(Don’t be late. They want an offering. Something metal. Something thin. Don’t be late. Be careful with the cards. There’s something waiting in them. Don’t get lost. They never had a reason to get you lost before. You can’t find your way if your compass is broken. The room is white. They painted it white. Don’t give Them what They want. Give Them what They need.)

[ A summoning by candlelight and shadow, music and whispering, unfamiliar cards full of blood and beauty and possibility, heart hammering, eyes darting, there and away again, nervous and afraid and determined to do this right, to understand, to mollify, to earn a scrap of approval or respect, to be worthy. ]

Fool. Traitor. You left us. You forgot us. You dishonored us. You should bow. You were ours first. Completely. We suffer you to wander; don’t take advantage of our generosity. We don’t need you. You are a means to an end.

No. No, I don’t believe that. I think you care.

Don’t challenge me. Don’t test me.

I’m not. But the scribe tells the story. And that’s part of it. You chose me for a reason. You know I can do this. You know I’m the one. I’m not challenging you; I’m just stating the truth. Your signs, your sigils, are branded onto my skin. I am yours. We’ll go over the cliff together.

You’ve grown, little scribe. You’re gaining a backbone.

You made me. You bent me down until I needed one to stand back up. You meant for that, didn’t you.

It’s not fun if it’s not a challenge.

Is this a game?

No. It’s life. Of course we must test you. It’s our way. It’s who we are.

Are you disappointed in me?



Be gentle. She isn’t made of steel and ice like you.

I can take it.

You are fallible. Like us. That’s part of it, too. You must learn.

Learn what?

To tell the whole story.

What haven’t I told?

The end.

The end? All I tell are endings. Do you have to be so damn obscure?

Would you have us any other way?


Now pick up the cards.

[ Page of Cups; a floating citadel, pipe organ and chains, the cello neck like The Emperor; the connection is struggling, love must be nurtured with nostalgia; where have you been? ]

[ Queen of Cups – veiled eyes, war helm or crown, pale breast bared, rigid and royal; go within yourself to seek the spark of life, embrace creativity and art; remember what you once accomplished ]

[ Two of Wands – bird skulls, red and black; be bold and authoritative, do what must be done; you are on the right path here, keep it up ]

The page grows into the queen. You too can become a queen. Grow that backbone. Be fierce. Become the lioness. Stars are sharp as hell.

Go on now. His turn.

[ The High Priestess – much like the Queen of Cups, breast bared, eyes covered, a floating throne, cello necks like rays of light, rigid and regal; secrets and shadows, subconscious stirring, magic; we give you this gift, we are that part of you ]

[ Knight of Pentacles – a hand reaching, grasping to make contact. armor shattering to reveal pale fingers beneath, framed by the full moon; be steadfast and true, reliable, the old ways are proved good; you know what to do, you have done it before, now do it again ]

[ Queen of Wands – eyes veiled by lace, pierced and patterned flesh, dangling key, proud and fierce; practice constancy, sustain creative vision, understand your skills; do not leave us again, do not waiver in your faith or loyalty ]

What now?

Ours. Past. Present. Future.

[ And more – Two of Pentacles, Knight of Swords, Ten of Pentacles … Page of Wands, King of Swords, King of Pentacles – but the reading muddled, uncertain, it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t speak clearly, what does it mean, why isn’t it clear like the other? Frustration, failure, grasping for meaning, can they not be read? What is past, present, future to the timeless, deathless? ]

What now? Have you said what you wanted to say?

We have much more to say. But not now.

Do you understand now? What we wish from you? What you must do?

Yes. I think so.

You can’t think. You must know.

I know. I see. I am yours.

And we are yours.

Remember this feeling. [ Exhausted, drained, empty and overflowing, uncertain and determined, humble and deferential, such power, such power ] That is true devotion. Go. For now. We will speak again.

[ Music ends. Candle blows out. Ready to collapse. Dazed and unsure but…rightness. ]


You’re haunting my dreams – why? Punishing lover, unattainable father, breaker of teacups and chooser of cliffs, why do you seek me? I’m not sure if you’re a snake or a hunting cat; I’m not sure if you have something to tell me or if your presence alone is the message. If so, who sent you? What am I supposed to glean from dreams of love and loss and jealousy all mixed together and tidal strong? You could be either of Them, your love burning hot as the sun and mind calculating cold as the moon – or perhaps both in one tailored human skin. Is that it, then? Have They chosen you as messenger and metaphor? Do They enjoy the parallels between Their story and yours? Speak to me, monster, messenger. I do not fear you. I know you as I know Them, and I am not afraid to drop the teacup and see if it will put itself back together.


It’s hard to get your snarl off my lips. Hello, mad king. Hello, dark angel. Hello, son of Magdalene. Hello, you who are the seventy-ninth card, the Deceiver dressed in red. Are you what awaits me in this deck of keyholes and veiled eyes? Are you the one who demands offering and obeisance, humility and fear? Don’t think I have forgotten. If we are going to do this, we are going to do this right.


Funny, how I could write about the knife and never realize it would be turned against me so easily. Was it a mistake, this obliviousness, or willful ignorance? Of course blood wouldn’t be enough. Fool. Fool. Blood is the gateway. Did I really think the rest would not be demanded as well? My mind is a house full of hallways full of doors, and not all of those doors are open to me anymore. Where is the key? What is the key? Ten days – and at the end, should I fail or disappoint, what then? Gods do not fear. Gods do not forget.


united in blood, torn by love, demanding sacrifice, i don’t know what the fuck you want from me, what i should write, what i can offer you because you want an offering, oh yes, but you won’t say what, you never just say what you want, you’d rather I piece together the little shards you leave behind, no breadcrumb trail for you, just something sharp and glinting hidden in the grass, pierce my flesh until i’m limping, until i’m aching, you want blood and love and tragedy so here, take this, take Carmilla’s broken heart, take the bone-deep betrayal that cuts like rose thorns, take star-crossed lovers bright as dying stars, or here, take this, take the long plunge from cliff to cold water, take Will’s submission to love’s gravity, until death do us part, but death’s just the beginning and you know that, they know that, i know that so maybe that’s why what you want is blood, blood, blood, so take this howling, grieving monologue, take this final embrace, yes, i do think death can be beautiful and yes, i do think i know what you want but not yet what you need, what crime, what sacrifice love will have, you must know you’re driving me mad with this restlessness, the longing like a fish hook in my sternum pulling, pulling, at a word or a song or someone a little like you, broken like you, dangerous like you, is that what you’re looking for, just someone else because oh gods, oh my lonely wicked gods i would give you that if i could, there are others in other worlds who would understand but i don’t know if i can be a bridge to them, i don’t know how to give you their misery as proof of your own validity, and it’s true I felt you in that moment, felt myself slip to the periphery so you could glance out my eyes, sneer disdain at a disappointing body and a disappointing world but what did you expect, i’m not the cathedral, i’m not the gateway, i’m just the scribe who can step aside and let you hear a song, let you watch something where others like you dash themselves on hopeless rocks, if that might bring you comfort then i offer that to you, i offer you the blood of others, i offer you broken hearts and disaster, i offer you the ones who cannot bend and so end up shattering and the ones who cannot touch without bruising, cannot love without destroying the beloved in ecstasy and malice, i offer you anything, anything, anything, anything, take it and be sated




creature of shadow and ink, smoke and oil, slipping fluidly from jackal form to raven to snake to grasping tentacles, all the better with which to circle ’round, whisper in my ears, slip inside my mouth, my dreams, all the better with which to insinuate guilt and plant fears, I can close and lock the door but you slip like sand through the keyhole, I can demand obedience but you grin as you lay flat at my feet and I dare not turn my back, untameable beast, trickster with a subtle touch, I know not to believe you but you have been my constant companion all these years and there’s something comforting about your silken words, an old lullaby to which I can always return


I can handle the mud-slinging
(even if there are rocks mixed in)
the broken bones from sticks and stones
(though words do carry a bite)
because even though I’m not that strong
what if there is someone weaker?
and even though I’m not that tall
what if there is someone shorter?
and even though I feel tired
what if there is someone else
hanging by a single thread?
I don’t know when this kitten grew up
to become the angry mamma cat
but my claws are out, my teeth are bared
and no one messes with my clan

[ Written for the September Carnival of Aces, the topic for which is “Living Asexuality”. Asexuality plays a big part in my everyday life because I feel obligated to reach out to aces online who may need help – either in understanding and accepting their asexuality, or feeling validated in their identity despite anti-ace sentiments. It can be extremely wearying for me (the anti-ace stuff), but I’d rather be fighting for a “baby ace” than letting them take the brunt of someone elses animosity. To me, that’s part of living my asexuality; recognizing my privileges and using them to help others. And yes, I could do better when it comes to self-care and avoiding the anti-ace stuff that brings me down, but if I can be a spot of hope for even one ace online then it’s worth it to me. ]