Untitled (2017-09-26)

Give them enough rope to hang themselves.

A cunning, cruel, almost hungry statement. Vindictive. Waiting patiently for the inevitable, bloody comeuppance. A predator in the grass, calmly running down their prey to exhaustion.

Prometheus was punished by the gods for giving humanity fire–light, warmth, intelligence. In the myth he is a hero unjustly punished for his generosity. But what if that’s not the case?

Give them fire, watch them burn.

In a different story, there was another who gave humanity intelligence–or, at least, gave them the idea to seize it for themselves.

A predator in the grass.

A new dawn for humanity.

Light bringer playing the long game.

“Go home!” he shouts, straining and desperate, eyes wide and burning, “Just go home, okay? It’ll all be okay, just go home!”

You stumble backwards, obeying subconsciously but unable to break his gaze. This may be the last time you see him which, if you listen to him and he’s telling the truth, may very well mean that this image is the last memory of him you’ll keep.

You’re not sure if future-you will want to remember him like this, trapped and fighting–losing–and sacrificing himself for your foolish, useless self, but it’d be disrespectful not to take it in while you can.

Forgetting would be worse.

You take another faltering few steps backwards, his shouts have turned into pained screams, his wide eyes no longer seeing you. Only then do you turn and run for your life.

Untitled (2017-09-18)

I miss you, my friend.

And how weird to be saying this now–more than a year after you’ve left, thousands of miles away–more to your shadow than your face.

I guess I thought–I assumed, that is–that you’d be coming back. And you might very well do so, but I never thought there was a possibility that you wouldn’t. That you wouldn’t want to.

Which speaks more of how you’ve changed.

And how I haven’t.

Even if–when, no, if–you come back, what we had, what we might have, will never be the same.

We talk. Or, rather, we message each other. Sporadically.

Part of the reason why I was so thrown off guard.

Over a decade of being each other’s shoulder to cry on, of baring our vulnerabilities to each other, that we’ve fallen into patterns that miss the entire story.

You fell in love–with the land and the people and the work, which you had for months entrusted your… less than stellar opinions on… but the more your grew to love it, the more it made you happy, the less I heard about it.

And so my picture is only half formed, a grueling climb up but no final, breathtaking view at the summit. I saw only your stress and strain and none of the smiles that made it worth it.

I only know the you from a year ago, not who you are now.

Even when you were here, when we were together, we were apart.

Instead of thousands of miles, it was hundreds, and we only saw each other rarely.

But still. That was enough.

Because it was as if, whenever we reunited, the only things that had changed between us were the stories we could tell each other.

And it was enough, every time, to renew our friendship.

I never believed in soulmates, I have more than enough family to spare, but it seemed to me that we matched. Had perhaps formed ourselves to match, subconsciously, as we grew up and learned together.

You’ve grown without me, far far away, and I don’t know if our shapes still correspond.

Perhaps I’m being over dramatic.

I left, too, for a year. Grew into my own–or so people say–though really it just felt like a chance to be a better, brighter me with a deadline if I didn’t like it.

And immediately after I came back, you left, too. Not as long, but much farther, and I know you discovered a version of yourself as well.

But we wrote letters to each other, digital as they were, made time when neither of us had much to see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices.

But this time… is this what we’re reduced to without our safety net of technology?

I’m being silly, I know.

I’m so happy for you, so proud. So overjoyed that you’ve found yourself even if it’s not a version of you that I’ve met.

But I miss you, and they are not mutually exclusive.

I’m just feeling homesick for you.

Untitled (2017-09-16)

If I don’t say anything–not out loud, not where anyone can hear.

If I don’t write it down–don’t leave proof, no records, no trace.

If I don’t admit it happened, then did it really?

But just asking that means something existed to be asked about. To be willfully forgotten and thrown into the oblivion.

It’s not a big deal, the fuss makes it worse than it is, and yet some part of me still wants it to be buried.

///

It’s stupid. Silly. Not even a second, just the briefest of moments.

God, why am I even still thinking about it? Hours after it happened. Still blushing and running hands through my hair, nervous and coy and bewildered.

Flustered.

He winked at me, mouth curved into a sideways smile.

It was aimed at me. For me, an inside joke for the two of us. Just a small comment given a touch of humor and a delicate layer of secrecy.

It didn’t mean anything.

My heart is still fluttering.

///

Here’s the thing: he’s not the most handsome guy I’ve ever seen.

I’ve seen more classically beautiful men, met far smoother charmers. He’s not even my most handsome friend. He’s just one of the guys who, yes, has very nice eyes and a way of making me laugh.

And, I mean, I’ve thought about it before. When I first joined the group, learning as much as I can about the members as I tried to find a space for myself… he helped with that, it’s true… and I know that, if he has a type, then I’m not far from it.

But still!

It’s been months–over a year–why now?

Why him?

Why me?

///

(You were gone for two weeks, and it both did and didn’t seem so long. Weekends punctuated by hanging out with the guys replaced by keeping track of drunken bachelorettes and high strung actors and slightly ill relatives.

You spotted him, once, driving in the opposite direction–head unconsciously, unwillingly, turning to watch him go by.

You missed them all, of course, through it wasn’t very long.

Maybe you missed him the most.)

~

A/N: I KNOW I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING EXTERNALITY! AAAAAHHHHH BUT I DIDN’T HAVE VERY LONG AND ALSO I HAVE TO DO STUFF TOMORROW STARTING IN THE MORNING SO I WON’T HAVE MUCH TIME THEN EITHER. AAAAAAHHHHH

Untitled (2017-09-11)

“What are you doing rummaging around my kitchen like a mouse? Stupid child,” she exhales, shaking her head. Still, she can’t help the small smile that curls the corner of her mouth.

“Just like my father?” the little fool asks, petulant and pouting, not even looking up from the floor. The apple in her hand, a lovely pale pink, is nothing at all like sin.

Nyx rolls her eyes. “No, dear, your father would never be allowed through the door of my house,” her words are harsh, but she tempers it with a gentle hand on her niece’s shoulder. “Now please sit and eat a proper meal. And don’t forget dessert–I pride myself on having a devil’s food cake to die for.”

It’s a terrible pun, both ways in fact, but it makes the girl smile.

///

This is The Best. Year. Ever.

No more homeschooling! Your mom is finally letting you go out to an actual real school with actual real people. You’ll get to meet normal kids and talk about normal things and have a normal life.

Sure, your dog isn’t like other dogs, and your family isn’t like other parents. And you’re not entirely sure how to explain Grimaldo, your mom’s demonic minion, but you’re sure you’ll figure out something.

That’s what school is for, after all, right?

But the best thing is: this is the year you met your cousin. And she’s going to live with you.

Untitled (2017-08-31)

When you were younger and a normal human–or, at least, thought you were a normal human–you lived with your mom.

Your mom was actually a normal human, had normal human feelings and concerns: how to pay next month’s rent, trying to raise you all by herself, scheduling her two jobs and your childhood, and making sure the both of you were safe and fed and happy

It was a difficult life, but you were loved.

Now you live in a mansion at least five times the size of your mom’s apartment with your cousin, your aunt, the giant dog which may or may not have three heads, and your aunt’s demonic servant.

It’s awful.

You miss the life you had before. You miss your mom. It’s not as if you can never see her, though–one of the rare perks of being a psychopomp–but you know the first thing out of your mouth won’t be “I love you, I miss you,” but instead “What were you thinking?”

///

When people think of Death, well. Usually they don’t think of Death as a person. As time passes, and belief in the old with it, Death is more construct–intangible, maddening, unknowable–than a person.

For the few who think of Death as a person, beyond the fleeting euphemisms or poetry, they picture someone dark. Someone stoic and frightening, fierce yet implacable. The Grim Reaper, the harvester of human souls must be, after all, a dark serious figure.

No one thinks of the Angel of Death as a drunk, deadbeat dad.

And yet.

///

On the first day of school you are already exhausted, no doubt a blight upon the otherwise picturesque experience for your cousin.

The school you went to before, in the heart of Cadmium City was in a vastly different income level, and had rusting chain link fences all around it. Everything here looks like a movie. Inside, you marvel at the walls–which aren’t even cardboard!–and the neat tiles of floor before a scent catches you.

Not the industrial strength cleaner or the smell of hundreds of teenagers or even cafeteria smells. No, it smells like death. A lot of death.

In about four months from now.

Gods–if they do exist–damn it.

~
A/N: related to yesterday’s post

Untitled (2017-08-30)

If you’re doing it right, no one will ever thank you for doing your job.

If you’re doing it right, no one will ever know.

But still, it’s something that needs doing. If you don’t do it then who will?

///

“Aren’t you tired?” your cousin asks you, as you creep into the house at three in the morning.

You don’t much feel like confrontation now, shrugging off your jacket which weighs too heavily on your shoulders, sodden and dark. It squelches against the floor, and you know your aunt will pitch a fit if it ruins the hardwood floor, so you kick at it half-heartedly until it’s on the massive dog bed instead.

Eh.

“You should be asleep,” you say to your cousin, blindly making your way into the kitchen. Your night vision is shot–an exploded tanker on the highway, seven dead–and for all your stupid supernatural responsibilities you hardly get any of the benefits. You’re hungry as hell.

Well. You might be hungry as hell. You’re the only one in this house who has never been there.

“First day of school tomorrow,” she responds, sheepishly, “I’m too nervous to sleep, and plus I was waiting for you, I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

In the fridge there’s a tupperware of some kind of pasta, which is probably what dinner was tonight–you deliberately try to avoid those, still so uncertain in your place here–or, alternatively, a brick of cheese with an upcoming expiration date and a bag of pretzels that’s been untouched on the counter for two weeks.

Your cousin chatters on, “Uncle Az said I should keep an eye out for you, since you don’t remember your limits and don’t take good care of yourself.”

You shut the door firmly. Not so loud as to slam, noise echoing up and through the rest of the house where your aunt is sleeping, but definitive enough. Mackenzie presses her lips together, startled and a little afraid.

“If my father wanted me to remember my limits or be safe or–” you scoff “–happy, he should have let me die as a normal human.”

///

Angels–or the supernatural beings that humans think of as angels–don’t often fall in love.

They are devoted to their duty, to their god–or whatever high power humans think of as gods–and, frankly, are snobby, oblivious, sanctimonious assholes.

Generally, it’s better for all involved if angels don’t fall in love: they’re horrible lovers and even worse parents.

it was never about you
you’re beginning to get that now
their snide words, dismissals,
that frustrating scoffing noise
and roll of the eyes,
the way they broke your heart,
and tore up your dreams,
or even just ruined your day.

it wasn’t about you.

it was about them.
of course it was,
what else? who else?
why would they apologize?
they did nothing wrong,
after all, it’s your fault
for taking it so personally,
for expecting otherwise.
they were just being honest,
just looking out for themselves.

what a waste of time, they say,
no sympathy for the weak.
(how cruelly chosen your words,
they haunt me even months later)
you pay in money, in time, in effort,
you try to hang onto memories,
of singing and sunshine
and the salty air by the sea
(i cried for hours
on my bedroom floor,
sobbing and heaving
hoping i would vibrate apart)

you edit yourself constantly
now you have nothing left to say,
everything crossed off
(everything too vulnerable)
they ask why you never respond
(i’ve learned it’s better not to)
you are silent and stagnant
filled with hurt,
cracks poorly glued together
(no thanks to you)

it’d be over with anyone else,
stricken and blocked and stored away,
wrapped in old newspaper
boxed and taped up,
let the dust make things softer,
let the sharp edges wear away.
(and yet, still, i revolve around you)

if this is what love is, it’s a disease.
(tear it out of me.
just let me heal)

jacksgreyson, Untitled (2017-04-24)

Untitled (2017-04-22)

It is easy to become the king’s Favored, for kings are whimsical and easily pleased. But it is far less easy being the king’s Favored.

Nobody talks about the after.

After you’ve completed the impossible task. After you’ve slain the giant or rescued the princess or guessed the fairy’s name and brought glory to the kingdom. After the wedding and the treasure and the happily ever after.

Nobody talks about it, but is not the being more important than the becoming? The existing more difficult than the creation?

Once you were a common peasant, plucked from your charming, simple life and thrust into a daring adventure. Now you are the king’s Favored, and your life is hell.

Did you love me at all?
Fingertips pressing bruises into my skin,
the scent of your shampoo on my pillow,
traces of you in my life,
footsteps in the sand.

I will excise you from my heart,
scalpel sharp and swift,
triple bypass for a flatlined love.

Untitled (2017-04-18)

“These are beautiful,” he says, carefully teasing the stack of photographs apart. Spread out, they’re more tasteful, almost artistic, but the truth is–

“These are blackmail,” she chides him, straightening them once more, tapping the edges for that added neatness. She hands him a camera–a little beaten up, scuffed and scratched in places, but still perfectly serviceable–and gives him a nod towards the door.

“Off you go now,” she says, “time to earn our bread and butter.”

The envelopes are grey: light enough to blend in amongst all the mail being sorted at the post office, but dark enough to stand out to their recipients.

And they match her name, of course.

“Grey Investigations, how can I help you?” answers Jack to the phone cradled between his shoulder and his ear as he types away on his work laptop.

The office is only a small fraction of the property she rents, the rest a warehouse fit to bursting with filing cabinets and opaque plastic bins built into formidable columns. Only some of them are evidence, the rest are red herrings and the overflow from next door’s cash and carry.

They’ve been broken into three times in as many months–the property managers are getting irritated with her–but nothing of importance has gone missing.

Still, it wouldn’t do for her only employee to be mugged or some such in retaliation. He has mace and a taser and height if not breadth, but perhaps its time for her to complete his training.

Zelia surveys her small kingdom and smiles.

When she was young, magic was young–bright and eager and constantly at her fingertips, ready to make her imagination into reality, to turn her will into truth.

Now, magic is sluggish, hibernating, waiting for the future where it will awaken lively once more. Her oldest friend even more powerful for the hiatus.

It will be beautiful, truly.

She will live for a long time, but not long enough to see that.

third wife to be,
or so you hope,
he loves you so.
(but love is not
what is wrong here)

he and first wife,
had been young then,
so quick to fall.
(as well to part,
they did not last)

she who came next,
may not have known,
or did not care.
(she thought the same,
and paid the price)

love is not all,
for what of faith?
he loved them, too.
(third wife to be,
learn from the past)

Someday is a dog,
shy and sad and scruffy,
but wise and full of hope.

Someday does not like new places,
but new people she is willing to trust
so long as they do not make her bathe.

Someday walks slowly,
sniffing at the flowers on her path,
greeting everyone that needs a smile.

Someday is content
with three bowls of food,
her pillow and daily pettings.

Someday is a literal dog,
who lays her head on my knee,
and looks at me, believing.

jacksgreyson, Untitled (2017-04-12)