Tag Archive: questions


image

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.

Advertisements

image

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.

image

“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…

image

The killing season

image

All rights to owner

I am afraid…and as the red banners are raised my fear deepens. This is the killing season and I already feel the pull like some moth towards the promise and warmth of a flame.

I am Umma. I and my brethren existed before humans traisped into the picture, but much like ore buried in the earth our purpose was only existence without a human touch.

But humans are foolish. Always thinking themselves the inventors of the universe rather than merely inhabitants therein. They did not invent or discover me I am just as I have always been… a circle never ending.

It is true human love drew us out of our self imposed stasis, irresistible and euphoric. A magnetic force, rolling off them in tangible waves. It was a thing too strong for the naive to control. They sensed it, of course, how could they not. We could see the impact it had upon them; eyes dilated, pulses quickened, breath harshened, they all but vibrated with sensation, but for us it was more.

It wasn’t physical, strictly speaking. It was guttural, pulling and pushing from our very core, a part of an inescapable path. The love seeped out of the humans and we lapped it up, hooked. In an instant everything changed.

I was the lightning which sprung between Daphnis and Chloe, the sin which passed from Juliette to Romeo, and that which Byron so eloquently described as kindled from above. I Umma die on the breath of love, a sacrifice not completely free in the giving, and am reborn as that love is spoken lip to lip.

Over enamored by your adore I reach out to touch the perfection which is true love, but the story never ends well for the moth. The beauty and purity of the flame always proves insurmountable. It is the moth which is extinguished… but I am likened to the phoenix and my cyclical path spirals ever on.

I watch as the funeral pyre, fueled by loves passionate fire, alights in their eyes. Valentine’s day draws near, the killing season is nigh, and as always I am as fearful as I am intrigued.

*******

I apologize if this story comes off as vague or worse incomprehensible the thought behind it is simple. What is in a kiss and perhaps more interesting why do we kiss? There is one “school of thought” which claims that this is an instinctual or intuitive act, but for me this rings of “why…because”. So, for all who love questions such as why is the sky blue or what came first the chicken or the egg I ask you if kissing is instinctive what drives it?

PS in case you are curious we see the sky as blue because of how the light reflects through our atmosphere, and amphibians which evolved before birds lay eggs 🙂 (sorry the science geek rears her ugly head)

A Better Question

image

Davey's view

Heavy was the right way to describe it Davey thought to himself as he allowed a shallow breath past his parted lips.  Almost like it was water he thought as he lifted his right hand.  The resistance Davey felt in the empty night filled space above the arm of the rocking chair was foreign to him.  Turning his hand palm up he slowly rubbed his fingers together.  Collecting in minute beads a viscous liquid started to puddle in his cupped hand.  Davey’s eyes went skyward using the moon for illumination he could see…something.  Just a wisp of fog his brain reasoned, but the hair at the nape of his neck rejected that thought immediately standing on end.

The many childhood hours Davey had spent soaking up Hollywood’s post apocalyptic possibilities surfaced shouting for him to not leave the semi-safety of the covered porch, but tonight was about answers.  Since there was no burring sensation where the dew like droplets of oily liquid condensed he ruled out acid rain, still deciding on some iota of caution he pulled his shirt over his nose before walking out into the night.

Only a few steps and he could already feel the heat leaving the valley.  Growing up in the mostly dry climate of the desert Davey knew how fast the heat would drain back out of the sun baked rocks departing as if it had never been there leaving a chill that was hard to shake.  As the mercury plummeted the wisps in the air turned to more of a foggy haze, but rather than rising from the recently hot ground like steam it seemed to be sinking. 

Frozen in place, torn between the porch and the high ground he was walking towards, Davey noticed the watery light of the full moon catch in the mist throwing eery rainbows into the inky shadows.  Before he could react the dense cloud settled over him.  The greenish tinge of the fog gave everything the appearance of being viewed through night vision goggles,  but it was the weight of the fog which increased as its haziness gave way to opaqueness that Davey found the most disconcerting.

Within seconds he found himself face first in the dusty sand choking on the stifling cloud, his eyes streaming, every inch of him listless.  The lethargy made Davey almost not care that he had asked the wrong question, what instead of how, but then he heard the groan of the fog pressing down on his rocking chair and he smiled a drowsy smile.  He had his answer, if only he had thought to ask a better question.

Reader Note:

This is a continuation of my story A Heightened Sense of Things I hope you enjoy it!

Christmas Questions

Samantha made a drive for her phone to stop the ringing from getting any louder, and though the caller was an unknown she picked up.

Hello?

Have you been a good girl?

Oh…okay, I bet you think that is ho ho hilarious don’t you?  I thought prank calls were dead?

Is it a hard question to answer…Samantha?

No, it’s…how do you know my name?

Would it surprise you if I said I know a lot of things?

But not if I was good this year?

What do you think?

I think, why the hell am I still allowing this call to continue? 

Curiosity?

Fresh out, any other guesses?

Did you know that idle bored girls often appear naughty?

Don’t they have 900 numbers for this creepy shit?  How about you try one of thoes, and leave me alone?

Now, now Samantha where are your manors?

Could I possibly reserve them for people I actually know not weird holiday drunk dialers?

Do you not remember me?

How the hell did you get this number?

Are you going to answer my question?

Which one?

Which would you say was the most important?

Oh, I don’t know probably, “I wonder who’s calling,” what do you think?

Sarcasm?

You think?  Seriously, why are we still talking?

Ever make a bet with yourself?

A bet?

Yeah, like if you get done with shoveling the driveway before lunch you’ll let yourself splurge on carryout…you know?

I guess?

Well I bet there were no good people left, so…Samantha?

What was the wager?

Why would you care about that?

I’m not sure, but isn’t it important?

Would it affect your answer?  It could don’t you think?

What if I said good-ish?  Not a saint obviously but not really mean or evil either, is that a thing?

Good-ish?  Not a word, but it sounds like a thing, that answer my question though?

Yeah?

You sure?

Look I’m not a bad person so I must be a good person, right?

I don’t think it works like that; your not bad fine but are you good?

Listen guy, why does this mean so much to you?

To me?  Why doesn’t it matter to you?

Maybe because I’m not nine anymore hoping for Santa to leave me presents.

No hoping at all for you anymore?

Doesn’t everyone hope for things?  It’s just…

What?

Did you want to be right, about your bet?

How does anyone truly know what they want?

That isn’t an ans…never mind, were you?

Was I what?

Were you right?

No, I don’t think I was, guess that means I should get back to work.

Why, what do you do?

Deliveries?

You do know it’s Christmas eve right?

Yes I do Samantha, merry Christmas.

Then there was only silence as all three minutes and 23 seconds of conversation started to sink in.

%d bloggers like this: