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”

Burning Jungle

It wasn’t safe.

It had never been safe.

As I stare at the climbing trees and listen to the birds toss their remarks back and forth, I realize that.

It’s never been safe here.

And, honestly, I think I knew that all along. Because, really:

ThisĀ isĀ a jungle, after all.

A burning jungle. Continue reading “Burning Jungle”

All For Cause

In a world teeming with superheroes, the term “villain” gets tossed around too much. Applied way too often.

And, normally, it gets applied where it isn’t applicable at all.

What makes a hero a better than a good Samaritan? Better than a good citizen? More than just someone doing the right thing?

The answer might surprise you if you’ve never thought about it.

Additionally, the answer mirrors the answer to the question:

What separates a villain from a criminal? Someone nefarious? A no-good person? Someone who’s rotten?

What separates them? Where do we draw the line?

What’s the difference?

If you’ve never thought about it before…

Well.

I’m sure the answer will surprise you. Continue reading “All For Cause”

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”

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”

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”

When the Sky Opened Up

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.

Lots.

And yet, somehow…

We survived.

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.

But.

Clearly:

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”