Calling”
“How can you be sure that that’s the right path?”
When she asks, her eyes are focused far off. Lingering in the dark. Clinging to the blank spots in space that neither of us can see into. That neither of us—her, with her newfound knowledge, and me, with my vast experiences—can see into.
We are blind out there in those places.
Tucked between the stars.
The darkness that those places are purveying.
But not winning.
Not if you don’t want it to.
That’s what I can see in her eyes as she looks. Not curiosity. Not wonder.
I shake my head at her. Already, she has made a critical error.
You don’t look between the stars for knowledge.
You look there for guidance. Continue reading “The Stellar Path”