Editorial

via Daily Prompt: Inkling
Inkling

Life on a page,
in 2-D,
drawn without input
from the image to be.
Given direction
from the stroke of a pen,
immature,
the lines a lure,
to draw the reader in.

So much is said
with the toons that are fed
through drums of what’s read.
Inklings of opinion
of mind and to minion,
printed,
to discern
a truth.

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Shadows

via Daily Prompt: Silhouette
Silhouette

Shadows dancing,
life in silhouette,
projections of dreams
viewed on a stuccoed wall by moonlight,
beyond what is self,
untouchable,
a mockery of what is.

But there I find truth,
the emptiness of existence,
of choice,
defined by perception,
accepted by false reason,
unassailable,
a mockery of what is.

There is only the light of day,
there is only the dark of night,
there is only the right to survive,
and the shadows make silhouettes
of us all.

The Scrolls of Udanadar

Prologue

The seeking soul, the unquenchable yearning and wandering soul, is a restless soul. It is a beacon calling out for rescue, a ship with no port. For those with this malady, there is a cure, a place to wander away to for adventure and satisfy the hunger. It lay at the end of a misty dark road, at the end of Apple Orchard Way. But if one were to approach closer, it could be seen that all was not dark, that little flecks of light danced a firefly ballet, lighting the mystical gloom—a beacon for wandering souls. Such is a place of the whispering sort, the subject of townsfolk behind veiled, covered mouths, furtive glances, and quick darting eyes. But the wandering type, they know where to go—to the porch, to the hearth, of one Thomas O’Thomas McQuinn.

Now Thomas O’Thomas, as he liked to be called, was an Irishy fellow on the short side of tall. He had a fiery-red beard from his chest to his chin, sparkly green eyes, and a fierce, friendly grin. The townsfolk never knew when they came through the town—the wandering ones, walking as though they knew where to go. And they did, in a mystical way, a calling like no other for their adventurous hearts. Quietly they went without stopping a bit, not for a meal at Mrs. Tuttleby’s, known five counties wide for the tastiest of fare anyone could eat; not even at Killebrew’s, a quaint coffee shop right on the corner, an unavoidable stop where could be had a gooey-type pastry and a freshly brewed Coffeenator.

Thomas O’Thomas knew, sitting there sometimes on his porch or sometimes by the fire, rocking patiently. He knew—something in the wind told him, maybe a bug. At those times, he would have a big pot of steaming stew, bubbling lustily on the stove, and a fresh loaf of homey bread—warm to the touch, the hearty, stew-mopping kind.

As it happened one night, when the lights were all down, with the sun tucked away in its nightly repose, and the moon for some reason wished not to be shown, the wandering bug flitted into O’Thomas’s very own town. It was a cozy town, not far from the big city but far enough for those who commuted daily to get a breath of fresh air, suiting O’Thomas just fine.

The bug moved through the night with purpose and direction; it knew where to go, what to do, and whom to see. A soul calling out for adventure was the irresistible scent—going from one to another, always searching for the next hungry heart, fulfilling its eternal purpose.

The wandering bug darted over the roof of Mr. Mulberry’s grocery store and across the town square where it startled the Lattimer’s cat as it was about to pluck one of the town’s prized koi from the central fountain; a gaudy thing that nobody liked but were too polite to say about it what they really felt. Next, the bug sped down Thistle Creek Way until it came to the Great Oak of Dandybrook, which was said to have saved the town once.

Nobody knew for sure what that story entailed, but it had something to do with acorns, or so thought the town librarian, Mr. Binder. Nobody even knew why it was called the Great Oak of Dandybrook, since Dandybrook was not even the town’s name.

From there, the bug turned down Cottonwood Lane and headed for the open bedroom window on the second story of the third house on the right from the end, the blue one with the broken porch light.

In through the window, the bug silently slipped, passing neatly between the thin metal wires of the screen and dipped down to the boy sleeping fitfully on the bed by the door, his covers in a confused mess by his feet. He dreamed of wondrous things and exciting places, yet they were only his dreams. The wandering bug landed softly on a spot just behind the boy’s left ear and, ever so gently, bit him. As simple as that, the boy was on a path that would forever change his life. Its job done, the little bug, the peculiar bug, the bug of extraordinary purpose, flitted out the window on a course for its next adventurous soul.

Static

via Daily Prompt: Static
Static

Lives unmoving
burdened by unfulfilled dreams,
torn and stained,
unhappy in the light of day

Energy and time wasted,
spent and unrecycled,
splashed on the canvas of despair,
sadness blooming
in the untended field
where the unkempt scarecrow
in ineffectual repose,
lists and dangles

The morrow cares not
for yesterday’s woes
as today slips blindly by-
too close to be seen,
empty of itself
but full of regrets,
band-aids for the lost and lonely soul

These things we pillow about us;
feeling safe in sorrow,
cozy in withdrawal,
warm in a cup of dreams,
afraid to reach out
and bite the apple that is Now;
Static

The Coming Darkness

via Daily Prompt: Evoke
Evoke

Leaves chattered restlessly in the dying fires of day’s end, something was in the air, they said, but their words were scattered by the ghostly wind.  Nobody seemed to question why the breeze seemed that much more biting than any other, as they pulled their cloaks tighter about them to ward off the chill.  Nobody found it odd that it took several logs more to bring comfort to an otherwise cold house, and nobody seemed to notice the familiar street cat stop and stare frightened into the on-rushing night, and then quickly run away.

Even the tavern, its laughter normally spilling raucously out into the street, seemed to swallow it up, never letting it slip past the door.  The laughter this night carried a different timbre to it, forced and strained, less joyous and more nervous than usual.  Gaalbeck sat and listened at a table by himself, in the corner, close to the welcome heat of the tavern fire, sipping on a mug of hot, spiced wine.  He could take in the entire room from this spot, focusing in on whichever conversation he chose.  He had planned it this way, arriving early just so he could get this very table to do this very thing.

Most tables were benches where up to ten people could sit, then there were smaller ones like his around the edges where four people could sit, or just one like himself.  It was not an extravagant place, it was functional and social, the log walls coated thick with years of smoke and grime.  Opposite from the door stood a staircase leading to the rented rooms, while the wall to the left was where the fireplace crackled fitfully across from the bar and kitchen.

The walls, comprised of logs cut in half lengthwise with the flat side inward, were not decorated much, except for an occasional hide or stuffed trophy with a lantern placed here and there to keep things bright.

Gaalbeck listened, and he heard the uneasiness, the words quick to anger brushed-off with an unsteady laugh, the talk that turned to stories of superstitious things, of battle, and they did not realize what they did.  They knew without knowing that there was something wrong this night, something unspeakable evoking their hidden fears with a darkened hand that had stretched out to cloud hearts and minds.

Then, draining the last sweet, warm sip of his wine, Gaalbeck stood up and strode unnoticed out of the tavern.  Stopping to adjust his cloak against the night, he looked up at the swinging, creaking sign and read its ominous message, The Demon’s Lair Tavern and Inn.  Yes it is, he said to himself as he disappeared into the dark.  Yes it is.

Quasi Attuck

via Daily Prompt: Undulate
Undulate

Crespo Tur Attuck rose up from where he had been crouching, surveying the terrain before him, looking for clues to the creature’s passing.  It left no earthly impressions but left a strange trail indeed, none the like he had ever seen.  Pressing a button on the control bracer secured to his left forearm, he caused the various analytic lenses embedded behind his eyes to retract and restore normal vision.

He closed his eyes and activated his enhanced neural processors to compile the visual information that he had just collected- the energy trail, atmospheric disturbance, and food trail pheromones- creating a coherent picture with which to work.  The result both astounded and excited him.  The creature propelled itself through the air in an undulating motion, generating enough lift to keep it from touching the ground.  In this case just a couple of meters off the ground with no indication of how high it could go.

It was a new colony on a new world with new mysteries despite all of the surveying previously done, so they called in people like him.  Some were investigative cyborgs, but Crespo wasn’t quite that far yet, he hadn’t earned that much money yet to make all the enhancements- he was a Quasi, choosing only key enhanced functions to aid him in his task and his wasn’t even sure he wanted to go full cyborg, cashing in all that humaness to live on the edge of humanity.

Toeing the mangled mass of the colonist at his foot who was completely drained of blood, he wondered at how much danger he might be putting himself into, how much power this thing possessed, and could he even kill it if it came to that.  But, that’s what he chose to get paid to do, like it or not.

Labeling his find as ‘Aerial Undulant’ until further information, he sent his initial report off to the colonial council then checked the charges on his weapons and slipped the appropriate lenses back into place in order to track his quarry. Settling his pack on his back, he headed off into unknown danger.