Tuesday, December 30, 2014


to clear roads and starry skies, 
dry pavement and steady climbs, 
smooth curves and the feeling of flight, 
the whisper of rubber on stone and lime; 

to forests and plains, valleys and hills, 
long trips and short stuttered stills, 
the vanishing point passed way on back 
and nothing but dust left in our tracks; 

to nowhere but forwards, 
to nowhen but now, 
to nobody but us, 
to nothing but... 

two wheels and a chain, 
and a well-balanced frame, 
a rider, a bike, and a claim. 


the world always ends on a note 
how high, how wide, they'll gloat; 
it'll be painful, and maybe you'll cry, 
and you won't get to say goodbye.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


in for a penny and out for a pound,
found at the unready, gritty and ground,
mind unsteady but feet standing sound;

she avoids my lyrics for what she finds,
cold, dark imagery and tightly closed blinds,
written or not by intentional minds.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Things I Didn't Do, page 1

I felt cold.


I remember the boys folding out the dark-brick dollhouse and playing their war games. I tried to sit down with them, join in with their fun, but always got crowded out, pushed away, deserted. I shortly gave up and sat with the girls, making drawings or paintings or cut-outs.

That is my first memory. I was four.


Skip forward a few years, and it's the going-away party in second grade. I was transferring to a private school at year's end, and leaving everyone I knew. Whether they celebrated the time we'd had or the time without me that they would have, I'll never know.

Jake was there, and though I didn't know Melanie yet, she couldn't have been too far off. Neither of them were in as bad of a place as I found them in when I came back, but that won't happen for another seven years.

I remember going to bed that night, and when I woke up, the world felt like a dream. I spent the next five years wondering when I was going to wake up, and be back with my old friends in my old school.

That is my second memory. I was seven.


Once I shifted into private school, the memories lie thicker, pictures and places and short interactions with all the people that I would see every year until they graduated or transferred out. One class per grade, and for me, it was the beginning of hell on earth.

Into third and fourth grade I was regularly bullied and ostracized. Nobody would sit with me at lunch, nobody would play with me at recess, and they would only partner with me in class under duress. Who brings a book to recess?

I did, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I stopped worrying about what I was being left out of and instead dove through worlds that not only wanted me, but needed me. I found joy in reading, joy in the worlds between the words, and there I lost myself.

The excessive reading didn't buy me any favors with my classmates, who had catastrophically lower reading speeds and comprehension rates than I did; or with the teachers, who insisted I explain the worlds and disavow the magic within them for life lessons. All I ever wanted was to dive into the pages and never come up for air.


In fifth grade, I started practising martial arts, and it helped me to find some inner strength. Not much, but some. Still, even on the mats, there were cliques and dramas that unfolded that I would never be a part of, children who had started years ahead of I and had an innate gift for physical and rote memory. Even while I felt my school life was all a dream, I felt my time on the mats was a mistake and any progress was a false promotion; I saw no ability within myself even as I rose through the ranks.

In eighth grade, I finally managed to confront my tormentors, and then they merely blamed it on one student who had long since transferred out, but by then it was too late; I was lost.


More Things I Didn't Do

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Weeping Glen

"Do you have any pictures of it?"

"Nope, no pictures."

"Photographs, drawings?"

"Sorry sir."


"Good god man! No! Look, you seem new around these parts, so let me make this clear: we don't have any visual representantions of anything. You gotta listen to my words, son, and make your own pictures in your head. Pictures outside your head are strictly banned."


"Not just banned, forbidden."

"But why?"

"Have you ever seen books burn?"

"Once, long ago."

"And how did it make you feel?"

"Like my soul was on that pyre."

"We're kindred souls then. There was a time when we had all those things, but they bred corruption and monstrous things. To get rid of then, every symbol had to go. We thrive on words here. One hundred percent literacy rate: that's practically unheard of in a well-developed place like this." A single tear fell from his eye and streaked down his face. "Every book with pictures went to feed the fires that burned every painting and melt every metal symbol. We ground our statues into gravel and dust. It was our penance, but it was worth every bit of laughter and happiness you see around me. I couldn't bear to have my children go through all of that again. We learned our lesson, you should do well to learn the same."

"What sort of monstrous things?"

The burly man shuddered. "Best not to think on it, son. Even the thought of the things that came, even the image in your minds eye... Look, just go back about ten miles and go straight where you took that left. That'll get you back to the world you're used to, and don't dwell on us again.

From the Internal Narrative of Callidus Igni

"What's your name?"

"Callidus Igni."

"No, I need your real name, not your character name."

"Callidus Igni."

"Can I see some ID?"

I reached into one of the numerous inner pockets of my cloak, and pulled out my wallet. This guy must be new, but there was no point in stating the obvious.

"Oh, I guess it is. Sorry about that. You get all kinds at these things. Do you have a... oh, there it is." He tapped my laminated pass with his fingertip  "Laminated, nice. Some of the ones I see, you don't even want to ask what some of those stains could be. You'll need to keep that visible whenever you're on the campgrounds. Do you have a striped handkerchief?"

I shook my head.

"You'll need to tie one to your-- well, wear one whenever you're out of character."

I snatched my identification from his fingertips and waved it in front of his face before sliding it back into my wallet and the pocket.

"Oh, you're one of those dedicated folks then, never dropping character? I never could get my head around that whole lifestyle. Can you imagine living like this? Well, I guess you can. This is my copy," he said, tapping my character sheet, "So I hope you have spares. We'll use this to make sure you're loyal to the storyline and give you opportunity to pick up appropriate experience for your actions. And, of course, to make sure you don't try to do anything you don't have the skills for." He grinned up at me.

I frowned and crossed my arms.

"Well, it looks like you're all set. Have a good game, Callidus."


I walked away from the registration table much the same as I had when I approached: bored. It was an annoying formality, one that went smoother when I was handled by a staff member wh'd met me before. I didn't need a copy of my sheet for myself, though I had duplicate copies available, including a quick-reference one clipped to pass; it wasn't for me, but for challengers on the field.

As I headed toward my tent, I passed a few familiar faces, and we exchanged nods as I walked by. The sun was sinking into the horizon, and I had a little time to finish getting prepared. I had a pick preference for my party and referee, and had a few resumes to pick scan through before I had to finalize my decisions.

PreviousIndex | Next

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ceteroquin: Inventory

Quies closed early on Fridays so he could check his inventory and catch up on mailing orders. He flipped the We're Open! sign back, pulled the hanging bell out of the way, and stepped out into the late afternoon long enough to pull the heavy steel grate closed over his storefront. It was still too early, but he looked westward down the street and watched for a few long moments at where the sun would be dipping below the horizon. With a half-hearted sigh, he stepped back inside.

The front window had a shelf that help some not-so-rare, nice-looking flowers. He picked up the clipboard he'd lain down a few minutes ago and pulled a pencil from behind his ear.

"Two bushes of black roses, check. One each of Roooy... Gee... Bivv..." he counted out slowly, checking as he eyeballed each and examined for signs of wilting. And white. One white." He held on of the newest opened buds tenderly, stroking the petals, efore letting it go and moving on.

Next after the window displays were his aggressive plants. "South American carnivorous snapdragon, check. Irish hungry grass, check. Black mercy secure," he rustled the enclosure, 'in it's Emrys-Faraday cage, check. Two bloodflowers," he leaned close to the glass, and saw and smelt the impact of fresh spit, "Vemon still potent, check. And one Krynoid, check."

Following those sat his resource-plants, those whose seeds, roots, buds, and leaves could be harvested without affecting the plant's livelihood or continues growth. "One Salvia, check. One mutated aum plant, check. One each of batthorn and wolfsbane, check. One happy plant, check. One nest of katterpods, check. One genically engineered kyrt vine, check. One miniature paopu tree, check. One young peya bush, check. One bushel of sser berries, check. One miniature herbah tree with delighted silkworms, check."

Lastly, one his sales floor, but for the racks of dried stock that lined the wall and hung from the rafters, were his preserved plants, and these, rather than sitting below sun lamps and skylights, were entombed in darkglass coffins that let in just enough light to see them by and let out just enough cold to know that the cryonics were still running. "One miniature Bob with annoyed young Harold, check. One adolescent cactacae, check. Two baby elowans, one male and one female, check. One integral tree sapling, check. On pair of mangaboos, check. One full-bloom night-blooming mock orchid, check."

Quies paused, smiling at the memory of hunting this one down in his younger days. It took several years to find, several weeks to build a deep-freeze enclosure around it, several days of trigger-happy sleeplessness, and a percarious airlift out of that horrible place. Only after it was secure did he even think about going back for his equipment, and some of it was misteriously damaged when he retured. Still, it was well worth the effort for this beauty.

He glanced back down at his list, and continued.

"One full-bloom re-annual plant, check. One sapling sapient pearwood, check. One tirils, with intact case, check. One full-bloom vul nut vine, check."

Quies stepped behind his counter, filed away to inventory list, and picked up his competed bok of books. He staggered slightly under the weight as he carried it into the back room and sorted it into the packed bookshelves.

Feeling heavy yawns coming on, Quies double-checked his quadruple-locked doors, picked up mail that had fallen through is rear mail-slot during the day, and climbed the narrow staircase to his small apartment above the store. He set the mail on his bedside table, undressed, and climbed into bed.

Universe: Ceteroquin
Character: Quies

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ceteroquin: Prescriptions

The bell rang, and Quies looked up from his book. A girl wearing a bicycle helmet on her head and a crow on her shoulder walked in.

"Whoa, what is this place?"

"Welcome to the Elllong Yardlong, miss. How can I help you and your corvine friend?"


"Cat: feline. Dog: canine. Crow: corvine."

"I never knew. Thanks. I, umm..." Daya flushed, nervous and embarrassed.

It's alright, I got it. He launched from her shoulder to the counter to the waiting tray of white sand, plucking a scrap of paper from her fingers along the way..

"Thanks, Umayyad."

"Umayyad," Quies asked suspiciously.

The bird gave him a long stare, countering Quies's inquisitive one. Can you fill a prescription and bill it to Mr Curo?

"Sure. Is that the scrip?"

The crow nodded.

"It will take a few minutes, but I'll get right to work. Keep your friend out of trouble."

Daya had been reaching out to touch a flower, but now she snatched her hand back. Umayyad rejoined her.

"What is it?" she whispered.

Carnivorous snapdragon, from South America, I believe. They have very sharp teeth; you could lose a finger.

Daya took a step back suddenly enough to crash into the racks behind her, but they're fortunately heavy and secure enough to not even wobble. She glanced sharply at its contents, before turning fully and peering closer.

"This one isn't going to hurt me, is it?"

Not as agressively as the snapdragon, but if that's what I think it is, I don't recommend touching it.

"What is it?" The milky white flower stretched upward eagerly, absorbing all the sunlight it could.

A moly blossom from Greece. Somewhat rare, unless you know where to look. either Quies is very well-traveled, or trades with someone who is.

"What about this?" Daya took a step to the side, peering at the next planter which looked particularly innocuous.

Irish hungry grass. Nasty stuff.

"Okaay," she drew out. "Moving on." She pointed to another curious display

A miniature coco de mere, which should be impossible.

"Why's that?"

It's a palm tree for one. The tree itself isn't anything special besides being a little endangered, but the nuts are supposed to perform some pretty heavy magic. At that size, however... who knows.

"Ah, you found it," Quies interposed.

"Found what?"

He walked down the next aisle and peered at his customers through the branches. "My baby coco. Cost me a fortune, but since you only need one..." He inspected the tree closely and plucked a tiny nut from the boughs and popped it in his mouth. "An expensive trick, to be sure, and the effects of it are short-lasting, but it can work wonders for a flexible businessman like myself."

"What do you mean?"

What he means is that one of the side effects of eating a nut from the coco de mere is the ability to understand bird-speech.

"Precisely, Umayyad. This particular geneticly engineered tree produces nuts that are highly concentrated, so they work almost as well at the full size ones. Neither of which works as well as the Slavic fern flower perseved in glass behind the counter, but don't get me started on what it took to get one of those." He passed over a plain white paper bag. "There should be everything you need in there, and I've thrown in some correct preparation pamphlets as well as a small box of paper tea bags."

"Thank you."

"Be careful with some of that stuff, and dry why you don't use right away. The leaves will lose some of their efficacy dried, but they'll keep for longer. If you have any questions, I also dropped in one of my business cards, so you have my business hours and phone. And you're very welcome."

Daya picked up the bag and glanced inside long enough to sort out the contents, each plant further bagged separately, and the extras down at the bottom. She looked at Umayyad. "Shall we?"

We shall. Good day, Quies.

"Beautiful skies to you, Umayyad."

Universe: Ceteroquin
Characters: Daya Kerrin | Quies | Umayyad Corvus

Monday, December 8, 2014

Some Turn To Dust or To Gold

ends are heavy and starts are light,
weight is burdening and I'm not right,
the road's crumbling and turning to dust...
the answer is: I wasn't enough.

time is borrowed or banked or lent,
but mine is wasted on too much rent;
life is a gift squandered away...
the answer is: I can't stay.

spend all our lives to pay for living,
when death is free, open and giving;
the high road's got too high a toll...
the answer is: I won't be gold.

Ceteroquin: Companion

"If you're really just in my head, you can't not hear me, right? Or are you ignoring me? A hallucination that's ignoring me? I know I'm crazy but that's just... crazy." Daya laughed aloud, and caught the eyes or people staring at her. She scowled at them until they looked away. It was a struggle not to be so scary that she frightened herself.

She unlocked her bicycle, wrapped the chain around her waist, and clipped her keys back onto her belt. Her helmet was already snapped to her head; there was no reason to take it off between drops. Daya entered the address of her next delivery into the smartphone mounted on her handlebars and mounted up as it calculated a route. A soon as it settled, she started pedaling.

A dark shadow flew over her and landed on the messenger bag strapped to her back.

"Welcome back, Umayyad. Where have you been?"

I found a chemist and a specialist. Some people you should see.

"For a hallucination, you really do get out. Are these places really real?"

They are. Real places and real people.

"If everything about you is so real, why can't other people see you?"

The ungifted can only see me when I want them to, and the gifted don't find anything strange about a corvae hanging out with a sapien.

"What does that make me? One of these gifted?"

Yes, and also my friend.

"Friend, shmend. So this person you want me to see can cure me of you?"

Two people. One chemist and one specialist, And I am not a symptom to be cured away.

"If you say so. One drop after this, and then I'll let you take me there. Fine?"

Thank you. I do care about you, even when you don't believe in me.

"You're too kind," Daya scoffed sarcastically, and returned her attention to traffic.


"Look, I really don't have the money or insurance to cover an additional treatment course." Daya sat on a loveseat of plush purple poplin, if her host's word was to be taken.

Johan waved his hand lightly. "Don't worry about that. Here, take a sip."

She took the china cup. "What is it?"

"An herbal tincture of my own devising, It won't do you any harm, I promise."

It's okay, Daya.

She gave Umayyad a sharp glance, then looked back at the strange man giving them a curious stare. "Can you see Umayyad?"

He extended a finger, and the crow hopped onto it, nestling it's head into Johan's other hand. "I can."

"Then he's not... Unless you're..."

"Unless I'm a hallucination too? Drink your tea and find out."

Daya took a tiny sip, barely ingesting any at all, but inhaled a fair portion of the vapour rising from it. "That smells very good. Just like... What did you do?" She dropped the cup, and it fell into Johan's ready hand, sloshing but not spilling. He put it on the side table beside his own chair.

"Just relax." He offered Umayyad back to her, and she felt the comforting weight of him as her eyes drooped closed.

Johan stood and pulled a tray borrowed from his kitchen laid with dark sand out from under his chair and left it in the middle of the floor between himself and Daya. "Sorry, Umayyad, but I don't have the high-quality stuff you found at Q's place, nor anything like your friend's gifts."

This will do.

"Good. Daya is not actually asleep, but in a light hypnotic state. From there, we can lower her deeper, or raise her out of it. The tincture didn't do this itself, just merely weakened her defenses enough for her own exhaustion to bring her down. Before I continue, I need you to tell me some things that she cannot."


"How long have you been affiliated with Daya?"

Since before her conscious memory starts.

"And you care for her well-being?"

I do.

"What mental issues does she present?"

Hallucinations, periods of excessive mania and debilitating depression, difficulty falling and staying asleep, and occasional night-terrors. She is also mildly autistic.

Johan whistled deeply. "How do you think discovering her developing magical talents will affect her mental state?"

I suspect the polarity of her emotional states will be unchanged, but she will likely partially blame her state upon the magic. I suspect the autism will aid her in honing her gift.

He nodded. "That sounds more than reasonable. Do you still want me to help?"

I do.

"Do you know what I ask in payment?"

I will pay, whatever it is.

"Only she can pay."

No. I accept full responsibility.

"You don't even know what I'm asking for."

Then explain yourself, and quickly.

"Only tutelage."

Umayyad puffed his feathers in surprise. You want to tutor her?

Johan smiled. "I've always wanted a student."

The crow paced around the edge of the pan several times before responding. If she cooperates, I will be with her to oversee.

"I would have it no other way." He knelt in front of Daya and gently placed his fingers around the crown of her head. "Daya Kerrin, Dark Crow, come back to us."

"How do you know that name," she whispered. "Only my grandmother calls me that."

Universe: Ceteroquin
Character: Daya Kerrin | Johan Curo | Umayyad Corvus

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ceteroquin: Customers

Quies was paging through a new-old dreaming guide when there was a knocking at the door. He closed the book on his thumb and looked down the length of his story curiously. It continued, now sounding more like tapping than knocking. Piqued, he bookmarked the page with a receipt stub and crossed the floor, pulling the door open.

A large black crow was perched on the door handle, and it eyed him studiously until the doorway was wide enough, before fluttering in. The crow landed on his counter-top and peered at the book. Quies closed the door and returned to the back of the store.

"How can I help you?"

The crow cawed and ruffled its feathers, clawing gently at his wood counter.

"Sorry. Hold on just a moment." Quies stepping into the back room and picked up an empty tray, threw a few handfuls of white sand on it, and carried it back onto the sales floor. "Will this do? I have ink, if you'd prefer, but..."

The crow interrupted his by climbing delicately onto the edge of the tray and starting to write. Quies stopped his tongue and waited patiently.

No, thank you. Ink can be so hard on my claws.

"I understand fully, and you're quite welcome. How can I help you?"

The crow brushed the message clear and started clean.I have an owner in need of a chemist.

"That isn't quite my speciality, but I'll help how I can. What seems to be the matter?"

She is convinced I am a hallucination.

"Huh." Quies blinked his eyes thoughtfully. "Is she gifted?"

To a small degree. But she also suffers from a mental disorder.

"Which one?"


"Alright. I should have a book in the back. A few minutes please."

The crow nodded. I will wait, and leapt from the counter, fluttering to his selection and perusing the planters.

Quies returned to his storage room, this time to his bookshelves. Though they were meticulously organized, they were cramped and overflowing, and it took him some time to find what he was looking for: a heavy tome with dark lettering wedged sideways atop his mentalism shelf. When he came out once more, there was a message waiting for him in the sand, though the crow was still among the merchandise.

There is a dying, mildly-diseased snail in your farm. I will dispose of it with your permission. The rest of your stock is healthy, and prompt disposal will keep it that way.

Quies quirked a smile, and set the book down, the mild thump bring the crow's attention but not the crow itself. "I would be most grateful. Go ahead."

A quick snap of its neck and the deed was done, and the crow joined Quies at the counter, paging through the book.

"It's a copy of the MDSM-XLVII1," he explained, thinking and muttering aloud through the pages and passages. "Ah, here it is." He scanned quickly through the article, dragging his fore-finger down through the entry. "Well, I'm afraid I don't have the knowledge to treat this; I market supplements more toward creating illusions and hallucinations than dispelling them. However, I can provide you with the business information of a customer of mine, and he may be better educated to help."

Yes please.

"Do you have the means to carry a message or..."

I am photogenic.

"Ah, wonderful." Quies drew out his address book and wrote Mr Curo's information in the sand.

The crow was polite and did not try to peer into the pages. When the information was memorized, the crow brushed it clear and wrote, Thank you. I will seek Mr Curo. If you should be so kind to help me again with the door, I will be on my way.

"You are most welcome. Have a good day."

After the crow had departed, Quies briefly checked on his snails, put the book, the sand and the tray back where they came from, and settled back on his stool, picking up the dreaming guide once more.

Universe: Ceteroquin
Character: Quies | Umayyad Corvus

1. MDSM 47th edition, the magical community edition of the DSM.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ceteroquin: Open For Business

Quies turned over the plastic sign on his front door, the overly cheerful We're Open! showing through the middle row of the three-by-three glass panes of the old wooden door. He was proud of that door. He stepped outside of it long enough to lift the heavy chain gate that protected his storefront during off-hours, shielding his eyes from the bright morning sun. Before retreating back into the humid depths of his shop, he rehung the solid bronze bell that alerted him to customers.

The shop was dim in comparison to the outside world, though he had cases that held plants that desperately needed the sun; these were fed by skylights and mirrors hung in precise patterns above the drop-ceiling and controlled by a carefully balanced pulley system that he rewound every evening after closing.

Quies had all manner of customers, and as such, grew all manner of plants. He even held a closely monitored permit for a fair number of controlled substances, and though some of them could be used recreationally, he didn't advertise this fact. His stock was not intended for such use by amateurs.

His tottering and reverie were interrupted by the bell, and he checked his pocket watch, before turning to smile at one of his regulars. Seven after seven, right on schedule.

"Good morning, Mr Curo."

"And to you, Q. How's my artemisia1 doing this week?"

"Thriving, as ever. Come for your weekly clipping?"

"You know I have. Any new books catch your eye since the last time?"

Quies gestured to a box of books sitting behind the counter. "I'm still going through the latest batch, but I'll certainly set some aside for you if any catch my eye. Do you have any scraps of knowledge for me?"

"I have a new tincture that's doing well in my studies, but long term and side effects are still mostly undocumented."


"Indeed. What do I owe you?"

Quies weighed the clippings on the scale beside his register and peered into the book he kept tucked into his apron. "Two pounds ten."

Mr Curo fished a handful of coins from his trouser pocket and plucked three choice coins from the assortment. "Have a good day, Q."

The register dinged and popped out the drawer, into which Quies sorted the coins. "And you, Mr Curo. See you next week." His customer tipped his hat to him and strode out, his bag disappearing into an inner pocket.

Quies settled back on his stool, and resumed sorting through the box from where he left off the evening before.


In his study, Johan Curo kept an altar to Somnus2 and his sons, chief among them Morpheus3, Phobetor3, and Phantasos4. He offered them a short prayer and the collected leaves of past tinctures before settling into his meditation chair. The fresh cuttings from today's trip to The Elllong Yardlong were pulled from his coat pocket and sorted; small leaves went into his pestle, larger leavers went to his small, chair-side drying rack, while the rest went into a small clay pot to be added to the offerings.

After adding additional selections from his stock of vials to the pestle, he ground the ingredients together by hand before sifting them into a tea bag and stewing up a fresh batch. It was a calming and cleansing ritual for him, and his mind slowly cleared of distractions. When he was ready, he sipped at the tea, and with each swallow sunk deeper into a trance.

"Somnus guide me. Morpheus lead me. Phobetor shield me. Phantasos regard me. Somnus guide me..." he mumbled, the mantra opening him to the subconscious wilderness. When he opened his eyes, his study was gone and it was replaced with his dream home.

And so he got to work.


Aedan pulled off his goggles. His eyes took several minutes to readjust to the dim room from the glare of the VR headset, and they ached from staring into the screen for long hours. He sat up, pulling his chair back into its upright postiton and rubbed his neck.

Still tensing up. I really need to work on that.

He woke up the computer monitor on the desk in front of him, and details of his just-completed flight showed on the screen, including a cost calculator.

Good, I'm still under my estimate.

It was a bit of professional pride: ninety percent of his jobs stayed under budget, which was largely unheard of in his business.

It helps having my own VR rig. Nobody else has one of these yet.

Aedan bounced the tweaked Oculus6 in his palm. It still had a few bugs to be worked out. 

Universe: Ceteroquin
Character: Johan Curo | Quies

1. Artemisia vulgaris, common name: mugwort
2. Somnus, Greek god of sleep>
3. Morpheus, Greek god of dreams
4. Phobetor, Greek god of nightmares
5. Phantasos. Greek god of surreal dreams
6. Oculus, a high-tech virtual-reality headset

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Without Me

take me out of the world,
they'll never see me go,
never notice they're without
my name, my face, my floe.

take me out the world,
you'd do just fine without;
you can live without my give,
and never even doubt.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

From the Internal Narrative of Callidus Igni

I always set my tent up on the outskirts of the campgrounds. It was quieter and easier to slip out into the darkness. And in the many times I felt a need to disappear into my world, it was easy enough to exit the other world and leave it behind without interruption.

Unlike the other players, I didn't need leveling and questing to survive, but they certainly didn't hurt. I lived my world more than I left it, and lately, more often than not, I stayed in loyal character.

It's easy to be loyal to your character when you are your character. Calli was based on my true self, and my true self preferred being Calli.

My world was this, and I was happier within than I could be without.


My tent, though not hand-stitched like most of my clothing, was at least custom-built. I'd taken non-reflective, dark, earth-toned trap, and machined them together, even going so far as to heat-seal the hems. Pockets lined the walls that could be left packed even as the tent was torn down, though it took up considerably more space that way, but I could strap the whole assemblage to my back in lieu of a pack.

It was, in a word, sufficient. Satisfactory, literally "good enough."

My hardware was all scavenged, portable speakers, pulleys, rope and string and the like. I was a poor hand at programming and circuitry, but for a trade of game aid, I had a legion of players to help me in a pinch.

Who doesn't value a players who has no need to share your hard-earned experience points with him?

Even those I'd trapped were willing to help, for the right price, though I hardly turned to them for support.

I adjusted myself in my tree, and continued to watch what was a game to them unfold and play out.

PreviousIndex | Next


my dreams are too big
and my world is too small,
my wings have no strength,
and I only can fall,

my hopes are too heavy,
and my fingers are too weak,
my wishes are to wispy
and too many people speak,

my self is too tiny
and the world is too big,
my voice is too muted
and for too long I'll dig

my body and my spirit
into the suffocating dust...
I'm a too small can of oil
in a place filled with rust.


A line around my neck,
Leading to my heart,
Cooling round my weakness
And tearing me apart.

A line around my neck,
Tied down the noose,
Makeshift and makepeace
Sets my soul loose.

A line around my neck
Straps me in place,
Bookmarking this world
Aligning my face.

A line around my neck
Leads me to you,
I can't let go
I always need you.

A line around my neck,
Weathered worn with lumps
Catches all my worry
When I finally


I need a world that needs me,
a world to steal my home,
a world that pulls me down,
where I'm not worried about being alone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Whole Message

a word of wisdom isn't needed by the wise,
they work for knowledge instead of clear blue skies,
they hold out for the willing, scholarly pride,
and recruit or pillage what captures their eyes.

a wall of keeping, not protection, endures,
whetting their palate with bricks, mortar, pores,
they'll make into mine what you thought was yours,
and all you'll end up with are tightly locked doors.

a wish for the watching, you'll never get close
to the world that they're making from your skin and bones;
you can hope but it's hopeless to see what it shows,
soon inevitably you'll be left alone.

a wing sprouts from your backside when you lay to dream,
a thought of freedom from bondage that seems
to be love, to be nothing but peace;
lies knee-deep like latrine feces.

a warning to you, is all that I can offer,
money drains like blood from your happy coffers,
you'll never get back what you paid to the proffer;
they don't feel the pain that they know you suffer.

This poem is used in the MindGames project on DreamCollectivelier

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Easy Way (Out)

I slept on a thin, narrow mattress. A too light blanket covered my body, and I pulled it tightly around me. Despite the feverish temperature in the room, I still felt cold.

Every quarter hour through the night, I would be startled into wakefulness by the light of the hall glaring in onto my pillow. It reminded me of the moon, which I hadn't had opportunity to see in days, but less reassuring.

They took me in because I wanted to hurt myself, and they didn't want me to hurt myself.

With all the advances of medical science, natural selection has to find some recourse for its workings. Why not turn from the usual method of physical determination of strength to that of mental fortitude? Why work to divest mortals of their strength and destroy them with thine own, when thee could merely torment their souls with knowledge, and let that knowledge and wisdom that they work so hard to achieve rot their brains instead of redeem them?


if I could pay my way with words,
I'd have nothing left to fear,
no pain of unmissed shifts,
no nights beget with tears;

if I could pay my way with words,
I'd bid the pharmacy adieu,
stop worrying these pills,
mortar a stronger glue;

if I could pay my way with words,
I wouldn't feel this pain,
I wouldn't think I'm suffering
because I use my brain;

if I could pay my way with words,
braininess would be bliss,
I wouldn't want to be stupid,
mute and ignorant.

Ignorance Is Bliss

trapped with the words
locked tightly in my head,
too much thinking,
too much whirling,
too hard to get out of bed.

nothing I fear more
than losing my mind,
but lock me deep inside
and know not what I find.

trapped with my worlds,
locked tightly in my brain,
too much working,
too much hurting,
if I were dumber, I'd be sane.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Collab Teaser: Landing (Chill Part 1)

This is my first written part for my latest project, a collaborative writing project for NaNoWriMo and #MakeWatchingWritingGlamorous. The full series of posts will be posted on DreamCollectivelier.blogspot.com starting on November 1.

Chill stepped out of the bay of The Riffle, his hands shuffling through a floating faro, in honor of the ship. It was his favorite method of working the cards in idle moments, keeping his hand busy and fingers limber. They were thin and wiry, just like the rest of him, and his favorite deck danced obediently beneath their touch.

The gravity here on Three was a little heavier than he was used to, growing up on the moons of Seven. Both were planets in the Cups System, Three was itself habitable while Seven was not. Though he'd lived under domes and with the sky filled with the bulk of a planet most of his life, he didn't feel agoraphobic in this wide blue and empty sky.

He took a deep breath of the new atmosphere. It smelled of sweat and smog, and he immediately sneezed violently, knocking himself backward a few steps into the couple disembarking behind him. With understanding looks on their faces, they helped him steady himself, and then handed him a spare sanitary mask; they both wore one as well.

"First time on a new planet? Don't worry dear, happens to everyone. Here you go, it'll help you adjust. Go ahead, we're old hat at this."

"Thanks," Chill mumbled, quickly scooping up his dropped cards into one jumbled mess and stepped out of the way of the gate. He took a few moments to sort them out while he watched other passengers walk by, ardently counting their number and ensuring they were all there.

All seventy nine cards were present, and he let out a sigh of relief. He pulled out the card bag from his pocket, stuffed them inside and both back into the pocket, rolled his shoulders, then went in search of something to eat.

All available parts of this storyline can be found here, starting on November 1.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


A word to the whisperer
Is not a word to the wise,
It's taken my wishes
And left only flies

A cloud of shadow settles
Over my hope
And all I can think of
Is a clenching rope.

Pills made of money,
Homeopathy of the soul;
Keep making promises
To fill gaping holes

But break the word
That you never gave...
I've fallen from grace
And hit the pave...

Monday, October 20, 2014


This is a promotional piece for my upcoming collaborative work, which will become available Nov 1 on DreamCollectivelier.

sitting by the roadside,
letting them all see,
what the homeless life is like,
what they won't want to be;

sitting behind my table,
watching the crowds pass by,
knowing one will come
open his mind to my

gift that curses me,
curse that runs this life,
keeps me out of work,
keeps me paying the price.

sitting by these people
who see less than I,
they are the best of what they can,
and watch the world pass them by.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

S^4. Character: Jackson Phillip

Jackson Phillip was a skeptic. He didn't believe in many things, but he didn't not believe in anything.

He was plain to look at, medium height, a little thin, and had medium brown hair that was always pulled back into a stubby ponytail. He tended to wear neutral colors and was used to people looking over him without seeing him.

He also hated his name. People frequently reversed his names, thinking Phillip was his first name and Jackson his last. It made him angry when they did it repeatedly, but as he was the sort of person people tended to forget about, it happened often. He never lashed out, only quietly seethed, plotting various revenge scenarios in his head that never were acted on.

Phillip Jackson didn't speak much, didn't walk loudly, and didn't like drawing attention to himself. He didn't care for the company of others but would put up with them when he had to. His ideal jobs were data entry, overnight stocker, and cart pusher, in that order.

In his free time he wrote summaries for a think tank, simplify their ideas into a streamlined, presentable shape. He never participated in their brainstorming sessions, though he dearly wanted to. He received their data online and submitted it online, never meeting any of the members face-to-face, hearing their voices, or knowing their real names.

S^4, Character: Mr Schill

The Sundae Special Shopping Center was Mr Schill's baby. He pampered it. He helped it grow. And he bought out all of the other investors until he owned it in full. He was a bean counter and amateur accountant, and liked to keep his eye on everything.

Mr Schill joined the party after Charlemagne had been hired, and didn't like Charlemagne one bit. However, attempts to hire someone to replace him had countlessly failed.

He was a short, thin man with piercing blue eyes that peered out through his dark, tortoise shell rimmed glasses. He tended to walk like he owned the place, with a sense of purpose, even when he had simply wandered there.

He didn't know all the back hallways and service tunnels to the facility, and had a terrible sense of direction, but refused to ever ask for directions. He once ended up in a dry sewage tunnel several blocks away.

Mr Schill was an egotist, a narcissist, and an atheist. He didn't believe in anything supernatural, even if it was staring him right in the face; he excelled at logically justifying everything. He didn't believe in God, heaven or hell, ghosts, spirits, angels, devils, fate or destiny, or time travel.

Monday, October 6, 2014

S^4, Character: Charlemagne

Charlemagne didn't like new people. He actually didn't like any people at all, but held his dislike especially true for new people. He worked as the Lead Cart Shepard at the Sundae Special Shopping Center, and that suited him just fine.

It was funny, calling him the "Lead" Cart Shepard when he was the only Cart Shepard employed by the Sundae Special Shopping Center, but he didn't feel disillusioned by the unnecessary word. He knew what he was, under-appreciated and over-needed, a mere cart-pusher all the same.

To be honest, he frightened the patrons of the shopping center, but he was so good at his job, despite his appearance, strange behaviors, and absolute refusal to follow the dresscode, management left him be.

Charlemagne wore his long hair dyed black and brushed forward, obscuring most of his face and his ears which were weighed down by heavy metal studs. He always wore black, cargo pants and long-sleeved shirts, regardless of the weather. He wore a large silver gothic cross around his neck, which served as the only reflection for cars easing out of the parking lot as night.

Regular patrons learned quickly to be cautious of him. Close calls when backing out of parking spaces were met, first with a heavy fist thumping the back of their car in warning, and later with cart dings and scratches. Charlemagne was never prosecuted for the damages, as the carts could be tracked on security cameras, rolling sedately toward the victims of their own accord.

It was said the carts were haunted.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Interpretation: No Chocolate Candies (Mature)

Original post: No Chocolate Candies (Mature)

you're more fucked up than I am,
so how could I want you back;

for midnight all-night chats,
nothing wrong, nothing broken, nothing black...

It's not so much wanting the relationship (as I have been falsely accused of previously), but wanting the midnight and all-night chat sessions, where there's nothing "wrong" or "broken" or off-limits ("black") between us.

you've more ghosts than I,
but at least as haunted inside;
ghosts who keeping pulling us off track,
nothing matters, nothing's fine, nothing lies...

She's more reason and more issues than I, but we both seem to have similar responses to some of them, and similar turmoil inside our heads. "Nothing lies" is a lie in and of itself, the voices in our heads beating us up and beating us down, something we have to consistently wrestle with.

you're more welcome than I am,
bigger crowds cheering you on;
more commission made from your work,
and still you thanked me for that dawn...

Despite both of our issues, she finds it easier to make and keep friends than I do, to form alliances and audiences for her work, and through those, more income. "Thanked me for that dawn" is more applicable with respect to the next stanza.

for bringing you to that world,
for something I didn't do,
for em em, em em, em eff eff,
and where I fell you flew...

The third line is a poor attempt at filling in sufficient beats for the rhythm, and a slight disguise of "MFF," which is what I was thanked for, not too long ago at my sister's wedding. Our attendance to Midwest Furfest one year was intended to benefit us both, but didn't. The title itself also refers to this line, communicating that I'm not talking about the popular chocolate candies.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Ammunition for the other side,
Might as well lay my arms down,
Not cutting it with my efforts
Running my teammates to the ground.

I've got this thing in my head
Makes me think 'm better than I am,
Delusions of mediocrity
Makes me wonder where I stand.

Fighting for the other team,
For all the help I provide,
Might as well go on my own,
Or quit and run and hide.

Atonia (Mature)

Mature Content

my world's shrinking down to two points
the point in my head and the point of the knife.
my head is stuck, caught in a loop,
the only way 'round is through the noose.

my body is trapped inside my head,
wound up tight and unable to breathe,
too much fat and not enough room
for me to run, for me to leave.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Man With The World In His Pockets

dressed in sheaths of hand-stitched suede,
always tooled up and ready to play.
"Bring me my ninetails with ropes a'braid,
daggers, dubhs, darts, and all kinds of blade!"
psychic enough to know tools to prey,
specific enough to choose sword over spade.

Day One
no hoe this time, just the spade,
garbed in special gloves of suede,
upon killer weeds he preyed.
time remains to let the children play
weaving grasses into braids,
unweighed by unnecessary blade.

Day Two
bound his hair in a tight braid,
today he discarded the spade,
grabbing, instead a specific blade,
the kukri wearing sheath of suede;
war games with it are played,
though he knows not what he preys.

Day Three
This time, it's on him is preyed:
someone sought to trim his braid.
This is a game he's long played,
though he brought just the spade
dressed in a tux of suede.
If only they had brought a different blade.

Day Four
The sgian dubh ain't just a blade,
serving snacks for the prayed
in cotton, leather, wool, or suede.
His has hilt of steel wound a'braid
(never confused with wood a'spade),
with which his fingers like to play

Day Five
A job with children, comes ready to play,
never wearing a sharpened blade.
No gardening due, brought no spade;
only pretend monsters on to prey,
so he brought with hilt of braid:
sword of foam and sheid of suede.

Psychic enough to know tools to prey,
what he'll need on any given day;
try to test him, he'll get that grade,
every prompt is left dismayed.

No Chocolate Candies (Mature)

you're more fucked up than I am,
so how could I want you back;
for midnight all-night chats,
nothing wrong, nothing broken, nothing black...

you've more ghosts than I,
but at least as haunted inside;
ghosts who keeping pulling us off track,
nothing matters, nothing's fine, nothing lies...

you're more welcome than I am,
bigger crowds cheering you on;
more commission made from your work,
and still you thanked me for that dawn...

for bringing you to that world,
for something I didn't do,
for em em, em em, em eff eff,
and where I fell you flew...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Better For Everyone

It's better that you forget me,
Leave the memories of me
To waste away eventually,
And forget I was ever there.

Take your memories, rewrite them,
Rescript your history blinded,
Forget my name and kindness,
And lose that I ever cared.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Whatever. Nevermind.

It's not that you should care,
I just wanted you to know
I won't be there when you fall,
When you rise, when you glow.

When I crash, when I burn,
Nothing else should fry;
So this time I'm really going.
This is it. Goodbye.

(Italics from "Not Your Fault" by AWOLnation)

Saturday, September 20, 2014


what's a break if you're watching the time,
when's vacation due to end,
what's a time out with a count down,
and life ticks on by again?

give me a path that never breaks,
no potholes, no peds, no stakes,
give me two wheels with no holes,
no flats, no packs, no cold.

give me this triangle of sticks,
string and sunshine too;
give me the rubber, steel, air,
and no deadline to be due.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

You're Running Out of Time

a word in the line,
a line in the code,
a code in the cypher,
a message, a mode;

a tale tempting fate,
a tale filled with desire,
a world filled with fences
encircled with wire;

a signal in the wire,
a signal in the air,
a signal filled with cyphers,
code in disrepair;

a disk filled with scratches,
a scratch filled with noise,
a secret hidden deep
from hackers and their toys;

a filter for the noise,
a secret for the cypher,
a mystery buried deep,
the walls getting higher;

a hole in the world,
not a hole in the land;
a hole for your mind,
always gets out of hand;

a promise from the prophet,
a rumor fed on lies,
a truth might be found
long in deep disguise;

a letter in a word,
a word in a line,
a line in a code...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


legs that can't move but fingers that ache,
arms two-two shuffle when my body quakes,
toes that itch but can't reach to scratch,
stuck buried stuck sitting in this patch.

monitors and screens show me the world,
a bike in the background, wheels that curled,
spinning, the spinning held my life in check,
now too much effort to lift my neck.

when I need fresh batteries I call for help,
as schooled as fish, as docile as kelp;
everything's faded since I took that chance,
riding so that you couldn't but glance

wince when I hit that bump,
shout when I hit that jump,
scream when I took that dump,
cry when I couldn't get up;

wish when I hit that bump,
cheer when I hit that jump,
pray when I took that dump, 
break when I couldn't get up.

spinning, the spinning held my mind in check,
when once too busy to ever rubberneck,
now enthroned in wheelchair access,
all antiseptic and white plastic.

when I need a recharge, there's no other way
than lift my voice and call not okay;
covered in sweat tears blood tape excess...
all antiseptic and white plastic.

to feel the wind rushing past my head,
to feel like everyone's in my stead,
to feel the rain soaking me through and through,
to feel at peace, alone, with you,

to ride on this little red thing,
lights and metal and rubber and string,
breaking the boundaries once kept me in check...
now bound up in white and antiseptic.



keep on coming and I'll dance away,
keep pushing and I'll win the day,
keep wondering what I've got to prove
and I'll show you who will rue.

keep demanding that I pull the beat,
keep thinking that I'll move my feet,
keep wishing I'd stop asking why
you keep crawling when you know how to fly.


Maybe This Time

I can't perfect yesterday,
or predict what's due on the morrow,
I can't see where I haven't stepped,
but it feels all too borrowed.

so many overlapping footprints
crisscrossing o'er the sand;
wishing I could change them,
before the tides come to land.

sacrifices had to be made
for promises to be kept;
promises had to be broken;...
don't think I easily slept.

too many things can't be undone,
but there are some you CAN.
be better, be honest, be stronger,
be deserving of being called a man.

Moments Pass Quickly

in a moment, a flash,
realization strikes,
a burst of color from the brush
as I ride on my bike.

I apologize first and foremost
for disrupting nature's course,
a bird erupts beside me
and U-ies with some force.

I swerve my red-orange,
dodge the white and brown,
feel my heart race inside,
as it turns back round.

no second to spare it's gone,
and the moment fades away;
a hawk not a foot from me
as I rode to work yesterday.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dreaming Alone (Mature)

Mature Content

I wrap my arms around you
as you arch yourself upon me,
we slide together just right,
puzzle pieces set perfectly

Continue reading at DreamCruder

Monday, September 1, 2014

One More Reason To Bicycle

Careless cars whizzing past
Obscene gestures thrown my way
Honking horns, too close close shaves
All on a normal day

Pause a listen, hear a chirp,
Stray sounds from the road
Can't be bothered, can't be hear
By their motored gloats

But by bicycle, I can feel
The world in all its splendor
The spray of last night's skunks,
The cry of babes on the floor.

Stop my bike in the road,
Block the injured child
Extract necessary tools from my pack
Escort back to the wild

Cars are blindly incautious
My marbles strewn across the road;
What it is they cannot see:
Aiding a lost bird or toad.

I don't need to see a shrink
I won't visit the proctor
I can't bear to search for the elusive
Since I found in me the Doctor.

I'll ride where I need to go,
Traveling time the slow way round
On this thing of lights, metal, and string,
That flies without leaving the ground.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


why would you ever land,
once you learn to reach the sky?
what can you hope to find,
in the dust that air denies?

give me the clouds dark and haunting,
the wind and hail and rain;
give me the unforgiving lightning,
and the chance the land will change;

give me the sun ever bearing
on my shoulders and my back;
give me the thinnest of air,
where I always seem to black--

Saturday, August 30, 2014


anything can happen
when anyone dares
to take these chains and shackles
and decides not to care


give me the silence
where words hold no sway,
a place to retire
and to put away

all the things whirling,
all that's left unsaid,
all that comes a'calling,
all that runs too red.

give me the silence,
and let all else fall;
I stopiing caring about you
and broke out of the walls.

untether me from falling,
untether me from flight,
untetherme from fakers,
untether me from fright.

so I've got an attitude,
so call me names before my back,
I didn't come here for lovin'
I came to pay for hacks

give me the silence
to find silence inside my head;
when all else is spinning
I want stillness instead.


my wings are clipped
I can't get high
trapped a'ground
instead of a'sky

wings of flight
keep my mind
working right

ride two wheels
forget the bike
looking up
the sky a'sight

worlds of light
keep my mind
out of the night

my body heavy
my soul so free
a-chained by
possessions, feet

all the sky
keep my mind
turning left

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Umbrae Enim Lucis - Shadows of the Light

“Here’s the deal: one day, you’ll receive a phone call. It will be a phone call, not an email or a text message. It will come from a number you’ve never seen before and will never see again, but it won’t come up as private or unknown. We don’t expect you to pick up; rather, we hope you don’t. Let it go to voicemail.

“The message will tell you what the first step is. Just the first step. When you’ve completed it, you will be provided with the second step, and it won’t come in the same form, but it will be made obvious to you that it is the next step.

“The call may not come for years. The call may not come in your lifetime. If you have sons, it must be passed to your second son. If you have one son, you must pass these instructions to a second male child of a member of your family. If no such child exists, you must join a Big Brother program and raise a surrogate heir.

“Understand me when I say that you must do this. If you find yourself unable to commit for any reason, you must select someone under these guidelines to succeed for you. If you fail to find an heir—and I say this with regret—you and your successors will suffer, but you will never know the source of their suffering, as the people who will be watching you will be receiving very much the same instructions as these. Even I received instructions such as these, years ago, but my call came in.

“I cannot stress enough that your line has been selected with good reason, and I hope you never learn that reason, or learn the suffering that will follow if you fail to perform. If I were a religious man, I would pray for your soul; if you are a religious man, I would ask you to pray for mine.

“This is not a joke. This is not a scam. This is more than just the minor suspicion of conspiracy you find yourself wondering about at this very moment. And yes, I know you disdain conspiracies and hidden networks and suspicions of such; I know because I was once in your very shoes.

“Please, take my word for it, let it reside in your heart that this is not intended as punishment, but a chance at eternal salvation. Do what is asked of you, and I know you will be rewarded much as I have.

“I hope you never receive the call, and I bid you a good day.”

He was only one of the calls I made that day, and they were all very much the same.


My mother told me a story, a long time ago, that I must be groomed for a duty. She couldn’t tell me what that duty was, only that she feared for my soul and the strain that keeping such a secret would put on me and those I might come to love.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


This isn't a vacation
It's a journey out of hell.
The bricks drop without warning
Just when I start getting well.

This isn't a pleasure cruise.
I don't like my absent days.
I spend the time trapped in my mind
And sorting out the greys.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Straightest Line I've Ever Drawn Freehand (Mature)

Mature Content

Caress my skin with the blade,
Feel the offer to bite,
To slide in softly worshipping
To kiss and make things right.

Steel's promise to release
The pain long held inside;
No more disappointments made
And trapped beneath my hide.

Make a solemn sacrifice
To gods who hear no cries
Bleed upon the empty altar
And stop eating my own lies.

Tracing lines with steel
Warm and soft and light,
Pictures seen only by me,
Showing my internal fight.

No papyrus beneath the pen,
No strong, immobile stone,
No animal meat to eat,
Just me and my skin alone.

What's beyond I cannot say,
But I know enough to guess
Maybe nothing, maybe something,
But all things I will address:

There could be only darkness,
The nothing I embrace,
I just stop, the world goes on,
Without my solemn face.

There could really be hell
And I might suffer for my sin
Of doing Death's job myself
Instead of waiting for him.

There could be rebirth,
Perhaps compensating for my life,
Maybe I'll be stone
And never know this strife.

There could be Omega,
A Point for all who've died;
I'll tell them you're sorry,
If memory makes the flight.

There could be a split,
The Law of Conservation of Life
Where the world just gets stranger
And a different me has died.

There could be an after image
Burned into this plane.
Forced to see but not affect,
Forced to see your pain.

 There could be a slowing,
An event horizon effect,
Where I slowly get closer,
But never manage to defect.

They say the pain will fade,
Take with it the wish to die,
But the Hotline doesn't know
 How many times I've tried

To curl into a ball and wait,
Wish the hurt to fade away,
Twenty blasted years of it;
I want to go today.

Everything breaks or flees,
Failing in my tries,
Giving way before my dams,
My pain and my goodbyes

Even the phone,
When I call work to say
I'll probably not be in
Because I killed myself today.

Sitting bedside dressed to go,
With a penline on my wrist,
The Straightest Line I ever freehanded
And it's where I want the kiss.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I can see where they all failed. The world and my choices have never been more clear, and yet, I can never reach those stars.

I have the mind to make it, though.That's no failing of mine. Where the fault lies is with the world: there's nothing happening. There's no change that needs to be wrought, no revolution that needs a turning of the tides, and even worse, there are just plain too many people exactly like me.

We see what could happen if everything went right. Why stop at a "murder by numbers"? Why not push the boundaries of what could be calculated to occur if only we were wholly rational?

Therein lies the fallacy that pulls down all world-catastrophe models: people are petty. If you can stop thinking of yourself for just long enough that there are things you need to do such that your world can survive, regardless how small that world is, the plan won't fall.

You see it in the games, the videos, and on the tv. Everything going grand and smooth until somebody decides, not to be selfish, but to be petty.

Everybody is selfish, and even selfless acts are selfish acts, designed, maybe not so much to help ourselves, but to make ourselves feel good. It's the pettiness that tears the world apart, the thoughtlessness. Give me a war camp with a thousand pimply-skinned, near-sighted geeks who know how not to be petty, and we'll take on any army you can find to stand against us.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Past Due

if you never thank the forest
for the shadows 'neath its boughs,
or apologize for disturbing
those how call them home;
if you never thank nature
when your passage is allowed,
or offer up your blessing
when picking fruits well grown;

why should it bear your presence,
why should it let you pass,
why should they leave you be
when you disturb their fast?

I always thank the forest
during my long night rides home,
for the paths and the passings,
for not getting overgrown;
I always apologize for
my interruption to their blue,
and offer further reparations,
if they deem them due.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Only Sweeter, Part 11

First - Previous

I popped out into a cafeteria, not far from the fruit bar, and Kaylee and River are mere seconds behind me. While well stocked, it was nearly empty of patrons; only two people were there to see us arrive, a husband and wife by the look of them.

My stomach flopped only lightly from the transition, as I seemed to be adjusting to the stark transitions.

River, on the other hand, dropped to the floor, clutching her head.

"Yes, she is a sensitive indeed. Perhaps not so gifted by our standards, but nonetheless." The woman stood from her out-of-the-way table and approached, placing her fingertips on River's temples and humming softly.

I could almost feel something passing between them beyond my senses, as if I just couldn't reach close enough to hear what they were saying. Her husband comes up and stands over them, head tiled as if he can reach.

"There you go, dear."

River lifted her head slowly, her face flushed. "Thank you."

"You're most welcome." The woman stood and approached me, not offerring her hand. "Is this the traveler you spoke of, Kaylee?"

"He is."

"Forgive me for not offering my hand to shake, but we try to keep physical contact to a minimum around--" The door slid open, interrupting her, and empty hallways stretched beyond it. "Now, I told them-- oh. Just one of the cats."

The cat moseyed in, surveying us in its own time, and then wound between my ankles.

"You really are something, aren't you?"

"What's that?"

"Rascal likes you, and he's quite discriminating."

"Rascal? Wait... I know you."

"I should hope so." To Kaylee and River: "If you're up to it, why don't you bring the rest of your company through, though I imagine you're probably not terribly hungry. This is probably the safest place to come through, if I truly understand what those devices you're carrying are meant to do. In the meantime, I suspect your friend here would like something of a tour of our facilities."

They nodded and stepped away, and Rascal mrowed loudly, upset I wasn't paying attention to him.

"So, I suppose you'd like to see the Tower then."

"I would indeed," I replied, smiling, and scratching Rascal's head obediently.

All parts of Only Sweeter

Monday, June 23, 2014

Burning The Matches At Both Ends

give it a strike at the end of the wick,
spoil the story and cut to the quick,
pull out your kit to spin such a yarn
to heat up those nights but do little harm.

singe your fingers as it melts away,
briefest pain taunts you not to play,
pull out your kit, tape up the burns
and wonder how long it will take you to learn.

strike the last and don't wonder how
you decided to not stop now,
pull out your conscience and give it a whack,
don't be surprised when it doesn't come back.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Only Sweeter, Part 10

First - Previous

"I need a potato."

"What?" Jayne is clearly and unsurpsingly confused.


"Twelve colors of protein in the kitchen, three of which can be combined to emulate the taste and consistency of a potato, but will not work to build your stepper device. However, sufficient spare parts exist in the engine bay to provide the rest of the build. Ask the Doctor. I'll tell Kaylee what you need."


The Serenity kisses the cheese gently, and once it's down, she glances at me and smiles. "You're welcome."

"Doctor, you heard the girl." I hold out my hand. "Potato."

"What? I don't just keep potatoes on hand just for any old situation. I'm not one of Jackie Tyler's boyfriends."

"Then would you go get one from your stores please?"

"Oh, alright."

"Thank you." I closed my hand and let it drop to my side.


Kaylee and River returned before the Doctor, and drop a box at my feet which contains more than enough parts for one, and at first glance, I suspect two or three. All three of us sprawl on the floor of the cramped cockpit, effectively stealing it from Mal and the rest of the crew.

River recited the schematics as we built them, keeping up a steady patter until the Doctor returned with a bushel in a brown bag. We each snagged one, popped in it the box, and sealed it shut.

"Now what," asks Kaylee, looking dubiously at the device.

"I think we should do this outside," I start, and River nods in agreement. "And one at a time. No telling where we'll come out."

Everybody parades down to the airlock.

I step out first, trying to breathe normally. The ground looks soft but is actually quite firm under my feet. I stretch for a few moments, then toggle my switch East.

In a moment I'm back, stepping so suddenly I feel the sickness rip into me twice at the same time. I wave Simon off when he starts to come to my side and help me from where I've crouched, heaving. Once I've caught my breath, I explain, "Not that way. The Nether. Hell. Fire and lava and so much pain. Go west."

Before they can dither between whose turn it is, Kaylee hits her switch. She's gone for several minutes, but just as I'm starting to fear for the worst, River grabs my hand and pulls me sharply to one side. In the next instant, Kaylee appears in the space I've just vacated, and she's holding an apple. She heaves too, for a moment, but half as violently.

She tosses me the apple, and I pull out a pocket knife, slicing off a bite, and popping it into my mouth. "No grizwald, but delicious. It's safe. Come on through."

I toss the apple to Zoe, blade stuck into it deeply and safely, and hit the switch.

Next - All parts of Only Sweeter

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

From the Internal Narrative of Callidus Igni

I stood in the shadows and waited, biding my time. The night was young, and I still had plenty to do. Early evening sprites passed by me, skipping in their ignorance of my presence, and though we were of the same world, I did not show myself to them.

My assigned quest was easy, tailored well to my nature: to lead adventurers astray.

"Callie, you out there?" A whispered call tore through the air, seeking me, but I did not expose myself. "Come on, Callie, we're not going to fall for your tricks this time. Fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice--I can't be fooled again!"

I twined the threads tethered to my cloak carefully, deciding whether to take the challenge. This one was not my intended target, but I would have plenty of time before he strolled by to reset the trap. I pulled the second frayed string on my left wrist, and the branches shuffled and bowed lightly under the spinning weight of a concealed pulley.

 "Ah, there you are, my good fellow. If you would be so kind as to join us on this fine evening."

I bobbed the hanging lantern and set it swinging slightly.

"Come now, don't make this harder than it has to be."

Truth be told, it didn't terribly matter who or how many I led astray, only that it would be done, and to double-tap (so to speak) a prior victim would likely be worth so much more in the end. I pulled the first string on my left wrist, and a second lantern fell, seventy degrees around the clearing from the first.

"Oh, did you bring some friends this time?"

I grinned deep within my hood. Even their group narrator was looking peaked. Right wrist this time, and I completed four of the spokes of the wheel, leaving only one, in the direction of my own self. With a spare fingertip, I brushed a button on my wireless remote that wasn't technically approved by the rules, but neither was it overtly or directly banned; creativity was necessary and expected for a character of my nature. Or at least, would be, if there were many others out there.

A murmur rose from the wireless speakers I had secreted around the ring, except by where I waited. It started rising to a wordless crescendo, and as the track neared its peak, I took my foot off the piece de resistance, the last thread, which was actually heavy, black nylon rope. As the slack was picked up by falling weights, all four lanterns swung towards the center, and then up. My victims screamed, crouched, and ran towards the opening in the ring.

I extended my staff out from behind my hiding spot and tripped the lot of them. Two quick button presses extinguished the hanging lanterns and lit the one on my staff in quick succession, and I leaned over them, the shadows beneath my hood deepening.


I think their narrator fainted for a few seconds, and he was better off than the others. Judging by the smell, none of them would be welcomed by their tentmates until they'd at the very least changed clothes. I waited until they were all settled down, and then, with my will still lit, I wisped back into the forest, waiting long enough for them to depart before resetting the system.

This was going to be fun.

Previous | Index | Next

Monday, May 26, 2014

Dream: 26 May 2014

After we crossed into the fields close to the memorial, the dome umbrella refuge to fall down again. Only our kindness to Schindler (the ghost of the dog) saved us, and he held the blue slaves away from us. His power so limited, there was little more he could do, until we discovered his cabinet would block the signals. We asked him to teleport their leader into the next cell in the series, after the cabinet, and shortly we heard banging from the inside of the drum that was precariously balanced beside us. The army immediately fell silent, but with Schindler's energy exhausted, we were no longer protected upon his hilltop, and shortly found by others who disbelieve our reasons for being there. They unbalanced the drum, and it rolled quite a ways down the hill before fetching up against the fences around the memorial, at which point it was opened, and the dead body of the leader was found.

She proposed to me, and we're now out on our honeymoon. I'm taking a moment to write this down while she fills up the gas tank on her green motorcycle.

The female character in this dream looked physically similar to Zoe Saldana, but was neither identical, nor a manifestation of the actress herself.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Only Sweeter, Part 9

First - Previous

"What can I say? There's always something new around the corner," the Doctor finished.

"That's what I like about space," the Captain amended, "No corners."

I perked up. "Ion clouds."


"Corners in space. Sorry, bad memories, I know."

The glare in the crew's eyes soften at my apology, and the ever-present questioning returns.

"So, Ace, it's time for your story."

I rest my eyes on River Tam and set my jaw. "You know." And then point it at the Doctor. "And so do you but you refuse to believe it."

"The Fourth Wall."


Jayne raises his hand with surprising politeness. "Hold on. What's this fourth wall shit?"

River pats his shoulder tenderly. "It's the wall between the show and the audience."

"So, what then? You're from one of those shows?"

I shook my head. "It's how I know your inside jokes; I'm from the audience. In my home world, you're the show. Well, Arnie, you're from a book."

"So how do we end?"

"Jayne, he doesn't know. He's not part of the story."

He accepted River's explanation with a grunt, despite clearly wanting to press the issue further.

"So what do we do with you?"


"Do you have any directives, quests, places you need to be? Where is home for you?"

"Earth-that-was is home, early twenty-first century. Originally, I just wanted to go home, but I've realized there's no-where I less want to be than there. I doubt you'd accept me as a member of the crew, since I hardly bring any skills to the table, but I'd like to travel with you for a time, if you'll let me. Maybe even stand in for a Shepard where I can."

Kaylee wiped at her eyes, trying not to let the tears shows at the rising memories, and Simon pulled her against him.

"I'll confess, though, Doctor, I'm not sure I could handle the bustle of your lifestyle. However, if they won't take me, I'd appreciate if you could give me a lift, preferably to the fifteen century of Earth-that-was instead."

The Doctor looked surprised. "Not to the splendors of the twenty-first? Or later still?"

"I'm more of a Dark Ages, pre-Renaissance kind of guy."

"I'll see what I can do."

I nodded my thanks, but before anybody could say another word, a load roar shook the ship.

"Who's flying this thing?" River starts in a dead prefect imitation, "Oh, right, it's me."

I share a grim grin with her, and she leads the rest of us to the cockpit.


"What is that?" Jayne asks the unasked question as everybody stares out the front of the Serenity.

"Dragon, I'm afraid." He stares dumbly at me. "What? It's no more mythical than Reapers."

The Dragon wheeled over a cheddar-yellow island, upon which dance thin black beasts.

"Wonderful. Just bloody wonderful." I watched the scene for a long moment before realizing they were waiting for me to say something more. "Yes, sorry. I've faced this one before. If you can dock--"

River turned to comply even before I finished speaking.

"--on the underside of the island somewhere. Oh, and don't make eye contact with any of the smaller guys."

"Why not? I ain't afraid." Jayne fondled his gun.

"Bad things. Just trust me. And for once, that gun won't do anything but make things worse." To the rest, I added, "Best use River's Last Stand method."

Captain Mal caught my eye and nodded slightly, before starting to bellow orders. The bottom levels of the island wheeled into view, and there was already a ship waiting for us. Its balloon was largely collapsed, but I still could make out the name printed on the side.

"The Mark Trine. Bloody wonderful."

All parts of Only Sweeter

Thursday, May 22, 2014

If Tomorrow Ever Comes, Part 2 (Mature)

Mature Content

Part 1 available here.


Years Ago

"You have to decide which is going to be more important to you, family or work."

"Since Kiv... it's been an easy choice."

"We know, Ace, and we're not upset. We miss you, but we understand."


Weeks Ago

"When I saw you out there, yesterday, riding to work, I felt so proud of you, doing whatever you can to make ends meet. I just wanted you to know."


Months Ago

Every half-year or so, I revisit the old dating site accounts, change up some of the descriptions: who I am, what I'm looking for, what I'm doing with my life... This last one caught me this time, and I changed it back to something it had once been, long ago, when I first signed up:

"Working enough to not have to worry about money, but not too much to not have time to enjoy it."

Not that it mattered terribly, hardly anyone ever bothered to stop by and read it.


Almost Every Day

It was so tempting, instead of stopping at work and locking up my bicycle, to just keep riding, keep going, and leave it all behind. Once you get into that rhythm, get that steady sense of motion, get the feeling that you could just keep pedaling forever... and you never want to stop.

Sometimes, I wish I didn't have so much tying me down, not the books or the computers or the hard copies of things I've written or the need to pay for a place to put it all, and I could just live on the back of my bicycle.

I could live like that, if I could just let it all go, but letting go... like change, that was something that bothered me, something that I was almost willing to admit that I feared. And fear of it was not even something death itself could claim, only fear of what would happen to those I left behind.

But I couldn't do that, I wouldn't do that, and so I reigned in the impulse and chained up my bike, obediently walking in to my scheduled shift, even as I ever wished and considered otherwise.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

If Tomorrow Ever Comes (Mature)

Mature Content


They didn't understand, and that's why I jumped...

When you spend the kind of hours I do, alone, on the computer, or in the apartment, or out on the road, all of it alone, you think about things, things that would never come to you when you were surrounded by people, or even just in regular contact with them.

Some called it shyness, some called it quietness, some called it anti-social behavior. Some thought I was damaged or traumatized or broken in some way. Some thought I was retarded. Maybe it was some of these things, but certainly not all of them.

I wasn't retarded.

They would never understand, probably never could, and that's why I jumped...


Weeks Ago

There was something not quite right when I turned on the hall light to my apartment. Normally, I felt tall after a long ride on my bike, home from work or errands or wherever. My head was off, or rather, unusually so, badly enough that I actually noticed.

I wheeled my bicycle in, staggering a bit to navigate it through the sharp turns of my entry, on its back wheel, then on both as I backed it awkwardly into the space between my trailer and the front window.

I don't have a big place, but it's mine.


Years Ago

"It's not big, but it's under seven hundred a month." John opened the screen and the front door, and let me in ahead of him. The yellow-beige walls shone in the late morning light. The local highway hummed pleasantly past, filtered by a large bush across the walk.

I turned sharply to the left past the coats-closet and found a small room, barely ten-by-ten, and then another, kiddie-cornered to the right, and then snaked around to a kitchen and finally a bathroom.

"I know it's small, but..."

"It's perfect. I have my checkbook; how much did you say the security deposit was?"

"Five hundred, if you have good credit."

"I have good credit."

"We'll see."


Weeks Ago

I booted up my computers even before I fully settled in, since they take some time to warm up, and I needed to record my ride. I needed to crash into bed, and hopefully dream-filled sleep soon, but my odometer was old and tended to lose its numbers over long nights. Also, I worked again the next morning, and would need it clear for the next session.

They took their own sweet time about it, as they do, but by the time I was settled and ready to queue up my programs.

An itching in the back of my mind started up as I finished up entering in my numbers, and I've handled the itching long and often enough not to let it stew and blister. I dutifully open up a blank word-processor and let the itch go.


Years Ago


"This is Kiv's mom. I hope I'm not interrupting anything." Her voice sounded wrong, somehow.

"I know; no, you're not."

"I know you and she... broke up... a few days ago, but I know you cared about her a lot..."

"What's wrong?"

"She... she died. This morning. Her diabetes. I'm... sorry. I thought you should know."

"Thank you. Thank you for calling me."

"I need to call... oh, you were the first person I thought of, I haven't... I have to call... I'm sorry."

"it's... I understand. Don't let me keep you."


Days Ago

The numbers on my webpage were down, and my mood too, slipping back into the Stopped Caring stage. I added an iron pill to my daily regimine just in case it was chemical, and settled down in front of my screens.

I could have gone out and spread the few pennies that I'd earned since the last plunge in my numbers, but I didn't. I was in Stopped Caring.

I could have gone out to the social networks, plead with the few souls I had still following me who weren't bots to read a page or two, or cherry pick a few things they might like to read, but I didn't. I was in Stopped Caring.

I could have gone out to my research projects, my writing projects, my website projects, any of a number of things that were works in process on and about the web, but I didn't. I was in Stopped Caring.

Instead, I went out to my video feed and picked up what had come in since the last time, zoning out while the emptiness in my head and in my heart faded away into numbness.


Months Ago

"I have to raise the rent again. I'm sorry. It will be in the new lease. The city just keeps rasing the price of everything."

I nodded.

"If you're interested in signing up for another year, that is."

"I am."

"Alright. I draw up the new lease."



Weeks Ago

I started snooping message boards for pointers on living with less. That's how I'd picked up the bicycle trailer. A few pages later, I was reintroduced to diving. The hardest part was getting past the initial revulsion, is what all the following pages agreed.

That wasn't a problem for me. Some things never seem to be a problem for me, and other things that come so easily to some are difficult.


Days Ago

My feed was emptying out now, which meant I had to go looking for something else to provide me with sustained numbness. But if I had to work for it, it wouldn't be numbness. If I had to work for it, it wouldn't divert my mind much at all, and that wasn't nearly enough.

It was my mind I needed to numb, to silence, to still. It was my mind and heart that felt so empty and broken when I was in Stopped Caring. It wasn't something I could fix, that anybody could fix. It was just something I had to push into cold numbness until it faded into the background once again.


Weeks Ago

As I rode to work that Sunday, along my usual route, someone called out to me.

"Ace? Is that you? Ace!"

I was pushing my margin of time to change so I didn't stop, didn't ask, didn't have any priority higher than getting to work.

I wanted to ask, "How do you know that name?"

I ride the same route every shift, but I haven't seen her since. I've been out of the loop of anyone's lives for so long, I can't imagine anybody who that could be, as young as she was.

I'm keeping my eyes open, my margins wider, and my priorities straighter since, but to no avail.

I never work anywhere long, at least, not once I start opening up to who I really am inside. Nobody wants to be around that, and I already feel people here trying to reach under the surface with me. I won't let them.

I mustn't let them in.


Continue reading...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Only Sweeter, Part 8 (Mature)

Mature Content

First - Previous

"And here we are." The doors of the blue box flung open, just as I led the crew down into the cargo bay, and two gentlemen stepped out.

"Sorry, Doctor, but this isn't the Icarus. This isn't my ship."

"No, you're right, it's not. Sorry about that. But it is a ship. I think. Hey you, up there! Is this a ship?"

Captain Mal tried to barge past me, but I put a hand on his chest and stopped him cold. He looked down at my hand, then back up to my face, and then repeated it again, before trying to surge forward. I put the index finger from my other hand on his lips, and said, quite fiercely, "No."

Inara would have been proud.

"Yes, it's a ship, and no, it's not the Icarus."

"You know the Icarus," asked the gentleman not wearing a bow-tie.

"Well, I know of the Icarus." I continued down the stairs to the and Mal tried to continue with me, but I glared at him. He froze, his mind clicking and stalling, trying to shift gears and figure out what was going on. "Sit. Stay."

He glared back, looking all the more bewildered, but stopped.

"It's complicated."

The strapping fellow with the bowtie stepped around his friend, muttering, "Yes, it usually is," before speaking up in a tone that indicated he wasn't fully aware he'd spoken the previous line aloud. "I'm sorry, who are you?"

"This is Serenity, a Firefly class 03-K64 transport spaceship; behind me, you see the crew, with illustrious Captain Malcolm Reynolds behaving like a good little puppy dog, and I... don't belong here."

He pulled a device out of his jacket pocket and waved it at me, it's light sputtering when pointed in my direction. "No, you most certainly do not," he murmured again, still attractively unaware. "You still haven't said who you are."

"You're right, I haven't." I snagged one of his suspenders as he circled me, and pulled him in closer, examining him myself. "But though I would love to play doctor with you and see where things lead, why don't you tell everyone what you've just realized."

"What I've just realized?" He stepped back, away from me, and the suspender snapped, causing him to wince beautifully. I wanted to do it again.

"About where I'm from."

"About where you're... from?"

"Come on, now Doctor, haven't you figured it out by now? Or are you still telling your little screwdriver there that it's not possible?"

"How did you... It says.. No, certainly not, quite impossible."

I sighed. "Come on, River wouldn't hesitate."

"How do you... Oh, fine. You're from the other side of the Fourth Wall, whatever that means. I've never heard of anywhere called Fourth Wall, so it couldn't possibly exist--"

"Are you omnipotent too now?"

"I'm a Timelord, I'll have you know."

"I do. Traveling hither and yon in your little Tardis. Mummy and daddy must be proud. I know it's hard, but you can stop treating me like a muggle."

"Like a what?"

"Now hold on here, just a minute." The gears finally engaged, and Mal finished descending to the cargo bay floor. "What makes you passenger think he can treat this captain like a..." He paused, and turned back to he crew, seeking support and prompting.

"Little puppy," Jayne supplied, eagerly.

"Like a little puppy!? And you! Who are you and what are you doing on my ship? Nice suspenders, by the way."

The Doctor stroked his own absently. "Why thank you."

"Boys, boys." I held up my hands, and shot a sharp look at Arno before he too could open his mouth and weigh in with his own problems. "As much as I'd love for all three of us to unzip and compare sizes, this isn't the time or the place. Let's all just have a nice little sit down, we'll get all sorted, and maybe finish getting something in our bellies while we do. I'm sure the Doctor would be happy to provide some fresh victuals from his innumerous stocks as a peace offering to supplement my own. Maybe even some apples," I glanced at him, and he nodded, "to whet our appetites. Afterward, if you don't like what he has to say, then you can try to toss him out the airlock. What say you?"

The Doctor looked a little green at the last part, equally as nauseas as Jayne looked eager, but nodded. The Captain nodded too.

I draped my arms over both of their shoulders, and we awkwardly marched three-wide to the kitchen.

All parts of Only Sweeter