The Guardians

These are those who never meet. Two a pair who pass by, greet and bid farewell in mere moments. Four of them appear so beautifully in their own way, but arrive with their own varied majesty.

The first is the swift eldest. Delicate while content; angered and she will unleash a fury unmatched by her kin. Clad in robes of white and grey, tinged with black filigree. Fingertips caress the greenery, leaving behind skeletons, dark footprints, and remnants of life. Her duty is not only necessary, it is vital to the cycle.

Some call her ‘the angel of death’ as she brings such a brisk chill. Her very aura is frigid and her beauty is no exception. Long, wavy strands of silver twilight hanging like Holiday ribbons around her soft, pale face. Eyes reminiscent of a pale snow against an aqua sky and lips as red as frost-nipped toes. And like her mood, her voice rises and falls against the wind.

Lucky are those who witness her dissent onto the world and the bittersweet truth she carries. Not all endings should be tearful. There is sun over the horizon.

***

When the white goddess departs for the cycle, her brother takes the stage and steals the show. Suddenly the earth springs to life as seedlings take root and rise towards the warmth of the sun. Primavera is his name, though others speak variations of it.

As he calms his sister’s lingering spirit, the frost softens and moves deep within the dirt, glistening and giving life to that which was once dead. Hibernating animals awaken their long slumber to the thawing world of color. Eyes open to the blooming trees and pastures of wildflowers. And the intoxicating scents of him and the trail he leaves behind.

Primavera watches over the earth for a time. His humbly tan tunic and mahogany trousers weave through the evergreen forests with the wind tousling his auburn hair. As the pale chill finally exits the air and the remnants of his sister disappear. This is now his domain.

But soon, the end will come for him to return at the next cycle. With tears of sorrow and joy, he bids the earth goodbye as the next Guardian passes by to await their turn. He greets them with a warm smile, the last cool breeze floats across the land as his feet leave the ground in a final farewell.

***

Earth takes a deep inhale and patiently awaits the strongest of the four. She ascends upon the earth like a shroud, suffocating it with nearly unbearable heat. Harsh is her voice as it whips through the dunes of the Sahara and grasslands of Australia. She takes her job with pride as waves of humidity burrow through the swamps allowing life to flourish despite the heat.

Although her reign is known throughout, her reach does not extend to the poles of the globe. As large as she is, she cannot encompass that which her frozen counterpart can. Her fiery, red hair touches the dry ground and lights it afire. Eyes as dark as soot scan her domain for more work that needs to be done.

Understand, her very existence, when in balance with the other Guardians, is necessary. Purging the overgrown forests into a wasteland allows the others to rekindle the life below the surface. She can bring the rains to replenish what she has rightfully destroyed and, at the same time, reek havoc with cyclones across the Alley.

She is finicky and emotional, very aware of the state in which humanity is leaving her beloved earth. More and more, she angers and rebels with flames, wind, water, and earth. But each cycle, to no avail. When her time comes to leave again, she expresses her sadness one last time.

***

Finally, the last of the cycle appears gradually, taking delicate care to erase all that the fire has set ablaze. She prepares for the beginning all over again. For snow and frost. Melodic songs of dreams begin to lull the trees to sleep as she shivers off the reds, yellows, and oranges all around.

The one that comes after is a shadow of this one’s beauty. Automne, they call her, name just as entrancing as her voice. Hues of gold-laced chocolate fall from the top of her head, a crown of silver maple leaves placed daintily on top. Because she works so closely with the one before and the one after her time, she bears one crystal and one deep grey eye. In tales, they call her the In-Between or the Guardian of Limbo for her notable work in the cycle.

Automne takes a secret pleasure in walking through the leaf-laiden grounds. Cobblestone just below the crunching colors at her feet, she will inhale a scent of warmth deeply, exhaling the foreshadow of what is to come. And those around her, flora and fauna alike, relish her existence while she lingers here.

But even beauty is not forever. When her time comes, the world weeps and awaits her return with bated breath. As the first takes her place and feet touch the soft grass, a single tear slides down Automne’s face and turns her back once again. Into oblivion she travels until her next turn.

It took me 3 days to write this because I’ve been so busy. Sorry for the delay! I hope you enjoyed! 🙂

The Significance of Jumping

I know they have seen me before. Solitude has a funny way of making your intuition more acute. What a cruel, sick joke it plays on me though. I want to remain far away from humanity, and yet, I find myself more aware of their every move than even themselves.

But I watch as an eagle above the city, standing upon the precipice, at the brink of their own, and my own, destruction. A simple ledge, but what a powerful message it sends to those who see not with their eyes, but with the darkness of their mind. The significance of jumping is only apparent to those who truly understand the frailty of life itself.

My own mind is my obsession. Seldom do I inquire further from the shell I was given. Emotions come naturally to me, but oh so uncomfortably and painfully. Rising and falling with each passing moment, I have but a second to grasp them before they slip through my fingertips. Well, there is a singular emotion that stays. It underlines every smile with a sharp, bold line, like a heavy weight attempting to tear it downwards. The only way I can describe it is darkness. Why must a mind so colorful and so bright be so stained with this blackness? Inquisitively, I began to play with it, but regret and fear is all that has become of the toying.

However, regret is only superficial comparatively. Abyss itself is poetic in nature. One may believe that darkness has no color. In fact, it is the beautifully perfect collision of them all. So much in such a small space, only for few can behold. For those who dwell on the skin will never delve deeper towards the bones. But that is the part of my mind that I most enjoy, the appreciation of the bones.

I stand again upon the brink. Hollow other than an eagerness to leap. Goosebumps form along my arms and causes my spine to quiver with anticipation. Shall it be today? I ask the Universe. Harken to me! It beckons. And as I listen, the wind begins to sing. A tear, but not of my own doing, trickles down my cheek and into the abyss of the city below. Not today, the Universe calls back. I glance at the people below and take in the feeling of being so small to those who watch and I return to home.

I wonder if they speak of me. Not just my existence, but questioning my story, my background, my secrets. Just a man? No, a mystery. Maybe a god in their midst or no, they must think me a loner. Something is off, they probably say. Why doesn’t he just take the plunge? I’ll admit, even to myself, I cannot express the frustration of my mind’s constant war. But, perhaps, that is why I wish to understand the significance of the jump. Before I allow the Universe to take whatever scars I have created and clean up whatever pieces they can scrounge, I must know the answer. Must I continue this life for much longer? Is this journey drawing to a close or am I still wandering around aimlessly along the path of enlightenment?

Days come and go and I continue the same struggles. Identity. Purpose. Curiosity. Irony seeps into my mundane and melancholy, cackling spittle into my face. But I am patient. I can await the Universe’s answer alone in my armchair. The moment that the infinite accepts me, I may just take that extra step.

Update on Book 2

Greetings All!

I wanted to keep all of my loyal followers updated on my current project: The Wanderer Trilogy – Book 2 – Preservation. Roughly 19 Chapters – over 85K words – Super excited! I just finished the First Draft today!

I usually do a handful of edits (grammar, plot, flow, etc.) before I hand it off to a few family members to edit. Once that is done, I will make the necessary edits and hopefully have it out to a few Beta Readers. I may make a competition out of it for one of my readers to be granted early access!

My hope is to have Preservation finalized and published by December this year. By then, I should hopefully be started on Book 3, to be completed by December 2020.

As far as future projects, I am working on the bare bones for a number of short stories that I plan on compiling into a psychological thriller of sorts. I’m not entirely sure how quickly after The Wanderer Trilogy I want to work on it – but we shall see! Who knows? I may bounce between this book and a Fantasy series I’m working on too.

So please, stay tuned for the release of Book 2! I will keep everyone updated! 🙂

“We Only Have Twenty Minutes”

Love is something that the Old Tales cannot grasp. Mere words cannot fully encompass it’s depth, color, or sound. Even the taste of love is but a mystery in days like these. It is not spoken of. It is not allowed. It is against the laws of our Leaders.

Sometimes I sneak out of the city and into the wasteland that was once our beautiful world. I recall the times before the world crumbled before those mystical creatures called ‘humans’ stood upon our ground. They came in ships from the sky, settling and spreading like a sickness. Some of them told me of their former planet, Earth and why they were forced to leave. At first, I felt pity on them. They did not make it seem like they realized that they were depleting resources, burning their air, and filling their waters with a substance they called plastic. “It killed everything,” they said. “We had no clue the severity,” they said.

Oh, how we were misled. Because these humans played the game quite well. Our planet, unlike their robust one that withstood the test of these unthinkable acts, is much more delicate. Some scholars told us that they did not realize what they were doing here either, but most of us truly believe that the humans knew exactly what they were doing.

Humans destroyed everything. Our cities are now all that is left and they have left us behind. Gone to another planet to wipe out their resources and leave it’s people to live off of what we have left. Understand, we will live for eons on this planet without issue, but our once-blooming lands are now grayed and cracked. Cities are only crumbling skeletons of a former life. But my people have endured.

Since the time of the humans, our people have turned to tyranny in fear. The High Leader Lasander has outlawed everything. What started with stringent laws to protect our resources has transformed to even more laws to – as he claims – protect our race. Marriage is one of those laws.

My mother’s generation was the first to have this law enforced upon their lives. She always spoke of how it felt so suffocating to await the Leader’s decision. Mind you, they not only get to decide who you will marry, but also if you will marry. Luckily, my mother was paired with her true love – a gift of luck that most are not granted.

I was not so lucky. Three months to this day, the Leader’s attempted to grant me what they called ‘a special honor’. I was to wed Lasander’s son, Roderick. But I could not bare the weight of that event because I had spent so much of my childhood reading books of Old. They speak of love – a word not spoken on my people’s lips for a time. Stories of the beauty from two souls as they come together. The sweet simplicity of a kiss and the taste of another. Hairs raising on your arms as the soft touch of passion trickles up your spine. To be quite frank, I fell in love with another.

Haydynn is a simple man. He runs the general store that I frequent. To think, a business man! A scholar like myself would never be paired with a man like him. But a man he was indeed. From the moment I first laid my eyes upon him, I found myself swooning. His entire figure was lean muscle. And, despite his hardened look, his voice was kind and sweet – like his eyes. The novels that the humans left behind say that you can truly see someone’s soul in their eyes and I believe that with both of my hearts. However, I knew in that same moment that we could never be together. Because he was one of the humans who stayed behind.

A small populous of Earth-borns integrated into our society, learned and adopted our traditions, and made their lives here alongside us… not despite us. Even our Leaders took care in their laws for the humans. Unfortunately for them, they were not permitted to wed. My people believed that their race would die out and that was the fate that their people deserved – the fate that those who remained reluctantly accepted. Over many years, Human Laws were loosened, but never the law forbidding them marriage.

Love endures all. I could not bare another moment without Haydynn in my life so I took the leap. We spent many a season together as time slowly crept closer to my Council Day. Only in the recesses of our mind did we worry of that day when I would stand before the Leaders and be paired. Never did we believe this day would come. But it did.

We rejected the laws and now stand before my planet and his as a true testament to what love truly is. I have tasted the sweet nectar of it, smelled it’s perfume, listened to it whisper. I have felt it’s delicacy and seen it blossom into something I could have never fathomed. Even if death is my fate, I accept it gladly.

And here we stand. Haydynn and I with a brave clergyman in the wasteland. A small cottage we use as a makeshift chapel for his people’s tradition. Jewelry – two rings as he spoke of – reaffirming the infinite that is our love. But we only have twenty minutes before they find us. Today was meant to be celebrated inside the city to my ‘betrothed’. There will be an execution today, but we are ready.

Words blur together like a poem that I lose myself in. It swirls around me and through my lips as I profess my love in this rickety shack. But the place matters not as my hands interlace with his. Our eyes meet and a seldom-seen tear rolls down his cheek. For he knows, just as well as I, what will become of us. “At least my life would mean something,” he once told me. “You make my life mean something.”

Gunshots and footsteps echo in the evening’s desolate cloak. Our hearts are already racing, now even more so. We kiss to seal the vows we made to one another for the final few moments of our lives and the clergyman slips away. They will not be looking for him, only for the lovers in the dark. Twenty minutes has already passed and they stand at the threshhold.

I remember very little about my death. Two bursting sounds, a sharp pain, and warmth throughout my body. And then, I heard the thud but did not feel my body fall upon the wooden floor. My eyes were wide open as Haydynn too dropped alongside me. We looked into each other’s eyes for the last breaths of this world and a smile crept across his mouth. He slowly reached for my hand, and I, his. That was the moment I truly understood what love was – it was sacrifice.

Use the same prompt as above and write your own story! I’m interested in hearing them!

Coming of Age

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Every child in our tribe dreams of the day when they take their test. The Old Ones; our parents, siblings, and family all speak about their test with pride and fearlessness in their eyes. But their words shake from time to time and I am not sure if the other Younglings notice, but I have.

Every child in our tribe dreams of the day when they take their test. But not me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid. Five moons in the jungle while our markings heal will show us our true spirit. The animal who chooses to be our guide will be permanently marked on our chest, over our heart, our spirit center.

Some of them don’t come back, though. The tribe just assumes that they were not strong enough to protect us. To hunt. To battle. But no one goes to look for the bodies and the families just move on without their family. It makes me uneasy to think that… one of those missing… could be me. They would never allow me to skip this. I’m just standing on the edge of something I cannot escape. My family would disown me. Banishment would be my fate… and I would have to face the jungle alone anyway.

Tomorrow. I will rise with the birds and travel to the stream tent. Elders will be there to scar me with markings all over my back and arms with the story of our people. Throughout time, all of our kin have worn the countless tales of battle, harvest, and failings of the tribe. We all wear it proudly. It reminds us to have hope when we hang our heads in shame and to be humble when we stand above others in mastery. Hours will pass before I am ready for the blessing. Chanting through a line of my friends and family as they bless me with tree sap and I stand on the opening into the thicket.

I guess I’m lucky. My friend will be taking the test with me. Rules are, though, we must split up or the gods will frown upon our weakness and send a large animal to devour us both. And I do not wish to test the gods.

My mother is afraid. She tells me of her test and how close she came to death. Sickness from a simple wound and screams of others in the night. Out of a group of twelve, she and one other made it back alive. The others, lost in memory. And that night, she told me that I had an older brother who never made it back to the tribe after his test. It is taboo to speak of the lost but the fear in her eyes told me all I needed to know. I’m her only child now.

And then, the sun rises. Another sleepless night floats through my grasp like smoke. Ravens caw with the purple sky as I open my eyes to what could be my final days. I pay homage to the god of luck, an offering of flowers and bread. With a short bow, I meet my friend and we walk to the stream tent where a dozen Elders meet us. There are two woven chairs for us to remove our tunics and sit.

What started out as a bee-sting feeling soon subsided to numbness for a while. My heart stopped racing so quickly and I began to relax. The methodical tapping of the bamboo into my skin nearly put me to sleep. Pain no longer existed in my body. My eyes turn to my friend, who winces with each needle prick, clenching his hands. I place my palm on his fist and he relaxes.

“Everything will be okay.” I promise. “I will get through this and you will too.”

He smiles and relaxes a little, but I can sense the pain. I wish to a god to take some from him and she grants my kind gesture. A prickling feeling starts in my back, but I see my friend relaxing evermore. I nod in thanks to help him.

Perhaps I am different than the others in my tribe. The Old Ones have told ancient tales of people who connect with gods on a different level, called the Anointed. But the connection with the gods meant that they have weird abilities and can see the world through the gods eyes and feel things through nature. As I begin to wonder, I drift into a dream state and the markings are complete.

My friend and I stand between the stream and the dark trees. We make our way through the line of Old Ones who cover us with protection spells. The hum of chanting is hypnotizing. I don’t even remember falling to my knees, but here I am, crawling through the last few people in line. My mother is standing there with worry on her face, but she allows me to pass and stand at the edge of the thicket. My friend stands in a different direction and we bid each other farewell.

If I turn to look at the tribe, the gods will surely fail me. I must be strong and hold my head high but my knees are shaking as I stand and face the unknown. That was the moment I noticed something in the distance. A light? A figure? It’s moving but I don’t think the others can see it because they say nothing. Are my eyes playing tricks on me? No, because it’s getting brighter. I can feel its energy, pulling me deeper into the jungle as my tribe disappears out of view. Whatever it is, it feels welcoming and maybe a bit familiar.

 

I may come back to this writing prompt and finish it off with another picture. It was fun to write! I hope you enjoy, as always. I apologize for the extended absence but I’m working on some great things upcoming! Stay tuned!!!

 

Here’s one for you!

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