New Moon

When the moon calls us,
when it gets under our skin
and behind our eyes,
all I can think of
is its bright face,
the sweet high bliss of it
screamsinging inside me,
buried somewhere
so far below
it is in the knot of me
that was tied
when I was first begun,
before there ever was a me,
when I was nothing more than howling
beneath the dark
of someone else’s new moon.

For Abbie

This is short, and I’m not sure I truly did it justice, but this was prompted by my dearest friend Abbie, who writes fiction at Dust on the Keyboard.

* * *

Three weeks ago, I died.

It wasn’t a traumatic thing; I think I blew an aneurysm in my sleep. One minute, dreaming about Carly Rae Jepsen all sudsy on her car in that stupid video, the next minute, all the blood supply for my brain comes into it at once, filling it with oxygen rich awesomeness, until it’s too much, everything is suffocated in red bloodcells that can’t leave again to get reoxygenated, my bloodpressure bottoms out, my heart stops, and my neurons go dark.

Pretty sure I didn’t really feel a thing.

But I know I died. When I woke up the next morning, no pulse, my skin a funny grey color on one side, and bruised-looking on the other (post mortem lividity plays hell on your skin tone — no L’Oreal product was gonna fix that) and my left sclera a brown, dead-poppy color, I realized my mouth was dry, and my body was cold, and my lips had gone purple blue. I stared at myself in the mirror for awhile, examining my eye, licking my lips, and brushing my hair, the only thing that looked unchanged.

I was trying to puzzle out how to fix this, when the phone rang.

It was my boss.

I was late for the morning shift, and two other people had already called out. It was one of the busiest days in the business, and he was pissed.

I tried to tell him I was sick, but he yelled back, “I don’t care if you’re fucking dead, get your ass in here!”

I was still living paycheck to paycheck, and I figured since I was dead I might not need food, or heat, or anything like that, but I was certainly going to need a place to stay, and that place would charge me rent… so I put my uniform on, and I headed out the door.

* * *

“Cool costume, brah,” a customer told me. “Walking Dead, right?”

“Yeah,” I answered, not knowing what else to say, and handed him his bag and his receipt. “Happy Halloween.”

Sensing Autumn

Seasons darken and come round again
to this dark time,
where the candles come out,
and all round are spectres of the past,
of what might have been,
of cold drafts and dark thoughts
and an inability
to get and stay warm
for more than five minutes.
Fingers stained with pomegranate juice,
tongue scarred with cinnamon,
eyes squinting in the greasy soot
of tallow candles,
we sing and dance,
rattling our skeletons,
until the sun comes back up,
and puts the flesh back on our bones,
and makes us opaque again,
and full of the scent
of autumn leaves,
woodsmoke,
and the growing cold.

Her Dreams

In truth, I never should have climbed the tower, and let us into those rooms. I never should have let Ianto kiss the sleeping girl; he did not wake her, but he woke what had been in her dreams.

He did not rouse her from her slumber, but instead, he shook the shoulder of those things that had been curled within her mind, those things that scritched messages on the inside of her skull, those things that whispered within her, and hollowed her out so that their shrieks would echo within, and then fall, clattering, out of her mouth.

He kissed her, pulled the shining pendant from her throat, and then he ran.

I stayed, rooted to the spot, full of horror and wonderment, and watched the sleeping girl’s skin blister, fade, fall open, and the meat of her dreams grew thousands of legs and a pincers, as it fluttered glistening wet wings, and chirpbuzzed.

I stayed, and watched it crawl the stones to my boots and then glide up them, a thousand thousand thousand legs swarming over me, a wave, until the pincers took hold my teeth and prised them open.

I swallowed down the sleeping girls dream, and felt it fill me, cold and dark, and then I went down the stairs to follow Ianto’s footsteps. I could see the warmth of them, where he’d passed, a fragrant trail of heat and fear.

Her dreams were my dreams now, and I wanted my shining pendant back.

Jodaan

We set the fires as the sun goes down, one here, at the twilight’s edge, the cast back the darkness. When it is high enough, when the earth has turned enough, at the next ridge, they let theirs flare to life, and so on, and so on. Our world is ringed in dots of fire, in points of flame that keep away the deepest of the dark, and give us strength and courage enough to dance around the flames, casting our own shadows into the night.

My people believe if your shadow stays too long in the dark, it brings some of that dark back with it; because your shadow will always return to you, you will forever hold a touch of that darkness.

Because of our knowledge, because of our strength, we were a mighty people, with armies that covered the sands and the grasses, and we looked to the mountains and the oceans and declared ourselves gods.

We did not know it, but those proud days were our last; by the end of the world turning, when the stars had returned to their places in the sky like the shadow must return to the form, we would be scattered like ash to the wind, and the proud Jodaan would have nothing left, not even cities, to remind any futuregoers that we were once here, walked these stones and drank these waters.