Weight: An old shepherd tugged on the ropes that had bonded with his waist. Daisy-chained were an ashen woman, boy, and girl, presumably his family. They had sullen looks and a world-weariness of those who had lost their home. Together they scaled a pass that spiraled up and down a mountain to an uplifting tune that went nowhere.
Lightness: A pit-bull grew up tied to an oak tree. His world was a nine-foot circle of dirt, acorns, and taunting squirrels. Having given up on escape, he fell into a deep slumber and dreamed of the pearly gates. A voice told him to come forth, but he couldn’t. The clouds turned dark and erupted with rage. The smell of burnt ash then woke him up. Tugging at his leash for the first time in years, he found it slack.
A young boy frolicked by a spring-time lake. In his exuberance, he accidentally trips over Death’s scythe and falls into the water unconscious. Death pulls the boy out from under as it was before his time. He then etches the true hour of fate in the back of the child’s mind.
Decades later, an old man returns to the site. He finds Death waiting in a gazebo overlooking a winter-time lake before announcing that he’s ready. Death inquires whether he’d live a different life if ignorant of his fate. The man replies no. The reaper grins and wakes him up.
Incubus: I saw atop the fortress a seducer who had captured the host’s maiden. The two had eloped before abandoning the domain. Their unholy union left a pair of twin changelings in the wake. A clan of ravens took pity and raised one of them as their own where it assumed their eponymous title.
Raven: The sky temple looms over a barren city. A woman on the ledge stares into distant lands across borders. She seeks her father whom she’s linked to but never met. Shapeshifting into a raven, she forms a portal and flies into another’s dream. I follow suite.
Succubus: A seductress reins over the court. She assumes the role of queen over an absent throne. Suitors line up offering their hand, but she strings each along until they are spent and discarded. Her eyes then fixate on mine before a silver bolt struck her in the heart.
Dhampir: The hunter emerges from a shadow in the corner of the room. A man of few words, he quickly unloads several more rounds as the Succubus thrashes against the ground. When she finally bled silence, the Dhampir tasted a sample before spatting in disgust. Half-bred he scowled.
Envy: The tyrant wanted a piece of the sun. Confiscating all the gold in his kingdom, he built a palace high above the Eastern mountains and coated it with the element. This way, he will always wake up to his monument reflecting the light before dawn. The palace took a decade to assemble. On the day of its completion, he boasted to the sky that he will now be first to rise. The sun then blinded him.
Generosity: The prince had renounced all earthly possessions. His wealth, connections, and time would be given away to his people and the Buddha’s teachings. The royal family disagreed and trapped him in the palace. There, he mediated without eating or sleeping until word reached his people and they started donating aid. The family eventually relented but when they opened his chambers, the prince had already transcended. His body turned to gold.
I long for the sea in a bygone time,
but arid sands now cover my lands.
Who’d thought that spirits don’t die,
waiting for bells to sound last knells.
Yet hope remains among liminal currents,
two strangers dream of beautiful expanses.
So I coil my arms around wishes and desire,
nudge them together and watch with eager.
Morey’s Piers, New Jersey. Entry to this week’s WPS!
Meridian: A beacon appears on the horizon after a long dry spell. My supplies are running low and my compass desynchronized. I need to re-link with the collective, above and below.
Azimuth: The beacon looms overhead and I enter its orbit. Cycling between hot-to-cold to hot, the center pulsates with a code that I must decipher. Its shards keep me at a distance from the access point.
Zenith: I hear the sonorous commands of my station. His voice booms with my coordinates and the next destination. I split one half to follow.
Nadir: I hear a faint whisper which I’ve known long ago. Her voice is still a riddle but now with a twinge of the mercurial. I lead one half in pursuit.
Entry to this week’s 3 Line Tales! Image courtesy of Maher El Aridi.
Blazing star among fields of dreams. Its might binds the denizens of the night.
Yet dim it appears from galaxy’s edge. A speck among many seen.
Just a dream no? But all dreams compel.
Entry to this week’s FFfAW! Image courtesy of The Storyteller’s Abode.
Cain stood at the edge of the world. Behind him lay the universe he built. Cycles upon cycles he had folded; iterations beyond what mortal and immortal memory could recall. In front lay the white, a domain he cannot fathom for the black shields him from sight. But now his world is failing; temples crumble into ruins, honoring gods once alive but now dead.
Taking off the mask, a shadow is cast and two steps he takes. His right launches him forward, disintegrating the ground beneath and crippling one half of his body. A necessary sacrifice he felt for it would allow the other half to survive. His left stabilizes his flight as he braces for an impact that may never come.
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I once dreamed of a Castle. Taller than a mountain and wider than a lake, it punctured cloud and sky and beyond what eyes could see. I must climb to the top, for what lies above must be worth more than the salt below. And climb I did for many years passed before finally reached the summit. What did I find amidst the stars? Nothing but a blue grain of sand. Then I woke from the dream and found myself back on the ground. Laying face up and peering into the mid-noon sky, a tiny speck of light flickered.
Ovid jolted from his sleep. Red-eyed and still shaking, the shock of the car-wreck still reverberated in his dreams. Harsh words thrown and hot tempers flashed. A slap to the face carried the screeching pitch of tires unhinged that had turned the world grey. Rubbing his eyes a bit to peek out the window, he saw her again. Grey flurries fell, no longer caught by a shattered windshield of broken dreams. She was gone but now she’s there hidden behind an intact dashboard and a pair of unused wipers. Guilt imprisons us all he laments and shuts the curtains for the fourth time today.