What The Smoke Says

When I see the red smoke, I count the tendrils.

Every time.

And, every time, the number is smaller. The smoke climbing higher. The days drawing closer.

They will come for me.

Three tendrils.

Two tendrils.

Tomorrow.

They will come for me.

And, when they do, I’ll be waiting.

I’ll be waiting. Continue reading “What The Smoke Says”

Secrets For Secrets

It was my father’s. And it was his father’s. And it was that man—the man that fathered my father’s father—it was his, too.

Never step foot inside.

Never peak through the window.

Never light the hearth fire.

It calls and it comes. It sleeps and it wakes. It watches.

And it waits.

Waits for the one who will break the rules.

What is it? I remember asking my father that over and over again as we stared at the house. As I gazed on the rotting boards and the crumpling paint. As I watched its shuttered eyes wink at me.

And he told me it was a secret. A secret that no one could know.

I wonder…

How far should you go for a secret?

Or, is it more important to ask:

How far are you willing to go for a secret? Continue reading “Secrets For Secrets”

The Ground, Understood

You were burying something.

I don’t know how we got there, or why, really. I just know that it was the middle of the night, and I was asleep, and then I wasn’t. I wasn’t, and you were gone. So I followed. Followed you out there, stood silently as I watched. We were in the woods, and you were standing there with a shovel in your hand, that favorite hoodie of yours covering you like a blanket while your gym shorts allowed your legs to breath. You stood there, breath coming out in the cold air, small puffs. You stood there, looking at the ground. Sifting though the dirt.

You were burying something.

And I stood there watching.

Wondering.

And I knew.

It wasn’t the time to ask.

Continue reading “The Ground, Understood”

Dark Secrets

“It’s not that bad this time, I swear.”

“Oh yeah? Well, I guess that could be true. I mean, compared to last time, anyhow. That was really bad.”

“It wasn’t—!—it wasn’t that bad,” I finished, my fire downed down as I mumbled the words.

Really, last time had been awful.

Just not as awful as it could have been, that’s all.

Which didn’t matter. Not now, not then, not in the future. Bad is still bad, right? And, either way, Howard didn’t know how bad it could get.

He just knew this was bad. Continue reading “Dark Secrets”

A Fox’s Secret

There was a fox in the forest.

There was a fox in the forest whose words were like honey. Who could speak paths into existence, lead owls astray. His way with words was thorough, a tongue of silver dripping with gold.

There was a fox in the forest.

There was a fox in the forest who had a reputation. A finder of rare things. A keeper of artifacts and treasure. His den was full of jade and his bed was made with silk.

There was a fox in the forest.

There was a fox in the forest who kept secrets. Who heard what it was the winds whispered. Whose ears were sharp, attuned to every exhale and every word passed from one to another, even as they passed in shadow.

There was a fox in the forest.

They say he was worth millions, that fox. That a debt from the fox was a life sentence, and the fox owing a debt was like having a genie. That fox who lived in that forest, the one there, across the street.

There was a fox in that forest.

And I know that for certain.

Because the fox was me. Continue reading “A Fox’s Secret”

Bullseye

Power is a target.

Well, no, not exactly.

Having power makes you a target.

Anyone with real power, and knowledge, and common sense enough to keep their heads, knows that. And they take precautions against it. Precautions against those who would try to uproot their power.

Anyone with power knows: they’re a target.

Best to put the bullseye somewhere else then, right? Continue reading “Bullseye”

Grave Secrets

The earth reaches up to me.

And I push it down.

I take my bare hands and I slam into the dirt. I claw, and I punch, and I pack it down. Soft gets matted down into tough turf. Loose soil loses it’s gentle touch as I pound it into something coarse, unforgiving.

There are legions under the dirt.

There are whole worlds buried beneath this earth.

Monsters and milestones and madness.

Things that time has forgotten. That humanity has forgotten. Things that are no longer important, because people have stopped knowing they existed.

This will be no different. Continue reading “Grave Secrets”

Chasing Lions

In the woods, not far from here, there is a secret:

Lions.

Such a thing seems like an impossible secret, right? Such loud, glorious creatures couldn’t possibly stay hidden. Stay secret.

But I swear.

They’re there.

And they don’t bite. They don’t roar at you. They don’t maul people.

So then, what do they do?

I’ll tell you. Continue reading “Chasing Lions”