random little story based off an odd thought i had
that thought being "huh, what if people confessed non-romantic love the same way they did romantic love?"
It was 6:30 in the afternoon and Lydia was fifteen minutes from the sweet release from her shift when a pile of bouquets rolled into her check-out aisle. The mass wobbled from one side to the other by a few inches, as though attempting to assess the little hallway of converter belt and snacks. The flowers dropped onto the belt, revealing the man holding them. He was about her age--likely a college student considering 90% of the people currently in the store were college students, including Lydia--with black hair, brown eyes, and a vaguely furious expression.
Lydia glanced down at the bouquets, which were probably half of their pitiful stock. Five father-child bouquets, two uncle-niece/nephew bouquets, and one co-parenting bouquet. Huh.
“Huh,” said Lydia.
“Literally all of the freshmen I know have fucking terrible parents,” the guy elaborated, because people loved elaborating to her for some reason. Archie never had weird purchases elaborated to him. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but today Felicity’s dad sent her text demanding she paid for rent at their house over break. Like, what the fuck?”
She winced reflexively at that, because what the fuck indeed. Picking up one to punch into the computer for the price, she hazarded, “And the Uncle ones?” In for a penny, in for a pound, even if that penny was unwillingly given.
The guy’s expression lightened up a little. “Oh, their parents are fine, they’re just in another country. I’m gonna apply for alternate guardianship.”
Much closer to what she was used to. Lydia punched in the code for those as well. She wasn’t going to comment on the co-parenting one--people platonically co-parented all the time, it wasn’t her business--but then when she set it in the bag the guy immediately leaned over and snatched out the only vaguely romantic flower in the bunch, blushing. A flower that only read as romantic when you over-thought it.
She simply had to take a crack. “If you’re trying to avoid things turning into First Comes the Baby we’ve got romantic bouquets too, dude.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said the guy, face going even redder as he shoved the flower into his pocket.
Lydia shrugged. Not her problem. “That’s $56.74. D’ya have a loyalty card?”
The guy did not, but he must have either been better off than most college students or had been saving up, because he didn’t flinch at the price.
Two weeks later, the guy came back and bought two celebration bouquets and a “will you go out with me?” bouquet, plus chocolates.
“Congrats,” she said, and in a move of great Heraculan effort did not say more.
The guy still flushed and avoided eye contact when signing his name in the card reader.
I am what allows human wisdom and emotions to exist,
but I do not think nor do I feel.
I have several rooms and exits,
but am neither made of wood or stone, nor metal or plaster.
I create a dearly beloved song,
though I hold no instruments nor a voice to sing it.
Many say I am where you migh find a home,
but no one could ever live within me.
What am I?
uhh so i've been thinking up a supernatural mystery thriller plot and then accidentally wrote almost 3k about it so if you'd like to read that here it is? it's makes for a long as hell post btw so watch out for that
tw for violence and some eye trama
There’s the shrieking call of a firetruck out in the street, distant but persistent. Her back feels off. She shimmies in place, twisting and rotating her shoulders to relieve the tension. Eventually she ends up rolling onto her side, face smushed into the pillows, staring blearly at the white, smooth wall.
She’s never been prone to insomnia, but God did her brain not give an inch tonight.
There’s a creaking of the floor coming from somewhere beyond her room, and for a second she can’t help but to tense up, heart beating fast, ears straining. The sound doesn’t happen again, her fridge making her jump with it’s scratching, scraping sounds of the cooler de-icing itself instead. A few more seconds of silence pass before she lets herself relax again, slumping into her mattress. She’s been watching too many true crime documentaries lately, and now every night is filled with figures looming in corners, knives or bats or rope in hand. like she’s a child afraid of her closet again. That’s probably half the reason she can’t sleep tonight.
No one is in the damn house, Katrina tells herself, jabbing her elbow into the mass of pillows to get comfortable again, nobody except yourself. You double checked the door. The windows’ been locked since it got cold. If someone was in your house you’d notice, you idiot. Go the hell to sleep.
It helps to insult herself, in a weird way. Maybe it’s the idea that someone was going to kill her after she called herself an asshole was too silly for the universe to allow. No matter how nonsensical the little ritual is, it calms her down anyway, so she keeps doing it. Already her eyelids feel heavier, so she tucks herself in further into her little cocoon and tries to let herself sleep.
There’s more creaking. Shut up, it’s fine. It’s just you. She starts counting up, just for something thoughtless to do. One, two three, four, five, six— more creaking— seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve— she can feel a shape looming, but that always happens when she freaks herself out, calm down, calm down— thirteen, fourteen, fifteen—
Hands close around her throat, a body presses down onto hers. Her eyes fly open to see the wall, and before she can even think she starts thrashing, arms confined in the comforter, her torso trapped by the person. She tries to look at the person but it’s too dark, she’s turned on her side, all she can see is dark red hair and shadow. The hands clench tighter around her neck and she gasps, finally freeing a hand to grasp at her attackers fingers. She can’t get up like this, can’t fight like this. She needs to get them off her.
She doesn’t think long, heart pounding in her throat. She kicks her legs out to push against the wall like it’s a springboard and rolls, forcing the both of them off the bed and onto the floor, knocking the hands off her neck. She hears the person make a noise for the first time upon the impact, a sharp, wordless groan, and then she’s staggering to her feet, flinging the comforter off and onto her attacker, still on the ground, without looking at them. The minute she has her limbs free she bolts, lunging to the bedroom doorway. A hand brushes past her leg but doesn’t quite connect, and she gets out. Through the hallway— her attacker is behind her now, she could hear them getting up, could hear the footsteps now— to the kitchen.
It takes seconds to reach the knife block and she grabs the first one her hand lands on; a steak knife, small and serrated. It has a point, though, and that’s all she needs. Katrina whips around, brandishing her makeshift weapon, just as her attacker is behind her, and almost drops it because—
— because it’s her. Another Katrina, her hair, her body, her face, split into a wild snarl.
She stumbles back, mind reeling, and Other Katrina surges towards her, reaching for her neck again, and suddenly Katrina’s screaming, stabbing forward, and is knocked against the wall, pressure on her throat. Other Katrina’s arm is bleeding but she doesn’t even notice, didn’t even make a sound, her eyes trained on Katrina’s. The cold, dark hate in those eyes takes her breath away more than any strangulation could. Desperately, she tries to pull on the hands, but Other Her is too strong— but she’s still holding the knife. She grabs at Other Katrina’s arms, forces room between them so she can wiggle her own arm in. And before she can overthink, she plunges the knife right into Other Katrina’s eye.
Other Katrina finally lets go with her own scream, hands flying to her face as she jerks back, colliding with the table and collapsing onto it, knocking off half of it’s clutter onto the floor as she writhes in pain.
And then she’s gone. The knife clatters onto the table, still bloody, the only sign aside from the mess that she was ever there. For a long minute it’s all Katrina can do to slide down the wall until she’s sitting against it, breath loud and fast in her own ears, neck throbbing and heart pounding.
She just looks at the table, half expecting her to reappear and attack again. Other Katrina doesn’t come back. All she can hear is the sounds of the wood settling, no creaking of walking in the other rooms. Katrina lets herself slump fully against the wall. She should call 911, should get out of the apartment, should go to her neighbors— but God, what would she say? That she attacked herself? That a doppelganger tried to choke her dead and then just vanished? She finds herself laughing half hysterically at the thought of their expressions. They’d call her insane. She doesn’t know what to do.
Slowly, she gets up. There’s no way in hell she’s telling anybody the truth, obviously. So she needs this to make sense. There needs to be an obvious point of entry. She thinks of the bedroom window first, because it had started there, but she’s on the second floor. That wouldn’t track. There’s also the screen to consider— she could cut it herself, maybe, but they can tell from which side it’s cut these days.The front door, then. There are security cameras, sure, but not directly in the outside hallway, just the main entrance. Besides, all security cameras have blind spots, and the management doesn’t care enough to shill out for any more than necessary. It wouldn’t be a strange thought that someone could get past them with enough forethought.
Mechanically, she makes her way to the door and opens it, checking for any people at their own doors. Nobody, like she was expecting. Aside from her there’s basically no one under thirty renting here, mostly because it’s too expensive for the average graduate and because there are a dozen other apartment set-ups much closer to the local college. That means that almost nobody gets home past 11 o’clock at night unless they have odd hours, and those that do with regular hours are most definitely intoxicated, making them unreliable witnesses.
She considers, for a moment, attempting to tamper with the lock, but dismisses that idea almost as quickly as she thinks it. She’s already taking too much time to call the police to fiddle with it, and for that to make sense she’d have to actually know how to lockpick, which she doesn’t. She’ll just have to tell them she forgot to lock her door. It rankles, knowing she’ll have to make herself out as forgetful, but it’s the best course of action.
Speaking of calling the police, she should do that. I was asleep, she starts planning, walking back into the living room and to the kitchen, and then suddenly I woke up to someone strangling me and fought back, and after we fought a bit in the kitchen, I shoved them into the table. They got up and ran out the door, which was already open— maybe they realized I was making too much noise? Was putting up too much of a fight? Then I called after freaking out for a while.
Christ, the knife. She’ll need to excuse the knife. If she was fighting herself the blood on it must be her blood, then. How was she going to deal with that? Injuring herself was the most logical idea, but the last one she wanted to actually go through with.
Except when she gets to the kitchen, there was no blood. Not on the knife or the table. Nothing at all. Hesitantly, she picked it up, turning it in her hands. It's clean as a whistle, like it had never been used. The clutter that was on the table before— a book, a pile of junk mail she never bothered to toss, a napkin holder and the few napkins left in it— is all still scattered on the floor. Was it gone because the Other Katrina was gone? Had it only taken so long to vanish like the rest of her because it was no longer attached to the body? She sets the knife back onto the table. She doesn’t know and it didn’t matter right now. Calling the police mattered.
She gets to the bedroom, stepping over the rumpled comforter— another thing that had remained as it was— and grabs her phone. She unplugs it from the charger and dials.
“Hi, my house was broken into and somebody tried to kill me,” she says to the operator, only mostly calm.
The call, after that, goes as routinely as possible. What was her address? 1445 Lilac Street, Bloomwood Apartments, Apartment #6. Was the person still there? No. Was she hurt? Bruised, but otherwise fine. Trying not to freak out again. Could she leave the apartment? Sure. Was there anybody in the complex she could stay with until dispatch arrived? She spoke with an older woman three doors down often who probably wouldn’t mind.
At the operators insistence she goes to Ms. Samoto’s door, knocking politely and informing her that she needed a place to stay for a few minutes after Ms. Samoto answers the door with a scowl on her face. The scowl turns into blank-eyed horror when she explains why, exactly, she was there and she is quickly let in and forced onto the couch.
That was where the two police officers and single detective found her when they arrived, with a cup of tea cradled in her hands. She eyes the detective uncertainly, hoping she simply looks curious. There’s no reason for him to be at what probably is being considered a routine attack. He matches her look with a slight, stiff smile. He has a cane that he leans on harshly and a shock of blond hair, which combined with his height makes him look like a scarecrow someone dressed up in business clothes on a lark.
All three of them introduce themselves— Officer Amy Buccanan, Officer Douglas Hepp, Detective James Le Mott— but only Detective Le Mott stays, the other two quickly hurrying to the actual scene of the crime to close it off. After gently suggesting to Ms. Samoto that he would like to talk to the victim alone, thank you, and she harumphes and disappears into her bedroom, he sits down across from her in the matching recliner and pulls out a notepad.
“So I suppose you’re wondering why I’m here,” he says, with that same stiff smile.
Katrina isn’t sure what to say to that, so all she says is, “I am."
“Well, usually this sort of case is left to the officers until there’s significant reason to bring me in, but your case happens to match one that happened just an hour ago. Are you familiar with the Paper Doll cases?”
Katrina almost drops her tea, some of it spilling onto her fingers. She knows the Paper Doll cases— she’s pretty sure the whole town knows about them. They’ve been splashed on the news for weeks now, cases that the police just couldn’t solve, filled with missing clues, strange victim statements, and, of course, strings of paper dolls strewn across the scenes. She can feel herself pale as she recalls one particular surviving victim’s claim: a man who looked just like him had been his attacker. He had been lambasted by the press for that, everyone speculating that he was sick, crazy, or high as hell.
Le Mott must take her reaction as an answer, because he continues, “We’ve found that just a few blocks away a man who also had his home broken into and was attacked about an hour ago, and these cases always happen the same way: every full moon, several people are attacked over the course of several hours.” He meets her eyes. “I’m sure you can see why we found your situation very concerning.”
She nods weakly. A part of her wars with the rest against the idea of deliberately lying during such a high-profile investigation, but then she remembers the other victim, label insane, and the sight of the other her vanishing into thin air. Remembers the disappearing blood. Her fingers tighten around her cup. This is a case that can’t be solved no matter what she says, so she may as well take the route that keeps her out of the press as a lunatic. “I guess you’ll want my story, now?”
“If you would be so kind.”
Katrina takes a deep breath, and starts lying through her teeth. “She attacked me in my sleep. I woke up with her strangling me, and I didn’t know what to do, couldn’t even really see her ‘cause I was facing the wall, so I just freaked out. Started trying to get her off me, yanking at her hands, anything to keep her from actually killing me. I don’t know how I thought of it, but I ended up rolling us both off the bed and onto the floor, with me on top. I got up as quick as I could, went running to the kitchen as soon as possible. I think she tried to get me on the ground with her again, but she couldn’t grab my leg.”
“Why the kitchen?” he asks, writing intently.
“Well, I heard most attackers give up if you fight them because they realize you’re too hard to knock out, and she didn’t really seem to have a real weapon so I figured I could get her to stop if I got my hands on a knife. I grabbed one, and then she was right on me again. I managed to turn around and knock her back, and she landed on my table. Then she just jumped back up and ran right past me, out the door.”
Le Mott frowns, looking up at her. “She just left? Do you have any idea why?”
“I guess it was ‘cause I was armed?” Katrina says, ending it more as a question than an answer. She really doesn’t know why Other Katrina vanished, so it’s not really a lie either way. “Didn’t ever end up cutting her, though.” That one is.
“Possibly,” he agrees, not looking particularly convinced. “You keep saying she— did you get a good look at her, then?”
“Not really, I only saw her fully while we were in the kitchen, and it was pitch black in there— all I could see in my bed was some hair from the corner of my eye. Her clothes weren’t that baggy though, so I could guess pretty easy from what I saw.”
“Right, describe her for me anyway.”
Now was the crucial part. Katrina screws up her face in thought, as though trying to recall as much as possible. “Uh, wasn’t much taller than me, so about 5’7 to 5’9? Kinda wavy hair, ‘bout past her shoulders— “ she places her hand at her chin-length cut and then lowered it to about her estimate, “--couldn’t tell you the color, but it looked pretty dark, so probably not blonde? Brown, maybe, I’m not sure. Was strong as hell so she’s probably more built than me.”
“Did you manage to see any of her face?” Le Mott says, a touch impatient even as he kept writing.
Katrina shrugs apologetically, “It was too dark in there to really see much, and I was kinda busy keeping her from grabbing my neck again. I think it was kinda long, and she had, like, a small nose?”
They keep talking for a while, Le Mott prodding her for all the details she can remember and Katrina blending the truth and her lies into something they can both believe in. But soon enough the two officers duck in to announce that they had done all they could to close off and mark her apartment but it was still an active scene, so did she have a place to stay other than there tonight?
Le Mott was startled at that, as if he had forgotten the time of night completely. He turns to her. “My apologies, I didn’t consider that at all. You’d probably like to try sleeping tonight.”
Katrina sighs. “I can just get a hotel room.”
Le Mott nods and stands up, putting his notebook away and tucking his hands in his coat pockets. “Would you like me to accompany you? Considering the circumstances.”
“Oh, sure?” she says, “If you aren’t busy.”
“I’m sure Officers Bucannan and Hepp will only find me aggravating at this point,” he tells her mildly, “I can spare a minute or two.”
“Aright, then, I’ll look for a place.” Katrina pulls out her phone.
It doesn’t take long to find a chain hotel only a couple blocks away, and they set off down into the lobby area and into the streets. It’s positively easy-going.
As they walk together, Katrina looks up at the night sky, and almost trips. Because where the moon is supposed to be is a gleaming, glass-like mass, shattered into dozens of pieces.
Tigress glanced around at the scene before her, crouched on the shoulder of a particularly jutting section of facada in wait. Everything was just as Zoya had promised: spindly grecian tower, weird gorgan/fury mashup, two hostages. One of them, the woman, had been stuck into the upper most window while gorgan girl perched on the one just below, dangling the male hostage by his fancy suit. her snakes hissing and snapping at him.
Going off the tableu presented and the implications of a gorgon-styled Obsessed, Tigress could guess at the source of rage. though it was odd Gorgan Lady didn't seem interested in the woman. Why anyone was still playing the cheating game in Seattle with the whole possession thing happening was beyond her, but superheros saved everyone, even those prone infedelity.
At least I'll get some good jokes out of this, she thought to Hephestus, readjusting her stance for a leap. It was time for Tigress to make her entrance.
A jump, a landing. Gorgan snapped her head towards the building at the sound of boots hitting concrete, yanking Suit closer to herself. Her snakes spit in her direction.
"Y'know, you're a bit taller than I imagined," Tigress said, grinning. Her eyes were trained on Suit.
"Am I, now?" Gorgan snarled, grip tighting on her captive, clearly unsure of where this was going. Good.
Tigress flexed her hand, thinking forge! and trusting Hephestus to understand her specification. Outwardly, she continued, "Yep! I always thought you'd at least be a head shorter!"
Gorgan's eyes widened in rage as the reference clicked, grip slakening somewhat. Lady hostage choked at her audacity. Suit just choked, scrabbling at Gorgan's hand.
Tone and distraction set, Tigress whipped her bracer-turned-chains at Suit, snagging him by the waist and ripping him from Gorgan's grip and swinging him to the ledge.
There’s a burning in my throat. There’s a fire reaching past my voice box and smoke curling in my nose, bile filling up my lungs. When I swallow back my anger--and I often do, these days— I can feel the acid sting prickling at the back of my tongue. I’m afraid. I’m afraid of glass bottles, of thunder, of (and for) my sister. But mostly I’m afraid that one day I’ll become a dragon, bile and acid and fire and smoke pouring out of my mouth like a river, burning and stinging and choking. And I’m afraid it won’t ever stop.
The yellow teakettle had been in the McNamera family for generations. Mother to child, it had burned each and every one of Verity’s ancestors hands with its metal handle, leaving blistered, angry callouses in its wake. And yet, it was passed on.
The way Verity’s mother told it, it was a lesson. She would lean against the counter, long dark hair a messy curtain casting shadows on her worn face, and watch the kettle until it screamed, tv murmuring the room over. Then, as Verity cut her over-easy eggs and her father folded the paper in over itself, her mother would grab that metal handle with a bare hand and pour two cups of the morning brew. One for her, one for Verity. She never flinched, not once in the years Verity had secretly watched from the table.
Then, when Verity was fifteen and half-asleep over her eggs, her mother said over the kettle’s wails, “Come here.”
Verity went, leaving her eggs behind, to stand at the counter. Her father snapped the paper to keep it upright, a single eye peering their way. The kettle was still wailing.
“Do you ever think about what you put things through? Do you?” her mother asked, her dark eyes shining through hair-cast shadows. “Do you ever think about this kettle?”
“No,” Verity says, because it’s the truth; because it’s in her name.
“You should start,” her mother says.
The teakettle screams. Her mother watches, and doesn’t take the handle. Her father snaps his paper again, and the sound is uncertain, uneasy. Verity was never her father’s child; she grabs the metal handle.
Verity wants to scream. She doesn’t. Instead she grinds her teeth, sets her jaw. She does not allow herself to flinch. Instead, she pours the tea. One cup for her mother, one cup for her.
An excerpt from my fake novel:
“It’s not— this building is literally falling apart!” Tigress hisses, unable to believe the sight before her.
Cassidy, who she’s known previously (as Cara) to be a very nice, albeit nervous person, crosses their arms in the face of her confusion, scowling at Tigress like she killed their dog. “How salient,” they say, tone clipped and edging towards mocking. There’s plaster in their tied back hair and their jeans are ripped, yet they still aren’t letting her help.
Tigress doesn’t know what the fuck their problem is right now, but she really, truly doesn’t have time for it. As if to punctuate her thought, the building gives another shudder of many as the weird bat thing Corvid created fucks about in the basement. Biting back a swear— she’s well known for her cutting words and quick temper, but Tigress doesn’t want to start looking like an actual asshole— she tries to understand why Cassidy is apparently hellbent on dying today.
“I’m sure you can handle yourself perfectly well,” she grits out, “but a collapsing building is a bit much for anyone. You’re the only one left, please let me do my job and get you out of here as quickly as possible.”
Impossibly, Cassidy manages to narrow their eyes even further. Christ. “I don’t need your help,” they snarl for what feels like the nth time. “Stairs exist for a fucking reason.”
“Are you seriously telling me you’d rather go down seven flights of stairs in a collapsing building then just let me carry you out?”
Cassidy’s deadpan stare is all that’s needed for a reply.
The building shudders again, this time with a very alarming cracking sound. Fully losing any scraps of patience she had left, Tigress snaps, “You’ll literally die if I let you stay here!” and, before they can even think of moving, lunges at Cassidy and hauls them up onto her shoulder. With a sharp turn to the massive hole that once was a wall-to-wall window, Tigress books it, calculating exactly how to catch herself on the building facade across from her, Cassidy howling protests all the while.
Tigress leaps. There’s a moment of wind rushing past her ears, carding through her hair, and then she’s focused entirely on the grinding crunch of her claws and boot spikes catching on the worn brick and mortar, slowing their descent to a complete stop. Behind her she hears the building give one last groan before giving up and crashing down. Cassidy suddenly stills. From there all it takes to get to the ground is a few well-placed hops, grip firmly around Cassidy’s waist.
They land on the ground, and before Tigress can, y’know, gently let her reluctant passenger down, Cassidy twists in her now loose hold and jumps away, jamming a foot right Tigress’ ribs to do so. Then they dash off to who-knows-where, fading in to the gathering crowd. Tigress only barely refrains from rolling her eyes at their vanishing form-- because, again, Christ-- turning away as a reporter makes herself known by shoving her microphone in Tigress’ face and demanding updates about the bat-thing. Tigress manages a few rote words before excusing herself to actually go fight it now.
Turning back to face the crumbling remains of the building, she sends a very put-upon mental sigh in Hesaphus’ general direction. From the back corners of her mind, he sends his usual sympathetic roar of laughter back.
It’s winter in Seattle. There had been a snowstorm just two days ago, and all the buildings, from the towering skyscrapers to the grand old hotels, were blanketed in white. Wind whips through the streets, howling quietly as signal for the next flurry of snow to roll in. Before, Lapin had found wintertime to be nothing more than an excuse for staying in a warm house, tangled in countless blankets, fighting the cold for all it was worth.
Standing here on the crumbing edge of an old building, though, he can see the beauty of the frosted city in all its wonder. For all that Lune has lain silent and unresponsive despite choosing him, she has at least given him this in his time with her. It’s hardly a mother or uncle back, but it is something, and in the spirit of the holidays Lapin can allow himself to be grateful.
His cloth ears twitch. Seattle is rarely quiet, and the promise of Christmas has made the people even louder and more festive than before, even at such an hour. Still, he hears the barely audible thunk of boots on the rooftop, muffled by the snow.
“Having a late night wander about the city, are you?” says Tigress, from the parapet of the building beside his. “I thought most bunnies were in bed by this time.”
Her tone is softer than the biting, witty airs she carries in a fight. Maybe it’s the solemn atmosphere of the night smoothing her words, or maybe the lack of impending danger. Lapin cranes his head up to look at her— because of course she’d choose the high ground, just to mess with him. Something about the dark gray of the sky softens the colors of her suit to match her words, the orange so searing in the daylight now darkened to match the rest of the sleepy city. Her green eyes are still as supernaturally bright as ever, their knowing gleam preserved by the faint glow of the nightlife below. Idly, he wonders if they’re green in real life, too. His certainly aren’t red.
“That’s hardly your business. Prowling around your territory, I assume?” he says, more to say something at all than to provoke a fight. There’s a calm chill to the air, one he’s never felt before, and it gives him the feeling that tonight is not a night for brawling.
Tigress laughs, the sound piercing through the air like a whip crack. Another part of her unsoftened by the night. She leaps down to meet him on his building, and the only thing keeping him from bolting is the knowledge she can’t take his anklet even if she wanted to. She no doubt knows that too, and for all her cheery, showboating attitude, Tigress isn’t stupid. She rolls her shoulders back, ever poised to move, but only shoves her hand into her pockets as if to ward off the cold. Then, she grins at him, teeth as sharp as her gaze. “What can I say? This cat loves her urban jungle.”
Such Strange Beings!
Behold! See as with our eyes, that strange mass.
Smoothly domed, the curve of a carapace.
Look upon the arch of the brow,
the cornflower seeds both sewn in,
dark and dizzying to hide the contrary nature.
Gaze upon the dying vines, clinging so
stubbornly to the slope of the rounded hill.
Observe the gleaming tools to butcher with
slow and precise instinct, all hidden behind
crescent moons of muscle turned outwards.
Pray tell, what has made you?
Were you but plucked from the charitable orchard,
sprung anew as the apple or the plum?
Or are you a thing built by Fae, for unknowable schemes?
Why, that must be it— nothing is stranger than they,
and you are stranger yet!
Or are you of light and sun and moon,
surging down to our humble land from the sky,
Flung away in disgust? Surely that must be it;
even those above could not comprehend the sight of you!
We certainly cannot, us creatures below.
A shame, then, that we cannot cast you down further,
for all below us now is but rock and earth!
The Study of Sciences
Should the mystic retellings of
countless teachers be heeded,
a “scientist” is but a cog within
a grand, lumbering mechanism,
heaving itself forward generation
by generation, laboring on in pursuit
of man’s greatest treasure:
How convenient, that recalling.
How easily in allows for the individual
to be crushed into the collective,
like daisies and cornflowers underfoot.
How convenient is it, to allow the
bleeding hearts to fall in between the cracks,
for the mistakes and cruelties to be
swept away, all in favor of a singular narrative.
A beast of many heads, these scientists,
all in accord, pursuing the same desire.
The two-headed calf, the three-headed snake,
all quail before this innumerably-headed group.
What significance does individual intent
hold before this behemoth of retellings?
The night wrapped around her shoulders
like a cloak as she waited between the streetlights,
standing where neither’s warm glow could touch her.
She was waiting for a yellow car, she told me,
one with scrapes all along the sides
from a crash long past.
I would have liked to hear the story,
but I had work too soon to stay.
All the walk, however, my mind turned
and wandered back around to the two streetlights.
It seemed like a painting to me,
a woman in a red cap and black coat,
watching the street for her yellow car,
and I wondered who drove it.
A sibling; a friend; a lover?
Man or woman? Young or old?
Were they as cheerful as their sunshine ride,
or a dour soul stuck with a dreadful hue?
I would have liked to see their face,
but I had work to soon to stay.
The Coin Toss
ROSENCRANTS AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD,
screamed the pamphlet stuffed in my father’s pocket.
Rosencrants and Guildenstern were dead,
and Jim was chewing idly on his pancakes as my father
searched and searched his pockets for a coin,
as the servers bustled and hurried with hot, greasy food,
as cars flashed by outside in the heavy blanket of night.
A quarter was procured, and he studied it from its place in his palm.
He flipped it, one, twice, thrice. Three times it clattered onto
the half-washed table. Heads, heads, and heads once more.
He laughed (nervously), and began to flip it more. But the story
stayed the same. Heads, heads, heads. Ed looked to Jim,
Jim looked back, unruffled. That was a play, this was real life, he said.
(Was it?) Ed looked to the other tables. Hadn’t there been
more people before? Hadn’t there? Was he truly Ed?
Was Jim truly Jim? Which forces were they within?
Un-, sub-, or supernatural? He flipped the quarter again and again—
seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen,
(EDWARD AND JAMES ARE DEAD, screamed the pamphlet)
fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen—
a show that starts out like your typical zombie tv show/game. gruff, scowly-looking dude shoots a zombie, and it's revealed he's taking care of a couple of kids (probably girls). first surprise: gruff dude has absolutely no problem showing affection to the kids, ruffling their hair and telling them he loves them. second surprise: the dude isn't taking care of them out of some weird obligation to his dead kid; he wasn't even married beforehand. he just is good with kids and saw that they needed someone on their side.
the show goes on for a couple episodes, and we watch as they struggle to survive, with several shots of dude shooting zombies and burying them if he can. then, in the 5-6th episode, the third surprise comes in the form of two well dressed people riding horses. dude asks them where the hell they came from to not have tattered clothing, and they explain that they're from a newly established village that came together after the apocolyps, and are looking for any left behind supplies. dude begs them to take him and kids to the village so the kids don't have to be living half-feral out of old strip malls. riders agree, warning him that he can't pull any grisly "survival of the fitest" nonsense if he wants to stay, though they'll protect the kids either way.
dude says he wasn't that kind of guy anyway, and they lead them all to the village. it's not a paradise or anything, but compared to the rubble-filled streets, it's a far cry better. dude and kids start rooming with other groups new to the village, and the show turns into a comedy about all the hijinks going on the the village, mostly caused by the kids just being kids. the dude reveals he used to be an accountant, and happily starts helping the lady keeping track of the village's resources with her work, never trying to one-up her or take over. the only difference to other shows of the same style is that sometimes the gatekeepers announce they spotted a new zombie or something.
nobody dies for shock value.