#2112

It’s just her, in the end. It has always been just her.

Mage paces the Jolly Roger’s decks in silence save for the brush of wind through the rigging and waves against wood. No voices, no footsteps, no sounds of human habitation. She forgets how long it’s been since Tanim and Daren disappeared. Weeks? Months? Even longer? She wasn’t surprised to find them gone, of course; they were never truly loyal, only temporarily entertained by her quest enough to play along for a while. She has no real need for their power now anyway, but she does miss what passed for companionship with them.

As she walks, Mage runs a hand over the rail of the ship. The Jolly Roger has been her home and power base for twelve years; its timbers are drenched in her blood and magic, her anger and obsession and desperation. It is the closest thing to a home she has had in a millennium and the thought of leaving it behind would fill her with terror if she wasn’t so terribly tired. Yet to do what she plans, she cannot bring it with her. The ship must return to its grave at the bottom of the sea, this time to slumber eternally as it deserves.

If only she could be rid of the hook so easily. But one thing at a time.

Completing a final circuit of the deck, Mage returns to the quarterdeck and lays her hand upon the helm. For her final act as captain she dismantles the magic layered throughout the ship, spells of protection and speed, firing power and stealth. The last to go is the oldest spell, that with which she raised the ship from the seabed and set it to her purpose. Beneath her boots the wood groans and begins to decay and above her the sails split. “Well,” Mage gives the helm a pat and allows herself one sentimental sigh. “Thank you, ship. You did well. Now rest.”

And with that she steps off its decks for the last time.

~ * ~

Ali hadn’t even bothered putting on her armor. Standing at the beachfront at four in the morning, watching the tide come in, she sensed that Mage was coming. Walking out from the waves, a shadow clad in night and mirrors, her nemesis came ashore.

Mage can see the exhaustion on Ali’s face. “I’m not here to fight,” she confesses, “I just wanna talk.”

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#2111

Do you think I wanted to be this way? she longs to scream. That I was made like this, with a rotting heart?

She remembers the beginning like it were yesterday and not a thousand thousand years ago: the white marble city sparkling on the edge of the primordial sea, the islands made of leviathan jaw bones, the newborn sun warming sand and water and immortal flesh alike. She remembers the weight of wings and the weightlessness of flying, soaring on lazy thermals through the eternal summer day. Her skin remembers gold and jewels and silk, her tongue ambrosia and honeyed wine, her ears the harmonious blend of laughter, music, and the susurrus of waves. Yet when she returns to those memories, painful though they may be, she most often chooses to remember the companions she once knew, those she danced with in the sky and those she lay with in the sea foam. Soft lips and sweet kisses on the sandy shore, open arms and hearts in the cool marble halls; love was so uncomplicated then. She was so uncomplicated then. She does not pine for home, but she does pine for those she left there.

Monsters are not born from flesh and bone, she wants to say, but won’t. They are born from betrayal and desperation. Remember that, because what was done to me can be done to you.

#2110

Depression is a weak little thing you must swaddle and croon to, and a good mother knows which songs work best to soothe it to sleep in the late, late night. During the day you balance it on your hip, a heavy weight that requires one of your arms be always burdened and the other overtaxed with juggling everything else. Yet if you put the thing down, it cries; if you try to leave it with someone else for a while, it cries; if your attention wanders too far or for too long, it cries. It cries and cries and cries and there is only so much you can do before you surrender to tears as well. Your body birthed this thing, though, and you can never be free – you just learn tricks along the way to entertain it for another hour or another day, anything to keep it from dragging you down a little bit longer. Yet there is always tomorrow.

#2109

A spell to help an animal find their forever home

Tools:
Mortar and pestle
Cauldron (or other fire safe container)
Matches
Writing utensil

Ingredients:
1 bay leaf
Catnip (for Bast)
Lavender (love)
Thyme (courage)
Orange peel (luck)
Mint (travel, protection)

Open the spell as you would normally (casting a circle, etc). Grind together a pinch of catnip, lavender, thyme, mint, and orange peel while focusing on the intent of the spell. Write the animal’s name on one side of the bay leaf and the sigil on the other. While reciting the words below, light the bay leaf on fire and set it in your container with the other herbs.

“Hail Bast, Lady of the Flame, Great Mother Cat! I ask you to lend Your energy to this working and help [animal’s name] find their forever home, a place where they may live out the rest of their life in love and peace. I send them the hope and strength to complete this journey and find their rightful family. With these words I release this energy to fulfill its intended purpose. Hail Bast, Lady of the Flame, Great Mother Cat!

Let the mixture burn itself out, then close the spell as you would normally.

Some suggestions: While this was written to work with Bast, you could easily change the wording to use another deity associated with the animal of your choice (while perhaps trading out the catnip for an herb they prefer). You could also try writing the name of the rescue/shelter instead of a specific animal if you wanted to perform a more general spell.

#2108

this thing happens when i travel where my mind loses its grasp of past and future and i feel like ive only ever been in this shitty airport, i wasn’t even born ive just always existed in this stretch of fluorescent lights and fast food restaurants and people who can’t be bothered to recycle their plastic water bottles, thanks for contributing to the death of our planet, and the longer im in this stasis the more it feels like im dead and this is purgatory or maybe ive gone crazy, who knows, is there even an outside world? im starting to doubt it, maybe im in a closed loop and if i get too suspicious of my reality the people all around will start to notice me and realize I’m an intruder and mob me to protect the fragile structure, im trying to make an inception reference if you can’t tell, but everything i write these days is just awful, truly awful, and anyway what i was trying to get at is that when i travel im always just like a little tiny bit on the edge of hysteria and that’s why i freak out when some small inconvenience happens, security tells me to take out my tablet or my headphones get stolen, really i just like totally fucking lose it cause what if im stuck here forever waiting for a plane that will never come, we apologize for the inconvenience, another hour, another minute, and i can’t go anywhere without lugging all my baggage with me and if that’s not a real hilarious metaphor for my whole fucking life then i dunno what to tell you, after all im just trying to take up space and pretend im a writer when what i really am is full of shit (both literally and metaphorically)

#2107

the devil is trapped between swords and pentacles and i do not know if i can free him or if he even wants me too, he is a candle in the darkness that burns too hot to touch and yet always i am reaching out to scorch my useless flesh, dip my fingers deep down in that glass black scrying wax, you know we are the same with our hands dripping stains so where are you, where are you, i will rend open heaven and hell to carry or drag you out if i must, i will find you i will find you i will find

you

#2106

Jurassic Park/World, the Cinematic Franchise We Need (But Not the One We Deserve)

A couple days ago I watched the most recently released trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and it sparked an interesting thought process. I have linked the trailer at the bottom of this post for those who are interested, but I can sum up the plot pretty easily – it’s basically Jurassic Park: The Lost World all over again, but with some fancier dinosaurs. The movie will start with a visit to the island (just like in Lost World), where the dinosaurs need to be removed before am imminent volcanic eruption (or for a zoo in Lost World). Once transferred to the mainland, one or more dangerous dinosaurs will escape (just like in Lost World) and our heroic hetero couple will have to save the day (just like, you guessed it, in Lost World!).

At first I rolled my eyes at this unnecessary rehashing of a previous plot line. If the events in San Diego happened only years before the building of Jurassic World, shouldn’t we as a species have learned a lesson regarding carnivorous dinosaurs in population centers? Wouldn’t we at least put extreme cautions in place, or even new state or federal regulations governing the transfer and containment of extinct creatures? It just isn’t possible for the exact same scenario to play out only a few years later, not when such a scenario was covered worldwide and many of those involved are still alive. Even considering the volcanic threat and therefore the need to save as many of the dinosaurs as possible, I can’t imagine any nation would essentially say, “Yeah, go ahead and bring those things back here, they only destroyed two different parks and escaped their containment in San Diego and killed like forty people, what’s the worst that could happen?” It doesn’t make sense at all.

…except that it does. As I pondered the new Jurassic World era, wondering if the third movie would also be a rehash of Jurassic Park 3, I realized I was missing the point. What if instead of recycling old plot lines out of laziness, the creators of Jurassic World were making a very pointed statement? What if Jurassic World is an allegory for the ways humanity continues to repeat past mistakes without learning from them, even when the consequences are a disastrous loss of human life? Viewed through this lens, the repetition of the movie plots teaches us a valuable, albeit grim, lesson – a portion of humanity will always choose personal power over the safety and prosperity of others, and this greed will inevitably lead society down a dark, deadly path. Considering we’re on the cusp of a third world war, this theory actually makes a lot of sense. Jurassic Park/World is fiction, of course, but I can see it playing out in reality exactly how it does in the franchise. People with too much money attempt something dangerous in the hopes of making even more money; innocent people die as a result; a few years later a new group of people with too much money attempt the same thing but with more bells and whistles; more innocent people die; rinse and repeat. It’s been happening more or less since human society came to be, and it sure doesn’t seem like we’re going to do a 180 any time soon.

Maybe I just don’t have any faith in humanity left. Maybe I just can’t admit my favorite franchise is becoming repetitive and unoriginal. Or maybe it’s just comforting to imagine our current reality isn’t the only one where greedy businessmen have doomed us all. Whatever the reason, I’m standing by my thesis – Jurassic World is trying to warn us that if we don’t learn from our past, we’re doomed to repeat it… and repeat it… and repeat it. Are there money-hungry people out there willing to build a zoo full of dinosaurs even though the last two attempts ended in complete disaster? Yup. Because humanity sucks.

…maybe we deserve to get eaten by dinosaurs.