Nightly Thoughts

Late at night
My mind runs
Late at night
And my mind wanders

I should be in bed
But I cannot sleep yet
So much to write
So many thoughts to process

The day is done
Yet my mind is awake
Despite the late night
I type my thoughts

The morning broke
Foggy and clear
My heart was glad
At the sight

Then the day passed
And my heart grew heavy
Though the day was clear
And the sun shined

Late at night
I wonder why
Why does my heart change
Why is my heart sad

Late at night
I lie awake
Staring at star and moon
Wondering why things are

Monday Stories: The House – Chapter 02

The three teens slowly walk down the street. Chloe and Dani lead while Anthony follows behind with his own camera recording. The redhead glances over. Dani is nervous but not outright panicking. The teen decides it is a good thing.

“Hold up.”

“What now?” Chloe asks.

“I need to give you two your own cameras.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.” He smiles, “My dad said that when he did his tradition they had to keep a journal.”

The girls exchange surprised looks.

“What? You two really thought we were making it up when we said everyone in town had done this? The house has been built here before the town even got out here.”

“Well, we just thought Mike was pulling our leg. Being a jerk.”

“Oh he may be arrogant and little too in love with himself but he loves traditions and learning about them. I think it has something to do with his dad.”

“His dad?”

“Yeah, long time history professor.” He digs around in his bag, “Come on. I know I packed them.”

Again the two teens exchange surprised looks.

“I know, I know.” Anthony laughs, “The guy who goes to the football games in body paint and football jerseys holds a doctorate in history. I had asked him why he is so different when it comes to sport games and he said because of interests. He wants Mike to be interested in history. But he also wants to show Mike that he is interested in his life as well.”

“Interesting approach.”

Anthony shrugs as he hands them two small cameras. Although equipped similarly to his own camcorder, the devices are smaller and not as powerful.

“Thanks.”

“Your welcome. Let’s get this over with. We got a little over ten hours to watch mice scurry across floorboards.”

“What?”

“You don’t like mice?”

“Not particularly.”

“Well. We shouldn’t see too many.”

“How do you know?” Dani mutters as they get closer to the house.

“I’ve done some research. Talked to the adults that have done this as kids. Most of them say that they just sat around drinking pop.” He laughs, “I actually know a couple who did their homework.”

“Oh great. This is exciting.”

“It’s tradition!”

The three teens reach the end of the driveway. They stop at the same time without planning it.

To Chloe, the house looks old and broken down. Several windows are broken and the grass has not been cut in a very long time. The black windows give the house an empty, forlong feel and look to it.

To Anthony, the house is full of opportunity. Photographing an abandoned building is one of the things he always wanted to do. The age of the house can be seen in the worn steps and damaged siding. But it also holds a lot of history.

To Dani the house is familiar. A sad little building that fell from grace a long time ago.

“Well. Ladies first.”

Chloe glares at him.

“Joking.” He steps onto the small footpath. The two girls follow him.

A cold feeling flows over them. Chloe shivers and looks around. To her, it seems like the shadows have somehow deepened. The redhead glances back at the street. She rubs her eyes and looks again.

“Chloe? What’s wrong?” Dani calls.

She hadn’t realized she stopped walking.

“Chloe?”

“I… Just. For a moment it looked like the lamp post was further away.”

Anthony and Dani glance down the street. The small dim light source looks as it always has. Across the street, they can see Mike sitting in his car. He waves at them.

Chloe frowns and turns her attention back towards the house.

“Something wrong?”

“Your friend annoys me.”

“Oh. He’ll grow on you.”

“I doubt it.”

“Anyways. Shall we?”

“Right.”

The three teens stand on the porch. Anthony kneels and looks at the key. Dani looks around the front of the house. Chloe watches Anthony as he draws out a lock picking kit.

He glances up then smiles as he returns to picking the lot.

“You don’t seem to be surprised.”

“Should we be?”

“Well. Most people question why I am able to pick locks.”

She shrugs, “We can pick locks too.”

“Oh? YouTube?”

“Trial and practice.” She replies, “Dani? Where are you going?”

Anthony looks over and he sees the girl walking towards the edge of the porch. She is facing the woods. Her body stiffens and her hands balled into a fist.

“Dani?”

She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. Dani turns back to them with a smile on her face.

“Sorry. My mind drifted. How are we? Can we even get in?”

“Almost…” Anthony murmurs. The lock clicks, “Got it.”

“Let the fun times roll tonight.” Chloe says as she pushes the door open.

It creaks. The teens flip on flashlights and walk into the house itself. The girls step into what appears to be an old hall. Off to the right is an empty room. To the left appears to be a dining hall. A wood table stands at the center, covered in dust.

“Cozy. A real fixer upper.”

Chloe scoffs, “Oh please.”

“Now what?”

“I don’t know. Just pick a room and chill for the night.”

“Great.”

The three teens walk further into the room. Anthony turns and shuts the door. It closes with a loud bang. Both girls jump at the show. They stare at him. He shrugs.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to do that.”

“Well, a lot of the kids like the living room.”

“Why is that?”

“Fireplace.”

“Oh. But it’s warm out.”

“True but at least that place will have a place where we can light and fire and save our batteries.”

“Don’t really care.” Chloe turns to her sister, “What do you think?”

Dani shrugs.

“Alright, Anthony. Lead us to the living room.”

The teen nods his head and walks down the hall. The floors creak and groan beneath their footsteps. Paint peels in long curls. The wall and ceiling are stained yellow with age. Here and there, a forgotten painting or photo hangs on the wall. Thick dust covers the images.

“How old is this place?” Chloe says quietly.

“I don’t know. Maybe fifty or a hundred years ago? I am not really sure.”

“Feels old.” Chloe takes a deep breath. The air is thick and musty smelling. A silence seems to weigh on the house, “Feels very old.”

“I don’t know about that.” Anthony replies as he turns a corner, “I do know that this is the living room. I’d avoid the kitchen though. Mice tend to go there.”

“What do we do about the bathroom?”

“Outhouse out back or the public restroom in the park. There is a path that leads from the backyard to the park.”

“How do you know so much?”

“I like to do my research before I get into things.”

“I see. That would explain the good grades.”

He grins, “Can’t help it. I am a book dragon.”

“Or a nerd.”

The teens laugh and a low creak echoes through the house. Their laughter dies as they listen to the house groan.

“Odd.”

“Yeah.” Chloe notices Anthony’s voice has lost its mirth.

“What is it?”

“Well. A few years ago something happened. No one really knows what went on. Just the mayor, the chief of police at the time, and the kids involved. I do know that it was the only time the police showed up to stop the tradition. The kids never talked about what happened. Neither did the parents. All we know is that two of the kids died and the house was covered in graffiti. Ever since the house has been strange.”

“Strange? How?” Dani asks quietly.

“Odd noises. Odd lights. Kids say that the house has a lot of noises.”

“How would they know?”

“Well. After everything went down, older kids wanted to go with their siblings. To make sure they stay safe through the tradition.”

“Oh, lovely.”

Anthony chuckles weakly, “I’m sure it was just bad luck and bad rumors. Sorry for bringing it up.”

“No worries.” Chloe pulls out a deck of Uno Cards, “Anyone up for a game?”

Dani and Anthony smile as they settle down on the floor.

The Lies We Hear

Lies are strange
Lies are weird
They are sweet to hear
And wholesome to our ears
Yet they are poison to our soul
Poison to our lives
Yet we will drink them all
We accept without fail
All around we wade through
Hearing lie after lie
Yet we do nothing to challenge
We do nothing to find the truth
For we are told the truth is a lie
And we are fools for falling for a lie
While all the while
Their silver tongues
Whisper lies to our ears

Monday Stories: A Forrest Meeting

An owl’s cry echoes through the night. A man stirs slightly. Hidden in the shadow of three old trees, he watches the forest. Twin moons give enough light to move without the need for torchlight. Here a deer slowly moves through the woods. A pair of foxes moves swiftly through the gaps in the underbrush. Still, the man waits. All around him the buzz of insects and the croak of hidden frogs fill the still air.

The man takes quiet, even breathing. He remains still. His brown skin is marked by countless scars from past battles. His leather armor is equally worn.

Abruptly the night sounds fall silent.

He carefully tightens his grip on a pair of daggers.

His dark eyes scan the forest, seeking anything out of the ordinary. Anything unusual.

Then he sees a shadowy figure move.

The figure moves carefully, silently, from one tree to the next. His black cloak gives him a shadow-like quality. The figure is hunched over, pausing every now and then. Little by little, the figure moves closer to where the man hides. The man keeps track of how slow time is passing by the shadows of the trees. An hour passes before the figure reaches his hiding place.

The man tenses, his hands gripping the swords.

“I smell you.” The figure hisses.

He straightens and faces the man’s hiding place.

“I smell your hatred. Your fear.”

Slowly the man rises and steps forward. His swords remain drawn but at his side. The figure nods his head in understanding. He draws his hood back, revealing pale skin and an aristocratic face. The figure’s black hair is pulled back and tied in a single ponytail. Despite his handsome human features, his eyes are little more than solid black orbs.

“Who are you, hunter?”

“I am Kal, Son of Anon of the O’di Clan.” The man answers as he assumes a combat stance. “And you?”

The figure throws his black cloak aside, revealing black armor. A red hand print adorns the chest armor. “I am Krishna of the Line of Lucia.”

For a moment, they stand in the moonlight eyeing one another. It is clear both have lived the life of warriors. And it is clear that both are skilled and seasoned by long experience.

“Why do you wait for me in the dark?” Krishna asks.

The question catches him off guard.

“Why do you wait to murder me?”

“You are hunting.”

“Am I? Do you see any humans nearby? Do you see any others besides me? Do you see the so-called war paint upon my face? The blood of our victims as your kind claim we do? Do you see bloodlust or rage?”

“You are killers–”

“By those of you who hate my kind! You cannot listen to the words of those who hate us! Me! Their words are tainted. Look to your feelings and hear those who agree with us. That peace can exist between our kinds. That we can live beside one another.”

A warning in Kal’s heart gives him pause. He takes a deep breath and tightens his grip on the steel swords.

Krishna makes the first move. He becomes a little more than a black whirlwind. Red blades appear out of thin air. Kal barely has enough time to get his own steel blades in place to parry. In seconds, they are lost in the rhythm of the battle.

Silver blade against red sword.

Their blows strike hard enough to send sparks flying. Their clashes echo through the night. Back and forth, the two males battle. Back and forth they struggle. A monetary weakness gives the other the advantage but a mistake quickly shifts the balance of power back. They become black shadows. Faster than any human could possible dream of.

A heartbeat passes and the two combatants split apart.

For a moment they pause to catch their breath.

Kal’s left leg sports a deep wound and is barely able to hold his weight. A blow to his ribs has caused him pain with each breath. His arm and forehead bear lighter wounds. Sweat dampens his armpits and back. Fear dampens his palms.

Krishna is little better off. His chest is riddled with stabs wounds. His right arm bear several deep wounds while his left kneecap is askew.

“Why do you hunt us.” Krishna snarls, “What have we done to you?”

“You are an evil that must be destroyed.” Kal wheezes out. His vision is darkening around the corners. “That is reason enough.”

“Evil? We did not choose this. None of us did. We became this because another was forced to do what they must to survive.” Krishna stalks forward, “We do what we do to survive! We have the right to survive and live as we please! As do you and your kind!”

“You are murdering innocents!”

“What innocents?” Krishna snaps back, anger giving him strength, “Have you heard of a man disappearing or a family found slaughtered? Have you heard stories where children vanish from their beds or whole villages disappearing? No! We are not murders!”

“Your kind has preyed on us for ages. Only the War Clans have risen to stop you.”

The black armored figure scoffs, “You fool. You War Clans fight among yourself. Was it not just three days ago where two Clans destroyed each other? And what of our deeds? Have we not lived in peace beside you? Have we not killed or hunted the humans?”

Kal prepares to continue the fight.

“You cannot be serious! Put aside your blades and your hatred. Hear me and the truth I tell you. Please!”

“Why should I listen to you?” Kal answers. “Everything you have said and done?”

“Tell me! What have we done to harm you? Have you seen us killed? Or maim? Or have you seen my kind react to you as you hunt us in our own homelands. As your kind kill us in our villages and homes. Have we not the right to defend ourselves?”

For a moment, Kal hesitates.

“You cannot think of an instance? Can you? Where we have hunted and killed humans. None because we have not acted so.” Krishna takes a deep, labored breath, “We wish only to live beside you. I know you have heard our pleas and our cries for peace. We are not evil though we act out of defense. All that we have done we have done so because of your aggression. Your hatred towards us.”

Kal’s blades drop as the truth of Krishna’s words takes root.

For Krishna is right. No humans had been slaughtered. No lives had been consumed. Krishna and his kind were staying away from the humans.

Krishna strikes.

He crosses the distance like a black lightning bolt, sinking his blade deep into his gut. Kal groans as he drops his swords. The hit the ground with a metallic thud as he sinks towards the earth. Krishna stands over him with an evil grin.

“You fool. This is why we vampires will win. You let our words blind you. You let your own doubts slow you. Tonight I shall dine on the blood of children. Because of you.”

Kal watches the vampire stepped out of sight. Above him, two moons slowly pass out of sight.

As the world grows dark, Kal hears children screaming in the night.

Sleeping Hours

Day has ended
Night has fallen
The thunder of the day
Gives way to the subtle of the night
Beasts, great and small
Make their way through the night
Though man slumbers unaware

Yet here I lay
Wide awake
Unable to sleep
My mind rushes and rushes
Where the people sleep
I lie awake
Where the people rest
My soul stirs uneasily

Night has fallen
And my soul wanders
Across the landscape of my mind
There I see myself
My worries appear as mountains
My fears as canyons
My hopes as distant fields

Though all around me
The shadows of my fears
Rise and close in
Yet far above me
The stars of my hope
Shine far above me
A hidden hope of mine

Monday Stories: Dangerous Water – Chapter 8

Ash and Ellia stare in open shock. Remains line the length of the chamber. Some are fleshless skeletons. Others appear to be badly decayed mummies. However, all sport circular bite marks. A soft whimpering sound echoes through the chamber. The two teens turn and see a survivor and another one of the creatures.

Ash leaps forward.

Energy flows and explodes as a point of light. The creature howls in pain as the impact from Ash’s attack slams into the cavern’s wall. The teen struggles to keep her blade in place as the creature writhes in agony.

A few moments later, the creature grows still.

“Is it… dead?” Ellia asks from the chamber entrance.

“Yes.” Ash says as she kneels down next to the captive.

She gently pushes the captive’s hair back. The Fae is young, maybe fifteen or sixteen human years. There are a dozen fresh bite marks. Ash makes short work of the chains. Ellia kneels down next to the teen.

“So this is what a feeding looks like…”

Ash looks over at the second Fae. Ellia’s face is pale with a hint of green to it. She cannot judge too harshly though. Her own stomach is twisted at the thought of being fed on. With an effort, Ash shoves the feeling aside.

“Come on. Talon should be done with the Ta.” At that, Ash frowns. She glances at the now dead creature. “I thought there were only two.”

“So did I.”

“Come on.”

Ash and Ellia helps the unconscious Fae. Ash looks at the others. Her heart aches at the dozen or so dead.

The sounds of stones and chattering noise fill the cavern. Neither one says a word. The noise fades away.

“Something isn’t right.” Ellia says quietly as they work their way through the cavern, “That is what you are thinking.”

“Maybe. I am hoping that only one of them went up to deal with Talon and there other came down here.”

“To feed? When there is an enemy on the nest?” Ellia replies, “From everything I have read about…the Ta says that they group in pairs.”

The stench of burned and rotting flesh fills their nose. Ellia groans and steps back from the smells. Ash tightens her grip. She gives the younger Fae an encouraging smile. Ellia still looks as afraid as before, but she isn’t walking away like before.

Together the three of them walk forward, following the smells. Ahead of them, harsh white light casts long shadows. Stones gleam in the light. The three Fae come to a stop at the edge of the entrance. They wait until their eyes adjust. The Fae step forward into the cavern.

Ash feels her stomach drops into the ground.

Dozens of pods fill the immense cavern. Each one is a frame of six ribs with semi-transparent wall between the ribs. Inside the pods, more creatures are stirring. Their clawed limbs press against the clear membranes holding them trapped.

A shadow flies overhead and slams into the wall.

Ash throws up a defensive barrier as loosened stones fall from the wall. She readies herself for another fight but the creature falls lifeless to the ground.

“Ash? Are you hurt?”

She turns and sees Talon walking towards them.

“No. Are you?”

“Ten percent damage. But you need to go.”

“What is this?” She waves an arm.

“They are growing an army.” Talon says grimly, “I will destroy them.”

“Understood.”

The three girls leave the room and head towards the entrance of the cave. They can hear the crackle of energy exploding and the dying screeches of Ta.

The teens break into the open air. The fresh air is a relief compared to the horrid smell from inside the caves. Dawn is already breaking across the sky. The girls head towards the town. Their freed captive begins to stir. She jerks but Ash and Ellia hold her steady.

“Easy. You’re safe.” Ash says quietly, “You’re safe.”

The Fae sags with relief.

“They fed on me.” She moans in pain.

“We’re going to take you home.”

“Please. I want to go home.”

“We’ll get you home.” Ash says. She turns to Ellia, “Both of you. You’ll be drinking water drawn from the Mans River itself.”

The crunch of tires causes all three girls to look. A small car rolls to a stop. A man and a woman leap from the tires. The girls freeze. Ash’s mind races as she tries to come out with an answer. Two adults step out of the car.

“Ash?”

“Mr. Joseph. Miss Penny.”

“What happened?” Penny calls out as they run towards them, “Joseph, she’s bleeding! They’re bleeding!”

“I’ll get the medical kit!”

“Hurry, we can get her to the car.”

“No.” Ash says, “We need to go to our home.”

“But she’s hurt.”

A low rumble rolls through the ground. The trees tremble.

“What was that?”

“Talon at work.”

“What is going on?” Joseph notices the remains of the Ta. “And what is that?”

“A longtime enemy of the Fae. We thought they had passed after the great wars. Apparently they have been massing a force here.”

Another rumble and they can feel it through their feet.

Joseph and Penny exchange worried looks.

“Go.” Ash says, “Take them.”

“What is happening?”

“Trouble.”

“What is going on?”

“There is a force of enemies from our world. And Talon is in trouble.”

“Do we want to know?”

“Probably not.” She says with a smile. It fades after a moment after another shock wave rolls through the ground, “Take care of them. Please.”

“Wait, you said you were going to explain everything.”

Ash chuckles, “We were, weren’t we? I guess I’ll tell you afterwards.”

Ash turns and runs towards the cave entrance. The ground begins to split in several places as shockwaves roll through. Joseph helps the girl into the car. As Joseph gets in the car is pitched three feet into the air. He slams the car into reverse and starts driving backwards. He comes to a stop at the edge of the lake.

“We need to leave.” Ellia says, “Now.”

“Wait, why are they staying?”

“Because she is a soldier and he is a weapon.”

“Why are they fighting?”

“Because that is their duty.”

“But they’re just kids.”

She smiles weakly, “Who else is going to stop them?”

“But what are they fighting?” Penny asks.

Ellia sags in the seat, “They’re fighting something that should have disappeared a long time ago. But there are dozens here. And they’re feeding.”

“What does that mean?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“Then what happened to my daughter?”

“Chloe?”

“Yes.”

The ground bucks and knocks the car into the air once again. Joseph glances at Penny. He turns around and drives away from the lake. He looks in the back and he sees that both girls sport deep wounds.

“What will you do?”

“I don’t know.”

The adults exchange worried glances.

“Our people.” She answers their question, “They would have closed the door on him.”

X

The End

Life in Repeat

Sun up, sun down
The same thing every day
Every hour already done
Every moment is just like before

Maybe different words said
Maybe different tasks done
But in the end
The day unfolds as before

What is life all about
Work and work and work
Never really have a moment
To really enjoy life

Yet the joys of life can be found
In the small moments
In the small things
That happen each day

The sunrise on the drive
The kind act by a stranger
The treat of a favorite snack
Or a song that you love