#1938

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Hers are a sorceress’ hands, all silver rings and long white fingers. The left wields a saber or a stiletto or a pistol, whichever the moment calls for. The right once held a hook, but now arm and metal have melded into something black and many-clawed. Her hands are a book of shadows made flesh; they raise whirlwinds, call forth lightning, summon rain and ravens and monstrous things from the deep. Just as easily, though, do they steer a ship or climb rigging, lower sails and raise anchors, get dirty and bloody. Her hands weren’t meant for an exile’s life – they should know only the touch of silk and velvet, they should be adorned with delicate jewels – yet they serve her admirably. With her right hand she tears the light from the sky, and with the left she raises herself up a queen of wrath and ruin.

#1937

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His are a sick man’s hands, slender and pale. In another life they might have belonged to a pianist or a violinist, but instead they belong to someone who cares not for beauty or creation. His hands prefer knives, small and sharp, though broken glass or shards of metal will do; it is the edge that counts, and speed. His hands make every movement a dance, whether lighting a cigarette or wiping blood from his mouth, and they might be beautiful if they did not seem so strangely menacing. After all, these hands remember IVs and wrist restraints, locked doors and starched sheets. These hands remember forced captivity and are ready always to attack or defend, fight or flee, to do what they must to retain precious freedom. His hands might shake with cold or ache from old wounds, but they know where and how to plunge the blade and they will be steady when the time comes.

#1936

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His are a rich man’s hands, smooth and strong. His fingers could knot a tie in the dark and discern Armani from Prada from Dolce and Gabbana with just a touch. Crystal decanters, gold watches, diamond cufflinks, his hands have held and discarded more fortunes than most will see in a lifetime. These hands served him well in the world of blue blood and white teeth, where a firm handshake might speak more clearly than words. Having left that world behind, these steady, capable hands have learned to wield a syringe with care and how to make a stranger climax in a dirty restroom. His hands never cared for the money and riches that passed through them, but they strip clothing and grasp flesh with the hungry strength of the addict. So, too, do they twist hair in misery, hurl glasses in anger, light cigarette after cigarette until the ashtray is full and the bottle is empty.

#1931

I know the hallowed halls of your realm as if I have walked them myself. In the bedroom which is your battlefield, I watch you wage war between silk sheets; in the bathroom which is your ninth circle, I watch you speak prophecies through blood. In the apartment which is your palace and your tomb, I watch you dance through death and resurrection and death again. These places are the temple in which I was raised as your acolyte to bear silent witness to the private agonies of gods. Like your every word and breath, so I memorize and immortalize the places which have shaped your tale – the alley where blood and rainwater mix on cold cement, the roof where you dare the wind to pull you off the ledge. In the city which is your essence, the city from which you cast a thousand thousand shadows, the city where you live and die the unending cycle, I watch and I write.

#1930

I fight the desire to find some hidden hole in which to die, but it becomes harder every day. I made that choice once and he found me anyway, just this side of in-time, and look what that got me. He’d turn the whole city upside down searching for me if I did it again, and so would do me no good. But still my animal instincts urge me to hide somewhere, anywhere; in the closet or the bathroom, beneath the bed, on the roof, in the fucking walls if possible. Death is a private thing, and having been born alone and lived alone, I would prefer to go out the same way. There is nothing romantic about dying in your lover’s arms, of that I can assure you. Better to die alone and save them the misery of the aftermath, and yourself the guilt of leaving.

#1929

I dream about tarot cards. I hold a deck in my hands and draw a card – The Devil, perhaps, or the Two of Swords. I toss the deck into the air to let the cards fall where they may, all face down. I pick one at random – Death – and say to the figure beside me, See, all the cards I draw mean death.  By which I mean, All the cards I draw mean Daren.

#1924

Do you exist without each other? Do you exist in the time before you met, when you lead separate lives? You never let me see those years.

Who was Will before he found Hannibal?


…we don’t ever learn that, I guess. Not really.

And after?


We don’t know that either.

Then there you have it. Whether the teacup existed before it shattered or not doesn’t matter once it has broken.


But– …I hate when you speak in riddles.

No, you don’t.


Does that make me Abigail, then?

That’s a riddle you’ll have to solve for yourself.

#1920

They have forgotten much about her since she first came to the island. How she did not wash up on the beach, like so many others, but walked straight out of the waves like a queen from her throne. How when she arrived her hair had been so long it trailed on the ground, and she cut it only later when she took up ship and hook. How she told them what she was called, in other lands, but they gave her the name she bears now. How she had never been young, there on that island of perpetual youth, and thus had never truly belonged. How she had not needed the island – not its promises of friendship and family, safety and solace, redemption and rebirth – and therefore she saw through its glamours to the bare bones beneath. They have forgotten these things, and imagine her story to be like all the others’. Yet she needed no home, she wanted no king, and if any had asked the cards they would have foretold her arrival in crumbling towers and falling swords.

#1918

[ Yo check out my new D&D character, she’s based on several professors of mine and Evie from The Mummy! Speaking of which, I drew her in one of Evie’s outfits (normally she has light leather armor). ]
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Name: Remr’knali’v’sarna’nbat’shi
Nickname: Remr
Age: 30
Gender: Female
Race: Tiefling
Class: Ranger
Background: Sage/researcher
Alignment: Neutral Good
Level: 4
General physical description: Red skin, yellow eyes, black hair (a double sidecut with bangs, usually held up in a bun by several writing implements), two horns on her upper forehead (one above each eye)
Orientation: Oblivious (she’ll end up some sort of queer, but for now she’s too involved in her work to think about it)
Relationship status: Married to her job
Family: Well-to-do mother and father, three older female siblings
Job: Associate Professor of Biology
Dress style: Tends toward comfort over appearance, clothes are often muddy, ripped, ink stained, and covered in bits of melted candle wax, wears a belt from which hang sample bags, a compass, a magnifying glass, and other necessary scientific tools
Companion: A long-suffering mule named Abigail
Religion: Agnostic but very excited about the possibility of meeting a god or gods when she dies, as she has lots of questions to ask them
Hobbies: Geology, ecology, anthropology, climatology, mythology, sociology, learning new languages, translating ancient texts, barely ever sleeping, writing notes to herself on her clothes, skin, or whatever else is at hand
Favorite food: Chocolate covered coffee beans
Catchphrase: “Fascinating!”
Strongest positive personality trait: Very outgoing and non-judgmental
Strongest negative personality trait: Extremely flighty
Sense of humor: Jovial and nerdy, but often accidentally pretentious
Temper: Friendly, upbeat, intense but well-meaning, hard to anger or offend, socially awkward but unaware of it
Consideration for others: Assumes everyone is as excited about learning as she is, has no concept of personal space or privacy
How other people see her: They either love her or hate her, depending on how they deal with such high energy levels and the conversational equivalent of pinball. Additionally, she can come off as pretentious or thoughtless.
Opinion of herself: Best Professor Ever!
Background: Being the high energy, ambitious late-in-life child of aging parents who had already raised three other daughters, Remr was often instructed to “go play outside” or “find something quiet to do”. She spent most of her time alone, either reading every scrap of text available or exploring the natural world. Her parents had hoped she would follow in her sisters’ footsteps and take up the noble family occupation of being a succubus, but it was clear early on that she was destined for the university. She and her parents parted on good terms, though they are wary of the packages she sends home; they sometimes contain dead, or not-so-dead, specimens. She is currently an Associate Professor on an extended sabbatical (the university may perhaps keep extending it in the hope she doesn’t come back).
Philosophy of life: Attainment of knowledge is the noblest pursuit to which one may dedicate their life, and nothing (even the law) should stand in the way of furthering our understanding of the world.
Most important thing to know about this character: She may be a flighty science nerd, but she has a rock hammer and an ice pick and she knows how to use them.

#1917

are you a doorway –

behind your eyes I see shadows dance
beneath your skin I feel strange twitches
inside your chest I hear a whirlpool roaring
upon your tongue I taste ash and bone

– and if so, for what?

[ Image credit can be found at: https://www.pinterest.com/onlyfragments/ ]

#1914

Sometimes I wish my body was your body. I know I shouldn’t, and why would I? Who wants to be always dead or dying? Who chooses to be trapped inside a burning building? But I do, because it is you. I want to hold up my arms and see how they taper to elegant hands that so casually cradle a knife. I want to feel how gracefully this scarce body bends and turns, and how hard and unyielding it becomes when it takes what it wants. I want to see in my reflection the unforgiving lines of your face and stare into the deep wells of your eyes. And yes, I want to know what it is like to rot from within, to taste blood in the back of my mouth and feel my sanity crumbling at the edges – but only in your body; only your rot. Decay is only as beautiful as the thing it destroys, and thus you in your unbearable perfection have elevated dying to an art form.

#1913

It would be poetic to say I was raised by wolves, but not entirely accurate. Wolves care for their young and teach them how to survive in the wild, and I cannot say the same for you. Perhaps, if I may extend the metaphor, I could say I was raised by lone wolves. Wolves who had walked too long without a pack and no longer remembered what it is like to be part of a structured society. Wolves who guarded their scant possessions with ready teeth and would snap the leg of a family member as easily as the leg of a prey animal, if only to keep them from leaving. Into this disfunction I was delivered, the feral human child begrudgingly allowed to follow in your tracks and chew on your discarded bones. No wonder I’m not quite right, uneasy among my own kind and having always to translate from wordless beast-thought to this clumsy human language. I think my fellow humans can smell the lingering musk on me, too, or perhaps they see the way I struggle to hide my teeth. I do not fully belong with them, and they know it; I do not fully belong in the wilds, and you will not let me forget it.

I could spend long nights wondering what I might have been like, had I never known you, but why? Nature, nurture, free will, fate, they all flatten to two dimensions with the passage of time. Maybe without you I would have grown up seeing the world through human eyes, and I would not have this hungry, restless thing caged inside me. But maybe without you I would have died in those woods, or reverted to something beyond feral, and I would not have even the harsh manners you imposed on me with tooth and claw. For better or worse, we are misfits together, lone wolves eeking out an existence on the fringes between the ones who reject us and the ones who hunt us.

#1911

You would think we are given arms only so we may hold the ones we love as they die. Certainly you have never been given any reason to think otherwise, and I wonder if this is why the only part of the dream I can recall is the end. Do you leave me with the memory of holding his broken body in my arms as punishment, or simply because that is the moment you, too, are forced to replay? When you look back on your time together, can you even trust your memories? Or does your grief rewrite every loving embrace into the desperate clinging of the living to the dead and dying? I do not think your arms were made for cradling corpses, but somewhere along the line that became your specialty. Do you wonder, deep down beneath the cigarettes and alcohol and morphine, if the dying part does not precede your touch, but the other way around?

#1907

In my dream, you take once more the forms that suit you so well, the wolf and stag in human flesh. In my dream, you take up the deathdance that must feel so familiar, so instinctive to spirits who have known nothing but love and war, rise and fall, for so many eternities. In my dream, you slay the dragon together and each heartpulse of blood, each twitch and cry, is the physical manifestation of your bond. See, you say through bloody mouths, see how I love you, my darling? See, you say through rending teeth, see how it could be, beloved, just the two of us? See, you say through the poetry of mutual destruction, over the body of your slain prey, see – this is our design.

#1906

I want to touch you. I want to touch the strong line of your jaw. I want to touch the gentle waves of your dark hair and the crease of your brow. I want to trace your lips that so easily shape a joyless smile. I want to touch the stiff edge of your collar and loosen the fine silk of your tie. I want to lay my hand on your neck and feel the hot beating of your desperate heart. I want to hold your hands in mine and feel the strength of your bones, how lightly you can touch despite it. I want to take you in my arms and feel the weight of your head on my breast, feel the tension in your shoulders, brush my hand over your bent back. I want to touch you to feel the immensity of your burden in this mortal body.

But I can’t.

I want to touch you. I want to touch the sharp edges of your cheekbones, your jaw, your sneering lips. I want to touch your close-shaved temple and feel it shift beneath my fingers as you clench your teeth. I want to touch the place where your pale skin disappears beneath black cloth. I want to touch your hands, trace the long, graceful lines of your fingers that so easily hold a knife. I want to touch your chest, oh so very gently, and feel the stubborn beating of the heart within. I want to touch your skin and feel its warmth, to remember that despite your beauty, you are not made of marble or ice. I want to touch you to remember that you live, breathe, feel.

But I can’t.

I never have and never will. Sometimes I fear that longing will eat away at me my entire life. I wonder if it will eventually drive me mad. Maybe.

#1905

I dream about protests, fear, anger, queer blood and tears spilled in the streets. A knife in someone’s hand; my own, maybe, or Daren’s. “You never let him talk about it, either,” I say to Tanim, thinking of the illness, the madness that rolls through Daren’s mind like a storm front and how its edges spill into mine. Tanim grabs my wrist, yanking it up and back so hard I think he means to snap it, and growls a threat I can’t remember afterwards. I remember he means it, though. He’s never looked at me with such rage before – nor has he ever hurt me. That image is what stays with me as I wake: the anger and violence in his eyes, my thin wrist gripped in his clenched hand.

#1901

Do you allow the use of a divination technique only once? Is that why you allowed the cards to speak for you, then scrambled every subsequent message? Is that why you conjured one meaningful book quote, yet choose only the most useless and innocuous when I attempt it again? Is that why every time I think I have stumbled upon the one way you’ll let a connection be established between us, it only works once and then causes me nothing but confusion? Of course, you say. Why did it take me so long to catch on? (Did we really choose such a dense scribe?)

Would it be so terrible, that connection? Would it be so awful to give me more than the barest, vaguest hint of what you want me to know or do? I’m not trying to cheat or take the easy route; you know I’m always willing other face whatever you throw my way. I just want to be certain for once, instead of guessing at what important message I think you’re sending. Hell, I’m not even sure that you’re sending anything! All I can act on are my hunches, my feelings, my instincts, and how am I to ever know if they’re right? When you are everywhere and everything to me, everywhere and everything could be a message I’m missing, and I know you well enough to know you do not deign to repeat yourselves. I’m left, therefore, assuming I’m always five steps behind and forever rushing to catch up. And you wonder why my anxiety levels are so high?

#1897

[ I don’t have any writing for you today, so here’s some geeky info on my characters (and myself, there on the end). Enjoy! ]

Category Tanim Daren Mage The Scribe
Sexual Orientation Asexual?? Asexual Asexual Asexual
Romantic Orientation Homoromantic Aromantic Aromantic Queer
Astrological Sign Cancer Scorpio Aries Leo
Element Water Earth Fire Earth
Sin Lust Sloth Pride Sloth
Virtue Charity Patience Diligence Temperance
D&D Alignment Chaotic good Neutral Chaotic neutral Neutral good
D&D Class Fighter Rogue Mage Mage
Assassin’s Creed Templar Assassin Assassin Assassin
Hogwarts House Gryffindor Slytherin Slytherin Ravenclaw
Pokémon Team Fire Ghost/Dark Ice/Electric Eevee evolutions
Bender Element Fire Water (blood) Fire (lightning) Water

#1885

Lie to me. Say you love me; say you’ll stay. You are a beautiful liar. Lying is an art you have elevated and perfected, and to watch you in action is to listen to the greatest symphony ever written. I have lived all my life among the wealthiest, the most powerful, the most talented and privileged – and yet I have never seen a single person who has mastered their art to such a degree as you. Every lie you offer me is a gift more precious than anything I could give in return. Tell me you forgive me, darling, for being so disappointingly inferior to you. That can be your greatest lie yet.

#1884

To be honest, I, too, am an unreliable narrator. Not that the scribe lies, per se; but her truths are the truths of her subjects. I tell you what I am told. What I am not told, I do not tell. What falsehoods I suspect remain my own and are never uttered. It is not my place to make suppositions, to theorize, to bury certain claims or drag others into the light. We all have our own truths, our own realities; why should my subjects be less worthy in the keeping of theirs than anyone else? Besides, all good stories contain a certain amount of distortion. Where fact may slide into fiction is up to the reader to decide – and every reader has their own truths as well.

#1881

I am not your mother, but I have bled for you.
I am not your sister, but I have stood by you.
I am not your daughter, but I have preserved you.

I am very tired.

If you had hands, would you lift me and carry me to bed?
(Please lie. I don’t mind.)

#1878

Conversely, there are rare times when he craves confinement, when nothing but the tightest, darkest space can contain the rising hysteria. Thus morning finds him in the unlit bathroom, hunched over on his knees between sink and toilet, hands pressed to his temples as if physically holding in his sanity. It doesn’t make sense for someone like him, who so fiercely guards his freedom and must always have an escape, and yet it does. Even the most crazed, feral beast recalls the safety of the den, even if that instinct is buried beneath years of madness. Like an animal knows to go to ground when injured, so he seeks a place to hide himself away when at his most vulnerable. If he cannot run, if he cannot fight, then he must have somewhere to hide where nothing can possibly reach him.

#1861

Sometimes the intimacy of our connection seems almost perverse. I watch you raise the bottle to your lips, your throat moving as you swallow down the burning liquor, and feel as if I should avert my eyes – yet to preserve your modesty or mine, I could not say. His temple pulses as he clenches his jaw and I feel like a child who from her hiding place has glimpsed something she is far too young to witness. I flush, but don’t know why. I want to look again, but am afraid of trespassing. I glimpse things in fragments – sneering lips, an arched eyebrow, blue veins under white skin – and that narrow view makes each sight all the more precious and illicit. So which am I, innocent or voyeur? How can I know when I have crossed the line if every moment and every detail seems equally intimate?

#1858

I watch you wash a handful of sleeping pills down with whiskey and know you’ll wake in the morning, half-dead but still half-alive. I watch you pick fights in bars and know you’ll bleed and break and bruise but live to get the shit beaten out of you another day. I watch you dance every dance with death you can and yet always make it home at the end of the night. You think you’ve been stiffed, stood up, that even death doesn’t want someone like you, but you’re wrong. You above all are beloved of death, and yours is written in blood, in bone, in the very workings of the universe. You will know your death by the darkness of his eyes and the mercy of his blade – until then, abide. Your time approaches.

#1857

You used to be children; why is this worse? Why at seventeen or eighteen did your pain seem somehow lesser, or at least easier to bear, than at thirty or forty? I suppose the years lend weight, both those that have passed and those yet to come. Maybe at eighteen a brighter future still seemed possible, while at forty it’s clear there isn’t much time left, nor the will or strength to use it wisely. Maybe despite all the shit you took as teenagers, there was always the expectation that you would rise above it, when, seeing the broken men you become, it’s obvious you didn’t. That you never do. Kids have futures, adults have presents. Maybe that’s why it hurts more now; I know how doomed you are.

None of us are children anymore, are we?

#1855

I imagine myself on that night, the longest night, in the place where I am forbidden to go (and yet, where a part of me lives always). I can’t see yet how you will die this time, so for now I only imagine you spread out on the soft carpet, blood on your lips, your chest laboring for each breath. I don’t want him to be angry at either of us (though anger is part and parcel of his love, isn’t it), but I reach for your hand anyway and hold it in both of mine. Your fingers spasm tight and between clenched teeth you utter a choked laugh. “You think you’d get used to the pain,” you say, “but you don’t.” I nod. I can’t share your pain, though I long to sometimes. All I can do is sit here beside you and listen to the liquid filling up your lungs, feel you shuddering with the struggle to hold on just a little longer. “Every time,” you say, “is like the first time. Over and over. Over and over.” Your watery eyes roll my direction, knocking loose the tears gathered on your long lashes. Beneath the blood, your smile is immensely sad. “I’m sorry,” you say. “We’re not good at this. No matter how many times… we don’t learn. It all resets.” Your grip tightens; your words grow desperate. “Do you understand? It all resets. Him. Me. Us. You. That’s why we don’t… why we never… Do you understand?” I don’t, not quite, not yet, but I don’t want to tell you that. Instead I nod, caress your trembling hand. Murmur small comforts. You laugh again, a haunting, haunted sound, and close your eyes.

#1852

I remember it all. Kneeling on the carpet, dragging my fingers through the thick white fibers, I remember the cloying scent of blood, the stains darkening as they dried. Rising to press my palms against the tall windows, I remember the chill wind whistling around spires of broken glass, how the shards glittered on the carpet like snow in moonlight. In the silence I hear the ghost echo of raised voices, cries of pain and ecstasy, shattering glass, gunshots. In the stillness of the empty room I yet recall every moment passed in these halls, and beyond; every word, every detail, every sensation. Rich carpet, cool crystal, sleek marble. Acrid cigarette smoke, hot skin, digging fingers. Promises and lies. Death and death. This place is a tomb. This place is my church.

#1851

There are good moments, I swear, Tanim says, but when he tries to think of specific memories his mind goes blank. It’s not that he’s forgotten the rare smiles or rarer laughter, the precious glimpses of affection and peace; they just feel disconnected from him, like the remains of a story someone else told long ago. Bled of sound and context, blurred and desaturated, what worth is left in them? Oh, so much, truly, for the right person. What the scribe cannot commit to word, she commits to heart. What the scribe cannot tell others, she tells herself in the deep of the night. There are good moments, she can swear it, even if they are only fragments.

#1849

“Well, well, well… isn’t this a surprise. Hello, Alice. How nice of you to visit my little prison in the sub-sub-sub basement. I hope it wasn’t too far of a walk for you.”

“I don’t have time to swap antagonism wrapped in false pleasantries, Mage.”

“Funny, because I have all the time in the worlds.”

“This was a terrible idea. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“You need my help, hmm?”

“…yes.”

“Things must be bad, then, very bad. Who is it? Or what?”

“We don’t know yet. It leaves no useful evidence at the… scene. Just remains.”

“Ooh, a mystery. I’m intrigued.”

“This isn’t a game! People are dying–”

“–boooring–”

“–and you might be able to help. As nauseous as it makes me to say it. So… will you?”

“Quid pro quo, ‘Ah-leese’. You haven’t said what’s in this for me.”

“I guess it’s too much to hope you just feel like doing something good for a change?”

“Aww. That’s cute. No. This place is boring.”

“I can see about getting you some books, maybe–”

“I want a shark. With legs. I want a crocodile shark.”

“No.”

“Just a regular shark?”

“No sharks!”

“What about just a crocodile, then, only it has a machine gun strapped to its–”

“Again, this was a terrible idea. What a waste of time. Have fun being alone in your prison.”

“Wait, wait. Fine, show me what you’ve got there and I’ll see if it’s interesting enough. We can talk trades later. I am pretty serious about the crocodile shark though.”

“I hate you so much.”