#1719

can’t quite grasp the dream, just remember elegance, a mansion and fine dresses, but blood amid all that finery, something wrong, running down the paved garden paths past guards, into the hall full of revelers, why? something wrong, very wrong, danger, a knife or something else but blood, definitely blood, on pale hands? maybe, maybe, it must have been because they thought he was dead, they took him away in a body bag and left him in a cell but he wasn’t dead, he sat up when they weren’t looking, did he kill the guards? not sure but then later on a confrontation, an accusation and a broken nose, blood running down grinning lips, what do you do when your lover is the killer, so fragmented it’s all hard to remember but trying, grasping, why does everything feel important in the middle of the night?

#1718

I live in a world where I hope I will be respected for my love.
I live in a world where I hope I will be respected for my gender.
So how can I contribute to a world where something will not be respected for its species?
If I hope for respect, must I not first respect the most vulnerable of us?
If I hope for freedom, must I not first ensure the freedom of the caged?
If I hope for happiness, must I not first limit the unhappiness I cause?
It is dangerous to be queer in this world.
It is dangerous to be a woman in this world.
But it is more dangerous to be an animal in this world.
I am privileged to be human, and it is not my place to decide what lives or dies.
So let nothing more die for me.

#1717

The omen is ancient, almost an old wives’ tale by now, but the king takes no chances. Two yolks in one egg – the son will slay the father. With a roar he commands all of his sons be brought to him, from the oldest toddler to the youngest newborn. His wives rush to fulfill the order, carrying in their babes with tears in their eyes and lips clenched tight. The king takes each child personally, hurling them from the high tower window as if they have already sinned against him. Though once proud of these male children, of their potential as his successors and perpetrators of his line, he tosses them as if they’re nothing more than bundles of dirty rags.

Only the youngest princess, a worthless girl and bane of her father’s existence, dares intercede. She has always been too headstrong, too wild, and she tugs now on her father’s arms, at the guards, begging for mercy, for an end to this madness. None pay her attention past a swift push to get her away; none seem to care as half the royal family’s children are sent to their deaths. Beside herself, the princess begins to scream, a shattering wail like nothing such a tiny human should be able to produce. The sound is horrid and the king cannot ignore her any longer. He turns on the child, eyes blazing, and threatens to throw her out the window to join her brothers on the flagstones below if she can’t be silent.

It’s a threat he will act on without hesitation, the princess knows this, but she can’t sit by and watch this senseless slaughter. She continues her wailing until a guard makes to grab for her, then she runs. Down castle corridors, past bewildered servants and weeping wives, just out of reach of her pursuers. The doors to the outside are all blocked, so she heads for a first floor library, diving through an open window just large enough to fit a young girl but too small for an armored guard. The princess hits the ground running and makes a mad dash through the manicured gardens, mind racing to form a plan beyond mindless fleeing. She’s never been past the castle grounds; a princess only leaves the castle once in her life, and that’s to be shipped off to her husband. Where will she go?

This princess is determined to escape no matter what, though, and her tomboy proclivities, while shameful to the royal family, serve her well now. She vaults hedges and clambers up decorative walls, heading instinctively for the wall separating the castle from the surrounding nobles’ lands. While too high to climb, she uses the smaller walls like scattered stairs, jumping from one to another until with a final desperate leap she’s over the last hurtle and landing on the other side. Her sudden appearance startles a group of nobles’ children playing hopscotch. One of them, a boy the princess has often played with, rushes to help her up. Catching sight of the matron watching over the kids, she begins to babble her message of terror.

#1716

And if it’s true, that cycle, that immortal soul in all its forms passing through time, what does the future hold for her? The temperatures are already rising, the oceans acidifying, the atmosphere clogged with chemicals and debris. What would 2070 hold? 2140? Will technology keep advancing or will it one day crumble, so at some point she’ll come full circle to clay tablets again? Will any remnants of mythology and religion remain in such desolation, or will she feel even crazier for the voices in her head? Someday the oceans will dry up, the farm lands wither, the forests burn down to char. Someday blood will wet the parched soil more often than rain. Who could find spiritual shelter in such a dead place? Though maybe that’s the point – to have someone there at the end of things, for Ragnarok, for Armageddon, for the time when neither Sun nor Moon can rise again. But what a burden that will be.

#1714

What meaning, these symbols, this strange play? The monster’s bride, as it were, though who knows what was ever truly in her heart, seeking sanctuary in a cathedral though surely she doesn’t believe. But she wants to right now and she mutters to herself to believe, believe, drawn in and hunched over with the weight of the darkness clinging to her back. Does she see it? Does she feel it? Or does she think the church doors can block out all evil? Perhaps they could, if only this shadow wasn’t so much a part of her that she carries it inside as easily as her bones and blood. She tries to sit on a pew but she’s too restless, she feels like she’s being followed, watched, hunted. So she paces, wandering near the priests as they light the great tall candles, and as she passes the shadow reaches out to snuff the flames and shatter the white wax into black smoke. One, two, three, four, it sends out its drifting tendrils to douse each candle and usher the shadows in the corners closer. She weeps, maybe, but she cannot or will not control the hungry thing she carries. Soon only the faintest, most remote tapers remain lit, for shadow does need a small bit of light for casting. The priests and worshippers huddle in fear. They watch as the darkness rises from her back like a cloak swept aloft by the wind, until with newfound strength it tears from her completely and drifts down to settle into its own autonomous form. A living thing draped in darkness, staring out at the fear and the panic with a smile on its hidden, or perhaps missing, face. It catches sight of itself, then, in mirrors hanging behind the crowd. I see you, sir, I think to the reflection, and bow my shadowed arms. Then I laugh, and the sound echoes through the cavernous halls. So thus darkness entered, came free, and took form. Thus the church was invaded and infected. But why? Why her, and why him? Who was I, in her body, in the shadows? Who was I in the mirror?