storm

I could feel the storm coming. The energy of it tickled my fingertips. Its pressure warmed my skin even as the swirling winds cooled the air. The remnants of a hurricane slowly churned closer and closer until the clouds blocked the sun and the rain began to fall.

The storm no longer held the punch it had wielded weeks before. It had become sluggish and weak as it drew nearer land. Despite our need for rain, we were all grateful for that. Rain was needed, yes, but not at the expense of a devastating hurricane. And yet, despite its docile approach, I could still feel the storm coming.

Perhaps it was the amount of time since our last storm of any measure that allowed me to be so sensitive to the current ones approach. It had been months and I was desperate for a change, desperate for the cleansing relief of a rain washing over me and my small part of the world. Or perhaps there was something different about this storm and I would have felt it regardless. It no longer was a hurricane but it carried the DNA of one. It held the memory of the power and fury of its youth.

Sometimes that’s all that is needed, a memory, to become again what you once were.

I could feel the storm coming and I wondered, when it arrived, how it would show itself.

a windy night

I feel the cool caress of the sheets, twisted about my contorted body, and the sensation helps me stumble from my thin sleep.   My eyes blink away the vivid colors of my dream and absorb the darkness of the room.  All is quiet, all is still… except for the demons loosed from my imagination.  They stir in the shadows and their nightmarish whispers swirl around me.  The monsters are at the window trying to get in.  My breath sticks in my throat.

There are no monsters, there is just the wind, singing bawdy sea shanties, dancing across the window.

The normal, though jubilant, ocean breeze running its course from the sea to the inland foothills shouldn’t be enough to coax forth the worst of my demons.  It is harmless.  It is playful.  Alone, it poses no threat.  But, it is never alone.

Anytime the winds come wandering up from the coast to browse voyeurishly through my neighborhood, they bring the past with them.  They bring the memories of the harsh and biting desert winds from my youth.  They bring the monsters that haunted my nights then.

I try to breathe normally but the air rattles in my lungs and I’ll can manage is a sharp gasping.  My pulse races after drinking heavily of the intoxicating adrenalin that has flooded my body.  My gaze frantically searches the shadows for the threat I know is there.   I don’t dare move.  I don’t dare close my eyes.

The room suddenly explodes into contrasting angles, wrought by my distorted depth perception and rampant fear.  The shadows are larger and closer than they should be.  The pools of light sneaking through the cracks in the blinds shrink away until they seem more like the forgotten tangent of a false memory than something concretely real I could cling to in my terror.

The darkness presses down on me, suffocating me, and I’m six again.  Blown sand, picked up from the miles of empty desert and carried to my house by an unseen force, taps at the window, urgently seeking ingress.  Does it want to escape the horrors of the night?  Or is it the horror trying to get to me?  The pressure of the storm sucks at the same window and the moans and groans echo in my mind.  The demons are calling for me.  Their giant maw wants to strip the flesh from my bones and devour my soul.  The long shadow arms break free of the corners and reach for me.  I can feel the twisted talons inches from my body, preparing to rake across my skin.

I turn my eyes away from the window, towards my only possible exit to safety, towards my last hope of surviving the nightmare and my gaze is met by the ghost from the hallway stepping through the open door into the room.

I want to scream.

I turn, the sheets no longer cool against me, and assess the clock to determine how much of the night is left.  I ignore the ocean breeze and the haunted memories that traveled in its wake.  I close my eyes and focus on calming my heart, on deep breaths, and on trying to salvage some peace and rest.  When all but a small tremor of fear have been banished, I drift back into a thin sleep, awaiting the hint of rising sun that will set me free.

step forward

 photo cavern_zps952a3632.jpg
Credit: National Geographic

He paused at the cusp of the portal and gazed into the depths of his new home.  Logic dictated that he was making the right decision but his emotional ties to the land were impossible to ignore.  He would miss the warmth of the sun caressing his skin, the feel of a cool breeze tousling his hair, and the crunch of fresh snow under his boots.  Most of all, though, he would miss the views from the mountain passes and valley floors.  Those sights had sustained him through the darkest of his adventures.

He had lived through more than his fair share of adventures.  His new life wouldn’t change that.  Nothing would change that.  His destiny was to wander forever, journey through the worlds, and experience all they had to offer.  And the time had come to finally slip into the dark realms of the hidden waterways.  Then he would see what waited for him there.

Mountains and valleys of a different sort, beasts to discover, currents for roads and trails, points previously unknown and never imagined…

Stepping into the pool that would transport him below he noticed that the water accepted him without complaint.  No tendrils of movement, no wake, no ebb and flow as the water parted to make room for him.  It knew who he was and was ready to receive him and allow him access to the secrets kept in the bowels of its recesses.  He took another step and his body adapted to the cold.  He took another step and his mind forgot the sun and wind and the snow as the water rose to his chest.

Pausing again, he clawed desperately at the memories of his beloved mountains, hoping to ensnare them and carry them with him always.  But, he had already lost the sun pouring over the high canyon walls to provide warmth on the cold mornings.  He had already lost the whispering trees set to their gossip by an afternoon breeze running down the valley.  He had already lost the crisp tingling of joy and hope and life that came with the first snow each year.  The memories were all tied together so that those which meant the most meant nothing without the small details most considered inconsequential.

There was nothing left to stay his forward progress and so he took the final step through the portal and vanished.

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So… yeah.  I’m not really sure what to say about this one.  It didn’t end where I thought it was going to.  Once I started writing the words took me to a completely different place than I had planned on.  I decided to leave it as is, though, so you could take the same journey I took.

But, I’d also love to read what journey you would take on your own with this picture.  Write it, link it to this week’s Once More With Feeling Post, and the post it so we can all take your journey with you too.

 

the bridge

The bridge spanned the river,
My river,
The mighty Kings.

We used to walk across the timber,
Remember,
On a warm afternoon.

In the middle we would linger,
To hear the singer,
The cool swift water below.

The wooden planks made our steps ring,
Rhythm of a dream,
The perfect symphony of nature.

Dancing, skipping, laughing we’d resume,
Our journey, our quest,
Enchanted by the treats we’d find in the store.

The bridge was the key, you know,
If you needed to go,
To the magic place of drinks and ice cream.

But now my soul is tortured,
The horror,
My beloved bridge is only in my dreams.

They tore it down, every single beam,
Gone, no more,
To be replaced by something less easily fractured.

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Where my family disappears into the mountains every year for a week, the campgrounds are on the opposite side of the river from the store.  Growing up we would take a trail that paralleled the twists and turns of the river, and then crossed it over an old style, wooden, bridge.  We would often stop and take pictures upstream and downstream, look for fish, marvel in the majesty of the canyon, the raging torrent, the tall trees, and the general magic of nature, all the while anticipating the sweet treats we would find in the store.  The boards would creak under our feet.  We could see where new ones had been nailed into place to replace those that had worn with age or been washed out by the high currents of spring when the snow melt would come crushing down the valley.  It was magic for a child.  It was perfect.

A couple years ago they started the process of dismantling the old bridge and replacing it with a more modern version…  Metal and cement.  When it is done, it will be an eyesore where it spans my beloved nature.  On either side will be nature, and something unnatural will link the two…  Mostly I’m just sad the Little Prince will never get to walk across the old bridge.

This bit of nostalgia and poetry was brought to you today by the Poetry Prompt from We Drink Because We’re Poets:

“This week I would like you to share with me a poem about a place – a place that was dear to you, but is no longer there. It can be a bar, a museum, a library, bookstore, your old school – anything. I invite you to tell me what changed, what got replaced and how did it make you feel. Form, length, rhyme, all is optional.”

…..

And you, dear kingdomites?  Have you had something taken from you?

easily forgotten

They said I was soft.  They said that I wasn’t quite right, I wasn’t playing with a full deck, the wheel was spinning but the hamster was dead.  They said that my mind was a silk prison.  I knew it was an insult, I had heard them refer to their own minds as steel traps, and I always just smiled and waved anyway.

I couldn’t remember things very well.  True, but that wasn’t a new discovering for me when I first went to school, it was a fact of my life.  I needed repetition over and over to finally have something stick.  I needed to make it a routine, or whatever I was trying to learn would just slip through the silk of my mind with ease and disappear, gone forever.  Or, at least, gone until I had repeated it enough again to be able to wrap it up in silk and make it my own.

I didn’t mind though.  Being forgetful had its uses.  Sure it took me a long time to remember that five times five is twenty-five, but that’s an easy trade off for being able to forget the pain of my early childhood.  What happened, you ask?  I don’t remember the details, as I just said.  I only remember the pain and the pretty flashing red and blue lights.

I think I used to live with someone else, perhaps my mom and dad, but grandma doesn’t like to talk about it and, through repetition, I learned to stop asking.  Maybe one day I’ll want to find out more.  Maybe one day I’ll grow tired of struggling to keep up with my studies.  However, it’s more likely that I’ll forget we even had this conversation by tomorrow as all memory of it falls freely from the folds of my silk prison mind.

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Word Count: 305

This is my contribution to this week’s Inspiration Monday writing prompt:

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The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.

OR

No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:

SILK PRISON**
WAITING FOR AN ANSWER
MIND CLUTTER
WHAT’S IN THE BAG
STAYING UP EARLY

** Thanks to Carrie for inspiring this prompt!