safe 3

This is the third installment in the safe series of posts.

…..

The coins were strangely warm against her cold flesh.  She continued to smile and said, “Thank you.”  The man wasn’t listening.  He had already walked away after dropping the change into her cupped hands.  She gave thanks anyway.  She always did.  Her gratefulness was not contingent on him.  She didn’t need to know why they gave and she didn’t need them to know that she was thankful.

She moved the coins to her pocket and went back to rubbing her hands together.  The cold wind bit harshly that morning.  Even standing in the sun she was having trouble staying warm.  Soon she would need to seek shelter but she didn’t want to go in too soon.  She didn’t like hiding so early in the day.  It might set a precedent.  She didn’t need any more excuses to stay separated from society.  The further she got the harder it would be to return one day.  Though, she already wasn’t sure if she even wanted to return.

She’d lived on the streets for so long they had become the only home she remembered.  In the back of her mind, in thoughts she kept pushed away for several reasons, she had a vague notion of roofs and tables, refrigerators and heaters, warm sunlight filtering through glass panes and wind kept at bay behind shutters.  These were abstracts, though.  She didn’t know if she actually missed any of those things or if they would just be nice from time to time.  She could find the equivalent when they were absolutely needed.

Another patron left the store, pushing a cart overloaded with groceries, food she could live on for months.  She smiled and the woman avoided eye contact but then stopped and turned around.  After fishing through her purse the woman came up with some coins.  She cupped her hands and said “Thank you.”  The woman said, “You’re welcome,” but had already turned and the words were nearly lost on the wind.  A moment later, the woman and her stuffed cart were lost from view among the sea of giant cars.

A howl erupted from the parking lot, the wind whipping around tires in gusts and gales.  She shivered as the blast tore at her hands.  Not yet.  Not yet time to slip away.  Soon, though.  She would need to get out of the wind and cold soon or she would risk getting sick and all the money she had gathered that day would be spent on medicine instead of a meal.

She added the coins to her meagre collection and let her hands stay hidden.  The thin fabric of her worn pants did little to protect her hands from the cold but shivering tended to turn more people away.  That was a lesson she had learned her first winter on the streets.  If she looked miserable people avoided her more.  It seemed counter intuitive but people so often are.

The wind eased back and the sun returned to full strength for a moment.  The doors slid open and another customer pushed their cart out.  She smiled at them but they pretended not to see her standing there.  She kept right on smiling.  Their disinterest had no bearing on her hope.

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Attention Kingdomites!

Wait….

Is Kingdomites a word? Kingdom people? People of the Kingdom? All of you wonderful people reading this here post?

Anyway, however you prefer to be addressed, it has come to my attention that I, Revis Edgewater (First Knight of the Matticus Kingdom) have yet to shamelessly promote the new short story that I have published on Amazon called Blackmoon Conquest.

Blackmoon Conquest

It is the sequel to Blackmoon WarMage, which was written about in the Kingdom before.

If you like sword and sorcery fiction, I hope you’ll check it out. Thank you for your time, oh wonderful people of the Kingdom.

pot of gold

dav

The colors burst across the sky in a banded arcing spectrum.  The warmth of the sun on their backs as they marveled at the bow was an odd sensation considering the icy drops of rain that still fell.  The puddles at their feet churned and their hair was soon drenched.  They stood in silence, mesmerized by the beauty and strangeness of the moment.  Then the storm shifted again and the rainbow faded away, taking its promise of gold with it.

The day held many such magical moments as the sun slipped in and out of view and the rain fell in starts and stops.  They never seemed to tire of it, though.  It didn’t become routine or mundane.  Each new spark of beauty was a reason to stop and revel.  Perhaps that was down to their youthful naivety?  Or, perhaps, that was the full power of nature on display?  The truth may never be known and doesn’t really matter anyway.  They didn’t need to know why the day was magical to appreciate it.

hopeful

Shadow demons stalked his room, mirroring the pain and anger rampaging in his mind.  They slithered from corner to corner and whispered their visions of despair.  The storm outside raged, seething darkness and destruction and he began to weep.  Such was the state of his exhaustion that he could no longer hold the worst of his emotions in check and delusions sprang from his spiraling thoughts.  Shadowy teeth snarled.  Sinister eyes flashed.  He knew all he had to do was close his eyes and sleep would save him from himself but his eyes refused to shut.  His monsters ruled the night.

Wind rattled the windows and screamed in frustration.  Of what, he did not know, did not care to guess.  The wind was something he had never understood anyway.  Its howling was not to be ignored, though.  It rose and fell in shrieks and moans, and seemed to give further voice, gnashing and menacing, to the shadow demons.  They pressed close now.  They would loom over him and then flit back to the corners when his eyes darted their direction.  Soon they would grow brash enough to stay even under his gaze.  They would learn that he was powerless against him and then they would pounce.

He longed for that, actually.  Since his eyes refused to shut and he had long before even stopped trying to controls the demons he had produced, letting them sink their teeth and rip his flesh would be an end to his torture of waiting, or watching the minutes tick by, or feelings his mind continue to unravel.  He almost called out to them, “What are you waiting for?”  But, his mouth was too dry to form the words.

It was only a matter of time.  He hoped.  They would come for him.  He hoped.  Then his eyes would close.  He hoped.

bacon

He ran up hill to the smell of bacon.  Mist swirled off a passing car and he ducked under the cloud as if hitting it might have stopped his progress.  The call of breakfast hurried his pace but did nothing to quell the rumbling response in his stomach.  His feet slapped against the pavement and beat out a cadence, a rhythm, that heralded the coming dawn and the day that lurked beyond.  It was a song he knew well, a song he’d helped create every morning for nearly a year.  And what a year it had been.

New car.  New house.  New wife.  The smell of bacon was even coming from his kitchen.  He couldn’t believe how lucky he had been recently, though he didn’t even really believe in luck.  He worked hard for the changes he made in his life.  Just as he had started running miles every morning before work, he had made positive decisions and choices for the rest of his life as well.  Those choices had led, one by one, to the new car, the new house, the new girlfriend who quickly turned into the new wife.  They were all tied together and all resulting from him choosing to live healthier, to be happier, to demand more of himself.

That didn’t mean that all days started with bacon, that all days were perfect from start to finish.  All that “new” in his life required maintenance to keep them nice just as choosing to be happy and healthy required maintenance too.  Waking up early to go for his run, to set the tone for his days, wasn’t always easy but he did it anyway.  It was the right thing to do,  not the easy thing to do.  He regretted that it had taken him so long to realize the importance of that but was choosing not to let that regret shape his current outlook.  He wasn’t going to dwell on the past.  Each new day was a new chance for improvement.

He ran up the hill to the smell of bacon and looked forward to the adventures of the coming day while the song of his new life echoed up and down the quiet morning street.