Red Flames of Mist

Sorry I haven’t been posting as frequently as usual! I’ve been trying to get editing done for Book 2 of The Wanderer Trilogy. It is still in the works, but I hope to have a solid update for everyone soon.

Standing against the back of Summer in wake of Autumn’s chill,

I find myself yearning for a world of whimsical fantasy.

My eyes open and behold a fiery land just beyond my reach,

Mists ripple in waves pass overhead, red and pink and yellow.

Ablaze the sky above, Arise the morning sun.

Harvest Moon to Harvest Sun, greets with eerie beauty.

I am present to it’s wake and sentinel to it’s arrival,

Autumn is here, Autumn is here, I announce to the Earth.

Roots spread from my soles, take root and ground me to the infinite below.

From my crown, a tingling cloud reaches up to greet the sky,

Connecting me to the infinite above.

The sky above becomes more calming as the sun rises more,

But beauty still remains, only a glimpse of the moments before linger.

Standing against the back of Summer I greet Autumn’s chill.

Like an old friend it wraps me up in it’s embrace,

The future is uncertain, Winter’s blankets will find me soon.

For now I relish the moments that nature beholds it’s true beauty.

That the end of green has arrived, but will come again.

I await the season’s, one by one, and stand witness to it.

The Wild One

Pine and Fir trees conceal numerous stories that become myth. A light flickering through the treetops, people speak of witches and spirits lingering from history passed. Sometimes, hushed whispers and bone-chilling winds come up from the depths and scare the livestock and the people in town. Many travelers do not dare come this way. They stay along the main road and avert their gaze to the sign reading: Corpse Cove.

The name of the town itself should be daunting enough, but it’s people tend to keep away from the affairs of outsiders. Those who have read the newspapers coming from this lonely town flock in interest. And those who live in Corpse Cove happily oblige their deepest fantasies for a fee. Murder mysteries derived from true events and horseback tours of the recent fire that wiped out a third of the homes, the townspeople thrive on death. Perhaps they are obsessed with it, as it is all they know.

A quaint Inn sits nearest to the forest with the windows strategically built to view as much of the treeline as possible. The most expensive room sits atop a tower, up a winding staircase, and perched high enough to see for miles. Claims of mysterious glowing orbs dancing over the horizon just before nightfall and sounds of drums and singing are carried with the wind. All of these and so much more make Corpse Cove ripe for spirit activity.

But it wasn’t always named this way. When the town was first inhabited twenty years ago, a settler and his wife named the land Harristown. Maude and Earl Harris, along with a few of their close friends and relatives, began to build. When the town was christened, so were the Harris’. Maude was pregnant.

However, it wasn’t a joyous time for everyone in Harristown. Earl’s mother, an eccentric by the town’s standards, never cared much for Maude and believed that her grandchild would deface the ‘good Harris name’. So, she devised a plan. Late one night, a raven came to her windowsill, sat upon it, and beckoned for her. She followed it deep into the forest, black as pitch. Suddenly, she spotted a fire. No one was around except her and the raven, that, when she turned to look back at it, had transformed into a grey fox with a woman standing beside it. Both had silver eyes glinting against the flames.

“I know what it is you request of the spirits of the forest,” she said in a low, melodic voice. “We require sacrifice as payment.”

The old lady swallowed the lump in her throat, but the first person to come to mind was Maude. No, that would be too obvious. “If I decide to sacrifice the child?”

“She will become us,” the spirit explained, though her mouth did not move. Her voice came and went with the wind. “If she has done no wrong, this will be the end of Harristown as you know it. Heed my warning or do not, that is your choice.”

But the old woman choose her own path. Clouded by hate for Maude, she allowed her son to raise the child for three years to keep suspicions at bay. On the evening of the child’s third birthday, the Spirit’s wolf awaited the old lady and the toddler at the forest’s edge. No tears were shed until dawn when Maude and Earl found that their daughter went missing. They believed that a thief stole her in the night, and they weren’t entirely wrong.

For months they searched surrounding lands, always returning to Harristown for comfort. On their final search destination, Earl’s mother decided to go alone.

“Perhaps she is in Ashville,” she offered. Still, only she knew where their precious daughter had disappeared that night. Earl begged to accompany her, but she refused.

Two days passed when the old lady returned down the dirt road to the wooden sign stamped with her last name. Something was different as she turned off the main road and began the mile ride to the town. It was the smell. She remembered it as fresh maple and wildflowers, but not this time. This time, it smelled like smoke.

“Help,” it was Maude’s voice coming from the bottom of the hill. “Please help us. Earl… the others.”

“If she has done no wrong, this will be the end of Harristown as you know it. Heed my warning or do not, that is your choice.” It echoed in the old woman’s mind.

The moment her carriage turned towards the hill, her eyes widened. Smoldering remains of over half the town came into view. Maude was slumped over next to the horses, crying hysterically. Her legs were badly burned.

“I’m so sorry, ma,” she wept. “I tried to save him, but he wouldn’t leave the house. He said he saw her, ma. He said he saw our daughter.”

“What?” The old woman’s heart started racing and her palms became sweaty. “That can’t be possible. It’s been months. She’s gone.”

Suddenly, the widow screamed and pointed to the forest. Her hands were shaking violently. “No.”

“That’s impossible,” the old woman said. But again, the Spirits warning repeated in the back of her mind.

The two women stood there, flabbergasted as a very young girl with fiery red hair wrapped in messy braids stood at the threshhold. Perched on her shoulder was a raven and just beside her was the fox. All three of them had bright silver eyes. But it was what the girl said that terrified them.

“I’m sorry mommy. I had to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen. She left me here to die and now I must take you all with me.”

***

Although the town changed it’s name since that day, the stories did not die with Maude and Earl. Years have passed and it is still a bustling town with a dark past. But that is the charm. None of the spirits in the fire were laid to rest and their remains still haunt the town. Maude and Earl can be heard weeping in various places around town and seen on the full moon nights. Their specters glide through the streets, calling out to their lost child. Other townspeople can be heard screaming in pain from time to time. But the most noted ghost is that of Earl’s mother. They claim she is the most active because she was banished from the afterlife. Everyone who comes to Corpse Cove has seen her in one way or another. Mirrors reflecting her likeness, a shadow of a shuffling hunched woman through hallways and the streets. But on the anniversary of her grandchild’s birthday, she can be followed.

Her path? The very same she took all those years ago. From the home of her son to the treeline. Those brave enough to follow can find her weaving around trees that have since fallen over to a small clearing – a perfect circle. Some claim that the remnants of a fire still burns, but only the coals. The old woman’s spirit sways back and forth for an hour, dwelling on her choice and leaving to her home. Only to return with her grandchild and disappears again.

Tales say that the child still lives within the trees, raised by wolves and the Spirit who spoke to the old woman. Her red hair – a reminder of the havoc she caused her family and the town she should have grown up in. Even still, you can see her glowing persona just beyond the treeline, watching over Corpse Cove.

But those are just stories right?

Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed and I would love to read your take on the 3 prompts above. 🙂

Those Who Come After

Another rainy day when Reya Quinn found herself at the local library again. She drew in the black umbrella and took in the smell of aging paper, goosebumps rose on her arms, not from the chill, but from the nostalgia of of stories from decades ago and yesteryear. Each aisle, she would loosely draw her fingertips along the bindings, plastic and fabric, bound by machine or hand. Every so often she would stop, take a step back, and open a book with her black-painted fingernails. Skimming through the first chapter, she would make a decision – Was it worthy of reading, sitting down in a comfy chair in her favorite corner, and allowing the day to melt? Or, would it be placed back onto the shelf for another reader at another time?

Today was different. The thunderstorm just outside the window had turned the sky a dangerous green. The library, which was normally rather busy, was nearly desolate. The tables were bare, with the exception of one elder gentleman, three college-students, and a handful of middle-aged adults in a Book Club. Even the employees were scarce. A few people murmured something about the tornado and rushed back to their cars, disappearing behind a wall of rain.

Brave Reya found the weather, the lack of other people, and the silence comforting. Her routine began after her umbrella found the side of a comfortable armchair in the corner surrounded by windows and her lunchbox laid upon on the end table. Adjusting her black, pleated skirt, she sauntered to the nearest aisle and drifted back and forth, stopping here and there.

For some reason, she could not choose a story for the day. Nothing matches how I’m feeling. This book is too feisty. This book is too ‘romantic’. This one is too blasĂ©. Too allegorical. Too fictional. Too…

“Wait,” she whispered to herself.

Something caught her eye. “What’s this doing back here?”

The oldest book that Reya had ever seen found it’s way into her hands. However, it was in excellent condition. As if it had never been touched. She had to remove half the books on the shelf in front to make enough space to remove the book without making a peep. When the last library book was on it’s shelf, she rushed over to her chair and studied every inch of it.

There was no title, no indication of an author. The front of the book did not have a dust jacket or date of publication. Nothing – or the lack of information – caught her intrigue. A familiar crackling filled her ears as she opened to the first page. It was nearly blank with the exception of one line. Two sentences.

To whom it may concern. Read at your own risk.

Deep down, her gut urged her to turn the page. Her heart began to race as she unknowingly turned to next page. A paragraph was all that was written.

This details the final days of Earth and all that transpired to it’s ultimate demise. My hope by sending these notes into the past, someone will carry on the message until the events begin. My only concern is how far in my past I send this. Be warned reader. What is contained in the text cannot be unread. You alone will be responsible for carrying the message in whatever way you see fit. But by doing nothing, you are only delaying the inevitable. You have my well wishesReya Quinn.

Reya looked around at the rest of the library. No one stirred. “This has to be a joke,” she mouthed. The next page turned and she felt herself literally being sucked into the parchment.

The next thing she knew, a somewhat familiar sight filled her gaze. Shards of moonlight fell on the grassy plain where she lay. The moon itself was no longer spherical, but blown to smaller, jagged chunks. Reya immediately knew that she was no longer in 2019. The book had literally brought her into the future. Somehow, someway. What had been filled with stories was now a binding of blank pages and a pen in her hand. Without actually knowing why she was there and for what purpose, she started down the hill and towards a city lit with lanterns and trash fires.

For six years, Reya Quinn recounted the downfall of the country and the world. What started as numerous civil wars expanded into the war to End All Times. Every country, every continent battled for survival. Nuclear wastelands decimated the Third World. When ammunition became scarce, iron mines and scrap metal were hoarded, mined, and melted. Livestock became a delicacy and rice with potatoes became a staple in food. Death was no longer a mysterious occurrence with funerals and wakes. It became an uncommon thing not to see at least a dozen each day. This brought disease which slowly drained humanity of it’s numbers… until we became a rarity… an antique.

Still, Reya pursued. In the past, she had nothing. After a while, she realized that the book she found in the library never had any content. It was meant to find her that day and meant to take her back to write it for another. She was the liaison between time and space to keep the world from it’s ultimate collapse… On October 16th, 2257 something in her gut said that the end was near. Her final day, she reminisced of the past.

I have had the pleasure of meeting wonderfully profound individuals working to rebuild what we have lost. Growing up, I had no idea that my role in life would be so pivotal, so filled with uncertainty. The scientists who have spent so much time healing illnesses I could never comprehend in that library two hundred years ago have given me one chance to go back. Myself or the book. But who would listen to a goth-girl claiming they were from the future? No. It must be the book. But it could not be found in a library by someone with the quiet voice of sheep among wolves. Whoever it is, must be of sane mind and faith that what is contained in the pages is truth.

My deepest love, Naomi, took liberty in sketching scenery that would be unmistakable evidence of what we see on a daily basis. Perhaps even some of the diseases that raid our people will be cured prior to this time. Reader, with the utmost haste, do not let us down. You may not be directly effected by the events of my today, but your future generations and your namesake will be. I understand that humanity is inherently selfish, but please do not succumb to the pitfalls of the primal brain. I beg of you, do not delay.

Now, I fear the end is near for the rest of us. Another force, somewhere outside our atmosphere is growing. We have had dealings with some foreign beings, but none who seemed to have any animosity for our measly existence. Deep down, I believe that we have been deceived. If I say my goodbyes today, I will feel that my work is done, but still hope for a tomorrow...

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! 🙂

Writing Prompt 3/18

Writing prompt 12

The anxiety is intense when I don’t lock my door 5 times.

Unlock, lock… one. Unlock, lock… two. Unlock, lock… three. Unlock, lock… four. Unlock, lock… five.

What happens if there’s a burglar. Did I really lock my door? Did I stop at lock or unlock? Better check again because my hearts racing. Something didn’t feel right the last time I did it. 5 more times.

Unlock, lock… one. Unlock, lock… two. Unlock, lock… three. Unlock, lock… four. Unlock, lock… five.

Okay… now I can brush my teeth. Count the stairs to my bathroom. Don’t miss a stair or I’ll have to go back down and start over. Focus. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine… dammit! There are ten stairs in my house. Go back down the stairs. Last night, I didn’t get to bed until 12am because of this. I wish I wasn’t like this. I try to stop counting, but I can’t. Something feels wrong. SHIT! I wasn’t paying attention. Third time up the stairs.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Okay… at least it was only three times up and down the stairs this time. Last night, it was – one, two, three, four, five, six – six, times. Brushing my teeth. This one takes a while because I have to count to 100. I want to be clean, and 100 is a great round number. At least I have control over how many times I can brush my teeth. My mom used to laugh at me and make me stop at fifty three, most days. FIFTY THREE!? That’s not a round number, not a good number… I’m getting anxious just thinking about it. Now that I’m on my own… 100 times, yes, a good number.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen… that number always makes me shudder. It’s unlucky, you know. Even for me… and I like numbers. Numbers are my life. Good thing I stopped brushing… fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty… That’s a good number. No one gives it the respect it deserves. Continuing… thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty, forty-one, forty-two, forty-three, forty-four, forty-five, forty-six, forty-seven, forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty… Halfway there.

I wish I wouldn’t have bought this new toothpaste. It foams up too much. I wonder if I spit some of it into the sink, would I feel like I have to start over? Better not risk it. I’m already at fifty. Fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-three, fifty-four, fifty-five, fifty-six, fifty-seven, fifty-eight, fifty-nine, sixty. My teeth look good… But sometimes my gums bleed if I take too long to count. Why does my mind keep wandering. I need to focus. I was on seventy, right? Seventy-five? That doesn’t seem right… Oh yeah! Sixty… Sixty-one, sixty-two, sixty-three.

*ring, ring* Damn phone. I can’t let it ring past three times. Ugh! I’m in the middle of brushing my teeth. I don’t have time to answer the phone. But if it rings more than three times, I have to turn it off and on nine times. And if I break my phone… I don’t even want to think about it. It’s just an 800 number, so I’m going to ignore it.

Sixty-four, sixty-five, sixty-six. Again? My mind is trying to focus on the freaking phone again. What time is it? I really hate that I go to bed at 10pm but don’t actually get to lay down until after midnight. I wish I wasn’t like this. Why do I have to be like this? Now, because that stupid number just called to try to sell me a credit card or some shit, I have to turn that off and on nine times. Sixty-seven, sixty-eight, sixty-nine, seventy. At least I’m almost done brushing my teeth.

Seventy-one, seventy-two, seventy-three, seventy-four, seventy-five. This foam toothbrush really is starting to annoy me. I’m choking on this crap. Why doesn’t it say ‘foaming’ on the label. I wouldn’t have bought this… How does ANYONE buy this crap. Seventy-six, seventy-seven, seventy-eight, seventy-nine, eighty, eighty-one, eighty-two, eighty-three, eighty-four, eighty-five, eighty-six, eighty-seven, eighty-eight, eighty-nine… ninety. Almost there. And I didn’t even screw up once. Gotta be proud of that. Doesn’t happen often. Ninety-one, ninety-two, ninety-three, ninety-four, ninety-five, ninety-six, ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred. Spit this crap out of my mouth. Pretty sure I’m going to buy another tube of toothpaste. This is not conducive to my life.

Well… before I get to my nightly routine of turning off and on the lights, I have to turn my phone off and on… nine times. What is wrong with me? Why does counting every, single, freaking thing make me feel good? If I don’t count, I feel claustrophobic and it feels like I’m having a heart attack. This is why I don’t have any friends… This is why I don’t like to go out of the house.

*ding, ding-a-ring* One time. Two. Three. Four. Five… oh shit, it’s not turning back on. Oh, wait, there it goes. Six, seven, eight… Crap! Not again! What if I take out the battery? I may have to start this whole thing over again. Nine? Does it feel right? I mean, I took the battery out. That’s basically like starting over. Okay, I’ll start over because I’m starting to freak out again. What time is it? 11:34PM. I feel like I’m going to be late again to work tomorrow… I’m going to sleep through my alarm and have to brush my teeth like this again, shower, lock and unlock…

No. SHUT UP BRAIN! Turn off and on my phone again. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. Okay… check… one less thing on the list. At least I don’t feel compelled to put my pajamas on a certain amount of times. They’re so soft. I really made a good buy with these. Ugh… I’m so tired. But I’m not done yet.

Two more things to count tonight. Haha, that’s IF I do it correctly. Lights, on and off six times. One, two, three, four, five… I wonder if my lights will burn out quicker because I do this? Crap… gotta start over. I just want to sleep. I’m so friggin tired. Just do it quick… Onetwothreefourfivesix. Okay GOD, let’s go lay down. Now I have to turn on one side to the other fifteen times. Why fifteen, you ask? Who the hell knows… it’s a decent number. Divide by 3, you get five… Divide by five, you get three. Plus, I like the shape of it. The one stands firm at attention and the five is relaxed. It’s almost like Yin and Yang to me. Wake up! Don’t go to sleep yet because you’ll have to do this whole thing again at like 2AM.

Roll, left-side, one… two, right-side… three… stupid sheets tangling my legs. Four… five… six… seven… eight… nine… ten… eleven… twelve… thirteen… fourteen… fifteen… WHY!? WHY AM I NOT COMFORTABLE. I don’t want to roll again. I just want to sleep dammit! Close my eyes… okay, I think I can fall asleep like this. This is nice. I’m finally done, and it’s only 12:15AM. Oh, fifteen. What a good number…

Wait… What was that noise? Is someone in the house? Did I forget to lock the back door? Oh shit…

I hope you enjoyed this one! I’m working on my First Draft of Book 2 in my trilogy, so I’m going to be posting once a week with new prompts, tips, etc. Don’t forget to “Follow” my blog to be the FIRST to know when Purpose is going to be released!

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