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”

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”

No Fool

“And? What did you end up telling him?”

“Hmm? The merchant?”

“Yes! What did you end up telling him?”

I was desperate to know.

Lorent smiled at me, taking a sip from his goblet—gold glinting wickedly off his irises as he took his time.

He sipped, and he grinned. Wicked, like a sidhe cat, before he spoke. Continue reading “No Fool”

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”

Glimmer of Moonlight

I thought it was…

Amusing.

Cute, in a way.

She stood with her shoulders back, braced for anything. Ready to get hit with rejection, to get hit by a gust of wind, to get hit with a tree that I conjured from the ground.

In that moment, she was ready for anything.

Except:

Acceptance.

“For now,” I say, leaning over my boulder, elbow resting against the rock as my palm props up my face. “You may be my apprentice.”

And so it began.

Our spiraling stars.

Sputtering, glowing.

Burning out.

Giving all that it can give.

Giving all that I can give. An exhale in the dark. A whisper that tapers into echoes. A single word given.

And it’s all that I am.

What a glorious night. Continue reading “Glimmer of 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”

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”

A Useless Jump

It happens every time, without fail:

Right when I’m about to fall asleep.

That moment where I’m dancing with dreams, my mind slowly succumbing to the beauty of rest. To the warmth of it, the necessity. It’s right when my mind is starting to go blank, right when I’m about to slip away. Away from the waking world and all its problems. Forgetting all the things that are bothering me, all the tasks I need to accomplish, all the orders I need to fill.

Its then that it always happens.

I’m on the verge again. Darkness whispers sweet nothings into my ear, assuring me that it can give me rest. That I can relax—

And there’s a knock on the door.

Every time. Continue reading “A Useless Jump”

A Call From the Dark

For a long time, I tried not to remember. Because remembering was dangerous. Could lead me back to it. To that lurking feeling. What waits in the shadows. That knowledge.

It was him.

It is him.

He’s here too.

For a long time, I tried to forget that.

But sometimes…

Sometimes he just…

He takes over. Continue reading “A Call From the Dark”

Fail or Fly

“So… you’re—what? Just going to try it out? Right here? Right now? On yourself? No beta, no guinea pig? Just you jumping from a cliff with a pair of fake wings strapped to your back?”

“Yep!” I replied, tightening the strap around the back. The one that would keep me in control of the contraption.

My flying, wooden contraption.  Continue reading “Fail or Fly”