betrayed

The sorceress stalked the dark corridor and the enormity of her anger created a pulsing field of energy that radiated from wall to wall.  The veiled torches, casting thin traces of pale orange light, trembled and scrambled for distance even as their shadow siblings reached out to comfort her.  The cool dark embrace did little to soothe the crimson fire burning in her veins, though, and quickly retreated to cling desperately to the corners.  She passed into her study as a beacon shreds the fog of a bitter morning; a brief moment of crystal brilliance parting the gloom that is then swallowed and forgotten, its very existence questioned.

The door rushed to shut behind her but she controlled her emotions enough to keep it from slamming.  She may have been physically alone, but that didn’t mean secret eyes weren’t watching her for signs of weakness.  Being betrayed, as she had, by her apprentice was sign enough of potential weakness and her enemies would already be positioning themselves to take advantage of the situation.  She didn’t need to draw their attention to any additional gaps in her armor that could be exploited.

She was greeted in her study by the comforting black blanket and warm kiss of a southern breeze meandering through a starless night, and she paused to allow the hot rage coursing along her magical nodes the chance to tamper from inferno to coals.  She desperately wanted to unleash her justified fury and obliterate something beautiful, but she hadn’t become a master in the realms of spells and curses by giving in to her base emotions and impulses.  Her eyes remained open, glittering with internal flames of their own, a parting enchantment gift from the only teacher who had ever believed in her, as she waited to regain full control.

It didn’t take long.  Her ability to control herself in the direst of circumstances had been key to her success in school.  And, later, it had also been key to the patience and timing of seeking revenge on all those who had bullied her, tortured her, and abused her in their attempts to keep her from learning magic and graduating.  With a snap of the thumb and forefinger of her right hand, the candles in her study hummed quietly for a moment before yellow slivers of flame rose from the vibrating wicks.  With a second snap the spell ended and the room resumed its silence.  The shadows remained leery of drawing too close.

While the sorceress had managed to calm the urgent desire for violence, her temper remained.  To be on the receiving end of her wrath when in hold of a quick outburst of rage meant a quick, though violent, death.  To be on the receiving end of her wrath when she had time to plan and let her anger smolder before lashing out meant death too, but slower, and involving pain best left undescribed.

The wicked hint of a sinister smile touched her lips and sparked from her eyes as she took her seat and carefully selected one of the tomes that graced the smooth surface of her oaken desk.  Enchantments she had placed on the book recognized her touch and allowed her to open to the pages she sought.  Her apprentice, her ex-apprentice, would pay for his crimes, in time.  She knew that to be a truth just as she had never doubted that she would one day become a mighty sorceress.

Feeding off her gleeful energy, the candles around the room were released from the stoic grip of fear and danced freely.  The shadows crept forward to peer over her shoulders and marvel at the workings of her brilliant mind.

She stands near the edge of the Pacific…

She stands near the edge of the Pacific, the gently crashing surf masking her moans and groans.  Sleep is her only respite from the pain of age, but she can only snatch at it in fits and starts.  The bustling giants to her left and right remind her of the glory years and send what’s left of her mind reeling into the past.  Her hundred eyes blink open sporadically, trying to drink in the present, before exhaustion forces them shut again.

Sometimes she rouses from her memories to notice she has left lights on and doors open with no memory of doing either.  Was she sleepwalking?  Has her mind fractured into multiple personas?  Is she being targeted by mischievous children?  She grasps for answers that are beyond her reach.  She’s too tired.  She’s too old.

She knows her mind is slipping.

Her guardian, Merry, from what should be the pole position for keeping watch, assures her that everything is fine.  There was a time when that would have been enough, but she learned over the years that Merry can’t always be trusted.  There is much that goes on that the guardian misses.

Merry never mentions the lights burning at odd hours, the doors left open to creak and sway in the ocean breeze, and the emptiness that stands in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle around them.  As guardian, Merry should have noticed and reported on all these disturbances and abnormalities.  The lack of any mention troubled her greatly, though she never asks Merry directly about any of it.  She isn’t sure she wants to hear an answer.

In some of her moments of lucidness, she wonders if Merry has gone mad.

But then her eyes close again and her thoughts are lost in a jumble of dreams and nightmares.  Reality, the present and past, twist and distort as her imagination slice and splice demons and angels together.  An eye blinks open.  A light flickers on.  The hallways fill with voices from the past.  Soft footsteps walk the worn carpet halls to disappear into rooms unused in decades.  She struggles to rouse from the haunting, but she has lost sense of night and day and is no longer certain what is real and what is dream.

She shivers from cold, even in the height of summer, as eyes from the neighboring giants linger upon her.  She can feel their loathing, and fear.  She can sense their unease.  She wishes she understood why they felt that way, and what happened to her, what is still happening to her.  She shivers, too, when the giants’ eyes close in slumber, but she still feels a presence within.

As her moments of wakefulness grow shorter and father apart, she claws at them desperately.  She knows what waits for her in the long sleep.  She knows the darkness and silence, and she is not yet ready to give herself to them.   She knows her fight is futile.

In time, all that will remain are the ghosts of her memories, and they will haunt her halls until she is claimed by the sea.

Otel

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CRUSH

djmatticus:

Hasty and I teamed up for a second poetic duet. It’s dark, and flows with the beauty and power of the deep blue sea.  Head over, give it a read, and leave some feedback for two of your favorite poets.  Wait… we are two of your favorites, right?  We should be!

(You can read our first duet here: Raining Poetry)

Originally posted on hastywords:

31 DAYS OF HORROR

LINK UP YOUR HORRIFIC TRUTHS OR FICTION IN THE COMMENTS BELOW

BeFunky_breaking_wave_185400.jpgWritten by Matticus and Hastywords

Rogue waves gather their strength and formidable reserves,
Hiding amongst lesser brethren, stealthily approaching,
Caring nothing for fairness, they know nothing of deserve,
Emotionlessly crush, sending their victims reeling.

Whitecaps surface indicating turbulent seas mixing unseen
As hope drowns beneath currents that swim headlong into reefs
My heart lies underneath all this tempestuous algae of green
Inside the muck accumulating in the undertow, where life slows

Distanced from the raging storm, though still held in its thrall,
The chill of the dark water saps the strength from my limbs,
The world of light slips away, I’m pulled deeper under tide’s fall,
Washed from shore as penance for my secret waking sins.

Power surges inside each pulsing flux carrying broken debris
Feeding the angst of all its pieces into a chaotic…

View original 55 more words

no pressure

A series of interviews – an exercise in truth:

http://wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net/80450F/wjon.com/files/2010/11/police_tape.jpg

If you want to play along, read the following statements given to a police officer and then answer the questions at the end.

“I saw the whole thing!  I was across the street talking with my coworker, Jim, and the car jumped the curb and hit the lady.  It was horrible!”

“I saw the whole thing!  I was out walking Measles, that’s my dog, and we turned the corner from Alpine onto Fifth, and this guy punched the lady, she fell backward into the street and was hit by a car.  It was horrible.”

“I saw the whole thing!  My husband, Tony, and I had just finished our meal at the little café at the end of the street.  The lady and man had walked passed our table arguing as we were paying the bill.  They were both shouting at each other.  When we left the café, their yelling drew my attention and I watched as she slapped him and he raised a hand to ward off the attack.  Then she tripped on a fire hydrant and fell backwards into the street where she was struck by the car.  It was horrible!”

“I saw the whole thing!  I was on my bike, Agnus, at the time, and we were on our way to make a package delivery uptown.  The congestion on the street forced me onto the sidewalk for a moment, yes I know the laws, and I had to stop because the lady and man were blocking my path.  They were arguing, which isn’t that uncommon, but then the lady slapped him and that really caught my attention.  Then she pulled out a knife from her purse and looked like she was going to attack him.  He grabbed her wrists to try and wrestle the weapon away from her and she tripped on the fire hydrant and fell into the street.  The car had no time to stop before it hit her.  It was horrible.”

“Oh my gosh!  Oh my gosh!  I was on my way to see my friend, Charles, who lives up Fifth, on the other side of Alpine, and …  And I just can’t believe this happened.  I was in the far right lane, almost up against the curb because the cars around me had just nearly collided.  Some jack-hole in an Audi was traffic weaving and nearly hit a minivan.  I… I don’t see that either of them stopped.  I don’t see them here still.  And then all of a sudden the lady was falling into the street.  I hit the brakes and swerved to try and avoid her, but there was nothing I could do.  There was no room to maneuver.  There wasn’t time to stop.   It was horrible!”

“I’ll tell you everything!  My wife, Gwen, and I were fighting over her brother, who has been staying at our apartment for the last couple months, ever sense he made parole.  I wanted him out because he is a bad person.  She wanted to let him stay because she thought she could help him turn his life around.  Things got pretty heated as we approached Alpine and she slapped me when I suggested that she was blind to the truth of how bad he truly is.  Then she pulled a knife from her purse to show me that she wasn’t that naïve.  She had confiscated the weapon from him that morning.  I reached out to her, to apologize, to offer comfort.  In that moment I knew we would figure out how to make it work.  I love… I loved her.  But, her heel caught in the air vents on the sidewalk as we turned to continue our walk, she lost her balance and fell over the fire hydrant into the street.  The car hit her before I could even react to try and save her.  It was horrible.”

Pertinent information:

The car is on the street, with dark tire tracks left in the road from brakes.  The lady was thrown several yards in front of it.  A knife was recovered near her.  The interviewees all appear visibly distraught.  An agitated crowd is gathering, and the longer you take to make a decision and clear the scene, the rowdier they get.  Half are screaming that the husband of the deceased needs to be arrested immediately for domestic violence, and half are screaming that the driver of the car needs to be arrested for reckless driving.

 ………………..

Which version of the events do you believe?  Which witness(es) do you trust?  Why?  What additional information do you need?

What do you decide to do?

Quick!  The whole nation is watching…

………………………………………………………………………….

Update:  In a couple discussions in the comments I remembered and brought up a video I had watched in one of my psychology classes in college that showed how unreliable eye witness testimony can be.  I went looking for it on youtube, and while this isn’t the study I remembered, but it is close enough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSzPn9rsPcY

more than you think

“Should you have need of me, I’ll be in my study.”  With a quiet flurry of her robes, the sorceress turned down the gloomy corridor.  The dancing candle light splashed playfully along the walls in her wake, until she disappeared into the darkness that held sway at the far end.  The soft sound of the door closing behind her traveled with the final ripples of motion buffeting the light before all settled into calm.

He breathed a sigh of relief and returned to his own studies.  The small slow-burning candle on his desk, sitting in a pool of congealed wax that spoke to the length of time he’d been sitting there, giving credence to the aches in his joints, caught his attention for a moment.  The light remained still despite his small shuffling, as his spell had intended and he smiled at the small success.

The tome, a gift from the sorceress upon his apprenticeship, received his attention next.  The silver runes in the binding sparkled in the light.  The leather cover, though still soft and supple, showed signs of its ancient age.  The delicate pages, with purple dragon blood ink as vibrant in its majesty as the day the words had been immaculately penned letter for letter, whispered dark secrets in the still air.  He could feel the magic within calling to him, trying to catch him unprepared and trap him forever.

He would not be its first victim, its first triumph.  When the sorceress had handed it over to him, she had warned him to always be on his guard when studying the spells it offered as at least three of her previous apprentices had fallen victim to its charms.  With a small wink she’d added, “And that’s just the ones I know about.  Who knows how many countless others had their consciousness devoured before the tome fell into my control?”  Then she had laughed, and somehow he’d managed to keep from shuddering until she’d left.

Though nervous, it had only taken an hour for him to gain the courage to carefully peel back the cover and begin deciphering the spells on the first page.  Curiosity has ever been the main driving force of most magicians.  They have an unending desire to know the how and why of things.  He’d felt the book probing him immediately and struggled to maintain control of his mind, his essence.  He had succeeded, eventually, though the physical and mental toll had sent him to bed to recover before he’d even glanced at the full contents of the first page.

He returned the next day, and the day after that, and so on.  Eventually making his way beyond the opening pages and into the more complex spells that he craved.  Occasionally the book would sense him weakening and mount a new assault, but so far he had managed to keep it at bay, through mutual respect of power: magician for book, and book for magician.

Returning his attention to the candle, he spoke the words that released it from his enchantment and watched with delight as the flame began to waver naturally back and forth.  A sigh of contentment escaped as his lips curled into a smile.  Carefully closing the magical tome he stood from his desk, extinguished the candle and crossed to his bed.   The two spells, and his brief encounter with the sorceress, had left him exhausted and he welcomed the prospect of recovery through rest.

To those outside of magical realm, it may not seem like much to freeze and then reanimate a flame, but the small candle was just the test to make sure the spells worked.  The practical applications ranged far wider than a flame nestled between wick and wax.  He could use the same incantations on all moving objects and animals.  When he was powerful enough he could use it to freeze time.

Unbeknownst to the apprentice, from her study the sorceress smiled in appreciation of his advances.  He was coming along nicely and would work well into her plans.

Whatever it will be…

The Matticus Kingdom

Whatever it will be...

You must write every single day of your life...

...You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

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