It is the crack formed on a plane of glass
Which was not there yet a moment before.
Caused perhaps by temperatures which shift en masse,
But that no one else could feel outside the door
Leaving me alone to wonder and to answer for
A reaction I had no control over, a reaction for which I had no say.
I lack the ability to pretend the same rapport;
I wish I could just run away.
I pretend the crack will pass,
Return to the unfettered crystal who swore
When I was born that nothing at all could harass
What I held within, forever to store.
I look again and pretense has only given me more,
More cracks which under pressure appear to sway
In my eyes, as though my head weren’t already sore.
So I wish I could run away.
And when the glass balloon’s image becomes a trespass
Of sensible description, the sphere no longer a core,
I tremble to keep everything in order – do I pass
As though I have succeeded to ignore
The cracks that I’ve convinced myself others would deplore?
The cracks that throw me into the fray
Of reality, where everyone knows how to fight the war?
The war from which I wish I could run away.
The sound of shattered glass comes in like a roar,
Leaving me with nothing but my empty mind to stray.
Empty as the beach, with no waters at the shore.
Where I regret the moment I ran away.
Warning: if you meet a cable man named Jim, run. Run very fast.
Mark hadn’t believed that at first, but the more he thought about it the more sense it made. He texted his brother, too much of their youth a question. I didn’t send for a cable man, did you do something?
Tom texted back soon enough. Why would I send you a cable guy?
With a groan, Mark went to escape out the window, away from the man waiting at his front door with the name “Jim” on his vest.
Of all things, at three o’clock in the morning, Zorica had not expected her roommate to break into her room covered in blood and murder her. Fortunately, she was already dead, so it was a minor inconvenience.
“What the hell?” she demanded, forcing her ghost back into the body. While she hated the pain that involved, without access to her hands she couldn’t begin to put the body back into place.
“I knew it!” Janice exclaimed. “You’re some sort of monster!”
“Why are you covered in blood, Janice?” Zorica asked the moment she could actually move her mouth again.
“Monsters!” Janice said, pointing the knife at her again.
Zorica slapped her. Janice dropped the knife. She could smell the blood, now on her hand, the fumes of insanity on it.
It wasn’t as though Zorica had had worse mornings, but she wouldn’t want it to become worse than now. Despite the pain, she dragged Janice to the shower to get her body and mind clean.
“The World works in mysterious ways. Bad things happen for a reason.”
She grit her teeth. Her hands were paler than usual, clasped together in the same position as those in front of her, behind her, at her sides. It was the moment of silence, where prayer sounded from the pits into the heavens above.
Bad things happened for a reason. They were all determining the reason now, through prayer.
God, is this an excuse? she asked. The question she had never been able to raise before. This is their excuse for bad things to happen. Pretending there is a reason.
She needed no words in response. Instead, she felt the right inside of her. Whether it came from her God or from herself, she had no idea. After this moment of silence, everything would return to normal. One less good thing in the world. One more bad one. Accepted, for a reason.
No, there are no excuses.
She raised her voice.
“Don’t let them see you cry.”
He held back his tears. His father didn’t look back at him, still staring out of the cavern. The desert was cold, far colder than it usually was at this time of night. It would get colder soon.
His father’s advice felt inconsistent. The older man had always claimed feelings were nothing to be ashamed of. Not even the ones that produced tears.
After blinking, clearing his throat, he finally asked the question. “Why?”
“That’s where they’ll attack,” his father said. “The water. Don’t show that you have any water. They’ll drain us both dry for it.”
He wished they could stay here, hidden until the daybreak. But they would freeze and die. They needed to move on. So when his father gave the signal, they both crept forward out into the clear night, leaving behind his sister’s body.
“Do people make the jump to Unbonded often?” Emine asked Sanni. She stayed close to the woman’s side, staring at a place made by dragons for dragons.
Sanni smiled down at her. “Well, sometimes. Usually though, they come back with someone from another place who wants to come serve them. The more common change is Unbonded to Bonded. Dragons don’t choose lightly. They usually will have someone around for a while before they decide they want a specific person for themselves and not for the horde.”
While Emine wanted to ask why they were going to be Unbonded now, she couldn’t bring herself to do so. Sanni had been so calm and stable, but Emine could tell there was uncertainty under the surface there. She didn’t know if that had always been the case with Sanni or if it had only come the more and more the dragons had paid attention to the both of them.
The Alcoves were set into both sides of the valley that contained the town. From the bottom, from the town, the only sign of life were the holes set into the tops of the ridges, where the dragons came and went. There was an opening (okay, more than one) for people who couldn’t fly to make their way into the caverns.
They stood there now, each holding what they hadn’t wanted anyone else to move for them. Emine hadn’t had much she was attached to. It fit in the same bag she brought here.
Sanni brought just as much, but it had to be a greater sacrifice. Emine took her hand. Sanni squeezed it and they entered the Alcoves.
Standing on the shore I see choices at my feet
Sand or the fine sands of the tides?
Neither is (inherently) better
But I’ve been raised to think so
More difficult isn’t better
Sometimes the point is just that –
Sharp and obvious
And as the water hits my feet
Cold yet good
The word becomes simple
Posters aren’t meant to be plastered over windows
As much as the ceiling shouldn’t be home to pillows
But when starting things like this, a class of intros
One must be prepared to play for multiple bingos
Rest is for the wicked, lying in wait
And ticking off chances to count up to eight
Or down, perhaps, when pretending to play it straight
Pretense of donation, the first we do is create
And for those who just don’t understand
Other may just think you bland
But that’s not the case, it’s just the brand
Something else that we, not you, have planned
Now before it becomes too late, open the door
For once, not worried about it holding any gore,
But another silly trick for us to tally the score
Another rubber snake found in yet another drawer
Kindly unhand your previously held connotations
As we will shake your foundations
As we make up completely new expectations
Pranks held up by generations
My father once told me that the sea always gives back what it takes.
I didn’t believe him when it took my brother. The skies turned black and the winds blew vicious, even on land. I could only imagine what it was like on sea. We would never know, for no one that day returned.
The dark days of storms became my fears, but it was the sea a blamed the most. If it hadn’t been there, it would have been a simple storm. What could happen on land that one couldn’t weather? What could happen on land that we couldn’t stand against?
Why did my brother want to go out to sea?
My father continued to believe that the sea would give him back, but I knew better. I glared out at the sea and knew so much better.
A long, low rumble sounded from underneath the two of them. From the very rock underneath. He looked over at her, his question of “where is the dragon?” falling away from his mind when realization struck.
“How soon are we getting eaten?” he asked the elf.
She might have bit her lower lip, but not hidden in her foresty home she obviously didn’t want to appear less than perfect. So, instead, those lips twitched as she refrained from doing so. “You might want to fly, fae.”
He almost spoke up, then remember. Right, the spell was still active. She thought he was fae. If he was, he would definitely fly away. As it was, he was a centaur in disguise and had no idea.
Time to pretend chivalry. “I’m not leaving without you.”
“I will talk with the dragon,” she said, as if she believed she really could.
“Will you now?” asked the dragon underneath them, opening his canyon of a mouth.
As they dropped down, he considered how now one had ever told him dragons were this big.