Keep it between the two of us

“Come closer” I say uneasily, turning my head in rapid jerks side to side. I lower my gaze close to you but my eyes dart to the edges.

“I’ve got a secret to tell you” I whisper quickly gulping for air.

I take a deep breath and hold it uncomfortably long, preparing to reveal all. You strain your ears and I crane my neck to see if anyone is close by. My head keeps craning, then turning, then spinning. Finally it unscrews entirely and out of my neck pours gemstones and echoes.

In the valley of the leopard

The dawn had just begun gaining on the night, when the leopard spotted the hermit trudging through the thick wet soil.

Slow rays and opaque shadows began to form around them. The leopard shifted on the tree truck with only his eyes staying where they were. The dew on the leaves glittered before crashing down in a shudder.

The rays were pale in this morning, no colours tinged the east, no flush warmed the dawn. The coldness left everything in a semi-translucent glow. The morning came as slowly as a heavy treasure box being opened. But the light was weak, like the monsoon had almost won, extinguishing the Sun.

Ragged winds wheezed, stirring the night clouds. They fluttered but did not stray like an over-confident flock of birds. The hermit looked up with a sudden jerk that surprised him, an unexpected spasm had jumped up on his back.

The sunlight filled slowly leaving a colourless silver gleaming grasp around the horizon. Under these delicate vapours the earth was sodden, puddles exploding over drowning grass, the earth giving way and moving with ease. It clung to paws and feet, gathering distressingly over the tips of claws and toes.

The night birds were still alight, rushing under the wings of the biggest trees that still had clumps of darkness lingering within them. The sun was then risen, a white clear disk, tintless, almost chilling to look at. It remained half hidden behind the dark crest of a hill, looking down solemnly down the whole length of the narrow dale. A dirty trail followed the hermits laboured steps growing ragged and uneven as it came closer to him.

A small grass plot surrounded by scanty brown stalks, flowerless let itself be glimpsed briefly. Behind it was a whitewashed mud wall, bare and stained by water logging. Around it were trees gracefully gathered and rising around the cottage. All alone in the dale they looked imposing. It held an air of seclusion and dipped out of sight.

The hermit only saw himself cast down, his muddy hands over the little flowers of weeds, and thorns pressing into his hands, the dew gathered on them began to mix with blood that at once rushed all around him as he lost all sense around his neck feeling a heavyness on his back, firm nails begin driven deep inside him.

Narco

Narcoleptic truck drivers running down the same road everywhere they go. It never changes, the same colour, the same stops and the same hours.

It’s a mean joke by the authors, you’d think men would have better things to pray for, but the prayers heard are in praise of and in want for a crueler mistress- insomnia. Eyes betraying a dangerous tendency and in toil also comes enough comfort for the stealthy thief to lay a man down at the wheel.

Streetlights go on and off, the roads cut by farmland and crawl through cities, warm dusty haze layering progress. Hold up your shoulders because they want to melt into the seat, your head lolling in a cabin crib.

The roads wouldn’t dare change, turning in the rythm of lullabies incidiously rocking back and forth in calling back bygone memories. A soft dream threatens in its slow grash pulling the hands away from the wheel and letting the axels and turns see to your fate.

Esoteric bank

In the northern banks of the great river, you’ll collect the whiskers of a great white leopard. He wanders along the banks still, though the jungle has fallen. He has thus surrendered his colours. These eyes will meet yours in 2024. The mystic path shines a blinding hue and no end can be seen while on it. Perish if you would turn away from the endless winding woody pathway along the water, where yesterday I was drowning in the warm and glacial waters. Along the sandbank you will see the same unsteady footsteps as I staggered and stubbed my toes envious of the unclasping of sacred scrolls.

The jade canopy turns to a shadow over the pebble glass, the lingering plastic cobwebs on branches wait for the water creeping. The welts of mosquito bites guard the heavenly fold in the shaking voices of birds. The dew will settle over both still and out-worn hearts where twilight once walked. Between the mangrove roots I found a clear view of the eddies gleaming in the light of the minds eye. Well deserved saline plunge, the flowerbeds the only lantern, stillness the midwife of rebirth on the lofty grass.

Exit 5 tails

There was once a cat with five tails, each tail for a house she could visit. Every night with the moonlight shining in her eyes she would go to a different home.

One day, the old servant in the first house of the street, the great yellow manor, asked the cat to stay another day.

“Why do you go away, my pet, night after night?”

“I can never stay except on the nights when there is no moonlight” said the black cat in response.

The old lady was curious. The black cat had been here a long time, longer than even she could remember. Then suddenly, she was unsure. How could it be that even she did not know when the cat came? No, even when she was not old at all, the cat lurked in the corners of what she remembered, all five tails carried through the past.

So one day, after the moonless night, she prepared a plan. All day she toiled away, making butter, a lot of it. She brought it out and left it by the kitchen stove, she kept the windows and doors open, she fanned the smell of butter all through the house. She knew that the night drew near and the cat would be waking from her nap on the thatched roof. The old lady slipped out of the room but kept watch through a door left ajar. From her hiding spot she used a single eye placed between the doors slight opening to protect her trap. She saw the cat slipping in through an invisible space between the rafters.

Intoxicated with the smell in the air, the cat slipped inside, leaping off the cupboards and landed nimbly by the stove. All five tails held high, she looks around, ears turning at every creek and eyes like mirrors. She sees nothing but the witches brew in front of her and starts to eat. She eats and eats, delighted by a truly rare treat. Soon the pot is empty and her stomach is full. She’s so full, so tired that she must sleep. She curls around the stove and lies motionless.

So deep is her slumber that she poops right by the stove, too deep in groggy sleepiness that she doesn’t even want to go far. Right then the old lady arrives and takes her away, wrapping her up under the blanket, to keep her home for the night.

The next morning, the old lady wakes up and only sees the night. She moves to a mirror and meets only the cat looking back at her, their eyes meeting in the reflection. Neighbors watch the cat appear on the roof, their eyes shine like mirrors turned to sunlight. She arches, all five tails held aloft behind her and without a thought disappears into a corner, as cats often do.

Send help

While lazily writing and trying quickly to describe my character without thought I wrote him as indescribable. Seeing it worked so well I went on a rampage, his voice indiscernible, his features indescribable, his visage unobservable. This was an BIG mistake. You must understand, most of these words mean “unable to be described by words”. But since ineffable and all the rest are descriptions in word form a vortex opened up from every full stop I’d added scattering me across a indescribable, featureless void.

Thankfully this grammatic void has free wifi and my feelings on it unformed. Yet I’m not getting any writing done here, so send help ASAP!

Chariot of morning

I sat at the edge of my room, on that early night. I was by the French window not ready to go out into the cold and hostile air. Inside more habitual minds were asleep.

I too began to doze at my post, snoozing at the doorway, phasing in and out of the sunset. In a few winks I was deep into the night, the sounds of stillness all about me. I looked inside and out for answers still too drowsy to ask any questions. The ringing fury of a motorcycle came to my attention. That was with me as I woke up, maybe it was what woke me up.

My eyes drifted out towards it but I could see nothing on the street. Who was here in this outskirt hamlet? Why did the noise grow louder with any step I took? I looked back inside with hesitation. With the time taken to turn back, awake and explain the sound might be gone.

I took a few steps down past my compound and into the empty road ignoring the cutting chill of the night. Suddenly the Banyan on the corner shock with force and I noticed it had lost all leaves on it’s left side. Every breath felt like an icy cut and only then did I realise that not a light was on. Ever house closed and shuttered with not a single sound of life.

Suddenly from my right I head a roaring crescendo like a train barreling down on me. I turned back in horror but saw that my house was far, so far away and I was without any knowing step in the middle of the street. I turned expecting steel carnage but saw nothing under the moonless night sky.

Then with a shudder I felt it, first from the warm stream brushing past me, then hearing it from the creaking gears slowing through the rumbling machine. It was a chariot, steel and silver with no horses but instead four chrome plated Enfields. No riders sat upon them. Only a charioteer spoke to me, commanding me onto the carriage.

“Ascend”

I wanted to beg, plead and bargain. But I could not turn away. What of all that I was promised? The warmth and familiar home?

I looked at the un-reality before me. No dream I had was ever this clear, this long and discomforting. I held myself and realised my skin had never felt so cold in any dream, no I hardly noticed at all. It seemed like the steel and chrome were the very edges of being – like the linings of clouds ready to break and dissipate at any moment but instead of clouds there was only emptiness. I strode up onto the carriage and saw the reigns in my hands.

With horror, I realised I must not dare look back to where I came. With these reigns I could do no good and knew I could do no evil for I knew not what it was. It was from the beginning, my voice that the charioteer spoke with. I had turned back and in turning the reigns were already afloat. The engines driving the chariot burned and in red fury I left that shuttered home, the cold no longer something I could feel. Now at last the deepest night was silent.

Astronomer’s map

Two detectives looked carefully out of the apartments’ only window wondering if any clues we outside. Newspapers had reported that an astronomer was found dead this morning.

The astronomer was found dead in a room locked from the inside and oddly enough from the outside too. No one had expect her back in town. Her neighbours didn’t care for her and her telescope pointed rudely at their daily lives. They said she spent as much time star gazing as she did snooping.

Next to her was a sapphire and a serene Golem. The Golem was a mannequin coated in the rich clay from the northern rivers. How could she afford a sapphire? How did she find the clay this far south? The detectives walked all over her star charts as they returned from their tea break.

They knew exactly what needed to be done. Both sapphire and astronomer were gone. The Golem trashed and the rest were forgotten, never in the papers again. The detectives would return to the front-pages, wallets fatter with another case.

Arnulf’s dragon

Deep under the fortresses that Arnulf the crusader was patroling an egg began to hatch. The strong brown stones of the fortress were ancient rock seated on a cliff.

The cliff face was assailed by wind and rumours of war parties constantly but night after night only the moon came to visit. No villagers remained by the walls and the huts had been torn down long before. The palm trees swayed gently as dust drifted past. The ramparts oversaw steep drops and dangerous paths, nothing else was left. The guards were a nervous lot. They were sick and plauged by fever dreams.

They were the ones slowing down the forced marches. All alone behind the stone walls they were terrified of both being discovered by another war party and of being forgotten by their own. They would survive neither. Their armours’ cold metal was harsh against their gaunt, pale skin and many slouching figures could be seen periodically shuddering.

After the scorching day came the unbearably night with a cold vengeance. The rocks used to build the castle, to build back it’s battlements and towers were old. Long before a spring ran through here and it had a different name. Pilgrims came for a different God, one that lived in the deepest valley, and built shrines and monuments in his name. Those structures were pulled down, those idols turned away and the carvings worn down to faceless figures piled up to make a rampart.

With old myths forgotten what hatched under the castle, deep in the well serving the sick had no name, no cause and no reason. In the moonless night an old Norman crossbow man was the first to scream when he saw what was in the bucket of water he was drawing. He slipped and fell right inside.

The castle was overrun with panic as everyone rushed to remove the sickly Norman from the water. Lamps were turned about in haste and something was seen in the water. Nothing came of this, except from curses directed at the Norman. He would not last long, not even in the minds of the party that set off abandoning the fortress after they saw it had taken away more than it was ever worth.

Arnulf’s lean figure grew in power as the crusader’s ranks and bodies thinned. He was sent to bury the dead in proper graves far away from those who did not want to be reminded of what awaited them. The castle grew quieter, the food went by faster despite the hungerless troops frozen in unease and the water, the water was worst of all metallic and bloody in colour.

A year had passed before the main host returned to the fortress covered in sand. No one remained but overturned graves and signs of battle. That night they met Arnulf’s dragon. Crocodilian in shape with a short snout, a scaly limless body that twisted and turned in the nature and speed of a snake. It had defended him as the guards turned on themselves, he nurtured it and it grew fast, the length of three men with the strength of ten.

It came on a moonless night when the troops were sick from the water and already dreaming of marching to Cairo. It came with all the uproar of a small skirmish, skattering troops, knocking over lamps and sending entire battalions lurching out into the valley looking for the ambush that had caused the chaos. While the troops tried to gather their skittish horses their lying eyes saw Arnulf’s dragon slither right out of the gate, he called for it from the valley, cursing and screaming in Norman, only worsening the uproar.

Brave knights charged in lamplight and were thrown by their horses. Their axes and swords were not made to hunt reptiles, their lances stabbed dangerously into the darkness where their comrades squinted. Quickly they cleared a path and the next morning at least 5 companies had slain the beast, then 10 and many more as the weeks past. The worm under the castle grew with every passing month as the crusaders marched further and faster from the path to Cairo.

For a few hundred years or more as crusader kings were annointed and dethroned, brave knights returned to the valley. Arnulf was never seen again but his dragon slew Knight after Knight till one had their vengeance. Again and the crusaders would return to be slain till they implailed the dragon with their steely lances. Yet with every crusade the dragon came again. Arnulf’s valley always took it’s toll.