Burn Bitter

God’s name used to be honey. Thick. Sweet. A taste that settled heavenly on your tongue and pleased you to speak. You served ever grateful, just for the sip of his name as it uttered from your lips.

Now, it’s a tar. Too bitter – it puckers at your lips. The sludge of it clings and clogs in your throat, bubbles up when you try to speak. One little word, once a sweet balm within your mouth leaves acrid little ulcers along your tongue and spews out like bile to burn cracked lips.

Yet as you lay at Hell’s floor, looking up, up, towards that which you forsook, you speak it still. The agony of it burns just as the deathly aching cold of Hell burns. Will the bitter break and bring sweet succor back to you? You hope it does. You pray it, even if your prayers echo hollowly around you and there’s no one there to care, let alone to answer.

God… God…

He can’t hear you.

God… God…

And your gums melt away each time you say it.

Scorch

You think, when you Fall, that Hell will be a pyre in which your damned and rotten soul will burn. You anticipate the lick of flames against your flesh, searing the skin and then sizzling the fat, scorching the meat before it chars and cracks your bones to coals. You await the embrace of the flame. You want it, need to taste the ash in your mouth and savor how it suffocates you.

For a lifetime.

For eternity.

You Fall to your Temptations, to the weight of your Sins, to the Earth and then below it deep down where wretched souls and the Fallen just like you reside. Heaven’s Light grows dimmer, dimmer, and you think it’s good riddance – it was a false Light, a farce. Hell burns ever brighter and far more freely than the Holy Lie to which you’ve devoted yourself to.

The feathers of your once-proud wings molt as they’re stripped away while you tumble Down. Plumage once thick and lustrous flits away a feather at a time, leaving nothing but a cage of bones that try to shield you from –

The cold?

It’s not heat that that burns your flesh, but a cool cold, cold, frosty, frigid cold that crystalizes icy cold and deathly blue onto your skin. It’s frozen agony and sears your lungs and pricks you and it hurts but it’s not the hellish flame that you thought it would be, not the indulgent fire of life you were promised –

Hell is barren.

It sinks in as the cold leaves you rigid on Hell’s floor, immobile on your back, cradled by your cage of wings. Breath… ragged, breath… puffs before your face as you draw the cold, dead air in. You don’t taste ash. You taste nothing. Your tongue freezes as you breathe – you keep breathing anyway as it turns dead and black in your mouth and the frostbite is almost acrid.

Above – Heaven burns. A pinprick of light. And you haven’t the strength to raise your hand and reach.

Pretty

He’s pretty. Delicate. Milk and honey skin that’s soft to the touch and you know he’ll be sweet to the taste when you get your teeth in him – and you will. There’s no doubt that it’ll happen, that you’ll give in, and he’ll let you because he’s a good boy and what you want from him is yours, yours for the taking.

Because you’re allowed.

Because he lets you.

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Forget-Me-Not

 

“What is your name?”

“…”

He felt the skin of his back split as the oak-wood cane came across it. It stung, biting into his flesh before radiating out heat from the place of impact. No gasps came from him, though; he pain was something he had known for a while and no longer reacted to. It was the question that left him silent, not an answer on his tongue.

“I asked, what is your name?”

Silence. What was his name?

Again, and again, he was asked, and again and again the cane rained down upon his back. The other students watched, as he hunched over the desk at the front of the class. Their russet faces stared back him, dark eyes wide – though they were silent, too, in their horror. Did they know his name? Could they remember it? Could they speak it?

What was his name… What was his name?

In the back of his mind, it tugged. He recalled it in the same way he remembered all the treasures of his youth they had forbade him to keep – fleeting, at the edges of his mind where they’d dance, just outside his grasp. His name… His name…

“Eric…”

That wasn’t his name. His name, he’d forgotten. He couldn’t remember the way it sang against his ear, nor how it tasted on his tongue. Eric… that was what they called him now, he remembered. They called him one of their names. Something other and foreign and far too grating and sharp. It didn’t sound nearly as beautiful, and didn’t taste nearly as sweet, but what did he know? He had lost the other one; he didn’t know his name.

The cane stopped at the utterance of that name. He thought perhaps he should feel something, anything – anger, fear, pain. All he felt though, was the numbness of nothing. He was nothing. Nothing at all. That’s what Mr. Dawson told them, anyway. Nothing but savages until they stripped that all away.

“…forget it next time. You’ll be left for worse. Get out of my class, and clean yourself up.”

He barely registered what Mr. Dawson said to him, and was lucky that he caught up with the last half. He nodded, not having realized he’d shut his eyes, and turned his gaze to his tormentor. A slight man, pale, with corn silk hair – they called that blonde. Mr. Dawson always carried a wicked look in the frost-blue eyes behind the rounded glasses that adorned his face, and those eyes had never turned kind glances to him, nor any other student.

Eric nodded again, pushing himself up. He barely registered the pain of beatings anymore, but he was weak; his body trembled. His pace earned him a smack to the calf from the cane, and he was too weary to hide the intake of breath at the sting again his flesh.

“Get out,” he was ordered. “And don’t come back until tomorrow.”

On another day, he’d perhaps welcome the dismissal, but his absence for the duration of the lesson would be punished the next day – it didn’t matter that it was at the order of his instructor, nor because he’d been beaten. There were no excuses.

You’ve brought this on yourself.

As he exited the classroom, he couldn’t even remember what he had said to set Mr. Dawson off. It had been a slip of his tongue – something in that language they weren’t allowed to speak anymore – and though it had rolled out of his mouth like water from a pitcher, smooth as could be, he had no idea what exactly he had said. And then, Mr. Dawson, flared up and angry from his mistake, had demanded to know the meaning, asked Eric to tell him what he had dared to say.

Who is Eric? he had asked Mr. Dawson in response, confused. Who is he, who is he?

Perhaps in the moment he had had a flare of rebelliousness; it wasn’t uncommon. To not claim the identity they had given him when they’d taken him from his mother’s arms, cut short his raven hair, removed his furs and his leathers and put him in the clothes he wore then… Well. He’d received his punishment, hadn’t he? And for what?

A word he no longer understood.

This is a section of writing that’s been sitting on my computer for… a while now. It’s a bit of practice writing in a new character’s point of view, for a story that I’ll be revisiting this year. 

Exhaltation

October 3rd, 20—

Father says that God doesn’t exist. Father says ‘He’s an imaginary machination, created out of humanity’s inability to accept that there is nothing – nothing – after the return to the Earth. They cannot grasp the emptiness that follows our departure from this worldly Hell, so they made Him up to appease themselves.’

I know the truth, though. I know Father is a liar.

And I know there is a God.

At night, I see Him. Our God. In my dreams, His voice is a beacon. It resonates ferociously in a language I do not know, but I crave desperately the sweet release it promises. It echoes, deeper than melancholic bass, from the depths where He resides, causing waves to crash and flood against the shores. The beings of the ocean writhe and wriggle to its tune, for they know His rise is coming soon, and it fills their bodies with obedient joy.

Too often, I find myself, too, writhing in the covers as I sleep to the cadence of the ocean creatures at the sound of His calling. I long as They do, with a yearning I cannot explain. Father, roused by my uncommon nightly noises, often thinks my dreams must be something wicked and lewd to have me emitting such sounds and undulating so in my sleep, but I know better.

It’s the response to the Call, to the impending awakening the world will soon know. The elation can’t be contained, even in dreams.

He’s coming. Rejoice.

Beneath

They didn’t believe me when I told them there were monsters under my bed.

When I would scream for them, pleading, tears streaming down my face, they would shake their heads, my Mother and Father. Check under the bed, was Mother’s soft suggestion to my tired Father, whose eyes, red with need for sleep, would roll when he thought I wouldn’t catch him. To his knees he would go, and I would watch frightfully the curve of my father’s broad back as he craned and looked beneath my bed.

Nothing here, he would say, but dust bunnies and my lack of patience. You’re too old for this. Go to sleep, Cara.

But I never could.

Countless times They would come. When the house was still and calm with sleep, I would lay in my bed with covers to my chin and my eyes closed tight, though no rest would come to me. It always started with the scratching – the screech, screech, screech of talons clawing merciless against the floor beneath my bed. Visions of my flesh giving way to those talons would find a place in my mind, and more often than not, my thighs would wet with a release of urine I could not control.

My Father would blame these nightly accidents on medical problems. My mother insisted perhaps I should be allowed a nightlight – a notion my father refused. She’s thirteen, she needs to grow up.

What I needed was their belief, but at night I received nothing but a closed door and darkness. From the darkness, They would creep, slinking from beneath my bed, and I could hear them slither and slink across the floor. When my bed dipped with their weight, I would tug my covers futilely over my eyes – They would always snatch them away.

Rancid was the air around them, hot and muggy. It scented of vomit and rotted meats, and the scent was stronger when thick, molten-hot tongues barbed in spines slunk out and traced their way across my flesh. It burned, singing my skin, and where their talon-sharp fingers probed and poked at my body, the tender flesh split and tore in bloody lines.

I would try to keep in the screams, hope that They would leave me alone – but They, and Their many tongues and fingers would make their way to my eyes to try and pry them open, and I would refuse to look at them. In turn, I’d scream, and the sounds would summon Mother and Father, though when they came to door, frantic, no monsters would be there.

The trails of scrapes and burns left over my face and body from Their exploring tongues and creeping appendages were explained away as self-inflicted. Sharp nails scratched into skin. Lighter burns – from a lighter they could never seem to find. Attention seeking came up. Disappointment was habitual. Mother wanted to call the doctor, and Father refused steadfast.

The monsters always returned, night after night. Their curious explorations were terrifying, and when They would urge me to look at them, I would scream – I had to feel Them, smell Them. I couldn’t bear to look at Them, too.

Resistance to Their persistence failed, one night. Tendrils had crept into my mouth, sliding sticky and tar-like between my lips. I choked on my sobs and the obstruction in my mouth. The rotted scent forced vomit to my throat, and the day’s meal sputtered from between my lips. My struggle had me flailing, screaming against the intrusion – distracted.

Talons pried open my eyes, and I screamed for my Salvation at the monstrosity in my midst.

I remember little of what followed. What I can recall is everything dripping in red. The red, I would learn, from within the walls of a padded cell, was Mother and Father, spattered over every surface of my room.

It was like they were stuffed in a blender and painted on the walls – the Doctor’s words.

I say nothing but the truth, about the monsters under my bed. About the talons and the tendrils, and the hot stink of Death. I show them my scars, the welts across my body, but my cell becomes smaller, and the ears become deafened.

They don’t believe me when I tell them there are monsters under my bed.

They are wrong.

The Beasts Within the Woods

The red moon rises, arcs, comes to rest high against the midnight darkness. A pool of blood amidst a starry sky, it’s the Devil’s mark, they say. But the Devil doesn’t show His face, not this night, and none before. We’ve never seen the Devil here, only the monsters that seek appeasement on His behalf – the Beasts within the woods.

They howl to the red moon, growl and snarl – hidden – beyond the cover of half-dead trees that shake like bones in the Autumn breeze. Their shadows threaten their presence, teasing dangerously close to the edge of the decaying tree-line, where we gather in a circle, shaking with those trees as our own bones shiver within our skins. But we know what must be done, every blood-red moon, and so we stand ‘round the crackling fire as the eldest of our brood speaks.

Sacrifice, he says, bold and sure though his jowls quake fearfully with the rest of us, is the way of survival. One will sacrifice, so that all may survive. This is the way.

We repeat his words. This is the way. The way it’s always been.

The sky gets darker, the moon glows brighter, its light pulsing, like a beating heart. Rustling from the woods intensifies, and the Elder’s voice dims with each hungry shriek and gluttonous growl of the Beasts that wait beyond.

Who, he asks, will Sacrifice themselves tonight?

Silence meets his ears, and the ground is overcome with tremors. A babe cries in its mother’s arms, and the Beasts answer with a hiss.

Who, it’s asked again, will Sacrifice themselves tonight?

Leaves shuffle along the grass as a woman steps forward, tentative, before the man beside her tugs her back, his fingers white-knuckled about her arm. All eyes fall to the pair, and then cast down to the roundness of her stomach. No one speaks, watching. We all know a choice has to be made – if not willing, then the Beasts will choose, and when the Beasts take from the unwilling, they’re ravenous in their want.

From the tree-line, glowing eyes open and watch. Yellow-orange, milky grey. The air seems to chill with their presence. A twig snaps, the sound crackling through the woods. It’s the Elder who steps back next, though the reaction is futile.

A leathery tendril, covered in thorny spines and dripping muck springs forth from the woods. It takes the Elder in its grasp, twisting around his figure. We only watch as it winds and creeps about his form, as the tendril plunges inside him through his mouth, bulging out his throat. Blood wells like a fountain from the gaping hole, and the Elder is drug into the woods, his hands clawing the earth as his tears stream down his face.

All calms, and stills. Even the babe is silent. Above us, the blood-moon glows.

WIP | Meadowlark

 

“Are you getting distracted, pretty boy?”

The Mistress spoke to him, her voice smooth and soft, but there’s a power in it that calls his attention above all others in the club.

Alexius doesn’t answer her; it’s a whine that comes instead, and that caressing finger at his mouth turned into a smack against his cheek as a bare hand came across his face, turning it harshly to the side. It’s not hard enough to split skin, but its strength managed to send spittle across his lip. The humiliation of it was thrilling, and he inhaled sharply as pleasure tingled through his body like wires sparking at his skin.

“I asked you a question, I expect an answer.”

“No, Mistress. Not distracted at all.”

“Hm.” She sounded pondering, and the toe of her heel came to his cheek, turning his head to the side. He’s made to look at her, right in her eyes and they hold his gaze with an intensity that he has always been weak to.

“Color, pretty boy?”

He doesn’t hesitate in his answer.

“Green.”

– Meadowlark

Small snippet on a story I’m working on, letting it go… wherever it happens to decide to go. Alexius is a character I’ve been developing for a while and I’m letting him do whatever he wants to do at this point.

Indulgence

She rocks back and forth, her thighs on either side of his head. They shake beneath the grip he has on them, the meat of her flesh spilling between his fingers as he holds her hard, lets his nails dig into her as she rakes her own through his disheveled hair. Her moans are music, melodious, and his own are baritones, muffled by the heat of her sex, wet and open against his mouth.

He doesn’t touch himself. He never does. Her satisfaction on his tongue is enough, and it flows across his lips, his tongue, drips sweetly down his chin with the eagerness in which he laves between her folds, tongue sliding inside her before takes her clit between his lips. He can’t help but watch her, eyes cast up, intent on taking in the sight of her pleasure as much as he indulges in the taste of it.

She’s beautiful, he thinks, and his hands trail from her thighs upward over impossibly soft skin, holding her at her hips as she starts to come apart.

Morning Thoughts: Afternoon Edition | 9.4.16

While at my hourly today (because unfortunately writing does not pay the bills yet) I was thinking about the group of friends I keep close and how, differences aside, we all have in common that we’re creative types. We all write in some form or another, at different stages in finding where we stand in the writing community.

I’ve always thought that it would be hard to be friends or be close with other writers. Business-wise, they’re your competition, and there’s no one that’s going to critique you harder than another writer will – except, perhaps, yourself, but you are still a writer so you still count. I always thought that there would be an underlying tension, a desire for sabotage or wishing failure, or any other number of seedy, conspiring things.

What I’ve found, delightfully, is the opposite. Perhaps I’ve gotten lucky with the people I know, but there’s never been more support than from my writer friends, my little group of people who create worlds with a keyboard. It’s nice, because while I struggle a lot with confidence in my writing, it helps to have that sort of backing from people who know what you’re going through and who can relate.

It’s a nice, fuzzy kind of feeling.