Flowers in the window
Paint the light like stained glass
Their soft scented fragrance
Filling the room
Calming the mind
With the deepest of memories
That trail off into sleep
A high pitch mixing at the upper spectrum of a ringing chime
Sharp tones of metal on metal cutting away through bone and brain
Screams of pain changing over into images of lightening bolts and razor thin daggers
My eyes turn to liquidized jelly
They melt under the constant agony of pulses spuming forth from now empty sockets
The only escape is being walled into a casket six feet down insulated by the solid earth
Until the volume of gnashing and gnawing grows
Louder than before a chorus of beetles and worm devour flesh
In this one last sanctuary of hell the spirit unable to find release from the torment succumbs
Leaves fall spiraling dance
Drift alone but in a breeze of chance
Countless colors of yellow and gold
Even the darkest browns becoming bold
The garden rustling with the wonder of where spring fled
Aster and mum sharing their purple and red
Naked and alone in a world grown cold
Where has the buttercup, the iris, and violet gone
Beneath a blanket of earth to sleep as the nights grow long
With the setting of the sun
And rising of the moon
Stars unseen glow with new life
I watch in silence
Becoming lost between worlds
Filling all my sight
Even more expansive
Filling my thoughts
With mystery and hope
Pat sat distracted. He often drifted off and got caught up in a daydream or remembrance of a conversation that happened hours to months ago. When that happened his face would fix into something near in description to an angry solemn look. Perhaps a person could confuse it for a resting bitch face but it was actually less intense than that look. People often left him alone because of that.
Either way, Pat was content with the solitude.
Today Pat found himself listening to the various chiming and ringing in his ears. Somewhere between a constant ring of a school bell to the vibration on the C string struck while depressing the pedal to make it more of a sharp. Today both ears were at war with the other.
It always amazed him how he could still pass a hearing test being so fucked up.
She had taken shelter from the raging storm inside one of the many large oaks in the wildering woods. The softer wood of the core having rotted away generations ago leaving space inside for perhaps six or more stout individuals and a pony. It only lacked a decent floor and a chimney to become liveable she thought.
“She!” a loud voice spoke out in the darkness of the tree hollow. “Our name is Alice, and not she! I’ve but one body, one life, and one voice.”
Surprisingly nothing replied back. It was the first time that there was not even an echo of sound from inside her brain or from outside in the world. Startled by the silence Alice sat quietly waiting for some invisible shoe to drop or a prophetic vision to sweep her mind clear.
Nothing happened. Perhaps all that was needed was a good night’s sleep. After a bit more listen to the dark Alice felt sure that the nights rest had cured her of whatever it was. Alice knew that the journey back home was going to be a difficult one. There were chores left undone, explanations to be made, and even the chance of some sort of witchhunt if no one accepted a less than honest account of sleepwalking or a lie about simply getting lost looking to empty the chamber pot. It was something she did not look forward to.
The soft sweet smell of strawberry slowly drifted in from outside her little den. Alice’s hungry stomach churned in it’s own juices as saliva began to form on a once dry tongue. Whatever it took, Alice knew in the end she was going to have some. With slow determination she edged her way across the tree to the opening the smell came trickling from. The brightness of the outside was near blinding but Alice could make out oddly uniform shapes lining what looked to be shelving. A vast room of books with a strange old man hobbling about what appeared to be a writing desk. He seemed extremely excited and fully energetic for being such an old individual. In his hands he held what appeared to be some baked goods frosted with a pinkish glaze, and dripping what looked like sprinkles and jam. Both the man’s beard, hands, and floor were covered in spots where he had been less than agile in devouring the food. The whole scene only deepened Alice’s hunger.
And that’s when it happened…
Slowly the outside noises of the world would intrude: the chirping of the birds, the repeated shouting of his name, the constant ringing of a cellphone, or the soul shattering alarm Pat set to remind him of important things to be done.
Today it was the single ring of a door bell. They were more like chimes but the hollow ding was close enough to the required tone to pass as a bell. Pat slowly walked around the house. He had found himself outside in the garden when his mind cleared. The garden was small, but pleasing to look at and enjoy.
At the front porch Pat found no one waiting. A package left by some errant delivery service sat snug against the door.
The name on the mailing sticker was addressed from Alice. Pat smiled at the name. Like so many things he had seen and learned in life, that name always rang a bell and a pleasant memory.
The old librarian paced excitedly about his writing desk. The days were few and far between that such a reward was ever granted. He had been given permission to buy some donuts. Not just any donuts though! Krispy Kreme donuts, strawberry glazed with sprinkles, and stuffed with jam if he wished. Though he had to use his own money, do all the leg work, and make up anytime he missed from doing his writing, the sage felt it called for celebrating. He was so jolly that he was positive in the fact he had forgotten something. Perhaps it was the change from the twenty, or the lactate free whole milk he loved to drink now that he was “old”. What the hell, he’d figure it out later.
The traveller was very fond of old memories, strawberry shortcake, doughnuts, and the ancient writer who maintained the stories. He found that no matter the time or day those four things could always bring a smile to warm the heart.
Sad fact of the travellers reality, one couldn’t always get strawberries for the cake or hot glazed donuts. So whenever the opportunity to get them the traveller would. It was one of the few things he always looked forward to. Sometimes the traveller had to look back to find them and on those occasions having the love of old memories came in handy. And with those three bound together one could easily understand why the old bearded sage made the list.
“With great humor I laughed even as I write this.”, the sage commented. Something as time progressively circles about, you may notice often happens by him, third person or not. We both laugh a second time together at that confusing thought.
The traveller in all the forms and personalities knew one thing to be true. The sage knew, knows, and will have known so when you write the list, there really is no trouble placing yourself onto it.
“Why I’m fourth on my own list I can’t explain”, thought the sage. “Perhaps it’s because I too cheerish the other three.”
And with that thought bubble explored the sage went back to his writing. (It should be noted that a scribbled message in the border for a request for hot donuts was later found by the author and editor. Something for another story line.)
In another reality information posted on how the traveller graded the present occupied time by the HOT DONUTS sign flashing at a nearby Krispy Kreme. Only the best realities had them, and damn the world if fresh hot glazed donuts didn’t exist yet.
(Here again the author and editor can’t decide if it is truly the traveller or the sage craving said donuts. Something that will be discussed at the next panel meeting.)
The traveller woke just past midnight. The cold flow of heat leaving his body creating a soft steaming mist. Where ever he was it wasn’t summer. Even worse than the cold, the fact of being completely nude and laid out on a stone slab brought a horrific terror to his groggy mind.
At a young age there were many Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft books read beneath the bed covers with flashlight in hand, then retold by fire light long into the night. Stories filled with dark shapes, beautiful women, and often daring hero’s intrepidly in search of unknown truth. Only rarely did the physical strength ever overcome the unseen evil, when it had it came with a bitter victory.
Happily there too was the great novels of King Arthur, the Holy Grail, Robinhood, Ivanhoe written down by Walter Scott and others. Valiant crusades of justice, good vs evil, light over darkness. Always follow the code of conduct to succeed. Even if you die without victory, those deeds done would bring certain honor to those left behind. Symbols of perfection, and an example for them to follow…
There was Gilgamesh, the Tolkien stories, C. S. Lewis, and the classic mead hall poetry of Beowulf too fill in any gaps. Even the wonderful writings of Alice had there time being absorbed during those earlier years.
Guides and guidance for a future that was yet to be.
The greatest book was T. H. White, The Once and Future King. In it the secrets of time and politics could be unlocked, even understood. Once those pieces feel in place, how large creation could become.
Of course nothing ever happened back then. Childhood dreams of dragons and knights; Kingdoms of elven druids, secret paths unlocked by magic balls and slithering snakes.
Not until the day at the coffee shop.
And being laid out naked flat on ones back upon a wet slab of rock was as far from any coffee shop or glazed donut a being could ever find themselves.
Of all his learned knowledge, poetic stories, and trained responses to unexpected tribulations, the only thought to find it’s way out from the clutter was… “Fuck.”
Hot glazed donuts with strawberry sprinkles dipped in jam thought the Sage. I will definitely hold out for the sprinkles and jam at the next juncture. Surely they will see how the sugar would keep my eyes from wandering as do my thoughts.
Still alive; I often wonder how. It’s been a very long time since that first coffee at the corner cafe. I still remember the cappuccino double- shot, and the rush that followed. The world was electric and I saw the neon signs light up my path.
The problem with electricity is eventually insulation wears thin, circuits overload, and either a breaker pops or wiring burns. Reckless, the odds were never in my favor.
A brilliant mind once wrote that as I Time. That line of thought took an individual as a single observer at a fixed point in an endless line. He was close. Time as a unit of measure, as a distance between two unknowns, a thing without a constant… Compressed into words on a page.
Everything is related, especially believing in the wrong answer. That’s the most important thing. Believe and you can live forever. Doubt and you will anyhow. You are the question mark, not me, not them, and not time.
I woke up this morning with a splitting headache; Bloodshot eyes with blurred vision, capped off by a dry cough. The familiar joint pain was missing. It would come back soon enough. Like a missing limb my suffering from torn and dislocated ligaments was a ghost pain carried over from a previous point.
I’d travelled again. Must have died suddenly and without seeing it coming. That shit happened on occasion. No matter how long you travel some things still catch you off guard. At least we didn’t suffer. Suffering sucks even if you know it has an ending.
As I laid there the slow movement of a ceiling fan cast a flickering shadow across the ceiling. Three walls were in my range of vision. There square angles joining in uniformed lines. There were doors on two of the walls. One door an obvious wider cut than the other, but both of the same height. One window was on the third visible wall. It was shuttered tightly against the outside. Still cracks of daylight filtered in bringing with it flashes of movement, rhythmic back and forth in a fixed position. Traces of green carried in as well with a soft sounds of a breeze.
I was glad that there are plants here. I was also glad for a closed room quiet and undisturbed.
The fourth wall I could sense without looking. The soft downward movement from the fan above blowing much stronger at my back. The cool force of the walls nearness reassuring enough to ignore for the moment.
I imagine that a picture or painting there. No sound of a muffling tapestry or curtain. Crazy the things you learn to listen for.
The absence of cobwebs or animal dander in the rest of the room even more reassuring.
The bed I awoke in was unscented. The pillow beneath my head and lain tightly stuffed beside my arms were covered in a solid gray-blue pillowcase. These too lacked any smell or staining from use. By the amount of room I felt, a definite queen size bed. A pillow top liner, simi-firm. The temptations of closing my eyes and going back to a dream filled world overwhelm. Everything has a purpose, a reason, a connection even if you can’t see it.
We apparently are male, single, or at least recently so for a period long enough to remove the essence of the more pleasant sex. As a male we are clean, moderately organized with the routine of doing laundry.
Even the absence of dust spoke of organization, maybe even a means of income to support the payment of a maid. Something in the feel of the room told me no to the maid, no to a mother figure, no to any outside influence.
It was always important to understand things without relying on a host’s memories. Memories lie, sometimes tainted by previous lives experienced elsewhere, or even falsely placed by the pressures of others.
Never trust a memory. They are just the dreams of another world. I know.
Regret is the daughter of hesitation.
We fumbled around the bed and found a familiar metal and glass instrument. Another luxury of a distant world, technology of a smartphone.
A quick check of the alarm and calendar I am surprised to find the host on his off days. Nothing scheduled, no anniversary or birthday, no bill due, not even a note to perform some task or hobby.
“What the hell,” we said. “Time for another nap.”
And so it is.
For as long as he could remember, the man knew he was different. Not a visible defect or an observable point of perfection or beauty. Even his test scores blended in seamlessly with the upper portion of the bell curve. Not in the middle, mind you. He was always just above average but off a mark for honor roll.
The boy he was and the man housing still those childish ideas still could blend into the population. He could excel in any field if he chose to. That’s where the special and different was. The boy and man never needed to. Never had to bother with choice. The path he walked was already lined up. Lined up not in a material or financial way. Neither was it a hereditary or surname position in life that granted such a privilege. And it was definitely not a thing of chance or luck. Through out life that theory had been tested. No, luck and being blessed by the Blarney Stone never entered the equation.
As long as the man did what presented itself and tried his best, life was good. The Golden Rule of do unto others being the biggest lesson he ever learned. Many of those times and lessons administered across the palm with the ruler.
I would like to point out that the ruler used was not golden and being the other never was given the chance to do unto the other. Lesson learned, those who control the gold control the wood. Since the boy nor the man were destined to have control or the gold it was best to tend to the business at hand, never draw attention to yourself. Good or bad, attention was only trouble in the end…
The sage blinked away the cobwebs of his Irish coffee. With a quick read of the words before him he was once again up to speed.
The Man in The Grey Suit was a fitting title for him. More fitting than calling him John Smith, or Joe Bloughe, and even thinking Steve or Martin was just humor gone bad. So The Grey or The Man was a good enough fit.
The background of growing up was new to the sage. Very rarely was information like that provided by the Author. The Author usually leaving off the less important details on first read, leaving those details for the magic and dreams which filled each page, newspaper, magazine, and book.
The sage was fully aware of the fact it was his hand that did the work. The staining of his hands provided plenty of evidence of those marathon journalism events. The thing was he was never fully there when it occurred. By the size of the library and piles of written material that gift of trance was definitely a blessing. If one cared to gather more evidence to prove or disprove who truly was doing the work, the comparison of hand writing and style changed about so much that one would think a legion of writers were at the task.
A Legion was not far off the mark either.
There are days when you know it would be better to stay in bed, roll over, and spend the next twenty-four hours pretending to be dead to the world.
Today was one of those. If not for the need to urinate every few hours the sage would have liked very much to have stayed in bed and taken the day off.
The early morning hours were spent preparing for what always turned into a marathon day of writing, blogging, scribbling, note taking, and the occasional tweet hashtag used to prompt later memories back into the forefront of consciousness.
This new age of simplicity seemed so troublesome and bulky to the sage. ” It was a new age of multitasking than one of intellectual freedom or growth,” said the sage out loud.
“So says you”, croaked out a small voice.
Half ignoring the interruption the sage continued on with the mornings chore of gathering and sharpening his pencils, cleaning and reshaping the quill, topping off the ink well, replacing the blotter or reusing some older one, and the restacking of parchment and tablets into a more tidied pile.
To the old man these forms of creation had a more artistic beauty to them. A flow of skill in the shaping and shape of each word and line. Such a wonderful talent as any sculpture or painting could ever be. The sage didn’t quite put the same skill or label of craftsmanship to this age of spell check and font choices.
“Only an illusion”, said the small croaking voice, and as quietly as it came was gone.
“Good riddance”, shouted the sage. Hoping the loudness of his voice would follow the unwelcome visitor back to where it had originated, he new better. “Illusion and allusions, mixed metaphors without pretext, trouble me no more.”
And with that the sage lit his stove, heated up the water, and began to prepared his morning pot of coffee.
“Today I think there will be a touch of Irish to it”
And another day began.