Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/06/11

“Tell me once more, Olivia. What do you see when you look in the mirror?” I’d asked the question a thousand times, and Olivia always gave me the same answer.

“Not what you want me to see, doc.” She shook her head, and looked into the mirror in the remains of her family home. “Not what you want me to see.”

“I know.” I took a deep breath. This wasn’t about fixing things. Fixing things was easy. No. This was about bringing the dead to life. “So, tell me, please. What do you see?”

Olivia stood from where she sat, legs crossed, on the barren, wooden floor. A floor desperately in need of repair. Cleaning wasn’t enough. The floor needed work. Lots of it. So did the walls, and the brick they were made of. Brick that once hid behind smooth, well kept plaster. She walked to the mirror, cracked and no longer held in its casing. Like the entire home, it was wasting away.

“He’s there, you know.” She pointed at the remains of the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting for me.”

As the house wasted away, so did Olivia. Every since that day, so long ago, when the car came around the corner too fast. Jonathan had been playing, dancing to a sound only he heard. “He told me it was the piano from Beauty and The Beast.” She always cried when she spoke the words. “He moved right in time with it. I could hear the music as he danced.”

She collapsed to her knees, and once more was consumed by tears and grief. “He’s there. I see him dancing in the mirror.”

The car came around the corner too fast. The driver crossed into the other side of the road, aimed straight at an oncoming car.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “It’s there. In the mirror. Over and over again. My boy. Dancing.”

The oncoming car had nowhere to go. The fast car struck it head on. Parts flew in all directions. Glass from windshields, parts of headlights, side view mirrors, plastic and urethane from car bodies. Radiator fluid. All of it. Everywhere.

“He never got to say good-bye.”

All of it. Right next to Jonathan.

“He never got to look at me.”

Some of the parts from the collision had struck the boy. Olivia had seen it all. Seen her son stop dancing, the music of the song stop playing, as Jonathan was yanked in strange directions by the shrapnel from the wreck.

Then, before she could even scream, the momentum of the collision pushed both cars straight into Jonathan. The boy never had a chance.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting.”

I’d been trying to reach her every since. Trying to help her through her grief. Through her sorrow. Not to heal her, for I knew, there are some wounds that never heal. Like the loss of a limb, or the ability to walk, or talk, or hear. Olivia had lost part of herself.

On that day, when those cars collided, and Jonathan died, so did Olivia’s heart. So did her soul. All that was left was an empty shell, slowly decaying, like the house she never left.

And I wondered, as I had every day for three years, if her heart and soul had died, was there any way to bring her back to life?

563 Words

Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 14th week. You can read about the challenge here. As I do every week, I wonder where the words I have written came from. How this started as a picture, and a song, and wound up where it did, I may never understand. But, I’m OK with that. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.


#MWBB 24 : You Know I’m No Good

She was just one of an endless string of people in my life who never understood why I did what I did. Another in an endless string of people I wounded, disturbed, and left in confusion, tears and pain. That’s who I am. I’m no good.

She asked me on that Sunday in November, “Why? Why did you un-friend everyone from the church?” I’d expected her to ask. And I knew she’d never understand, never figure it out. Just like I knew I could explain what I’d done a million times, and she still wouldn’t understand.

But I tried to explain anyway. I’m stupid that way. Or, perhaps, I’m optimistic that way. Yeah. I’m a stupid optimist. That works.

“I didn’t leave because I don’t like them.”

“Then why did you leave?”

“To protect them.”

“To protect them? Protect them from what?”


I knew what was coming. I knew what would happen. The same thing that always happened. I’d learn to live a lie, behaving as expected in the group, so no one would be disturbed, or upset, by me. That’s how I cope with people. I figure out what they want me to become, how they want me to behave, and I become that. Because that makes them happy. That shuts them up. That gets them to leave me alone, and not say to me, endlessly, “But, you can’t be that way!” I would rip my heart and soul to ribbons to blend in, and keep them safe.

And if I decided to not blend in, behaved as me, who I really am, to say what I believe, live like I believe, well. That would leave everyone in her church asking, “What’s wrong with him?” and “Doesn’t he know he can’t be like that?” and “Doesn’t he know that’s wrong?”

They’d have never accepted my writing, especially when I wrote anything explicit. Men and women having sex is something church people don’t write about. Especially when they’re exploring different aspects of sex, trying things out. That’s disturbing and disruptive to them. Besides, that’s something church people just don’t do, and don’t condone, or accept in others. So, just by exploring things to write, I’d have wound up at odds with every person in her church.

I’d shut down my writing before. I gave my word to God, to life, I wouldn’t shut it down again.

Then there were the people I talked to, associated with, on the Internet. Gay rights supporters. Openly homosexual people, bisexual people, transsexual people. People of different races, colors, creeds, religions. Even self-proclaimed witches, pagans, and atheists. I could certainly talk to such people and not hear about it in church, not be criticized in church, not be told, “We’ll pray for you.”

I tried. I did. I tried to explain everything. Why I left. Why I put myself out of the reach of the people of her church. But she never understood. All she said was what I knew she would say.

“You can’t be that way.”

She never understood I am that way, and can’t be any other way. She never understood I’m broken, and no good. And now, she’s one of the endless list of people I’ve hurt, and left wounded, in my life. A list that grows, endlessly. Because no matter how I try, I can’t explain to anyone why I do what I do, why I am how I am. No one ever understands.

And I can’t live that lie of blending in any more. I can’t tear my heart to ribbons, or crucify my soul. I tried that for three decades. That blending in, and being safe, nearly killed me. Oh, I know. People tell me, “There was nothing wrong with you. You just had your through processes screwed up, that’s all.” They literally can’t understand, my thought processes aren’t screwed up. They’re different.

I’m different.

And in their world, I’m broken. And no good.

660 Words

My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 24 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

Can I Ever Change?

I stopped looking for a job
To replace the one that’’s gone
In January of 2012.

I haven’’t looked since then.

My doctor has tried
To convince me to start
A small business
Of my own.
Since January of 2011.

I haven’’t.

I ask people
All the time.
“What are you afraid of?”
Because I know.
I can see the fear in them.
The way they try
To avoid pain.
Of any kind.
Of every kind.

And yet,
I wonder.
Why am I still here?
Doing nothing.
No longer looking.
No longer planning.
Just here.

Sometimes, I remember.
I remember the hurt.
The pain.
How I felt betrayed.
By everyone I worked with.

I remember the anger.
How I spent weeks.
Miles and miles.
Day after day.
Blistered heels.
Blistered toes.

I lost three toenails.

I remember the countless times
I pulled off my shoes
And saw blood
On my socks.

My blood.

I remember
How it never hurt.
Not even once.
How I never felt the pain
In my toes.
In my heels.

All I felt
Was the pain
In my heart and soul.

And I know.
I know.
Why I have stopped looking
For a job.

Sometimes I ask,
“If the last job you had
Drove railroad spikes
Through your hands and feet,
Ripped your fingernails
Off your fingers
With pliers,
Used a barbed whip
On you back
Until you felt nothing at all,
No pain.
If your last job
Did that to you,
Would you ever
Try again?”

I know why I stopped looking.
Why I may never look again.

I know too
Why I haven’’t struck out
On my own.
Why I keep saying,
Someday I’’ll start a business.
Of my own.

I look at all the things
I’’d have to do.
Have to learn.
And I’’m not sure at all
I want to.

And yes.
I am afraid.
Afraid to even try.
But there’’s so much more than that.
I could fail.
Could fall on my sword.
But that’s not what’’s stopping me.
There’’s something more.

I’’ve always been a failure.
In my eyes.
Never once believed in me
In my life.
I don’’t even believe
I can write.

And if I’’m worthless.
If I’’m the failure
I believe I am.

How can I even try?

I know what I’’m afraid of.

And I wonder.
Every single day.
Can I ever change?

Can I ever change?

Things Just Seem So Backwards To Me

I got home from work today.
Having dealt with people
And their broken computers
For five solid hours.

I found myself thinking
How people could get so upset
About a dang machine.
That’s all it is.
If it breaks,
You deal with it.

And I heard myself think,
“Get over it, people.”

And those four words
Suddenly clicked into place.
And I understood something
That I’ve never understood

Words a dear friend told me
Several times.
In May, June, and July.
Words she spoke many times.
About just moving on
With life.

I didn’t understand.

And I remember
When someone I once knew
Had cancer.
And was fighting for her life.
How I got told
By everyone.
Including her.
To not care too much.

I didn’t understand.
At all.

It’s taken me two years.
But I finally have a clue
To what everyone
Tried to say.
What they all just

That when something happens
To someone
In this world
I never made.
They’ve learned
To just move on.

I can see that now.
That they just believe
There’s nothing they can do.
That these things just happen.
And you deal with them.
And you just move on.

You just get over it.

As that piece of life
Fell into place
I remembered too
How I reacted
To all of them
Two years ago.

And I know.
I know.

I’d do the same thing

Because I understand
The value
Of the people
That I know.
I know they’re real.

They are not constructs.
Made by mortal men.
Each is a life.
A gift.
From this universe.

But a phone.
A computer.
Or any other device.
Is just that.
A device.
We made them.

They are part
Of our economy.
Another thing we’ve made.
Part of or society.
Which we also made.

And suddenly
I realized that once again
I was backwards
From the world.

In that I understand
What’s real
Has not been made
By Man.
But is a gift
From life.
That we can’t duplicate.
That we can’t explain.

And I also realize
Yet again.
That the things we can’t explain
Are the very things
That people pretend
Aren’t real.
And don’t exist.

I find myself sitting here,
Remembering words I wrote
More than a year ago.
About how the life we lead
Is backwards.

How we place more value
On the things we have created.
Our countries.
Our economy.
Our industries.
Our money.
Our treasures.
Our homes.
Our cars.
And our computers.

All the things
We’ve made.

That we place
On the life
We’ve been blessed with.
The life
That we’ve been given.

Leaving me to ask once more.
When did we lose our way?

When did it become so wrong
To care about the people
That you know.
So that when they’re hurt,
Or sick,
Or ill.
Your own heart and soul
Know pain?

I thought that was how
Life was supposed to be.
I thought we mourned the loss
Of people that we knew.
That we healed with time.
And learned to face the truth
That they were gone.

I thought we helped
The people that we know.
When they need our help.
When their hearts and souls
Cry tears of pain.

I thought we showed the people
In our lives
That we care for them.

But in these past 2 years
I’ve come to understand
That things don’t really
Work that way.
In this world
I never made.

That instead,
We defend our own.
Our lives.
Our things.
Our families.
Our jobs.
Our homes.

Even if the person
That we’ve worked with
For more than ten years.
Gets laid off one day.
Gets diagnosed with cancer.
Or even hit by a truck.

We wish them good-bye.
We tell ourselves
We care.

And then we carry on
With our jobs.
Our cars.
Our homes.
Our lives.

And everything we’ve made.

So once more
I find myself
Asking God above
To not give up
On anyone I’ve ever known.
On anyone that I know now.

For I know
He never once
Gave up on me.

If he had.
I wouldn’t be here now.

Fear Of Writing

I try to write something.
At least one thing.
Every day I am alive.
And then I try to post it
On my blog.

Hell, I wouldn’t even care
If the only thing I wrote
Was a simple Haiku.
Just 17 syllables long.

I started this project
On July the First of
And I’ve tried to stick with it
Every day since then.

I’ve failed.
Like this past week.
When there were several days
I didn’t write
One damn thing.

Sometimes, I know
That it’s hard to write.
To come up with an idea
Every day.

Sometimes, I wonder.
Am I out of dreams?
Have I made all the wishes
That I will ever make?
Am I out of things to say?

Sometimes I feel as if
No one would notice
If I were to stop.
If I were to go away.
And never write
A single thing.
Ever again.
In this life that I’ve been given.

But then I realize
That what I feel
Is just that.
It’s what I feel.
It may not be real.

It’s simple fear.

Fear that what I write
Is nothing more than junk.
That I’m wasting my time
By trying to write
Anything at all.

Fear that what I write
All says the same thing.
But disguises what I’m saying
With different words.
And different characters.
And different settings.
But that underneath all that
Everything I write
Is the same.

That my writing never changes.

And my greatest fear of all.
That what I write
Will never be read.
By anyone.

I am afraid in fact,
That every word I write
Will be examined.
And then analyzed.
By the people I work for.
And that those people
Will use the things I write
As a weapon against me.

Like they have before.

It’s times like these
When I am filled with doubt,
And hounded by my fear,
That I have to stop.
And find my way back to
My own center
Once again.

I’m learning how
To close my eyes.
And breathe,
For a little while.

And as I breathe,
Calm returns to me.
And I can recognize
The fears I have
For what they are.

Transient feelings,
And nothing more.

Then, I rest a bit.
As I examine my own fears.
And slowly turn back
Into their midst.
So that I can get past them
Once more.

Because the truth is
That I write.
I always have.
I always will.

Writing’s just another part
Of my very heart and soul.
And if I don’t write
I can’t be whole.

So I take care
Of the fears I have.
Working through them all.
Until once more
I can pick up my pen
And write once again.

All I Wish To Be

I told her once
That I could see the scars
Upon her heart and soul.
That I could see
She had been badly hurt.

There are things
I did not say.
Things that my own heart,
And my own soul
Say to me.

I have seen that hurt
Many times before.
I know what causes it.
I know there was a time
When she loved someone.
And maybe that someone
Once loved her.

But something happened.
Something changed.
Or something
Never really worked.
And the one she trusted
With her heart
Left her.

I don’t need to know why.
I don’t need to know when.
I don’t need to know
How many tears she cried.

All I need to know
I can see
In the scars that are right there
Upon her heart,
Upon her soul.
That I can’t help but see.

I know too many people
That would ignore
What they see.
What their hearts tell them
Is the truth.
What their hearts
Would have them do.

They would not even try
To help.
Because they believe
There is nothing
They can do.
Except to perhaps
Get hurt

“There’s nothing I can do.”
I’ve heard those words
My entire life.
“I can’t be hurt like that
I’ve heard those words
“I don’t need
That kind of pain
In my life.”

I understand those words.
I really,
Truly do.
And it is not my way
To ask anyone
To do anything
They do not believe
That they should do.

But I know too
That there are things
That I can do.
If I only believe
That I can.

You see,
There is a gift
That life has given me.
A magic way
Of using words.
To capture dreams.
And make them real.

And I can use that gift
To create dreams
That I can share
With her.
And with others
That I cannot help
But see.

Upon their hearts
And souls.

And I can use another gift
That life has given me.
The gift of my autistic ways.
To find a way
To extend the hand
Of a friend
To her.

For I would call her

And it would not do at all
I think
If she were to be
Afraid of me.
Afraid that I
Might hurt her
In the way
That caused the scars I see
Upon her heart
And soul.

I will find a way
To take the time it takes
For her,
And others like her,
To understand
That all I want
Is to be a friend.

And that’s all I wish
To be.

Memories : Good Old Mark (2)

Good Old Mark struck
Many times on that trip
To Syria.

There was the day the group
Made the trip
To the swimming hole
Up in the mountains.
My little Pinto and me
Leading the way.

It’s interesting to lead the way
When  you have no idea
Where the heck you’re going.
Even more so
When you don’t get lost,
And drive right to the place
Using only the instructions
Someone gave to you.

Like I said.
It’s damn hard to get me lost.

As we walked the trail
To the swimming hole,
No one really said
A single word to me.
Funny thing about that.
I had to be out front
Of the entire group.
Leading the way
To that dang place.

I didn’t even want to go.
Had no intention
Of swimming at all.
But, at least I could
Climb around on rocks,
And in the mountains
For a bit.

All alone.

Just before you get
To that swimming hole,
You have to climb a slope.
Climb being the word.
It’s about a 70 degree steep hill.

Even I needed to grab
The occasional tree.
It’s sort of like
Going uphill
On your hands and knees.

Of course,
Statistically speaking,
Everyone should understand
That going up is the easy part.
Going down’s
Where people get hurt.

I have always wondered
About the intelligence
Of people in a group.
And I wondered much
About it on that day.
What can you think
When you deal with people
That jump head first
Off a rock up in the air,
Into a pool of water
In the mountains.

“It’s deep enough,”
They all said.
Yeah right…
At least no one wound up dead.

I spent that entire time
That they were at the swimming hole,
Climbing around.
I was the only person
In the group
That climbed to the top
Of the little water fall
That formed the hole.

It was a pretty view
From up there.
I got to see a pretty mountain stream
Flowing through the trees.
With many shades of green
From all the leaves
Reflecting off the water
As it flowed.

I got to watch
The patterns in the water
Where it flowed
Over big rocks.
It’s always mesmerizing
To watch the water flow
Over the rocks.
Making patterns
That are ever changing.

I got to see the way
The color of the water changes
As it flows.
Going from shallow areas
To deeper ones.

No one else
In the whole group
Got to see what I saw
On that day.
No one else cared to.
They were having fun
Being social
In a group.

What’s that all about anyway?
I don’t know.
I never have.
Most likely never will.
It’s one of those big
Mysteries of life
To me.

I do know, though
That sometimes people
Do some stupid things
They would never do
If they were alone
When they’re in a group.

I wonder lots about that too.
Why things are that way.
That’s yet another
Mystery to me.

The leader of the group.
The one that held the meetings,
To work out all the plans
For the entire trip.
Decided it was time
For us to head back to
The retreat in Syria.

She headed toward the hill
That lead back to the trail
That we’d followed
To the swimming hole.

You know dang well
That I went right along
With her.
There was that big damn hill
That we’d had to climb
To get to the swimming hole
In the first place.

I loved that lady dearly.
To be sure
I loved everyone
In that entire group.
Even though sometimes
It felt like they hated me.

But the leader
Was a friend.
She’d taken time
To talk with me
Every now and then
Over the years.

And I knew
She wasn’t the most coordinated
Person that I’d ever met.
So I knew that it made perfect sense
For me to climb down
That big hill
With her.

Couldn’t let her get stuck
On that hill you know.
Or maybe slip,
And hurt herself.
I took care of my friends
Back then.
I still do now.
Even though sometimes
I just doesn’t show.

We took it nice and slow
Going down that hill.
I stayed right with her
Every step of the the way.
I could tell
That the descent
Made her nervous.
It was an observation thing.

The way a person moves
Very cautiously.
Very detailed.
Making sure their feet
Are always someplace safe.
And their hands
Are holding on
To something.

I could tell too
That she was glad
To have the company
On that climb
Back down that hill.

It’s what I do.
What I’ve always done.
What I always will.
I try my best,
And always have,
To take care
Of all my friends.

That’s how friends
Are supposed to be.

As we got to the bottom
Of that steep descent.
She relaxed a lot.
I could see the stress
Fall away from her.
She had a smile
That was to die for.
And such pretty eyes.

Being me, and the way I am,
I never mentioned that
At all.
Not even once.
In all the years
That I knew her.

I didn’t know how.
Not back then.

We smiled at each other.
The way friends do.
The way friends are
Supposed to.
Especially when
They trust each other.
Like we did.

And she said to me
Right then.
“Good old Mark.
Thank you.
Just for being you.”

It took me many years
To understand
Why she said those words
That I hate so very much.
“Good Old Mark.”
God, but I hate those words.

It’s alright.
She didn’t know.
I never told a soul
What those words
Meant to me.
How much they cut
Into my heart and soul.

I know she didn’t mean
To cause me any hurt.
For I know
She thought of me
As a friend.
As someone she could
Always depend on.
In that group of people
On that trip.

And I know
That she meant the words she spoke
As a compliment.
And a true
Thank you.

It was her way
Of thanking me.
For taking the time
To make sure
She got down that hill

And it was perhaps
An acknowledgment
Of how much the entire group
Depended on me
On that trip.

Even though no one
Spoke of it.

I remember her
Very fondly.
One of the few friends
That I had
Back in those days.

I’ve had so few friends
In my life

When I close my eyes
And think of things
From the days back then.
I can still remember
The texture of her
Blond hair.
The magic light
That I saw in her her eyes.
And the beauty
Of her smile.

And I still wonder sometimes
If she ever understood
How much I hated,
And still hate,
Those simple words,
“Good old Mark.”

Dreams : The Sun Sank Into The Ocean

I stood there.
On a cliff.
Overlooking the beach.
It wasn’t every day
I got to see the beach
On the West Coast
Of the USA.

I was south of San Jose.
And the chance had come
For me to take a walk
Along the ocean
At sunset.

Have you ever watched
The sun set
Into the Pacific Ocean?
I have.
It was a beautiful thing.
To see the sun
As it slowly sank
Below the surface
Of the ocean.

As it did,
It painted bands
Of red and orange
On the waves.
Soft warm colors
That seemed to me
To make the ocean
Come to life.

Where the ocean
Met the sand,
Down on a narrow beach
Below the cliff
That I was on,
The sunlight reflected
Off the wet sand.
Causing tiny glints of light,
Like little diamonds,
Or little stars,
On the wet surface
Of that beach.

I stood there for a while.
And I watched the sun
Dissappear beneath the waves.
And still I stood there
And watched.
As all the colors
Of the world
Slowly faded
Into grey.

I thought how very much
The sun setting in the sea
Was such a pretty way
To end another day.
But even as I did,
I felt a sadness
In my heart and soul.

For I realized
As I stood there
On that cliff
Over the ocean.
On the west coast,
That no one there
Got to see
The sun rise from the ocean
When the morning came.

That they never got to see
The black water of the ocean
As it washed up
On the dark grey sand,
Come to life again,
With the coming
Of the sun.

The never got to see
The colors of the world
Come to life each day
With the rising of the sun.
And while I had to say
That the setting of the sun
In to the ocean
On that day
Was very beautiful
To see.

I found I’d rather be
On the east coast,
So that I could watch
As the world woke up
With the rising of the sun.
And the colors
Of the night
Faded away,
Being drowned out
By the myriad of colors
Of the day.

Don’t Protect Me From My Heart

“Don’t Protect Me From My Heart.”
Words I said
18 Months ago.
I meant them then.
I mean them now.

There are times
When I have to be human.
When I have to do
What my heart
Asks me to.

If one of my friends is hurt.
In pain.
Or all alone.
And I can tell
That something’s wrong.

I refuse to let a friend
Hurt all on their own.

There are times
When a friend’s heart aches.
It is the way of life.
Sometimes we hurt.
Sometimes we laugh.
Sometimes we cry.
Sometimes we smile.

Feelings are a part of life.
A gift to each of us.
Like sunshine.
And like rain.
Like walks along the beach.
Feeling sand between your toes.
And like walks in the winter.
In the ice.
And in the snow.
When all you feel is cold.

I know what it feels like
When your heart truly aches.
And your soul
Cries tears of pain.

I know too
What it means
To face such things

It was 18 months ago
When someone I called friend
Was diagnosed with cancer.
And I listened to my heart.
I did what it asked of me.

I cared.

I was told by damn near everyone
That there was nothing I could do.
That I should just do my job.
And let my friend
And her family
Deal with everything
On their own.
That it wasn’t anything
For me to be concerned about.

Everybody was flat wrong.

There was something I could do.
Something they could not.
For I have a gift
That life has given me.
A magic way with words.

So I used words
To tell her stories.
To bring dreams to life.
To share wishes with her.

So that she would always know
That there was someone
On this Earth,
Besides her family,
That cared about her.
About the things
That she was going through.

Even as I did,
I knew
The pain that I felt
What a transient thing.
For pain comes
And goes.
Just like every feeling
That this life
Has given us.

Sometimes, I feel as if
Because I cared,
And let it show,
My actions disturbed
Everyone I worked with.

This was when I learned
That people are afraid
Of things
They don’t understand.
And I was in the kind of pain
That they didn’t understand.

Of course,
By doing what they did
They caused me far more pain
Than they will ever

So, here I am today,
In a brand new life.
One that doesn’t have
The people I once though
Were friends.

As I said,
They don’t understand me.
And they don’t like
What they don’t understand.
The remove such things
From their world.

I have new friends now.
They don’t understand me either.
But they seem to be OK
With that.
As if that’s how
Life’s supposed to be.

And already,
In the past that’s almost past.
I’ve shown the friends
That I have now.

That I care for them.

And once again
I find I have to say
To those I call my friends.

Don’t protect me from my heart.

For my heart
Is very much alive.
And I feel
Both the good
And the bad.
The happy,
And the sad.

And my heart aches,
And my soul
Cries tears of pain
When one of my friends
Is hurt,
Or in great pain.
Or just feeling
All alone.

For you see.
I have this gift
That life has given me.
A way with words.
A gift I’ve learned to use
After all these years.

To let my friends know
They are not alone.

And as long as my heart beats.
And my soul lives within me.

They never will be.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 24

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 24 – Home

Mystica woke up with the coming of the dawn. Scream the dragon was long gone. He’d left after he’d carried Mystica home from the fairy kingdom. For some reason, he’d taken his time flying back. He’d flown past several waterfalls in the mountains. He took his time at each of them, circling them several times. It was as if he wanted to show them to Mystica. And she’d had to admit that each waterfall he’d flown past on that trip had been a joy for her to behold. She’d never really seen real waterfalls before.

Scream had also landed on a couple of mountain tops. The view from there had been majestic. And stunning. Mystica was amazed at how far she could see from those mountain tops. They were just bare, snow and ice covered rock. But the view from them was awesome. Mystica had enjoyed standing there, on Scream’s back. Looking across the landscape for as far as she could see. She could see the clouds up in the sky. And the shadows that they made on the ground, where they filtered the light of the sun. She could see whole villages, here and there in the mountains. She’d never really looked at the clouds from above.

Scream had made one last stop at a mountain top that overlooked the Northern Forest. The forest was so lush, and green. And with the fall coming, the leaves of many trees were starting to change colors. She could see splashes of yellow, orange, and red, scattered here and there among the green. She could see the river that she knew so well, as it flowed out of the mountains, and then meandered through the trees. It’s water sometimes looking as if it were made of liquid silver. She let her eyes trace it for a while. Until it came to the lake within the forest. The lake that was her home. The place where she lived.

Then, Scream and Merlin had taken her home. To the lake itself. Mystica had used her magic to float across the lake, and land on the tree limb that hung over the water. The sun was about to set. But there were several things she wanted to do.

She’s stripped off her clothing, and then dove into the water of the lake. The water felt so very clean, and pure. As if it could wash away the pain she felt in her heart and soul. Her house was gone. So were some of the trees. And the grass of the clearing had been destroyed. She felt the aching in her chest, as she remembered the way that the captain had died. Encased in with magic flame that burned away all the darkness in his heart and soul. Until all that had been left was empty. It hurt her very much to know that there were people with no light in them. People that had been consumed by the darkness that lies within each and every one.

She floated on her back for a time. Looking up at the star filled sky. She wondered sometimes, what stars were. She knew they looked like little dots of light, painted on a canvas that was the black of night. But she didn’t know at all what stars could be.  Other than beautiful to see.

Mystica took a deep breath, and slowly let it out. Letting go of everything that she worried about. She felt her hair, floating in the water. And the way the water caressed every little bit of her. How it felt on both her wings. How in the water her broken wing never seemed to hurt at all. She loved the way the water felt, as it flowed between her toes, and fingers. How exquisite it felt as if flowed across the palms of her hands.

She dove down into the lake, sever times.  Holding her breath. And enjoying the silence that there was beneath the surface of the water. After a time, she had returned to the tree limb above the water. But she hadn’t gotten dressed. She let the air dry her off. Enjoying the breeze, as it flowed past her body. And across her chest. Enjoying how, as her hair dried, the breeze would flow through it, moving it about every now and then.

She’d then used her magic, to make a little place on that tree limb where she could spend the night. The magic caused the branches of the tree limb to arch upward, forming little walls on each side of the limb that would keep her from rolling off. All the lumps and bumps on top of that limb smoothed themselves out, forming a flat surface for her to sleep on.

Mystica stretched out on the tree limb. That night, she slept naked on that limb. The breeze of the early fall night caressing her skin. The stress she felt from the events of the past few weeks floating away on that breeze. For the first time in days, she slept peacefully. With no nightmares.

And the dawn had come. As the black velvet of the night time sky started to fade into the crystal blue of a new day, Mystica woke up. The magic then returned the tree limb to its natural state. Mystica thanked the tree for letting her sleep safely through the night.

Then she dressed. Putting on her underclothes, then the skirt. Putting on the corset last. She floated through the air, across the lake, to the remains of her house, and rummaged through the few food supplies that she had left. That had not been burned in the fire the night of the captain’s attack.

She ate beef jerky that the villagers had given her. She ate the last of her fruit. Raspberries and blackberries. She ate the last of her bread. Then, she washed it down with water from the lake. And she sat down, by the water’s edge, in what used to be the clearing. It was now just barren dirt.

As she sat there, on the dirt, she wondered what to do. A sparrow flew across the little clearing, from one of the burned trees. Mystica held out her hand, and the sparrow landed on a finger. It looked at her. And sang. As it sang, a baby rabbit came into the clearing. It was not much bigger than Mystica’s hand. It lightly hopped across the dirt, and when it got to her, it made a great big leap, and landed on her lap. Mystica placed her free hand on that rabbit. Scratching it delicately, and tenderly, right between its two big ears.

A deer fawn walked from the north. Following the river’s edge. It took a drink one time, as it walked on its awkward legs. It stopped when it got to Mystica. And then it nuzzled her, and settled down onto the ground right next to her. It’s body brushing up against her leg and hip.

Mystica cried tears of joy. For she knew that this was the way the animals of the lake had chosen to welcome her home. Several animals came out of the forest, and walked across the clearing to the water’s edge. Where they stopped and drank.

It was as if they all said the same thing to her “Welcome home.”

The sparrow fell soundly asleep holding to the index finger of her right hand. The bunny closed its eyes and slept for a little while. Right there on her lap. And the fawn took a nap as well. Leaning against Mystica. The animals trusted her. Both the old and young. They knew she would never hurt them. And they welcomed her return.

When the sparrow, rabbit and deer had awakened from their naps, they had gotten up and moved on. But Mystica knew that they had shown her what they wanted her to do. They wanted her to stay here in the forest, by the lake, with them. They’d told her she was home.

She didn’t know what she could do about the damage from the fire to the clearing and the trees. But she knew one of the gifts of the white magic was the gift of healing. So she felt she had to try to heal the scars the fight that had happened in this place had left behind. So she closed her eyes, and held up her staff. White magic light shined brightly in it’s crystal ball. Then Mystica had whispers just one word. “Heal.”

The burned and dead grasses on the ground did not get up and turn green, coming back to life. Instead, she watched, as new grass grew in just a few short hours. So that the burned and scarred dirt of the clearing was covered by green grass once again.

The burned trees that were not dead, healed. Growing new bark, limbs and branches. But if you looked at them, you could see the scars of the fires they had lived through. The dead trees had fallen to the ground, and then decayed. Returning to the land everything that it had given them.

When the sun set that night, the clearing was as heald as it could get in just one day. And Mystica was exhausted from the time and energy she’d spent guiding the white magic on that day.

She’d floated back across the lake, to the tree limb once again. And that limb had made a place for her to sleep.

Mystica slept well that night. With no nightmares again. As the tree limb cradled her, almost tenderly, its branches keeping her from falling to the water below. Making sure that she was comfortable. Branches shifting so the leaves of the tree formed a pillow for her to rest her tired head upon.

Mystica slept that night with the peace that comes when your heart knows you are truly safe. When your soul knows you are home.