#1527

“Affirmation Prayer”

I am scribe to the Sun and Moon.
I am beloved of Shakespeare’s Sister.
My champion is the nameless Mage.
My patron is the Mother Cat.
I am strong as storm and stone.
I am wanted and worthy.

#1525

Suddenly, I wonder. I ask her, “Were you the woman who walked into the sea?”

She smiles. “Now you begin to understand.”

I do not ask why. I’m not ready yet to hear her say, “for you.” It seems she has done much for me of which I have been too unaware. But it makes sense, and I do not know why I did not see it before. Born a daughter of the earth yet cast out from that green growing place, she became a daughter of snow and sea, salt and storm. Ice water in her veins and unknown fathoms in her eyes. How?

Death, and rebirth. A grave in cold, dark depths, a new dawn on a far distant shore.

How did I not see it before?

#1520

[ I want to develop my story idea about the succubus who falls in love with an asexual girl, but I haven’t had to develop new characters in years (mine are loud enough on their own) so I’m struggling. I thought I’d see if letting my other characters take the reigns might help me learn about these new girls. We’ll see… ]—

[A knock at the apartment door. Tanim opens it to a girl who might have stepped out of The Craft; the plaid skirt of her school uniform is rolled to mid-thigh, her feet encased in black combat boots, her white dress shirt unbuttoned beneath a leather jacket to reveal a generous swell of breast. Her skin is caramel, her hair tumbling over her shoulders in dark chocolate waves, her eyes burnished copper flecked with gold. Someone more appreciative of the female figure than Tanim might say she has “curves in all the right places.”]

Tanim: You must be Remer. Please, come in.

Remer: Nice place. [She eyes the apartment as she walks inside. Her hips sway back and forth with each step.] Kinda stark, though.

Tanim: I prefer it that way. Would you like something to drink?

Remer: You got anything to smoke?

Tanim: Of course. [Tanim leads her into the living room, producing a cigarette pack as she stares out the tall windows. He hands her a lit cigarette, then settles on the couch.] So. Tell me about yourself.

Remer: [She recites the facts as if she memorized them for an oral report.] I’m eighteen, still in school. My father is a diplomat, so my family travels often. I–

[Tanim snorts.]

Remer: [She glares at him.] What?

Tanim: Come on. You don’t need to lie to me. In fact, the whole point of this is for you to be completely honest. How old are you, really?

Remer: [She squares her shoulders haughtily.] Far older than you.

Tanim: I highly doubt it. Try me.

Remer: Three hundred and thirty-six, give or take. We don’t mark time the same way you do.

Tanim: Still just a child… [He politely changes the subject as her glare intensifies.] You say “we.” You’re a demon, yes?

Remer: [She makes a moue of distaste at the term.] A succubus.

Tanim: A succubus, sorry. And your real name?

Remer: Remr’knali’v’sarna’nbat’shi.

Tanim: …”Remer” it is. So you send men to their deaths after a night of pleasure and vice? I could think of worse ways to go.

Remer: Not exactly. My tastes run to the more Sapphic.

Tanim: Ah. Yes, I think you’ll fit in nicely here. [He shrugs when she raises an eyebrow.] None of us exactly toes the heteronormative line. Even Mage is… well… Mage. So, do you have your eyes on anyone right now?

Remer: [She hesitates.] Um.

Tanim: I know that look. Who is she?

Remer: No one. Shut up. [She thumps down on the couch and drags moodily at the cigarette.] I don’t want to talk about it. …it’s complicated.

Tanim: Fine, fine. I’ve been in your shoes. Am often in your shoes, actually. I understand.

Remer: I doubt it. You probably don’t have to worry about accidentally giving in to your instincts and eating the girl you lo– like.

Tanim: That is a rather unique situation. Does she know you like her in a… non-culinary way?

Remer: [She sighs with exasperation.] No. She’s completely dense. I’ve tried everything; innuendo, pheromones, erotic dreams, skin to skin contact, changing my hair, my eyes, my body shape, my clothes… nothing works. I’ve never had this happen before. I’m powerless.

Tanim: Hmm… it’s like that, huh? [He smiles knowingly.] Well, I’m sure you’ll figure it out. [He reaches out as if to pat her shoulder, then seems to think better of it and stands.] I have business to attend to. Feel free to stay as long as you like. [He waves languidly and wanders off down the hallway.]

Remer: [She calls after Tanim.] Hey, what’s that supposed to mean? “It’s like that.” Like what? Where are you going? [When it’s clear he won’t be coming back, she glances around the silent apartment.] …this place gives me the creeps. [She exits the apartment, but not before pocketing the packet of cigarettes left behind by Tanim.]

#1518

maybe I’m not quite ready to hear again the songs I listened to in college, the ones I played on repeat late at night as I sat in the glow of white Christmas lights and electric candles, huddled over a laptop screen or old notebooks full of teenage wishes, wondering if you were even possible, if I was a singularity in this universe, if I had placed my love in untrustworthy vessels and would be broken, broken, broken by the years, maybe I’m not ready to remember how I paced my dorm room, restless with others’ longings twisting in my chest, or how I walked endless circles around campus in the dark, trying to outrun my own longing so I could collapse into bed exhausted and cease wondering and fearing for a few hours, at least, maybe I’m not ready for the songs that remind me of the confusion and heartache and terror I faced alone for years because I could not fathom how anyone would ever understand and was afraid, more than anything, of hope, that cruel flicker which drove me to return to the same circles and what-ifs even when I sought to bury all feeling, will I ever be ready to remember those years without flinching, will these songs ever not hurt?

#1508

Late at night I used to comfort myself, playing on repeat the same song, prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love, because it made me feel closer to you, like I wasn’t the only weak one and maybe you would love me despite that weakness, but this time it feels like you have left me, have willfully and carelessly broken the fetters with which you bound me to yourselves, and I could fill that holy fount will my blood or tears or heartache and you still would not care, you would not come hold me as I weep because you aren’t those kinds of gods, and I have chosen poorly, haven’t I, to whom I gave my immortal soul?

#1505

In the night she asks, “Why did you make me your champion?” and all the answers that come to mind are dissimulation. But she knows me too well to deceive her and so I answer honestly. “Because you are nothing,” I say. “You are no one. You have no name; Mage isn’t your real name, and even the first name I had for you is no longer yours. You are nameless, homeless, ageless. That makes you freer than us. Tanim and Daren are bound by who, by what, they are; the Sun and Moon, brothers and lovers. I am bound by who I am and always will be; my name is not so easily cast aside as yours was. Yet you cannot be bound by anything now. You’re free. That’s why it must be you. That’s why I need you.” I lay in the dark for a while, then add, “I’m sorry. I don’t think I meant it to be this way. It’s just, we all have roles to play. This is yours.” She doesn’t reply. I don’t think she minds, though. She’s walked so many roads for me, and this is just another. Really, I chose her because she has always been my champion. That is who she is.

#1500

This no longer feels like an old religion, like bonfires and incantations and ashes smeared on moonlit skin, like wood and bone and stone, no, no, that primal power has bled out on unconsecrated earth and this feels like new religion, like empty words and empty songs and empty altars, like a god who turns away his face and allows others to speak for him because he really couldn’t give a shit, he’s been at this for so long and what’s another thousand years without miracles, they keep on believing no matter what, and fuck you if that’s what you think because I can’t remember the last time the sky lit on fire or all the tongues of men were turned to gibberish and I’d give anything, anything, for another apocalyptic flood to come roaring in and wipe it all away, remake the face of the earth itself so I must relearn how to walk in an unfriendly wasteland, that’s my kind of religion, the kind with destruction and recreation, with retribution and jealousy, cause when’s the last time you coveted me?

That’s what I thought.