Bereft

The westering sun feels good

across my shoulders,

but it will not be up

much longer.

 

The days shorten, and soon

Winter’s teeth

will nip and pull

on Autumn’s dry teats.

 

The narrow crag

between

the high cliffs

bids me enter.

 

And I know the diasporic eyes

of the cave dwellers

will mark my passing.

 

My sword in hand,

useless against their numbers,

yet all I have,

may one day tell the bloody tale

of what happened here.

 

There will be no light to guide me,

for even the stars fear to shine on this place.

 

My soul begins its dirge,

and I step into

my story’s end.

 

Eyes of Summer Ice

My trading for the day complete, that night I found myself on a night road between towns, journeying on despite the salacious female entreaties to stay and spend more money on excesses. I left too late, now regretting the rejection of their invitation.
I could either camp or keep moving; unfamiliar with the land, and being armed, I decided to keep going.
The twin crescent moons were poor companions for light, but better than darkness.
Tendrils of mist slinked along the ground, shrouding the trees like pale and ancient serpents.
The wind began to rise, and its temperature drop.
In the north I would have taken the change in stride, but I was far to the south where the sun burned much hotter, and the night at best should have been balmy, not cold.
As the mist closed in and grew thick I lost sight of the path.
The map was now useless, and I was no sailor to navigate by moonlight and stars.
Celestial brightness dimmed as incoming ribbons of black clouds veiled the moons, now seeming like a woman’s eyes staring through black silk.
My attempts to find the path proved futile, and stumbling about in the dark could only prove fatal. Finding a gathering of stones, I made my peace with ceasing the journey and sat down to rest.
I stuck my knife in the ground and put my arms around my knees, making as small a target as I could, and tried to sleep.
 
***********
I heard a woman’s mellifluous voice.
‘Traveler?”
I opened my eyes and saw a vision of stunning loveliness.
‘Traveler, this is not a good place to stop.’
I looked into the face of a young girl with skin the color of sapling branches, her eyes the color of diamonds in the sun, the faintest of gold traces in them.
I rubbed at my eyes; looking at those shining irises took some effort. “I got lost.”
She gradually came into focus, but when I looked at her, I had to turn away. An ethereal light seemed to shine from her; the slim netting in her hair and small gems she wore flared in the shrouded moonlight.
“I was trying to find the path, but the mist…”
*Why is it so cold?*
“Ah. Yes, the mist. It is ever the mist.”
“What?”
“It disorients you.”
“Yes. Yes, that’s what happened. Can…can you help me?”
“Yes, traveler. I know the way.”
Relief flooded me. “I’ll follow you.”
“There is nothing to follow, traveler.”
“What? Can you take me to the path?”
She stepped closer. “I am the way out; you have to kiss me.”
I picked up my knife, and the cold shot up my arm so fast that I cried out and dropped it, looking at her in shocked anger.
Her eyes narrowed, her voice all the more menacing for the fact that it was low and quiet. “You will not threaten me in my home.”
“Your home?” The sense of being lost was stronger. “This forest is your home?”
“I am as much a part of it as the trees, the wolves, the soil; it is all here, in me.
“We…share each other.”
She had me at too many disadvantages. The cold was seeping through along with a mild panic.
“What must I do?”
“Kiss me.”
“Why”
“So that you might be on your way.”
“But…”
“What I say makes no sense to you?”
“Yes, I mean, no. I mean, yes, it makes no sense to me.”
Her eyes glinted as she smiled with amusement, as if they were connected.
“I can help you find your way, but you must kiss me first.”
Perhaps her embrace will warm you.
I took her in my arms, tilted her face to mine…
 
************
It snows here all the time.
The freezing wind blows all the time.
There are others trapped in here with me; I hear them stumbling about, footsteps crunching, but our voices are gone.
Only the perpetual blizzard makes its white noise.
The light inside her eyes has blinded us, but we can hear her lies.
Another traveler on another night; the mist has led him to her.
I hear his voice and scream at him to run, to kill her, but he can’t hear me.
No one hears.
Soon he’ll walk among us, never traveling again, trapped behind the prison of her eyes.
Her eyes of summer ice.
 
You must kiss me first…

Desert Thorns

The evening air dried the day’s sweat on their skin, pushing it past the surface and into their bones. The slavers didn’t care if they succumbed. Only the strongest were fit to serve; the rest they left to the scouring sand.

Finding themselves too thinly dressed for the cooling weather, two young women hugged themselves for modesty and warmth.

The cleric’s cruel eyes noticed, gleaming in lustful anticipation.

They noticed him too.

Hakina, the bolder of the two, dared to narrow her eyes in haughty defiance.

With a sneer disguised as a smile, the cleric sauntered his way over to where they sat in their own filth, chained to each other and a heavy steel pole, his nose wrinkling at the stench.

He turned to the bent-back whose duty it was to shadow him and obey his every command, no matter how abusive, disgusting, or self-abasing.

“Clean this one and bring her to my tent at the edge of the camp.”

“Nameless hears and obeys, Cleric Hameen.”

“Nameless pleases. Now go.”

The bent-back shuffled off as his master turned his attention back on Hakina.

She wanted to keep quiet but her hatred wouldn’t allow it.

“One such as you seeks to break me?”

He slapped her down, kicking some of foul sand toward her eyes.

“Little bitch, I will shatter you before this night is done.”

“You call me ‘bitch,’ but it’s you who shall howl, pretender!” Her eyes burned and stung as she wiped at them, trying to gain her footing .

He punched her, slamming her down again.

Her mouth was bleeding.

He pulled her hair to tilt her head, wiped her lips hard with a rough hand, smearing the blood on her cheeks as she sought to dislodge herself.

For her defiance, he pressed her cheeks in hard on both sides until she drooled and cried out from the pain. Her hands came up to throttle him, but the clinking of the chain checked her.

The movement and its intent wasn’t lost on him, and he sneered again.

“We shall see.” His quiet voice belied the storm in his eyes as he shoved her away and walked off, leaving her gasping for air and rubbing her jaw.

Her fellow captive went to help her up, but Hakina slapped her hand away.

“Do you seek to have us die before sunrise?” Isani asked.

“I seek to have us free by moonrise, if you’ll help me. The fate of women is ever the same in these places.”

Hakina gained her feet without assistance, looking up at the evening sky as she wiped the tears the cleric forced out of her with the back of her dirty sleeve.

As for Isani, this was the third time she was captured, and she vowed it would be the last. They’d taken her mother and sister too, slaughtering her father as he knelt, crying and pleading for the lives of his family at the expense of his own.

They granted his wish and took their time enjoying it, but set no one free.

She’d managed to escape through playing the ‘broken woman,’ and endured their sick games as they used her. When they were confident she understood her place, she quietly killed them. Blades, poison, acid on their groins after they were gagged. Whatever lay nearby.

The camp guards never questioned her when she left the camps crying, her face puffy and her clothing torn. They sneered, making their own lewd remarks and rubbing themselves as she passed, offering their own crude versions of comforting her.

By the time they discovered their dead, she was long gone.

She sighed, looking after the retreating form of the impious, impure cleric.

“Done, if you manage to include me in the tryst.”

Hakina looked her over, a mirthless smile on her lips.

“I think I can manage that.”

A Trip to Sangre-La

Look,

a tigress.

Her

green eyes

over the rim of the glass

of Sangria

stare through me

as she

contemplates

her next move.

I see her at the edge

of her territory,

confident, fearless,

and ready to explore

new boundaries.

Like a

broken-winged bird

resigned to its fate,

I can only stare

into the depths

of those

verdant,

ocular seas,

and wait

in hope

she strikes.

 

These Vaunted Halls

The history

of the world

decays within

these vaunted halls.

 

Bones of men

whose legacies

have long passed into dust,

now scattered,

or drifted into drains

to swirl and sink

amid the sewage

 

These vaunted halls

of vainglorious scholars

and savage soldiers,

 

This labyrinthine lair

of painted women

and holy mothers,

running children

and feral dogs

 

This ornate gauntlet of

open secrets and

private trysts,

 

This once- proud venue,

where learned men

hammered out their thoughts and beliefs,

vociferous in their ferocity,

gesticulating like tribal dancers

 

This enviable marketplace,

with its bright colors, shady deals,

and the rush of winning a well-wrought

haggling session,

 

Is now the place I skulk,

and stalk, and catch the rats

that bite me in my sleep,

and take the bodies and coin

of unwary travelers.

 

My kingdom,

a silenced ruin of

damp and crumbling marble,

dim sunlight,

and solitude.

 

These vaunted halls

will return to their glory,

stone by stone, page by page,

man by man.

 

But for now,

I feast.

 

 

 

Chrysalis

Within the dark green chrysalis

I see the torchlight’s glare.

As I walk down the flame-lit hall

I feel the demon’s stare.

He’s hidden and he’s silent

but he’s watching all the same.

He’s changing into something

that will want to play a game

of cat and mouse and hide and seek.

I’m not up to the task.

I’ll have to kill him quickly,

so no one will ever ask

Who won the battle tween the two?”

I’ll win it handily,

And slice the chrysalis apart

and finally be free.

Making Warr (new chapter)

Check out the latest chapter of Making Warr.

He’s in WAY over his head, but that’s where he thrives…

 

Making Warr:

Warren Bradley was retired, the victim of a failed experiment that not only would have increased his strength, but his intelligence as well. When a decision is made to re-launch the project, a botched attempt to bring him back in by force results in his wife being killed. 

He is now determined to obtain and destroy the information that led to her murder, and get the people responsible.

There’s just one problem: The information’s been stolen and taken overseas. And an ex has re-entered his life on the side of a rival agency. And the chemicals in his system are starting to degrade. Okay, that was three problems…

http://channillo.com/series/making-warr/