a year in stories::forty one

Okay, been a while since I put one of these stories up, but I thought I’d get one up today. Eleven more for the year still to come, and I guess I’m not counting stories from A Call to Artists. Anyrate, a little bit of other business to handle, too. Haven’t really made a proper post in a while. I still need to talk about the last two seasons of Lost, too.

But first, a few interviews have gone up in the last couple weeks:

Gears by Alex Pruteanu. Interview published 19/9/2013.

Piano Rats by Franki Elliot. Interview published 11/9/2013.

The freelancing’s going pretty well too. I’m ghostwriting a book right now, for which I should be making more than enough money for the month, which is amazing. It really is great doing work that feels good to do, rather than just doing work because you have to make money. I mean, I need to make money too, but this is definitely preferable.

Along with the freelancing, I’m moving into selfpublishing. You should see a few things before the end of the year, and then several things next year. I think I’m going to try to do what Carlton Mellick III does and generate things pretty frequently. Maybe even I can make money that way. But I’ll get to more about that as it gets closer.

Also, got some hopeful news from Ste Erikson about my novel coming out from Perfect Edge Books next year. Hopefully it turns out well.

But, eh, I guess that’s enough for now. Sort of bullet point update, yeah?

Pretty when you Cry

She was sad often. I made it that way. She was prettiest when devastated. It’s not a kindness, but I love this part of her. Her pain, the agony, those tears. There will be no absolution for me, and that’s not what I intend in telling you, but I need to tell someone, and you’re sworn to secrecy, yes?

No, save it, Father. I know the whole thing. I’m a proper Catholic girl, for the most part. I mean, like most, I’ve done drugs, enjoyed the bodies of other. I’m still a virgin, in a sense. I’ve never felt that way for men, if you get me, Father. No, I know what you’ll say, what the church says, but the Pope seems relaxed, yeah? But I don’t want to talk about sex, drugs, violence, and rap music. No, just, okay? Just hold on, Father. I need to speak this or I’ll never be able to live with myself. I just need to tell you.

I can’t tell her. I’ve tried. Lord, how I’ve tried. Every time I see her cry, after the sublime vision she becomes, after we curl together and fall apart, I trace her face in the dark, running my fingernails gently against her jaw, dreaming of the day I’ll make this end.

It’s not just that she’s becomes beautiful, it’s that when she cries, it’s like dreams come to life. No figuratively or metaphorically either, but actually. Whatever comes to me in sleep becomes a part of my life.

It started on accident. Of course it did. Couples fight, especially when still new and bright and lovely. She wasn’t ever really my type, not at first. She bit her nails and they were gnarled and short and barely there. She was tall and gawky with thick circular glasses. Her hair, bright and trimmed tight with a thin pointed nose. For some that’s heaven, the dream. But for me, her squared hips and and thin legs carried no appeal. This changed, obviously. We got to talking and things changed. I liked her awkwardness, her crooked smile, the complete lack of femininity in her. I didn’t know then if she was into me, because it’s always a bit awkward to bring up, yeah? But she was the aggressor and I was pliant in her hands, against her mouth.

We fought though. I don’t remember what about because the fights are never the important parts. It’s what happens next that matters. What happened is she cried and when she cried everything changed.

The way she looked didn’t exactly transform or anything like that. But the air around her shifted, or, like, it took on a sheen of the fantastic. She glowed. Again, that’s not a metaphor. She glowed in this blue light. She was the bluest light and she was there, crying for me. Because of me, really. It hurt me to see her sad. That should go without saying, but I’ll say it again. I hated seeing her sad, but I loved to see her cry. Knowing I caused her pain, it’s the moment I knew I loved her, that I had fallen deeply and accidentally in love with this awkward girl. But there was a sense of awe, too. Her tears filled this hole in me I didn’t know was there. A hole I had carried maybe forever, long before this life. A hole in my very soul. I know God doesn’t do that to people, but it feels that way sometimes. Like God’s light doesn’t shine on me or for me, and everything’s blackness and horrible.

But when I saw her crying, it was like being washed for the first time, like God’s light was for me and because of me.

When we made up and I slept, I dreamt of flowers spread over the sky, raining petals onto the earth, and in the morning the world felt new. I can’t explain it better than that. Every touch, every sight and sound, each smell was a new sensation, and when she touched me, I quivered. Electric from just her presence, as she wiped the sleep from her eyes and, well, Father, forgive me for getting carried away. I know those details aren’t for here. But you see, Father, her hold on me–I love her. When I talk about her, even, I just get caught up. But to put it short, when I was with her that morning, I had visions of that dream. Visions of a many flowered sky blooming across the air, raining petals to earth and the earth rose new and beautiful and serene.

That must sound crazy, and maybe it is, but that was only the first time.

She made a child with her tears. She’s real, the child. She’s two, and she’s beautiful. Ours. I never told her this, but it’s biologically ours, too. I can’t say how that’s possible, but you can meet her, if you don’t believe me.

But now she has to see her mothers fighting, crying. I know she won’t understand that I what I do is like a sickness. I’ve become addicted to her creative energy, to the life she can build for us. When she died, the dream brought her back.

So you see, it’s not just for me. It’s for us. It’s a way to improve life, not only for us, but for everyone.

But it tears me apart. You see this, Father. You can hear my voice crack and break. I love her, but I hurt her over and over, and I do it for us. Or, I tell myself I do. There’s certainly a benefit for us in doing this, but what’s the real cost? Is it just sorrow?

Father, I know the Bible’s no use for something like this, and the church has no teachings like this, unless you believe that she’s a miracle worker.

I do. We can show you. Maybe we should show the world, but I’m afraid I’ll lose her to the rest of humanity. She’s so good. Too good. And if everyone knew what she was, what she could do, then what would happen? Would we force her to suffer for all of us?

She’s not Jesus, Father. She’s not God, and she won’t be able to carry all our sins. She won’t be able to save us the way He did.

I don’t mean to ask for forgiveness, because I can’t promise that this will end, or even if I really want it to. I mean, I want the pain to end but I want to live in her light, that bluest light she washes me in.

Forgive me, Father. I’ve sinned. I’ve sinned against the woman I love, but I can’t promise I’ll ever make it right. I can only promise to try. To try to keep her happy and safe.

I’ll try, Father. I’ll try. But save your absolution. I’ll be back, and by then, I’ll hopefully have this all sorted.

Goodbye, Father. Be well, and please, keep this to yourself. I’m counting on your vows.

call to artists::two

As the ongoing project continues, I present the next instalment. The artwork is by Hector Menendez, who contacted me on that original post. While the first one of these I did was for a single image, this is for a series that I found amongst his drawings, which are what he recommended I use.

Anyrate, rather than go on and on, I’ll just post it here.

 

***

I’ve been dying to reach you. I’ve been ripping through Time to see you. I’ve been hoping to escape me.

I was born in a grey world, but I dreamt of color. Always dreaming of color. But for then, it was only grey. Always grey. I stared at my grey hands and my grey skin, looked at my greyself in the mirror, and saw a world of only grey.

And then: light! Glorious light! The wide spectrum of colors. A crack in the sky falling down. I reached out and touched the edge of existence and heard a voice

come to me

run to me

They were tears that ran down my face and when I wiped them away, my skin stained black. Black! So glorious to be black and not grey!

The colors bled and I washed my hands in tears, in black. But then the crack, it closed. No, I screamed. No, no no no no! Leaning against the world’s end, I wept and the tears were all grey.

Years went by and I heard your voice. I heard it in the cracks of Time and space. I heard it and I followed, washing myself in color. Always black, but I dreamt of others. Other colors in that prism of light ripping through the edge.

And then, today, I saw the hole opened, your voice whispering through, and I punched my fist through.

hector_menendez1

And now I’m here, in a world of color. Naked, running. Running through dirt and grass, running with lungs full of color and air and light, running and running and running.

hector_menendez2Time slows and the running stops. Tactile, the air, the land, the sea, and even the sky. I touched the sky and drank in its color. A myriad of hues blotching my skin. The sun, it stains me and the black is no longer a stain but the color of my skin. I found color and in that color I find blackness.

Years progress. I meet others, but none of them you. The whisper of your voice disappears and I search for it still. I wonder and fear that the voice only brought me here, to be alive in color. I suffered in the land of grey. I suffered because I walked alone, black through the grey. The grey lives in that grey world learnt to hate me, to fear me. And so I searched for you, but what if you were never real? Just the call, and now I’m here, black in this land of color, and I stare at the clouds, waiting for the sky to open again. But there’s no edge here. No stop to Time and space. I find nowhere that the world ends, not like the world of grey. No cracks or holes, but they must be somewhere.

I stare so long at the sky that my eyes turn blue and my pupils turn to clouds. In the mirror I find color and in my face I see that sky stained upon me.

But now, I walk alone in this land of color. Black but they’re not. Sky, but they’re earth. I came here for you but have lost myself somewhere in between.

Years go by and I lay down roots. I become a human of color, of blackness in this world of white humans. In this world of white, I find companions but they find me insane and know nothing of cracks in the universe or ways to move past them.

I leave humanity behind and search only for sky and sea. I find belonging here amongst the edges. The edge of land and air, of land and sea. Swimming through the deep, the clear and beautiful, the serene, and there I hear your voice.

I slip.

When I close my eyes, I slip through different lives and when I emerge from the deeps the memories flood my brain, expanding it. I stare at my hands, at the blackness of my skin, but when I close my eyes the skins turn and change. Reds and yellows and greens and blues, I take on the colors of other realities.

And it splits my self open.

hector_menendez3

Running. I’m running again, but now the realities and colors swirl through and around me. Rainbowed, I slide through existences and my skull begins to crack, to split.

My arms extend and spread. My fingers splayed in color transform and the skin breaks in many hues. The bones break, shift, become new, and wings sprout from the joints and my muscles and old bones dislodge, fall away, my skin flickering across the spectrum. My skull cracks open and I bloom through, and I see your voice calling, and I see your face smiling, and all the realities I bounce through converge.

I swim into you.

I found you.