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.

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Friday Thoughts: Word Choice

In today’s world, there are hundreds of words we can use. Take the word “color”. We could use the word “color” or “tone”. Or “hue”, or “light”, or “frequency”. Throw in phrases and the world start getting complicated. Each phrase is similar to the others but carries a different meaning. Telling someone to f-off or versus telling them to leave. Makes for an interesting study.

However, in today’s world word choice has become extremely important. From directing people to websites or being interviewed a job, how you say things is just as important as what you are saying. Especially when it comes to taking political stances.

What comes immediately to my mind is “Undocumented Immigrant” versus “Illegal Aliens”.

What do those two labels mean?” One inspires thoughts of people trying to make their way through life. Chasing the American dream. The other label shows the people as being squatters moving across the border. Sneaking in and evading the law because they don’t want to stop. Or simply knowing that they will be denied visas.

To some, the meaning is the same. But I disagree. How you label something sets the stage of how people hear or react. Consider what you call offspring still being carried in the womb. A fetus? A collection of cells? Or an unborn child?

For good or for ill, word choice is very important.

Monday Stories: Clash of Words

Artillery batteries bellow in the distance. Moments after their throaty bellows, there are sharp whistles that end in a roll of thunder. A soldier stands on the edge of a ruined building. A silver sword is held in his hands. A long trench coat flutters in the weak wind.

His eyes wander across what is left of his birthplace. The square where his father once sold fresh baked bread is bordered by the remains of gutted buildings. Across from him, the city’s library is now a crater. In fact, the broken down wall he is standing on was once the front of the candy shop where he spent many days as a child.

The young man feels anger at the people responsible for destroying his home. His fingers twitch. The teen realizes it. He tightens his grip on his blade.

His quiet muses are interrupted by soft crunch of stone.

He turns towards the source of the sound.

A young girl with dark hair and fair skin walks towards him. Like him, she holds a blade in her hand. A cloak rather than a trench coat wraps her body.

“Synth.” He says to her.

A roll of thunder from a distant battery punctures his words. The girl draws even with him but remains on the street.

“Synth.”

“You know what must happen.”

He sighs and looks up. Clyde allows himself to be distracted by the field of stars overhead. Clyde wonders for a moment. What kind of fate would allow a terrible battle to be fought underneath the beauty of the stars? Why should such beauty be destroyed by battle?

“Surrender?” He asks, grasping one last hope.

“I cannot.”

“Why must we fight? We are the same, you and I. We both want peace.”

“But at what cost? You and your people see to bring everyone under one kind of rule. Your rule. To follow your rules and your beliefs. If anyone challenges it, they disappear. You kept pushing that we follow your way. Instead, you choose to resist the greater good. We could have accomplished so much– if you just accept it.”

“Do you hear yourself!?” She yells. Her words echo through the empty ruins, “You demand peace by demanding we all march to the same tune. And that is why we fight! You won’t look at anyone else’s opinions or beliefs. Only your own!”

“You refuse to accept diversity. You just want to look alike and not be discomforted by someone who thinks differently. Or acts differently.”

“And you don’t? You may look different but all your people think the same. Is there really any difference? At least we admit that we think alike. But we also work to understand each other and choose the path that is best of all. You just want it your way.”

Clyde drops in front of Synth. “You just won’t give up.”

“I can’t. I believe what I believe and you won’t accept it.”

“But is it worth the bloodshed.” He says angerly, “Is your opinion so important that you will kill others? Have killed others!”

“You started this by passing laws that silenced us.”

“You were spreading hatred.”

“We were telling the truth about your leader. And you wouldn’t accept it because he was the first. Because he was making history and represented all you thought were minorities.”

The two stare at each other for a moment.

“But you are outnumbered.” Clyde snaps his fingers. Out of the shadows

Out of the shadows step more warriors. Men and women dressed as him. Their blades glisten in the starlight. Synth chuckles. From behind the teen, more cloaked figures appear. Like his own force, they are a mixed of men and women. They hold their own blades.

For a moment there is silence.

Then the distant batteries howl once more. As the artillery rounds cross through the night sky, the two sides leap across the distance. The only sounds made by them are the sounds of their booted feet and the whistle of the wind against their blades.

A Political Post

Greetings.

The clock is ticking and soon the next president will be decided. I know what has been presented: He said this about women, she denied this about Benghazi.

I’m not going to repeat all of that. Instead. This is what I want you to consider when you stand in that booth with that pen.

  • What did they say?
  • What did they do?
  • What have they done?

Judge an individual not by the words they say but rather by the actions they take.

Words

Words

Words
So many words
They roll off the tongue
They scream through the mind

Words
So many words
That can be said
But rarely are they told

They hang on the tongue
They sit on the lips

Unsaid
Or flung off

Words
Said without thought
Said without heart
They sting
They burn

Words
Given with thought
Given with care
Hold hope
Hold faith

Words
They hold power
They last lifetime
Choose them wisely
Say them carefully

Waiting for Inspiration

blank page with black pen
The Poet’s canvas and the Poet’s brush.

Blank page in front
A world before you
Yet the soul is silent

Hour after hour
Waiting for words to flow
Waiting for the thoughts to come

The day comes and goes
The blank page remains

Still the thoughts refuse to come
Still the words are dammed

A long day has ended
Rest long awaited begins

BOOM

It hits.
Fully awake
Fully ready to create

Rise from the bed
Grab a pen
Ink the words that come