Pooka Likes Dublin

I let my head fall back to the outpouring sky.
“You want a piece of me?” I thought-yelled up at the rain. Apparently, it did, seeing as it began to pummel my face harder. Continue reading Pooka Likes Dublin

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I Know How a Banshee Is Born

Grandmother always told the stories at nighttime. It was when she conversed with the darkness, exchanged the liquid blackness of past and present and when I would lay still in my bed with the unsettling sensation it wasn’t me she was talking to. When the sun set, the stories came out, but these stories did not belong to Grandmother. They belonged to the two glittering things that stared down at me before bedtime, a shadow face that did not exist in the day.

“Your great aunt,” the shadow face said, “had the most beautiful voice in all the village. Pity that she never left the old country. She truly could’ve made something of herself here with that voice. But in the old country, no. In the old country there were few occasions for singin. My mother, your great-granny, used to say she was too beautiful.” The glittering things disappeared momentarily into the darkness as she laughed. “She never said that about me, I’ll tell you! But my mother always said it, that Sister was too beautiful, like it was some reason for mourning, some kind of curse.

“And she was. My sister. Not just her voice, everything about her. Her heart, her spirit. She had a soft face, gentle eyes. Not as clever as I was as a lass, mind you, even though I was the younger. She had that innocence that animals have, if you know what I mean. Like a bird, up in a tree singing, all beautiful and careless. I loved her, but Mother—well, she was busy with five other little ones, so she mostly ignored the two of us. My sister more so. It was like Mother knew what was going to happen. The way she’d look at my sister, so distant and scientific, like she wasn’t even looking at her own daughter.

“I reckon Mother was partly to blame for the way things turned out. My sister was a joyful creature, but time made her sadder. And sadness made her more beautiful. By fifteen she was indisputably the most beautiful of God’s children, man or woman, in all the village. And around that time was when a sickness came to the village. Mind you, back then wasn’t the way it is now days, where’s all you need to do is run down to the kitchen to telephone the country doctor. Back then, you had to run to the doctor’s house, and if you were lucky he was home, and if you were real lucky, he knew something about whatever ailment brought you there.

“Anyway, the winter was rough, and when the disease come along with a cold Spring, there wasn’t much to be done. There was at least one burial every week, and small village as we were, everyone would gather ‘round solemnly in the cemetery. I remember how at the first funeral everyone came with bouquets of flowers, but by the fourth, each family came with just one rosebud or white lily because everyone was starting to ration out their respects.

“Sister always came with two flowers in her hair which she’d place over the grave after it was all covered, which made Mother real mad since our garden was already so picked over. But the village loved her, because she would come singin’—they called it keenin’ since they was mourning songs. She earned a real reputation from it, she did. People in nearby villages even heard about it, and would send for her some Sundays when someone was being laid to rest.

“Everyone wanted to say thank you for her beautiful voice, but being a poor village as it was, no one had much to give. Some of them started giving her small bottles of spirits, but soon as she brought one into the house, Mother got so angry she pushed her out the door and told her to get rid of that devil juice. Father had had a real drinking problem, and Mother thought all of our problems came from those darn bottles.

“Sister wasn’t wasteful, so she hid them, started drinkin’ them the next year, when she was sixteen. Said that the warmth made her forget the sadness. Said they were a gift.

“Something else changed that year. I reckon that’s what made her start drinkin’ in the first place. Sister was used to walkin’ all around town singin’ like always, but since the year of all the deaths, every time someone heard her, they would start to cry. Sister couldn’t stand to see how sad her voice seemed to make everybody, but every time they heard her sing, they’d think about the loved one in the ground, back to the day they buried ‘em.

“It wasn’t bad at first. Sister sang less. Grew quieter. She took to wearing a black cloak most all the time, which she draped over her green dress and stopped wearing flowers in her hair. But silence wasn’t enough.

“By the next year, every time someone saw her beautiful figure in the streets it made them cry. Eventually, when all the tears dried up, people started gettin’ real angry whenever she left the house and went out in public. They cursed her, I reckon because the mem’ries of their lost loved ones were too painful.

“More and more she would leave for the countryside, to be away from the village, to go singin’ in other villages, before they too began to think only of all their deaths when they saw her. She brought back lots of liquor because that’s how everybody thought to thank her, you see.

“Two years later, when sister was eighteen, our youngest brother died. Mother asked her to sing at the funeral. Sister didn’t want to, but I begged and begged her. I wish I hadn’t, but I wanted her to sing, because it was our little brother, and it seemed like it was how we ought to say goodbye. Mother grew to despise the sight of her, just like the rest of the villagers. Every time she saw Sister, she’d say my brother’s name. She’d weep, or shout, or tell Sister to get out of her sight.

“That was when Sister left home. She was still beautiful. Even the long walks in the countryside, out in the elements, couldn’t change that beautiful moonlight skin. When I would see her, she would smile sadly at me, but wouldn’t speak, like the voice within her was drying up from so much silence.

“That same year news of her death came to our family. She was out wandering as usual, and some vagrants had sliced her stomach in half with a knife, leaving her blood to seep into the winter snow. The old country doctor, the one I mentioned, was the one who found her, on his way back from a house visit for some poor old lady with consumption.

“She was already dead, you see. The vagrants had stolen the silver cross she wore around her neck and taken her cloak. They buried her in the forest, not the cemetery, since it was too far from town to carry her and too snowy for any wagons to get through.

“I never saw the body. Sometimes I wished she was still alive. That I could hear her singing, keenin’ in the wind. She would’ve been something over here, I’m telling you! All that beauty, that voice, and nothin’ but sadness.”

I felt Grandmother’s coarse hand near my cheek as she pulled the wool blanket up closer to my chin. “You would’ve liked your great aunt.”

But I didn’t think so, because all I could picture was a beautiful girl with her stomach spilled out across a red patch of snow.

~

Six days before Grandmother passed away she told me the story of the Bunworth Banshee. She left the light on, because she wanted to get it just right and read it in the practiced words of Lady Wilde. So, instead of lying down, eyes locked upon the two glittering specks in the darkness, I sat up cross-legged in my bed and heard the tale of how an old Mr. Bunworth died, and how the wailing of the Banshee was heard outside his window.

“Where do Banshees come from?” I wanted to know.

Two months ago, Grandmother told me about how the faeries, or the good people, fell down from heaven, but didn’t fall quite far enough to land in hell. “There is a story behind every story,” she’d told me then.

Now, she peers up at me, the light of the single lightbulb in the room reflected as two orbs in her glasses. She places the big book of legends down in her lap and contemplates the question. “One day you will have to read this ole book and find out for me!”

I laughed, and Grandmother read on, and Mr. Bunworth died, but I did not feel sad or scared, because it was a book of legends, and it was Grandmother, not the shadow face speaking. Grandmother had to tickle me to lie down in bed and then she gave me a goodbye kiss and pulled the string that turned off the light.

As the dry branches of the tree next to my bedroom window scratched across the glass, I thought of the wailing Banshee. I pictured her wizened old face, her white hair, her toothless mouth, her dirty, crooked fingernails, as I fell asleep. Legends, I thought, are not so scary as the stories they tell us.

~

The circumstances of Grandmother’s death were strange, though the death itself surprised nobody. She was going to be ninety-three next year (as Father put it, much to my mother’s dismay, she was reaching her expiration date). She was found peacefully asleep one morning. Asleep in the most extreme sense of the word, her body situated for a comfortable descent into eternal rest.

The day prior, as I was walking back from school along with the other children, I saw an old woman, with long white hair, dressed in a green dress and a black coat, standing on a street corner. She held out a small aluminum can and howled every time someone passed by.

The other children ran across the street to walk on the other side, but I did not like being taken for a coward, so I walked right passed her. She was old, with shriveled hands, but I detected a sad beauty in her face. She grew silent when I walked by, and watched me with keen green eyes.

I quickened my pace and darted up the block to stand on my tiptoes, ringing the bell emphatically that granted me entrance to the upper apartment where my family lived. Her wailing frightened me.

Later that night, the branches scraping at the window spoke to me in her voice. Father entered my room, stumbling after dark, and asked had I made any noise?

Mother did not let me see the body. She thought it was too morbid. In the kitchen, she clasped me in her arms from behind and I felt her chin rest on the top of my head. “You are too beautiful for such things,” she said, and I could feel the words vibrate down my skull.

I shrank away from her in dismay and helped myself to some Lucky Charms.

~

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
– E

(photography courtesy Acton Wright)

The Curse of Blackwood Hollow: Part Three

Being dead, you know, gets confusing sometimes. I have to really work at things alive things don’t have to worry about. Like sitting on chairs. I only ever need to for Sybil’s sake, so I seem more like a person and less like a thing. Or like remembering the dimensions of human space. Humans have a lot of rules. Walk on the ground. Sit on things, not through them. High fives are supposed to kind of hurt and make a sound. Use past tense for things some things and the future tense for others. I always mix them up. Everything is present for me, and things don’t end where humans say they end and begin where they say they begin. That’s a thing you learn as a former human. Things is jumbled. All jumbled up. Everything.

I say that a lot to Sybil, and she thinks she gets it, and maybe she does get it more than most.

I can’t really say that I’m old. Sybil can say it, and does say it. A lot. I think she must be making jokes that are funny to humans, because she laughs a lot when she’s referring to my age. I don’t get them. I don’t feel old. I don’t really understand time anymore. Like I said, people have a lot of rules. For some reason it comforts them.

Not that I can say I’m much better off, being beyond the rules. I get wretchedly lonely. I talk with the trees sometimes. That’s a perk. And I have Sybil. But sometimes she misunderstands me and I never know what to do about it besides wandering around the earth and letting myself flow through underground places and high, unreachable-by-humans places.

The worst is a recurring moment called All Hallow’s Eve. It’s hard for me to separate seconds from the ones before and after, and days from years. But I always know when All Hallow’s Eve is now, and I hate it every time it comes.

Every time, I go to my gravestone, and Sybil goes with me.

I go to Blackwood Hollow graveyard—sorry, I guess I should say went. I went with Sybil to the little patch of dirt and weeds where us “old folk” are interned. I wasn’t the only one buried there, but I’m the only ghost. I don’t like to think about it.

I laid my hand against my gravestone. It took all of my concentration, and all of Sybil’s. I can’t do it without her. Then, suddenly, I feel the cold. In an instant, I feel the boundary of the stone. I feel where it begins and ends. Humanness seeps back into me. It’s a terrible feeling, in a way, like accepting a chain around your neck. But there’s always lurking in my mind the reason I must retain the feeling of limits, of a body. Why I must fight to stay on this earth.

I’m waiting for someone.

Now I feel the groundedness, the rules flood through me. I am renewed/ re-enslaved. Things can be both. That’s another thing you learn. A lot of things are quite simply “both.”

“I feel eyes.”

Sybil looks—looked at me judgementally. I didn’t mind. There was no point to.

I tried to explain. “Not… my eyes. His eyes.”

“Whose eyes?” she asked.

I closed my eyes and focused. My eyes. So I could feel them! That felt a bit good. “Someone watches.”

Sybil scowled out at the dark graveyard. She didn’t like people doing underhanded things. I was pretty sure she didn’t like people, period. “Who?”

I put a hand on her shoulder, and reveled in it. I could feel her shoulder. I could feel my hand. “Pretend I am still here. Talk. He will not see me.”

Sybil did not say anything for a moment, but after I moved away, she began muttering conspiratorially to no one.

He did not see me approach his tree. He did not see me loom behind him. He only heard my voice when I boomed, “Puck” and raised my hand.

It had to be done, every All Hallow’s Eve. That was the price of my staying. I had to do its bidding on this one night, and it always asked for blood. I hadn’t liked Puck from the beginning, but if I could have then, I would have told him to run. I raised my hand and brought it down until I felt his face split beneath my nails.

He howled unlike anything I’d ever heard, and I couldn’t help wondering what he was exactly. Then his eyes closed and his head fell back, but he wasn’t dead—I would know. So I went back to Sybil and told her to get him help. I had other things to do.

I went to the top of the hill, and sunk down beneath the earth, and waited for it. It got darker and darker, and the stars refused to shine, so I knew it was coming. At last it came, and I spread the blood before it. The blood sank into the earth and I knew it was pleased. A whisper ran on the wind, and for just a moment, I could feel the back of my neck. It crawled.

You do not wait in vain. She is coming.

The Curse of Blackwood Hollow: Part Two

For the record, I never believed he was a ghost. That would’ve taken a level of reclusive ignorance that even I, Blackwood Hollow’s teen troglodyte and tea-leaf reader, could not claim to possess. When he showed up two weeks prior to the incident, even if his highly unoriginal “the entire world bores me” air hadn’t announced his mundane humanity, the Hollow’s Tribune did by running a brief profile on Blackwood’s two newest residents: a single mother and her son escaping the bustle of the city. This I considered to be pretty sure proof of nonspirithood.

So you may be wondering why when the kid with the raven black hair and freckled pixie nose sat down at our lunch table I played along. It wasn’t the first time some peer of mine had the brilliant idea to pretend to be some kind of spirit, like I couldn’t tell the difference. When you’ve spent the greater part of your time consorting with spirits, these sorts of occurrences are inevitable. I like to think they keep me grounded to humanity in their harmless devilry, or reaffirm why I choose spirits for company instead of other mortals.

Anyway, Puck is a name for mischievous spirits (which he would know, were he literate enough to read Shakespeare), so maybe this is why I forgave the newcomer. I was slightly disappointed to see him so soon in league with Wesley and George, the two most unoriginal teenage boys imaginable, but something in the earnestness with which he played his ghost-part brought an honor to his impish namesake I could not ignore.

“I’m Sybil,” I said, and extended a hand to shake.

“Puck,” he said, momentarily forgetting himself and his corporeality and stretching his hand forward. He stopped at the last moment, holding his palm up to the cafeteria light over head as though he were seeing it for the first time. “Do I seem…translucent…to you?” he asked.

I heard Jakob whisper something in my ear and forced a straight face. “Yes…yes!” I leaned so close to Puck’s hand that my nose almost touched it, and celebrated in the look of anxious discomfort that seeped through his face. “Yes! You seem very transparent to me.”

Jakob didn’t like Puck from the beginning, but to tell you the truth, I was looking forward to having a flesh-and-blood human friend, for at least a short while, even if it wasn’t a real friendship.

I have been a Seer for as long as I can remember, which exempts me from most monotonous human experiences like Homecoming or studying for SATs, but that also means that I don’t get human friends who I can actually high-five or introduce to the somewhat psychotic aunt who lives in the downstairs bedroom of our two bedroom shack.

See, I didn’t want him to get hurt, just like I’m sure he didn’t want to hurt me by pretending to be a ghost and all. In fact, I didn’t even know he followed me to the graveyard.

I guess now I should explain a bit about Jakob.

Everyone pretends that Coots on his tractor is the oldest resident in Blackwood Hollow, but Jakob is older. He was buried in Blackwood Hollow graveyard before Coots was born, which gives you an idea of how miserable and lonely he gets.

Once a year, he goes to visit his gravestone, and once a year I go with him. Once a year, All Hallow’s Eve gives him back a small part of his fading corporeality, and he can set his spirit hand against the cool gray surface that bears his name, and linger over what it is to feel. Once a year.

Then, one year — this year — Puck is there. And if there’s one thing the spirits of Blackwood Hollow don’t like on All Hallow’s Eve, it’s a spectator.

Read Part One by Acton

Happy Halloween!

The Curse of Blackwood Hollow: Part One

It started out as a prank. For most of us, that is. To tell you the truth, I wish I had never gotten involved, honest-to-God. Plainly I wish I had never even moved to Blackwood Hollow in the first place.

I should start telling the story from the beginning really and tell you just how everything ended up in this miserable mess, but you’re probably dying to know how I got this monstrous atrocity of a cut on my face. Well, if you could see me, that’s what you would be wondering. So I think I’ll skip ahead to the end for a moment.

The cut is all purply and pulsing and the doctor’s say not to take off the bandages because I might faint again and that it’ll probably leave a scar. It spans the side of my face just above my right eye and I kind of love and hate the idea of having a scar. For one it would make me look pretty devil-may-care but also, I think my face was just fine before Jakob decided to decorate it. Oh and it hurts like a—well, I better not say.

How did I get it, you ask? Well to be perfectly blunt, I was attacked by a ghost in the Blackwood Hollow graveyard. The police say I’m not thinking clearly because the cut is so deep and because one of the guys involved in the prank (the cops have the audacity to attribute the grand title of “friend” to him without my consent) was found with a flask in his jacket pocket.

I swear I didn’t drink, officer. I’m not into that kind of stuff anyways. The only reason I got involved in the first place was because I’m not one to pass up a good prank and it genuinely sounded harmless.

Back to the beginning. My mom and I moved to Blackwood Hollow about two weeks ago. Mom was looking for a fresh start and I didn’t have a choice. You see, I’m a junior so mom figured that transferring to a new high school wouldn’t be so bad as long as it wasn’t my last year or anything. I think she’s regretting that now.

I don’t know what Blackwood Hollow is like during the rest of the year, but in October it’s like living in a harvest festival. There are pumpkins everywhere and this old guy, Coots or something like that, drives his tractor around town offering free hay rides everyday.

Don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkin patches and corn mazes as much as the next guy but the whole thing came across as a little over the top. Mom thinks it’s absolutely adorable and has been saying things like “small town community” with overwhelming adoration ever since we arrived. I think it’s a bit obsessive.
Blackwood Hollow is small enough that people forget that there’s a world outside of it. I don’t. We used to live in the city.

There’s town meetings every fortnight and lots of retired old people who have nothing better to do than stop you mid-street and talk your ear off for quarter of an hour before saying, “Lovely to meet you Jack” before continuing their hunt for the next young victim.

My name’s Puck actually. For some reason elderly people don’t think that’s a real name so they opt for calling me names like Jack and Buck—I don’t see how Buck is more of a name than Puck but there you have it.
I think Puck means something like ‘one who makes bad decisions’ or ‘one likely to get punched in the face’—I can’t say for sure but it would certainly fit my experience.

One thing you have to understand about me is that I get restless fairly easily. I don’t like to cause problems or anything like that, but I do like to keep things interesting and entertaining. I’m no stranger to the principal’s office, but the police station, that’s something new.

I know mom will chalk up my behavior to the influence of my new “friends” and let me off the hook. Heck, I’m going to blame it on them too.

Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that this story really begins with me finding Blackwood Hollow a touch too boring and a certain girl named Sybil.

My first day at Blackwood High was going poorly. If I was the kind of boy who admitted to things like being scared, I would’ve said that I was terrified out of my mind. Everyone was gawking at me like they had never seen another human before in their life and the teachers wanted to haul me up to the front of every classroom to interrogate me in front of my peers.

By third period I couldn’t take it anymore. Some pushover called Mr. Douglas asked if I felt like coming to the front and introducing myself which was going to be the third time that morning. I said, no I did not feel like it. He said, oh come on, it’ll just be a sec. I said, no thank you.

Mr. Douglas blinked at me. Some of my classmates grinned because I was being what adults like to call “smart-alecky.”

Mr. Douglas cleared his throat. “Everybody, this is Puck. He’s new to Blackwood Hollow. I’m sure you’ll all give him a very nice welcome.” He didn’t look like he wanted me to have a nice welcome. “Anything you’d like to add, Puck?”

I shook my head. I didn’t dare open my mouth again because I was liable to say something offensive and it looked like I had already made Mr. Douglas’s naughty list.

I think that was the moment I caught the boys’ attention. I think that’s when people began to suspect what I was all about.

In fourth period, I saw Sybil for the first time and I thought she was a complete nutter. The reason she caught my attention is that she didn’t gawk at me. She didn’t even look at me once.

That makes it sound like I have a ginormous ego, but like I said, I didn’t want to be gawked at. It was just weird, that’s all.

That was the first sign that Sybil was different.

She happened to be in my sixth period class too and that’s when I found out how truly loopy she was. She just lost it. I mean, she just started giggling for apparently no reason and she was fixated at a place behind the teacher’s desk even though Mrs. Bradshaw was on the other side of the room.

I could see her blue eyes moving with whatever invisible thing she was watching and I came to believe she really thought something was there. She stifled another laugh.

“Weird, isn’t she?” one of the girls sitting next to me whispered, following my gaze. “I hear she still thinks she has an imaginary friend. Certainly doesn’t have any real ones.”

Nobody else seemed to notice or care much about Sybil. I guess they were used to it by then.

Finally, in seventh period I left to “use the restroom” and wandered the halls when I turned the corner and found Sybil standing alone at her locker, facing an empty hallway and having a whispered conversation with nobody.

The whole thing was so strange that I couldn’t help but obsess over it just a little. If she was truly mental, why was she allowed to roam the school? It was in that moment that Sybil became the entertainment I needed in this boring new town.

The next day, the boys caught me staring at Sybil from afar and that’s when things really got underway. I was sitting in the cafeteria at a table alone when suddenly I was engulfed by their pack. One of the boys, Wes, sat across from me and folded his hands on the table like he had a proposition for me.

There was no point in denying that I had been watching her, so instead I asked coolly, “Does she always eat alone?”

“She’s not alone, she’s eating with Jakob,” Wes replied with mock seriousness, eyes glinting with mischief.

“Jakob?” I murmured curiously. I remember thinking right away that Wes had a punchable face. Some people just have punchable faces, maybe they can’t help it.

“Her imaginary best friend,” Wes explained, snickering with the rest of the boys.

I stared at them. “Is something. . .wrong with her?”

Wes, who by now I was certain was the official or unofficial leader of the boys, shook his head. “Besides that little quirk, she’s as sane as I am.”

I frowned, intrigued by my new information. “So she still believes in imaginary friends?”

Wes nodded. “Don’t believe me?” He leaned forward and I knew whatever trouble he was up to was coming. “Why don’t you go over and introduce yourself to her? You’re new. Tell her nobody else can see you either.”

Okay, okay. So I know this sounds absolutely cruel and I don’t want you to get the wrong idea because I’m not a cruel person. But come on, how often do you get to pretend to be imaginary? And I was curious. I wanted to know if she would actually believe it.

So without a word to Wes and the others, I stood up, strode across the lunchroom to Sybil and sat down diagonal from her.

Her blue eyes flicked in my direction and I could see a slight crease in her forehead as if she was puzzled.

I was slightly nervous but when I caught her gaze, I feigned surprise and whispered urgently, “Can—can you see me?”

Sybil’s mouth hung open for a moment. “Why shouldn’t I?”

I jumped to my feet—at this point Wes and the others had moved closer in order to hear everything—and stood in front of one of the boys, George. I waved a hand in front of George’s face dramatically and dutifully, he pretended like I wasn’t there.

Sybil’s mouth widened. “Sit down, what are you doing here?”

I obeyed and sat down beside her, heart pounding. “I’m not sure.”

“Are you a ghost?”

“I’m not sure.”

Sybil eyed me suspiciously. “I’m Sybil,” she said finally.

“Puck.”

I caught Wes winking at me out of the corner of my eye as he led the group away. I didn’t feel any guilt yet. All I felt was a thrill and the overwhelming curiosity about Sybil. Little did I know that come All Hallow’s Eve, things were going to get very very out of hand.

And that’s how this horrible story begins.

Read Part Two by Ellis

Parking Garage Humans

 You feel them coming first, before anything else. It starts somewhere in the back of your mind, somewhere you don’t really pay much attention to until it’s the only place in your mind that has your attention. It’s like your mind is a glass of water and you miss the fact that vibrations in the ground are sending small rippling waves across the surface. The surface breaks and the water sloshes out of the bowl and you sit up with a jolt. That’s how it begins.
 Next your heart begins to beat the slightest bit faster. You can’t help it. It’s not nerves or anything like that, it’s just part of the effect and that’s all. It feels like the earth is trembling and the concrete beams in all directions will shake themselves loose. So you feel that they’re coming.
 Maybe you try to ignore it or maybe you sit up and stare out your window, but either way, they have your attention now. That’s when you start to hear them. Windows down or windows up, it’s amazing either way that the glass hasn’t all shattered.
 You feel the vibrations in your very bones and your ears try to make sense of something so loud you can’t quite understand exactly what it is you are listening to. The noise (or if you are feeling generous, the music) grows louder still and you hear the additional and occasional squeal of tires, the revving of an engine.
 Finally, you see them. More often then not you feel surprised and maybe a bit disappointed because you were expecting a red Lamborghini or a yellow Mustang or at least something black and sleek. But all you see is the green Honda civic or the silver Volvo or mom’s old minivan and a very small figure sitting behind the dashboard, clutching at the steering wheel with one hand, hoping it doesn’t vibrate out of grasp.
 The tires let out another squeal, and likely they do too, as they take the curve in the parking garage a bit too quickly and narrowly dodge the concrete walls. They pull away and out of your sight. The noise becomes incoherent once more. Once again, all you are left with is the thumping in your chest and in your body and the pounding in your ears until all becomes still and silent.
 Once again it is as if nothing has happened, as if there have been no disruptions to the water in that bowl in the corner of your mind and not a drop has been spilt, but you think something.
 You think something usually related to ‘need for attention’. Words like ‘ridiculous’ or even just ‘wow’ float in and out. And maybe you think, this is how we humans must look to the rest of the universe and all the other creatures in our world. Maybe we are parking garage humans in a world of quiet creatures watching us from the windows of their cars.

Nepenthe

“One swallow.”

“Are you sure about this?”

“Absolutely.”

Leda held the opaque vial filled with milky white potion up to her eyes, examining the contents warily.

“I’m tired Rue,” she murmured softly, almost inaudibly.

“Drink Leda.”

Leda’s eyes flashed away from the vial and found Rue’s pale blue ones, making a desperate plea. Rue was calmer than ever.

“Trust me,” Rue commanded.

Hesitantly at first, and then suddenly boldly Leda lifted the vial to her lips and sipped. Continue reading Nepenthe