Tag Archive: book


So I’m an old fashioned book reader. To me this means that I love the tactile component of reading an honest to goodness paper and ink book. That being said I will on occasion read digitally, to try out new authors mostly, but what I am here to tell you today is that I believe some books are even better as digital copies. For instance Emotional Rescue: Essays on Love, Loss, and Life – with a soundtrack by Ben Greenman. This book was on the editors pick list (Amazon) and after reading the title I pondered for less than a minute before I started downloading. They were right, it is every bit as good as the title suggests and then some.

For those of you who stoped at the word essays I urge you to keep reading because they don’t feel like the writing assignments you might recal from undergrad they feel like internal dialogue. Let me explain. Mr. Greenman uses essays to have the liberty to jump topics between chapters which you cannot do, or rather it would be very difficult to do, in a typical story format. As such we can go from talking about pain/pleasure to sense/nonsense to distance/nearness. What is great about the essay format other than the wide array of topics that become available is that is has the feel of listening to the radio. As if, for instance, you are cruising down the highway rocking out and feeling happy and alive then all of a sudden the station plays a ballad and you remember your junior prom date. It was done to such a tremendous effect too. 

Let me also state outright that I love Mr. Greenman’s narrative voice. It felt very comfortable almost as if he was posing the questions he answers directly to me. I do honestly believe he has the large pool of friends who just call to talk that his essays suggest, and who could blame them as his perspective it quite interesting.

Now although I loved the book and I have already been recommending  it to anyone who will listen I’m not sure I would love it as a paperback. With my digital copy I highlighted amazing points that he makes regularly through out the entire narrative. I could also immediately look up songs which I had never heard or needed to hear again. The magic of technology allowed me to listen to the soundtrack of Mr. Greenman’s life while I read about the highlights. Which *gasp* fulfilled my need for multi sensory reading. As such a traditional book read of these essays would have been a completely different experience.

Should you still not be sold on this book please allow me just two more points. First, while Emotional Rescue is a far cry from the typical linear story telling most of us readers have come to love and expect by the end it came to an actual end. By which I mean that at the end all of the story telling (including the hard left turns) makes sense and even comes to a nicely tied up conclusion like a well constructed stand up comedy skit. The second point is perhaps more of a me point but I cannot help myself. In my mind this story would make an amazing musical… There I said it! I can completely picture it and I hope that someone else can too because this is a book I don’t just want to read it’s a book I want to experience!

I’m not saying that all the answers to the questions of restlessness, energy, intensity, and comfort—how long to hold a job, how long to keep a lover, how long to stay in one place before hopping on a train or a plane or into a balloon—reside in two minutes of a never-released song recorded by a virtually unknown novelty singer. But I’m not saying that they’re not.     -Ben Greenman

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While the two walked through the tunnel, Llana had blindly ran to, Odella smiled softly thinking to herself that perhaps the girl truly might be ready for the first step.  As such Odella’s mood improved with each step.  So much so that softly under her breath she sang the anvil’s song.

Llana did not notice the changes in Odella as she was watching the walls with fascination.  No longer were the stony walls blank and dark now the glowed dotted with silvered light.  The further into the tunnel they walked the brighter the walls became and soon the dark was gone completely and a false twilight prevailed.  This was the only sight until they reached a bend in the tunnel where a tall man stood with a kind of stout strength exuding from him.  As the sounds of their approach reached the man’s ears he turned pickaxe in hand looking them up and down.  Without pretense he dropped the axe from his shoulder and walked up to Odella grinning ear to ear.  The closer he got the more of Llana’s field of vision he seemed to take up.  The large man stopped less than a foot in front of the two and said, “Be welcome ‘Dellia,” in a booming voice at odds with his wide smile.  However, as he took notice of Llana standing behind and to the side of Odella his smile dropped and out of the corner of his eye he took the girl’s measure, “Who’s this?”

Llana, however, did not have a chance to answer because Odella quickly wheeled the man away from her and held him in quiet conversation.  While Llana impatiently waited on the conversation’s end she warily eyed the walls wondering how it was that they seemed to create their own light.  To her they shone like beat tin except in one spot which sucked in any light that ventured in its direction.  She reached out for the dark spot wondering if it was empty; when she felt a liquid warmth rush up her arm.  Startled she stepped back and much to her amazement she held a stone that glowed blood-red at the center of what appeared to be a piece of amber.  She must have gasped in her surprise because the talk in the corner cut out abruptly as they both turned towards her.

“Bless the mist Beorn!  Why didn’t you tell me there was a blood stone in here, I would have come a different way,” Odella nearly shouted hurrying back to Llana.

“I didn’t know ‘Dellia honest.”

“How can you not know?”  She did not even look back over her shoulder as she responded.

“Haven’t been this way since last time you were here, we only took a yard all around.  No one mentioned anything.”  Beorn sounded hurt like a scolded child.

Suddenly the warmth in Llana’s hand started to prick red-hot burning her very soul it seemed.  Only Odella’s harsh words broke through the pain.  “Drop it Llana…now…let it go!”  With the last word Odella struck the girl’s wrist causing the stone to finally separate from young flesh.  When the girl looked up Odella’s top skirt was quickly being wrapped around the stone as the tunnel started to dim back to silver.  The last image girl understood before she sunk to the floor was the oddly shaped mark in her palm.

Beorn was quick enough to grab the child in her swoon and held her lightly as a rag doll turning this way and that.  “Dellia we must be going this is not a good way for you to be discovered, not with what you got under your cape.”  All she had time for was a nod of her head and they were off.

The dark tunnels flew by as they wound their way through scarcely used twists and turns that entered at last into a clearing in the middle of the forest.  “Wait,” Odella motioned to herself a twinkling spectacle with her uncovered chains, “it would be almost as bad to run into the village like this.”

Beorn’s laugh rumbled like summer thunder, “Good point ‘Dellia.  Not sure if you, the stone, or the stranger would cause the most stir, but it’s best not to test those waters.”

Odella agreed.  Setting her cloak on the ground and forcing herself not to let curiosity win out and look at the stone she took the leather jerkin out of Beorn’s hand.  It fit like a potato sack and smelled of wood smoke, but it would work, she wagered, if they kept to the treeline.  “So you think Jira will be happy to see me,” Odella asked with a cocked brow and a half smile.

His only response was more thunder.

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To Llana the endless dark seemed to have lasted for days though as they walked with little to no rest time had lost all meaning.  Llana had not been told but she was sure they walked the Crossroads themselves.  To her this place had been the stuff of legends, but some how with Odella as her guide it only made sense.  As her feet become accustom to walking on the path that Odella cut without the slightest thought Llana began to remember the stories her mother use to tell.  Though she had not heard them in years they came back to her and in the stony silence that surrounded her and kept her company.

“To all children, I believe, mist is a magical thing which can hold any number of surprises or adventures, but this quality of mist is often lost on adults who are too busy trying to look past the mist to look beneath it.  Because beneath the mist lies the tangled weavers web that is the Crossroads.  Whether or not we are honest with ourselves we are, each of us, upon those crooked roads making decisions which lead us ever closer to what comes next and forever closing the way to what might have been.  Yes Llana, even our smallest choices define us and determine who it is that we are to become.”

Her dream-like state wavered in and out as the surroundings changed in subtle shifts.  However, Llana refused to give up on the story rippling through her mind at the moment, as it seemed to be of particular importance, but the sharp clang of metal shattered her revere.  It was at this moment that the subtle changes fully hit her.  The ground was different, the dark was different, and even the air seemed altered.  “Where are we?”

“Right where we are supposed to be.”  Odella turned sharply to face Llana causing her to stumble at the abrupt stop.  She gestured grandly suggesting that Llana should fully take in her new environment which included a Y in the path they had been following through the dark.  The two arms of the path were  illuminated by nothing more than the few errant rays of light falling from the air shafts.  Neither bend in the path looked particularly menacing nor inviting if she was being perfectly honest.  “Which way would you go,” Odella asked a faint smile upon her lips.

Llana started to answer then bit her tongue trying to restrain the tartness she was sure Odella would hear in her response.  “What kind of trick it this?  You’re supposed to answer questions not ask them?”

“No, I tell truths, but if you insist.  You asked me about my chains what do you wish to know?”

“Why do you wear them?” Llana immediately locked her eyes on the ground mentally berating herself.

“Because they are mine,” Odella responded calmly, “but tell me, why do you wear yours?”

“I’ve told you I have none.  You are the only person I have ever seen wear chains.”  The disgust Llana felt at the idea of being chained leaked out into her words causing Odella to study the girl intently with anger in her eyes. 

“Truly?  What of Namari?  Does she no longer bear chains?”

“How absurd would that be?  My mother would never lower herself to wear chains like some…some…slave.  She has more grace and dignity in her titles alone than you could ever hope to have,” Llana practically spit at the other woman.

“Tell me what dignity was there in birthing you?”

Llana’s mouth fell open in a silent O of confusion, but Odella continued without taking notice.  “Yes, you are one of Namari’s chains, and the titles you spoke of does she not have to strap herself into those chains of gold and silk to prove her worthiness, and what of her man?  Does she still not suffer the ring he gave her?”  Here Odella paused holding Llana captive in her piercing gaze.  “Oh yes, Namari does have grace and dignity, but her chains are only hidden from the unobservant.  She is as much as slave as I.”

The questions whirled around in the girl’s head chasing each other to dead ends.  Yes her mother still wore her coronet and her father’s ring…”but she does not wear chains,” Llana whispered to herself.

“No.  Namari does not wear chains like mine, but never think she does not carry them.”

That statement echoed through Llana’s very core as she blindly started towards the path to the left needing nothing so much as to escape the place where such bloody truths had been spilled.

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“Goodness its dark in here.”

“Not to me, not anymore.”

She knew there was no point in explaining that her eyes were big enough, that they saw more, so she let the silence drag.  The walk was very short, but as her companion was far behind she went slowly.  She listened as the girl inhaled as if to begin quite the conservation only to stop as if she was no longer sure how to make the words come out right.  Finally, the girl found her voice.

“I did not mean to offend you,”  the girl began wondering what could seem human and still be able to see clearly down here no matter how long they had lived in this way, “it’s well I just…let’s start over?  I’m Llana of Tralia, and…”  When there was no immediate response Llana feared that she had lost the other girl who had been almost completely silent on their descent.

“Odella.”

It was then that the two reached their destination.  A hole through the high rock ceiling allowed an orange-red orb to shine through the hall.  Llana blinked fiercely in the sudden glow as the room started to appear out of the shadows.  It was comfortable without being overly lavish even with the many fine things the room held.  Perhaps the most outstanding piece was the mirror, which encompassed more than half of the stone wall that held it.  In the mirror Llana caught her reflection.  A girl of normal height and build with hair that fell to her shoulders in thick strands of sun gilded brown.  However it was not her mussed appearance or her wide amber eyes that caught her attention, it was the girl standing behind her.  The girl, if you could call her a girl, was not just named Odella. She was Odella.

Llana inhaled sharply and spun on her heel as if Odella might disappear.  “This is not where you are from.”  Llana hoped that she had not given too much away, but she had to know for sure.

“No, but sometimes I come here, and you ought to be glad I do or you would still be very lost.  Now enough.”  Odella smiled as the girl was caught confused and unsure, but she had seen the recognition in the girl’s eyes.  It had been a long while since anyone on this side had cared to notice, and Odella stood at the edge of truth.  “You must now continue on your way, and I mine,” the woman said tersely gesturing towards the dimly lit path to her her right, “you have my best wishes.”  And with those words Odella turned to leave.

Llana however stood rooted to the ground, she had never before received such a dismissal.  Had been so sure it was a sign.  Then without giving it the thought it deserved she replied, “ I am so sorry to impede you on your way, and thank you very much, but I am not leaving.  Not without answers.”  These last words dripped with a disdain that was not lost on Odella.

“I would get real comfortable then because answers don’t often make it this far,” Odella offered over her shoulder taking the downward slanting path to the left.

Out of the quite sounds came a small and rather uncertain voice from the top of the path, “Where are your chains?”

If Odella hadn’t been dragging her feet she would have been too far away to hear the girl, but as it was the words hit her square between her shoulders connecting her Llana.  It was too late to walk away now Odella finally admitted to herself as she walked back to the room with the mirror.  The girl stood facing the path to the right shoulders slumped.

“I am wearing them,” she held out her right arm in such away that the sleeve fell back exposing her wrist and a flash of pale metal in the light, “and where child are yours,” she answered.

“I am no child…and I have no chains,” Llana looked confused as she turned to once again face Odella and sounded offended as she barely suppressed a scoff.

“I thought you sought truth girl?” As her words hung in the space between the two Odella sat down. Llana, however, showed no interest in sitting calmly and discussing what she considered utter nonsense.  Though she stared unabashed at the wrist and neck bands that she could see spark in the low light.

“They make no noise…are they light then,” Llana asked hopefully suddenly meeting Odella’s piercing gaze.

While she knew that the girl could not help but be curious this was a conversation she wanted no part in, and as her anger got the better of Odella struck back with a question of her own. “Why would the chains have to be heavy to be heard or better yet light to go unnoticed?”

Llana sat suddenly open-mouthed so much sting had been in the words she felt as if she had been struck.  Dumbfounded she lowered her eyes to her lap. “I…”

Odella cut her off before she could even begin. “Rest. We start tonight and believe me you are not ready.”

I can hear my mother’s voice, in the quite moments if I listen hard enough, but the stories she used to tell me always ring in my ears.   The story which I never could shake was Her’s…Odella’s. 

“There are no small stories about her as a fussy baby or an argumentative child,” my mother explained, “she just is.  Her story is one that starts in the middle nearly fully formed.  Odella, the hauntingly striking young woman with black eyes and chains upon her brow, neck, arms, and legs all reaching back towards the midline of her body.  “Come, and know your truth,” she dares those who call to her, “I charge nothing for the answering.”  Still she warns, “A price must be paid for while they are freely given true answers are not easily found.”  Her quiet presence seems to unnerve even the bravest of men should they not live in truth.  For that more than anything defines her.  Odella the truth teller, the storm crow, the pot stirrer.”

“Truly that is all that is known, of Odella” I remember asking full of disbelief, “surely there must be more?  Many must have questions which require answers.”

“Only those who have journeyed with her know more, Llana,” my mother replied plainly, “and I think you’ll find very few people are ever very truthful with themselves about their desire for answers.  For the truth can be a weighty thing, daughter.”

For better or worse these words have stuck to me, driving me in my pursuit of honesty, daring me to ask questions…

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All he could see of the offending scrap was its top most edge, the rest was obscured by a bunch in the rug he had caused while moving the furniture. He walked over to the page and stood staring down at it with wide eyes.

“I don’t believe you. What devil’s trick is this? Who could’ve? I don’t believe you!”

Amazingly the page took Doug’s insults and questions in stride. Snatching it up from the floor and shaking it menacingly in the air he might have initially thought to force a response, but good sense won out and Doug realized that the page was just a page, with an author.

“Who wrote this,” he asked the door, then the windows, and finally the broken typewriter which sat dead center on the large wooden desk, but no one came forward to take the credit. Defeated, Doug slumped into the moth eaten leather desk chair and ran his free hand through his hair. He shook his head, eyes closed, and wondered why he was so disappointed so surprised. The likelihood that some ne’re do well would slip from the shadows and admit to playing the loathsome prank was both slim and nil. Still, he had wanted something. A response of any kind, while shocking, was warranted given what the page had said. Instantly, he remembered the crumpled thing clutched in his balled fist.

The look in Doug’s eyes spoke of destruction and rage, and fire, as he stared at the badly wrinkled piece of paper. “This is not true,” he said to no one in particular. “Its a pack of lies and scare tactics, and I wont stand for it!” Emboldened he sat a little straighter. No he thought to himself its something all together different, its a story. Just one of his little adventures which had gone a bit off course and was now running away with him Doug reasoned with himself. The problem with this theory, however, was that the page did not read like any story Doug had ever read. The character had not been introduced or explained, the story line, if one could call it that, bounced around, a lot, though it only seemed to cover a single day’s worth of time, and the ending was so sudden it could hardly be absorbed. Additionally, while the writer had included plenty of obstacles there was little to no resolution or thematic plot to be found.

Doug cocked his head to the side as if a different vantage point would bring a serge of clarity, he was wrong. The page remained as mysterious as it had always been and he, he remained perplexed. If this was indeed not a story, it would mean that Doug was going to have to consider the possibility that the words on the page were real in more than just the tangible sense and that was an eventuality he was not prepared for.

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By Jeannette Woitzik

The book

I never knew the story of me, not really anyway, until it was my turn to carry the book.  The book was where my mother kept her secrets, and as it turns out they were numerous.  That large leather bound tome was the only thing we owned that never felt the lean times.  It seemed to constantly expand like mother’s sourdough rolls. 

That was how we survived, mother and I.  She baked and, as soon as I could carry the tray, I sold, but we never lingered any one place for very long.  There was never an explanation just, “Adette, my sweet, tis time,” and we would be off to the next town before dawn.  The worst was when we lived “in the heather” as mother would say.  To me the Black Forest was a terrifying place of hard dirt beds, green leaky roofs, and fear which ran off my mother in rivulets when the next town wasn’t an option and we had to hide to survive.  I never knew why we ran, what made us run, or who might follow, but I went with mother and her book without question.

When I got old enough I started to see the pattern.  While we sold sweet bread, hearty loaves, or flaky pastry we were fine.  I could count on a straw mattress, dinner simmering on the hearth, and a place to call home.  We still stole away in the night with no explanation, but it would just be to the next town.  The second I smelled gingerbread though I knew it was just a matter of time till we were back in the woods hugging the shadows. 

The last time I begged mother not to make me sell the child shaped gingerbread, but she wouldn’t listen.  For two days I came home to the spicy sweetness, but the third day it was emptiness that greeted me.  The door hung crooked on its broken hinges, spices and dark syrups coated the floor, and the hearth lay dark and cold.  I waited…afraid to light a fire.  Night fell full and heavy, its inky darkness a weighty thing in my heart and on my mind, but still my mother had not returned.  So I did what my mother taught me…I ran.

I grabbed what I could carry the most precious ingredients, her well used pans, and as I turned to leave I saw it.  The book lay open and only the moonlight on its pages made it visible.  Part of me wanted to run from that book, which had made gypsies of us and ultimately cost me my mother.  However, the bigger part of me wanted answers so it went into my flour sack with all I had left of her.

I fled into the night and into the forest I dreaded so much.  I didn’t stop for days sure that whatever had chased my mother through our lives was now after me.  Until I stumbled into a small clearing.  There was no telling how long the place had been abandoned.  Its wattle and daub roof had washed away and the few support boards which had framed the cottage crumbled at the slightest touch.  Only the stone hearth remained intact.  Habit had me building a fire and unpacking as if this was like any other time mother and I camped out beneath the stars, but reality washed over me in icy chills when my hand grazed leather. 

I realized for the first time how heavy it was as I brushed a slight dusting of flour from its cover.  Flipping through the pages I smiled sadly remembering the small conversations we had over pumpernickel and cherry cakes till I found the recipe.  I read it twice before the words meant anything.  I unpacked each remaining stoppered glass bottle reading their labels with care. Black Pudding was written on a bottle with less than a fingers width of sticky syrup left within it.  My stomach rolled but was too empty to oblige.  I now knew why we left in the dead of night why we hid in the Black Forest’s shadow, but not why mother couldn’t just have used molasses.

I had no other choice before me, I couldn’t return to any town I knew and there was no map or path to lead me forward, so I stayed.  I stayed and the forest, I had feared so much, provided.  There was wild wheat and nuts to grind for flour, honey and berries for sugar, and gathered eggs.  I used what skill I had to protect myself from harsh winter winds, hard brötchen bricks, sugar paned windows, and a thatched pretzel roof, but nothing could protect me from the book.  Every day I read more of it trying to understand any piece of the puzzle.  My only answers came from the inside of the front and back covers.  After numerous blank pages I found a family tree which, if vaguely, told me where I came from.  It was however, the simple inscription inside the front cover that guided me. 

Waste naught want naught.

I am Adette, and I will never be caught wanting for I make use of all that the forest provides me.

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Water color by Kay Nielsen all rights to owner

Welcome to Candlelight

At the gaping mouth of the cave Odella paused throwing her hood up so as to hide her face in the dark shadows of the folds, but Llana doubted it was necessary as they seemed to be arriving somewhat near twilight. 

“Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open child there is much to learn in Candlelight.”

Llana tried to search her memory for any reference to such a place, but came up empty handed.  Quickly they came upon the town itself which burned a flickering red against the night due to the immense number of candles burning in store fronts, on corners, and even in the trees.  Llana had to admit that the picturesque scene had an ambience she had never encountered before. As her eyes adjusted to the ruddy light, which seemed to shadow as often as it illuminated, it became obvious to Llana that Odella’s hood was necessary.  Everywhere she looked there were people going about their business as if it was high noon not midnight, however how they were able to do so remained a mystery to Llana as no sign hung from any of the doors they passed. Though the streets were crowded with people, many of whom went hooded, there was almost no sound.

The quiet was such that she could hear the bee’s wax scorching on the fresh wicks as they passed, unless a door was opened. Along with the tinkle of bells, which alerted the propitors of an indivuals entrance, such a mix of sounds would pour into the night that Llana had no time to process what might be occurring behind the firmly shut doors and shadowy windows. Odder still were the people. Few on the street would meet her gaze, but the shop keeps and venders more than made up for it with eye contact strong enough to make her squirm. Fear of the strangely assessing looks meant that Llana kept her eyes constantly roving sliding from one thing to another without actually focusing on what she was seeing.

However, as they rounded a corner one store front in particular drew Llana’s attention.  As she got closer she realized it was because the glass alternated between being filled with opaque smoke and being clear enough to look through.  With her fingers resting upon the glass she waited and as the pane emptied she caught a glimpse of the patrons.  Llana jumped back as if electrified and turned angrily towards Odella who was a good ten steps ahead of her now, “The Red Light District,” she shrieked distress emanating from her in waves.

A quick right to left head jerk confirmed Odella’s suspicion, if they didn’t move quick they would be alone on the street, not an ideal situation as they were still a ways from Appetence. Without a second to consider how the girl would react Odella grabbed her by her accusatory finger and pulled her into the very building whose window had been such an affront to her delicate sensibilities. Llana blanched as the door slammed shut and the pounding music reverberated up her legs from the floor boards.

“You sit and keep quite no matter what, this time,” Odella said in tones that brooked no argument while pointing to a dark corner booth away from the stage and door.

Hating herself for every step deeper into the debauchery she went Llana sat quickly and focused her attention on the polished black lacquered table top. In what seemed like a very long time Odella returned with a man dressed only in leather straps whose sly eyes and half smile made Llana flush and look away. Odella, however, did not flush nor lower her hood rather she leaned into the man and whispered into his ear and sent him off with a wave of her hand.

“What…”

“I told you to keep you mouth shut.”

The statement wasn’t shouted, but the scold in the words hit her like an open fist.

“We are looking for your answers, are we not? You have chosen at every fork in the road, have you not? So we would only be here if we needed to be, right?” Odella had asked questions but expected no answers as such she had never once paused. “Now do as I said and watch with open eyes and mouth closed we will talk later.”
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For other exerts from the story The Chains We Own click the links below

The first link in the chain

Chains that make no noise

Answers at the Y in the path

Finding the blood stone

Prolouge

This is a story about a young girl who has gone off in search of answers before making one of life’s greatest choices. Unexpectedly, she has found that truths and answers are not for the faint of heart, nor easy in the discovering. On her journey she will come into contact with individuals who will be able to teach her not only about the ways of the world she has mostly been sheltered from, but also how to find the strength to own up to your burdens and baggage whatever form they may take.

The Queen Who Wasn’t

          Fierya had been counting down the seconds till she could make her escape, unimpressed by the string of never-ending courses. Finally, sugared fruit tarts and sweet warmed cider were placed before each person.  She looked down at her plate wishing she could enjoy the treat, but instead Fierya started the conversation, “What are your plans for me?”

          He picked up his cider with a careless gesture and sipped at it thoughtfully. “Let me begin somewhere else Fierya. You are without a doubt my daughter, one need only look at your eyes to see that, and you most decidedly have power.”

          “But why does this mean she must be your responsibility,” Haddie cut in. “I am sorry to be the one to say it, but it does seem questionable that your bastard child appears only in time to usurp your legitimate heir and be sent to the Phlox.”

          Auria could almost feel Haddie’s fingers upon her strings as if she was no more than a puppet, but she could not help responding. “In three short years I am to be named Queen Heir, and you would find me hard pressed to give that up.  Father, it is all I have ever learned, I do not know how to be anything else.” As quickly as the words dried up on Auria’s lips, tears welled in her eyes, which she unconsciously wiped away.

          “We’ve been through this,” Fierya said exchanging looks with both Auria and Dronocum, “I want nothing from you.”

          “Then why are you here?” The hate in Haddie’s voice colored each of her words.

          Fierya pivoted in her chair to take the white-haired women on face to face. Drono tried to break their eye contact with a wild but unfortunately useless gesture. “Have you something to say to me girl?”  A half-smile played across Fierya’s face, but her eyes were empty and unforgiving. “I’m not like you.”  The words were simple but they seemed to hang upon the air heavy and full of meaning causing the smugness to fall from Haddie’s face as if she had been hit. However, before she could say anything Fierya continued. “How did you ever get those snow-white locks? I wonder?” The way the words rolled off her tongue left little to no doubt that Fierya did more than wonder. “And, why suffer the humiliation of being the Queen that wasn’t?  I am nothing like you, and you will do well to remember it.”

          The silence that followed rang with the same finality that Fierya’s threat had. “Enough! Fierya?” Dronocum was torn she now had answers to the questions which often kept him up at night, but this had to end. “You are my daughter and shall be named as such on the same day Auria will be named as my heir publicly, in four nights.” The King then spoke to Haddie, “I shall escort my daughters to their room and then will receive my Lady-Consort in my suite.” He rose stiffly but without hesitation, and holding an arm out for both girls left supported by their youth.

                                                                       ★★★★★★★★

          At the sound of the main door swinging shut one of the young men who had carried the large serving platters entered the dinning room, but when Haddie’s wide eyed glare meet his curios gaze he nearly ran from the room.  Haddie shook with unreleased rage. 

          Her chest heaved and spots danced before her eyes when she was finished with her outburst, but she managed to make her way past the thrown dishes, spilt food, and broken glass to the door with deft grace at immediately odds with her surroundings.  She leaned against the strong oak door for but a moment regaining her composure before she made her way to her rooms not his.  Whether or not he knew it he had chosen, and wrongly.

          In her own suits the women shied away hanging on the walls very awear of her mood and disposition.  “Tell the King I’m indisposed,” the command cut through the air like a horn blast sending the women in a hundred different directions while she went to her boudoir shutting and locking the door behind d her.
         “Stupid Drono…just sitting there and letting that whore-spawn…talk to me…like that!
How dare she think she knows anything…about me…me!
I am queen…in all but name…how dare she…cross me!”
         

          Each exclamation was followed by the ripping sounds of Haddie shedding the formal blue gown from her person.  Finally, she stepped from the ring of ruined fabric making her way to the large hanging mirror.  Bathed in only the moon light her elaborate hair coiffure shone and sparkled so like her desired crown making Haddie smile slyly.

          “Dangerous game your playing, bastard.  The last one who thought to best me lost more than she bargained for.”

A Moment of Warmth

Blake could not remember what falling asleep felt like for the life of him.  To him it had always been an event devoid of sensation.  There was no warmth that he could remember, or heaviness just the sudden drop off and then latter the hazy awakening.  However, now he felt a warmth which was filling him up, moving slowly from his feet to his head.  The lack of sound unnerved Blake that and the fact that though he was almost sure his eyes were open there was nothing but a fuzzy darkness.  Almost like the time I passed out he thought remembering for a moment his brother’s bachelor party, but that was wrong.  This was sharper somehow not gentle and easy like that night.  He went to lift his arm, but even the thought was too heavy for him to manage.  As the burn and sting of fire licked wet and sticky between Blake’s fingers reality crashed back in.  The taste of dirt between his teeth, the cacophony of sounds assaulting his ringing ears, pain shot through his back, and even as his eyes fluttered there was no sight.  He had only the words ‘easy now…just like falling asleep’ to hold on to, and that lie held no comfort anymore as the cold crept in and the shadow fell upon him.