GREETINGS TO THE SUN

Water trickled down through Stephen’s short brown hair. He could feel the droplets twisting and turning through the maze of his hairline, before eventually finding their way to his forehead. The soft, refreshing air chilled the water as it danced along his face, carefully falling between the groove of his nose and his right eye. He could feel everything around him. The wind brushed through the grass, humming its afternoon greeting, while the leaves of the trees turned about on their descent to the ground; even the roaring of the river in the distance, where the trickle of water had branched off of, could be faintly heard.

Many mornings went like this for Stephen. He would wake early, and spend the early part of the day staring out into space, until the world around him seemed to morph into something that was outside of the usual. His imagination became a guiding force for his mind, and eventually those quiet hums would turn into an opera of music, and the trickle of water would become the medicine beyond human creation. The massive fields of grass before him would spin before him, faster and faster until suddenly everything became a wild green color, and distance and time seemed to flow as one together.

Today, Stephen was focused on the sun. At first, his eyes had burned with pain, but as the water coated him, he felt cooled. He had closed his eyes, yet behind his eyelids he kept careful track of where the sun was. The supreme being road his chariot across the sky, and the more he focused on it, the more Stephen could make out the hooves beating against the unseen road. They galloped through the sky with vigor, and he could hear their breath heaving in and out as the pulled faster.

Eventually, as he focused, he could hear the breath of a man along with them. He sounded like purity itself. His breath was like a long drink of water after a trip through the desert, or the first drops of dew falling from a crisp spring morning. Stephen felt his own body relax at the sound. Then, unexpectedly, his concentration broke as he heard a voice.

“We have a visitor,” a voice more sweet and light than honey called out to him. Stephen’s eyes snapped open. Only he was not seeing through his eyes anymore. It was like his body had fled, and he was looking through the sky itself

“Hello,” the voice said with a calm strength, “it has been far too long since I was given the chance to speak to anyone. Who might you be?” Stephen felt his voice catch in his throat.

“Ah, unable to speak, is it? Not many get the chance to meet me anymore. Not many look hard enough. Look around you.” The great man had been shielded by light, but the outward gesture of his arm was clear enough. Stephen turned, and saw the world from a different perspective then.

It was so small, so tiny, and yet unending in its size. Through the clouds he saw the trees, the river, and even the tops of the cold mountains. They all looked so small; so beautiful.

“It has been a long time since someone saw the world as you see it now. Perhaps you can learn from it. It seems like such a big world out there, and yet to us it is all connected.” Stephen felt his stomach tighten, and his vision blurred.

“It seems your moments hear are to be brief today. But I look forward to seeing you again.” Then with a rush, Stephen felt his body travel through the air, and suddenly he was gasping for air. The trickle of water had dampened his cloths, and the sun was growing low in the sky. How long had he been gone?

——

 

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THE SNAKE TOMB

The dream world snapped into existence before me, as if someone had flicked the light switch in a dark room. We were on a mountainside, staring out into the great expanse of the world before us. Ahead, there was a low valley basin, with golden-yellow foliage nearly a mile down. Beyond that, in the distance, there was a line of mountains, green with trees and stained lightly with the early hintings of winter snow.

“What are you dilly-dallying for again!” I heard a voice call to me. It was my cousin, a well cut man by all accounts. His eyes had the shine of adventure in them as we moved through the trees around us. I swallowed my response and moved after him. We were moving north, up the mountain to a small set of caves he had been told about by…something. I realized I had no idea how we had gotten there, or why.

The way up was treacherous. The ground was filled with muddy spots from the rainfall the previous night, and it slid and slipped unexpectedly with each new step. The lack of handholds caused me to constantly be gripping at thin air for balance. Eventually though, we found our way to the top, where there were a group of caves. They looked like three gaping mouths, ready to swallow us whole. We picked the one on the right, which opened the widest. The inside of the cave was blacker than midnight on a starless night, and I felt my own vision fade.

Once again, I awoke in the dream, at our destination, though I found myself alone. The place was a horrific sight. It was a cavern, filled with an industrial pool, which seemed out of place in retrospect, but in the moment the oddity fell to the background. The foreground was filled with an excessive number of snake bodies, as well as snake skins, spread throughout the room. They looked like the remains of a post-apocalyptic world. The bodies were rotting, like spoiled peaches, but the smell itself was far more rank than any fruit could be. I felt my stomach heave as I my eyes drifted along the pool. On one end, there was a massive snake, nearly ten feet long, and equally thick. Its skin looked half eaten, and pus poured from its one remaining eye. The empty socket was filled with the largest spider I had ever seen. It was curled up, but the black body was nearly the size of my head. Its long, spindly legs were pulled tight against its body. Fortunately, it appeared to be content where it was as I moved past it.

Suddenly, I felt the world careen before me as my foot slipped in a puddle of water. I put my hands out to brace my fall, but I plunged through the surface of the pool into the water. I splashed about for a moment, until I broke the surface to come back up for air. I cleared the water from my eyes, and looked ahead of me. Then massive snake was still there, staring off into the distance. Then, ever so slowly, its head began to turn. The sound of bones popping, snapping, and breaking filled the air as it came to look at me. The low hiss emanated from its jaws. The spider still clung there in its eye, which  stifled the red glow that had appeared there. From the other eye, the one covered with the remnants of its skin, pus dripped into the water while the reawakened beast pulled its focus on me.

Its jaws opened, and the stink of decay wafted through the air. My stomach churned. I had smelled death before, but it had never smelled quite so ancient. The beast reared back, then lunged toward me. It happened so fast, yet it appeared to me in slow motion. I could see the scales shift under its weight. The droplets in the air as I desperately scrambled to get away. It massive jaws surrounding my head. Then again, everything went black.

——

 

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TONE IN LITERATURE AND LIFE

From time to time, my father and I talk about a variety of subjects. Anything from alcohol, to weight lifting, to…well, really anything. Yesterday, my dad finished reading Honored Enemy, a book by a (slightly) lesser-known fantasy author: Raymond E. Feist (at least, compared to George R.R. Martin), and we were considering it in comparison to the Game of Thrones series (yeah I know it’s called A Song of Fire and Ice officially, but everyone calls it Game of Thrones). My dad asserted that Feist’s characters were more hopeful, which I thought was an interesting perspective, since at many times throughout his book, they knowingly face and fear certain doom.

To contrast, the characters in Game of Thrones, while often times very dire (I mean, the Stark’s house words are “Winter is Coming,” which is indicative of a fear of death, rather than an enjoyment with life) also hold a sense of hopefulness at various points, it just doesn’t seem hopeful. Think about it. Tyrion is hopeful in his own way—in the sense that he thinks he can overcome pretty much anything with his own wit. Renly is hopeful in a way too. He is very fun loving, and clearly represents some amount of goodness in the world. Vars, in his own way, is hopeful that things can go well, and Littlefinger is hopeful in his own schemes. Though I would categorically say that Game of Thrones is far less hopeful than most books.

Which takes us to the point of this post! Tone! The whole tone of the story frames the perspective it takes. And I like to think of stories as an allegory for life. This one is that the tone you take can change how you look at life. If everything you think is hopeless, then the world will seem that much darker. But if you can look at the things around you, and find some greatness in it, suddenly you might be able to enjoy it a bit more—even in dire straights.

Alright, well I’ll leave it a bit shorter today, but don’t forget that life can be really great, just as books can be really great, even if there are many points where the world seems too big, and the battles you are fighting seem hopeless. Let me know what your thoughts are on the subject. Is life better when we view it as better? Or does the pessimism lead to better successes in happiness?

——

 

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LOVE POEM #33 – OBSESSION

It started out like most loves do,

With cliché thoughts of me and you

Sitting till sunset at the park,

Or laughing at each other’s snark.

But like most loves, it weaved and changed,

Until I’d found myself deranged.

I felt deformed, just like a leper;

And more lonely than Sgt. Pepper.

 

Every morning was such a chore,

And every class was such a bore.

Every moment I yearned for you.

I burned, and churned, and turned for you.

I broke and breaked and failed class.

I choked and ached and scaled glass.

I killed myself just so I’d see

The love that was so dear to me.

 

A love to protect me from my fears,

And warm hands to wipe away my tears.

But what I found was all my yearning

Had simply kept the wheel turning.

And spun you farther than I could see;

Too far to ever come back to me.

 

And so I find myself alone,

Too scared to ever make a home,

Or venture out to see the day

Where all my pains are borne away.

 

And I wonder…did you ever love me?

Or was this just some fantasy.

——

 

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BEDTIME STORY PART 3

To preface this, here are links to Part One and Part Two. Enjoy!

 

The next night we sat down and jumped straight back into our story. Lizzie’s wide eyes looked on me with excitement and wonder as I recounted the events from the previous night.

“…and so that monstrous looking entity bellowed ‘who dares to disturbed my slumber.’ Are we all caught up?”

“Yup,” Lizzie said, drifting into silence.

“Ok. So this ancient creature stands before you. It’s blinking yellow eyes trained on the light from your lantern. It looks almost like a human, yet its skin has the distinct texture of solidified mud.

‘My name is Ashoka, I am of the river,’ you call out. You’ve lied, though you are unsure why. Something in the air gives you pause.

‘Ashoka?’ the beast speaks every syllable with a slow, meandering pause, as if tasting each in turn, ‘human, you would do better not to lie to me.’

‘What are you?’ Your voice presses on, with a determination, ignoring its question.

‘Me?’ the beast sounds almost taken aback, ‘if you are not careful, I will be your reckoning.’ The hint of a smile pulls at the eyes of the beast, its face remains neutral. That is, if you could call such a sight neutral.

‘Speak, or never speak again,’ you announce, with quite a bit more confidence than you feel. You pass the lantern to your right hand, and draw your sword. The silver edge glows bronze against your lantern, yet with the palest hint of blue from the light of the beast.

‘You think you can damage me with this?’ the beast laughs, it’s a pained, guttural laugh, with such disdain, ‘what do you call your precious sword?’

‘This is Elendall, forged from the same fires as Durendall.’

‘Elendall.’ The beast’s voice breaths in a ghost like whisper, then, more loudly, it boasts ‘let me show you how feeble your mighty sword is.’ The beast’s arm raises slowly. You step back, wary as the hand extend closer to you, though it stops a short ten feet from you. It’s boney brown fingers glow red against the light of your lantern. The beast speaks an unknown word, sharp, clear, and steely. It sounds like ‘El-Dah,’ though it is so raspy and ancient you cannot say for sure.

Suddenly, Elendall begins to shiver. It looks like a gong, vibrating furiously after being struck. The shaking runs though your arm, until at last you cannot hold the sword any longer. Your eyes dart between the sword and the beast. The beast closes its hand into a fist, and you watch your shivering sword change. The silver blade shifts, to a burnt, angry brown, then to a molten, fiery red. The surface began to morph and twist, and little bursts of smoke began to roll off it. The once hard edges of the blade melt onto the ground into a puddle; bubbling, popping, and hissing as the molten turns from red to orange, with the hilt laying listlessly on the earth. Then, as if possessed, the liquid begins to move, rising into the air, and forming a sphere of molten. Waves of its heat scorch your face, but you stare, transfixed, at the sphere before you, unable to turn away. Then, the sphere suddenly shifts back through the color spectrum, until it sits before you as a pale blue ball.

‘Open your hand,’ the beast commands. Without thinking, you oblige. The sphere moves above your extended palm, then drops suddenly into your hand.” I stopped talking and sat in silence.

“Wha—come on!” Lizzies protested, “you can’t stop there!”

“It’s late Liz.” I brought my hand to my forehead.

“But what is—”

“Liz.” I said, in a tone more harsh than I’d intended. I could feel the fatigue against my eyes. Liz shrunk back in her bed, her expression hurt. I took a deep breath, “sorry Liz. I’m just tired. I’ll tell you more tomorrow.” Silence. She had turned away from me. I stood there for a moment, then walked to her doorway. I said a horse goodnight on my way out, then shut the door behind me.

——

 

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