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April 24th, 2004, 05:59 AM
This is more or less branched off from Jacquin’s exercise, about writing a small flash or short story inspired by the lyrics of a song.

Hope others join in and do their own bit for their own choice of lyrics

Dido; White Flag.

Well I will go down with this ship
And I won't put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I'm in love and always will be

I know I left too much mess
And destruction to come back again
And I caused but nothing but trouble
I understand if you can't talk to me again
And if you live by the rules of 'It's over'
Then I'm sure that that makes sense

From the knoll of the hill I can see my home, the rambling half stone-Manor sitting in the middle of shimmering water. A man-made island, constructed by my grandfather, added to by my father and me, yes the walled garden was my idea. A safe place for children to play; protected from the outside world.

The draw bridge is down the link between the Manor and the village, which snuggles close, is open. A loaded hay wagon trundles over the wood. I hear the distant rattling of wood and chain, the yapping of the farm dog as it runs at the heels of the horses. Men jest and women laugh, faces ruddy, browned by the hot summer sun.

The land, my land keeps them fed, warm and clothed. The Manor offers them protection from enemies in time of danger. This is a small world, self contained and content with what they have and more importantly what they are.

But I am not part of it, not now. I walked away. I sought the elusive grail of position and power. I turned my back on the small Manor and all it contained. I have the power, the position. I am my Queen’s champion, lover and strong right arm. Yet I am cold within. Nothing can return the warmth to my heart, save the contents of this Manor, but I cannot return.

Two boys one five, the other four burst into the walled garden. They tumble, laugh and clash the sticks in their hands. Their older sister, some eight summers old waves a hand at them and they run to her. I can not hear their teasing, I wish I could, but I see her stamp her foot and set her hands to her hips. The action is a mirror of her mother’s.

And that lady, she sits in the shaded corner eyes downcast on a paper in her hand, her steward, my steward is at her arm. What does the paper contain I wonder? Details of how much hay has been cut, number of cattle, horses or a request from one of the villagers to bring more of the land under the plough?

Simple things.

Real things.

Not the mummer’s intrigues of the court.

The horse under me snorts and shakes its massive head. The silvered harness rattles, the soft sound, tumbles down the hill, carried on the summer breeze. For a second my Lady’s head comes up from the paper before her. Her hand shades her eyes. Can she see me? Does she know I am here? I try across the distance to catch her eyes. Then her eyes drop and the chill inside me increases.

“My Lord, we are expected at Trusslmere by dusk.”

My travelling companion reminds of my duty to the Queen. Reluctantly I turn my horse’s head away and leave.

April 27th, 2004, 02:07 PM
This was inspired by Nelly Furtado's Powerless (say what you want) especially the first few lines.

Paint my face in your magazines
Make it look whiter than it seems
Paint me over with your dreams
Shove away my ethnicity

As I wait by the cracked fountain, the morning breeze lifts something. I see it, just in the corner of my eye. It flickers and spins. It’s just a torn magazine page tumbling across the baked ground, another piece of flotsam in a crumbling sea of remains. Who would think the rubbish, the abandoned; discarded creation would survive its creator.

The wind lifts it now, pinning it to the shattered wall of the once house. The page is spread open by unseen fingers. The face printed on the glossy sheet staring blank-eyed at what was now.

Pale skinned; the hair sleek, the eyes wide and dark. Airbrushed on some computer to conform to the fashion and mores of a civilisation now swept away.

Where was she, this pale dark eyed girl, her features beautiful, but so bland? Where was she that day? She molded and shaped to be acceptable, all trace of her reality turned into a fashion dream.

Did she weep?

Did she shout?

Did she care?

Was she alone?

Locked in a lover’s arms?

Or a stranger’s grip?



Riding on the subway?


Or under the bright lights awaiting the camera’s embrace. Did her pale features pout as the end began? Did her slender hand rise and shield her eyes as the world exploded? Was the designer dress burned onto her pale flesh?

Did this creature created to please the eye end in a flash or crawl away to slowly turn to bones? Or did she survive? Was her blood thick enough to take the unleashed horror and make her anew? Is she like me? Does she open those once dark eyes and see the world in different colours? Have her slender limbs thickened, her flat stomach rounded. Is her pale skin as dark as mine?

April 27th, 2004, 02:08 PM
You look into my eyes
I go out of my mind
I can't see anything
Cos this love's got me blind
I can't help myself
I can't break the spell
I can't even try

I'm in over my head
You got under my skin
I got no strength at all
In the state that I'm in

And my knees are weak
And my mouth can't speak
Fell too far this time

Sugarbabes Too lost in you.

Where did it begin, this affair? I can't remember, don't want to, is more like it.

Life kicks your feet from under you and hits you on the way down doesn't it? Yes, you understand me, don't you?

You have been there like I have. You have risked everything haven't you? I mean everything on a half promise, a lie that pulled your guts from you and left you bleeding.

Yes, you understand. Do you hate them now? Do you?

Do you want revenge like me?

Say it, revenge, let the word roll off your tongue, savour it. It tastes good doesn’t it? Sweet, bitter sweet like their kisses, kisses they never meant the way you meant them to be.

Come, pull your cloak tight and follow me, we can do it together. Yes we can. You have your knife? Good.

No, we are not going to rush this; they will suffer slowly, like you and me. Each small slice will mimic our pain, our hurt.

Still now, let the night watch pass. That’s it careful now, keep out of the moonlight. Cross the road, quickly, wait for me in the doorway.

You are shivering, why? You are crying; they are not worth it, either of them. They deserve to die for what they have done, you agreed didn’t you?

What? What did you say; did you say they are not worth throwing our lives away on? Don’t you want revenge for what they, he, she did to us both?

Move closer, the watch is coming back; place your head on my shoulder. I know, but…

That’s it, just till they have past.

We should, no I don’t object to holding you, you are worthy of…Your fingers are soft, forgive me I haven’t shaved. Take care of myself, I suppose I should, I will after…

We should get on with it, the light has gone out; they will be sleeping now or… Sorry I shouldn’t have mentioned that, please don’t cry anymore, soon he will be gone from your life and you can start again.

“What do you mean you already have…


Lady……. I am not…. No…I… come let us speak of this elsewhere….

May 3rd, 2004, 12:27 PM
Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done

Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high

Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I'm dreaming
I can hear them say


Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, well
It surely means that I don't know

On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about I'm like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune
But I hear the voices say


Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life's no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you

Weary but unbeaten, he walked steadily down the uneven cobbles for the hundredth time, or perhaps it was a hundred times a hundred. Every step cleansed him of the past, prepared him to be made again.

He knew a thousand paces before that he was brought here to heal, though this was not a place of healing. He had been grievously wounded, but healing had been granted. He only knew now that this was a place of choices.

He knew a hundred paces before that the rags he now wore had once been fine. He had known a memory of greatness. He could only percieve now that he was tired beyond reason, that each step on the cobbles increased the ache in his legs.

This place, he knew, was not home, nor was it any destination. It was a journey. It was nowhere, but it went somewhere. It had no time, for it transcended time. It had no pain, no pleasure, for those things confounded the mind and altered the choice.

And yet it was familiar.

He walked on, not even noting the deep mist that bounded his reality on all sides but forward. He knew not what was behind, for each step was permanent, and could not be retraced. There was no behind here, only forward.

At long length he came to a signpost. A tall knobby pieced of carved pine with two signs, one pointing left, one right.

The signs were blank.

He looked left, and saw a bench, upon it a sword. He felt something, a pull. He sensed the emotions of warfare: valor, victory, brotherhood. He tasted fear, yet elation. Emotions were raw and unbridled. He heard the distant call of horns. It drew him.

He looked right, and saw a bench, resting against it a plow. He felt only calm. It spoke of simple things and emotions. He smelled fresh baked bread and felt comfort. It evoked images of home and its basic comforts.

He did not know what to do. One choice terrified him. It drew his nerves taught and spoke of things that were disturbing and terrifying. The other spoke of known comforts, things he understood and desired.

Unbeknownst to him, since coming to this place, he had always made the same choice, the easy one. And always found himself back here again, walking the road being cleansed of the past. The cycle had not closed, his work was not done.

He rubbed a scarred hand through a scruffy beard and sighed. It would be the hard road. He would face his fears. He shuffled for a moment and took the path never taken. Fear tightened his belly as he stepped past the sign post.

Then there was a tingling followed by blackness.

He knew nothing, understood nothing, but felt warmth and contentment.
"That's my bonnie lass!" The voice was proud, strong.

A weaker, tired voice. "Hand him to me." A pause. "Aye, he's a fine wee bairn, what shall we call him my love?"

"Oh, such a strong lad he'll be. He'll till the soil with his da, and we'll tend such a farm as you've never seen!"

A small smile. "Aye, just as you always promised me, Uther. But his name?"

"Arthur, lass. We'll name him Arthur."

In a distant place that was no-place, a broken cobble path wandered endlessly, but no-one travelled it for a time. Another would come in time, but a different traveller this time. Different choices to make, different lessons to learn.

For the time the path was empty.

For a time the land and it's king were in harmony.

May 3rd, 2004, 08:03 PM
I'm sailing away, set an open course for the virgin sea
Cause I've got to be free, free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board I'm the captain, so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
But I'll try, o lord I'll try, to carry on
I look to the sea... reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy, some sad
I think of childhood friends, and the dreams we had
We lived happily forever, so the story goes
But somehow we missed out on the pot of gold
But we'll try the best that we can to carry on

Donald was wearing the first $1,500 dollar suit he had ever owned. He paid for it on his credit card, and fully planned on returning it Monday morning, none the worse for one night's wear.

The twenty years since he had graduated high school seemed like fifty, and his retreating hairline gave credence to the possibility that he had somehow lived two years to everyone else’s one. It was not fair. It had never been fair. It would never be fair.

He stepped out of his rented Jag. It cost only $69 for the day, and finished off the lie that his suit started. When combined with the clean shave and the immaculate comb-over, it gave the impression of a successful professional, he thought. He handed the keys to the car to the kid who was parking cars along with 2 crumpled ones and a ‘you better take care of this beauty’ look. Ten steps later, he had walked back into his past.

Pictures lined the table, pictures from the yearbook with names below them. He didn’t see the names but saw other labels: jock, cheerleader, popular, brain… and there it was, lonesome geek. He took that one, noticing it happened to have the actual name Donald Schemp on it. He pinned it to his lapel carefully to ensure no visible damage to the suit.
“Look Amy, it’s Donny!” It could only be defined as a shriek.

Donald looked up to see a thin blond woman with a tag naming her Karen. Ah, the picture reminded him of the proper title; cheerleader. He smiled raggedly. “Hya there, Karen!” Oh god, he sounded lame even to his own ears…

Amy (popular) walked over, grinning, and gave him a hug. “You look… great!” She said. “You must have spent the last twenty years working out!” She patted his hard middle.

This time he did better. “You look fantastic too! Great to see you.” What he did not mention was that his work out plan consisted of walking to his minimum wage job, and occasional days without a proper meal.

And so it began. A well orchestrated effort to hide away twenty years of pumping gas, frying hamburgers, and working night shift at the corner deli. He made his way, escorted by the friendly, and, as she explained, now single Amy. She was attractive if a bit plump, and much too chatty. It was like a dance, each partner playing their role, then making a handoff when the time was right.

“So, your in medical sales! Saw the Jag, you must be…”

“Not married? Have you seen Amy…”

“I’m a junior executive you know, working with…”

“I can’t tell you how satisfying family is, with the four kids…”

It was a whirlwind of fact, and lies, with no-one able to tell which was which. Halfway through the evening, things were going well for Donald. Then his history teacher, Mr. Gum wandered over. The man had to be in his seventies. “Donald, how are you doing?”

“Well you know…”

“Yes, Donald, I do know.”

Donald stopped short. He looked at the old man. “What do you mean?”

“Listen to your heart for a minute, really look and listen to the meaning, not the words. It’s a game Donald, you used to love those role playing games… and now you don’t see one when it is played right in front of you.”

Donald blinked and backed away from the man. It suddenly all seemed different. He walked the floor again. The tempo of the dance changed, undercurrents were everywhere.

‘I hate this… the kids are probably driving the sitter nuts’ The voice came from behind him. He turned.

Another. “Yeah, bastard drives a Jag. Bet he’d love my ’87 corolla.”

Another. “I sweep the halls at night, and sleep all day, at least when Jerry Springer isn’t on.”

It was an endless diatribe of truth… and it amazed Donald. Amy was jilted by her husband, Tami was unemployed, Tom, the quarterback of the champion team sold bagels. It was a thing of beauty.

“Do you like that better.” Gum suddenly was back in front of him.

“Uh… no, I think I don’t, actually.”

Gum smiled. “Of course you don’t. Our little social lies keep us whole my fine student of life. Play your game, young Donald. Enjoy the night. It’s not real, after all, is it?”

Before Donald could answer, the damned old man slipped away again.

“So I hear your in the industry…” It all began again.

Two hours later he returned to the table and dropped his name tag back on it. He saw the others there again, this time he saw new labels: tired, jilted, living in the past, unemployed, and the list went on. He smiled and looked at his own. It just said Donald now.

He collected his car, and drove back to his life. He decided to keep the suit though, after all, one must dress properly when the game is on.

Hereford Eye
May 4th, 2004, 11:29 AM
Written by Neil Diamond
Hot August night
And the leaves hanging down
And the grass on the ground smelling sweet
Move up the road
To the outside of town
And the sound of that good gospel beat
Sits a ragged tent
Where there ain't no trees
And that gospel group
Telling you and me
It's Love
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
Pack up the babies
Grab the old ladies
Everyone goes
Everyone knows
Brother Love's show
Room gets suddenly still
And when you'd almost bet
You could hear yourself sweat, he walks in
Eyes black as coal
And when he lifts his face
Every ear in the place is on him
Starting soft and slow
Like a small earthquake
And when he lets go
Half the valley shakes
It's Love, Love
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
Pack up the babies
Grab the old ladies
Everyone goes
Everyone knows
Brother Love's show
Take my hand in yours
Walk with me this day
In my heart, I know
I will never stray
Halle, halle, halle, halle, halle, halle, halle
It's Love, Love
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
Pack up the babies
Grab the old ladies
Everyone goes
Everyone knows
Brother Love's show
1969 Stonebridge Music (ASCAP)

In the valley of the river from the north, in a time of year the others call autumn, on a day warmer than most, they set up their tent. We watched their progress as all the while a rhythmic noise rose from their camp, a driving tempo, a rousing, stirring anthem so that for a while we could forget they were not of us; that they were others, others who came by right of conquest, driving us from our skies, dancing around, deflecting, defeating our most powerful defensive maneuvers. Even our suicide gambit they accepted, turned on itself and dropped it somewhere else, perhaps our star. Now every third star in our heaven may well be one of their ships while we are grounded, perhaps forever.
After two years of staring skyward, our eyes are drawn down the valley, denuded of trees in panicked acquisition of needed fuel for heating homes. Defeat brought collapse of our economy. The battle over, the war lost, everyone went home to die. More accurately, everyone went home waiting for the slaughter that must come after such a terrible defeat.
Defeat saps the spirit. Suicides increase, depression spreads, hopelessness seeps into our roots. Were we plants, given the years we have endured, we would be long vanished. But, we are not plants, not stones.
Weeks of sitting at home passed with nothing happening, no food harvested, prepared, sent to market. No fuel mined, processed or delivered. No schools teaching, no entertainment media being produced. Each of us chose to hide in the confines of our own psyche so that children perished in numbers to tragic to contemplate, the old, the crippled, the sick as well. Ennui driving mass suicide, sometimes active and brash as if demanding that everyone pay attention to this person and or that’s final bid for attention.
After too many weeks, something took root. People came out of their minds to look at our world and be horrified at our betrayal of ourselves. Something grew from grim determination, perhaps nothing more than a willingness to survive. When survival becomes a goal, then in some tiny little part of the will, hope rekindles, hope for something better than just giving up. With hope comes a realization we are people, people strong enough to stand to face our future, whatever it may hold.
Today, our future consists of a tent growing in our valley.
And a rhythm.
In our pride, when we were masters of our universe, we knew that rhythm lies at the base of life, makes life possible. We, ourselves, are attuned to rhythm almost from conception. Every part of our bodies contains receptors to identify and interpret the rhythms around us. We communicate through that rhythm, as do these others who now occupy our valley with their enormous tent. We have vocal chords as do these others. They, however, have ears; we do not. We need all our bodies to receive the messages we communicate to each other.
Still, between us and these others communication is possible. They have spent the time since their victory communicating to us the permitted and the taboo of our new existence. We learned we are not meant to be slaves but active members of their community, a new labor pool to be bought and paid, as if economics disguises the nature of our slavery.
Now, a new batch of the others comes to us to communicate a new facet to our new existence.
We went that night as they hoped we would. We filled that tent with curiosity, with trembling anticipation, suspecting that whatever came would change us forever. Ignorant of the nature of the change to come, we feared it but we could not avoid it so we came to the tent in all our numbers.
A choir welcomed us, the members swaying to their own heartbeats, the thumping of that rhythm giving life to the floorboards, a life that traveled the legs of our chairs to produce an empathic sway in us, the audience, even as we sat rooted in our chairs. Swaying overlapped our trembling, wave upon wave canceling or reinforcing one with the other so that our bodies kept time with their heartbeats.
The tempo increased. A soaring soprano solo leaping to our heavens brought us leaping to our feet. The stamping of the choir’s feet slowly brought our hands together, timid at first, then gaining confidence till our hands were rocking the floor boards more than the choir’s feet. Our bodies began to flow with sweat attempting to chill us, to slow us down, to cool us down, to detach us from this driving rhythm, to return us to sobriety and rationale thought, but our hands knew our hearts and ignored our minds. Whatever came next, we were ready and we were willing.
He came next, this huge man dressed all in white, shirt, pants, shoes, as white as his hair, as white as skin was black. He moved with grace and power onto the stage, his eyes shining with the secret knowledge we intuitively knew we could persuade him to reveal if only we believed, if only we clapped as hard as we believed, if only we suspended our disbelief long enough for him to draw us in.
He talked to us then, slow at first, the amplification from the speakers around the tent perfectly aligned so that his deep base voice was a faucet and we were the drain, an air pump and we the balloons, a message from on high and we finally able to fly up to hear it.
“Brothers,” he began and in the midst of our tumult we looked at one another shocked but not dismayed to discover ourselves as his brothers. “Brothers,” he said again and the intensity of our clapping and feet stamping near drowned the vibration of those floor boards, near drowned the sound of his voice but that instrument was the equal to our frenzy.
“Brothers,” he yelled again, the valley resounding to the echoes of his claim. Smiling as if embarrassed, he adds a bashful “sisters” to his address. All of our women, all of our children ascend to new peaks of frenzy. The choir explodes with musical fireworks that carry us for another ten minutes or another half hour. Who can track time?
The words pour from the man giving a simple message, that we are all one, others and us, large and small, victor and conquered. The essence of that night rolled up into a neat little package, a shiny gift from the others to us, summed in words that we remember as:
“Brothers, we each have two good hands.
When your brother is hurting and needs your help, well, then reach out the one good hand ‘cause that’s what it’s there for.
And when your soul is hurtin’, why just reach out your other good hand to the one upstairs, ‘cause that’s what she’s there for.”
The wonder in those words sank into us, momentarily giving quiet to our tumult. Could it be true? Could the others truly believe what this man was saying? Could it be that we were not to be their slaves but their equals, all of us one? In the midst of this quiet, his voice swam across the stillness:
“Take my hand in yours; Walk with me this day.”
As one, our hands rose reaching across the ocean of tent to grab his hand, accept the invitation, believe what he espoused. Summoned by our searching hands, the choir returned with renewed force: “Halle, halle, halle” Singing ourselves, joining the choir, stamping feet and clapping hands, raising voice and heart, believing for maybe no more than that one instant time that, yes, the message was true. “Halle, halle, halle”
It ended, of course, as all things to do. Yet, at the end, there was a promise of tomorrow and tomorrow night. Conversion may take more than one baptism, it may take a month of baptism but seeds get sown, germinate, and plants eventually flower. Brother Love would talk again tomorrow night and the night after that and the night after that till we all believed, till we didn’t need Brother Love but carried the message in each of our hearts, carried it and spread it as it was meant to be spread.
“Pack up the babies
Grab the old ladies
Everyone goes
Everyone knows
Brother Love's show

May 20th, 2004, 10:47 AM
"If you should find you miss the sweet and tender love we used to share
Just go back to the places where we used to go and I'll be there
Oh, how can I forget you?
For there is always something there to remind me
Always something there to remind me
I was born to love you
I will never be free
You'll always be a part of me"

He stood on the top of the high building holding the tool of his trade, preparing to take the life of a stranger in exchange for money. The life meant little, as he only knew the mark well enough to identify him, and of course, he knew that someone hated him enough to pay his fee. The money meant even less. He did not need money, but it was a way of measuring success. By all means, he knew himself to be very successful.

Far below, the lights of moving cars were a montage of red, yellow, and white, all blending into long streaks of color, as if time were slowed. It was not uncommon in his trade. As the moment neared, time slowed. It kept slowing until the appointed time, during which time stood still, and the only thing moving in the universe was the shell firing from the chamber.

Then time would speed up, making up for the prior lull. Blood would spray, the body would hit the pavement, and the gentle recourse of the rifle would impact his shoulder. In that order. It was predictable, it was routine, and he was clinical in his detachment during these duties.

He lifted the rifle into position, as the expected car pulled up to the entrance of a low building across the street. The mark would emerge in a moment. No rush, however, as the moment would be a long time in coming. He noted the seven small scratches on the but of the rifle. In the moment, it seemed like a crass thing, marking off the kills. He determined to stop the practice, and then finished pulling the rifle into place.

He floated in the eternal moment before pulling the trigger. In that moment, he remembered a face. It was his first love, brown eyes, black hair, full lips and prominent cheek bones. A familiar ache thudded in his chest. The vision was common, but it was a lie, he knew. The reality was that the lovely face was only seen once, framed in a fan of blood. She had been his first mark, and a small scratch represented her, and his love for her.

Of course he had not known she was destined to be his love, not until after, not until he had pulled the trigger. It had been a personal kill, done in close in the marks home. It was a job for psychopaths, and he had never done a personal kill again, never entered the home of a mark. It was not his style. It had broken his heart, broken his life, and settled his life on this path.

He was high and desperate during that first job. Because of that, he knew, he did not see, not until it was too late. It was his only loss of control. Not that it mattered. Nothing mattered after that. His heart was broken even before he knew he was in love. Then he was empty. And being empty made his business easy.

The mark emerged below. He sighted and began to pull the trigger. For some reason, he could not clear the image from his head, though now, the fan of blood accompanied the face, created a halo around it.

Like a bolt of lightning, he found clarity. It would not be accurate to say he found morality… just understanding.

He steadied himself and blinked away a tear, the only tear he ever remembered having shed. Then he pulled the trigger.

Time resumed, and events unfolded as always. Below, chaos reigned, but he had time. He ran his finger across the small marks in the butt of the gun, and smiled. He changed his mind about not adding the marks. It was not crass… it was a remembrance. He took apart his weapon and reverently put it away. He wiped the tear from his eye and began to walk towards the stairs down to the elevator banks. He began whistling a tune he remembered “There is always something there to remind me…”

It was a pleasant night, and he found that once again the memory of his love was bright and renewed. It was not the money. He knew that now. It was the memories. Life was pain, then death, he was once told. He knew different. Life was death, then pain.

Love was the space in-between.

May 21st, 2004, 11:17 AM
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

The sun rose over a low green hill, illuminating the long area of scrub covered dunes and grasses that stretched out to the ocean. The constant roar of the waves on the gentle beach pounded like the heartbeat of the world in the distance. The cry of gulls permeated the air.

The previous day, the vanguard forces of two great armies met on the dunes, and as the sun rose, the sand still struggled to absorb the blood of the fallen. Over ten thousand men had fought, with swords, axes, and daggers and fists when there was no room left to swing the larger weapons. The slaughter had been complete, and by the time the main forces, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, met on the great fields on the other side of the low hill, the advanced units had been decimated, and no further violence was perpetrated over the blood soaked dunes.

Beneath all the other sounds could be heard the low moan of the dying, men who could not move on, who were unable to follow the battle. In the midst of all of this, one man rose up to his knees and surveyed the scene. He had been unconscious from a blow to the head. He also had a badly broken leg and arm. He looked around, not really understanding where he was. He saw men tangled in death, knew he had been part of it, and yet could not remember why. He could not even remember his name.

Painfully, he stripped off the battered chest plate he was wearing, noting the diagonal red slash across it. He saw many such in the littered human remains about him. He also saw others with a yellow diamond. Those were dark skinned, where he was blonde and much taller and broad of shoulder. Yet they were human, like him. He dropped the armor.

He searched about and found a broken spear and quickly splint his leg. The arm was useless. He wondered if he would die, but looking around, could hardly bring himself to worry about it. Then he heard the sounds of men dying nearby; the pitiful wails of lonely men seeking comfort. Using another spear as a walking stick, he painfully limped a dozen paces to the nearest man he had heard. It was one of the small dark men with a yellow diamond on his vest.

A spear pierced the man through, and a sword had cut off his arm at the elbow. He was moaning in a strange tongue. The tall man searched about and found a wine skin and limped directly in front of the dying man, holding out the skin. The dying man blinked and struggled to raise his dagger defensively in front of him. The tall man just stood and held the wine skin until the man on the ground dropped his dagger. He then knelt and helped the man drink some. The dying man smiled and nodded his head, gripped the tall mans a strong grip, then died.

The tall man moved on. Throughout the day he gave help to dying men, tall light men, short dark men, any who cried out. He saw men missing limbs, men with terrible cuts and stab wounds; men who seemingly held on simply in the hopes that they may be comforted before passing. He gave them drink, food, and comfort.

And the sun slowly crossed over the sky towards the place where the sky met the ocean.

At dusk, weary and light headed, he knelt by another small man. The man held his hand across his belly, holding his innards in. He moaned in pain, but otherwise seemed barely aware. The tall man dropped to his knees and put his arm around the man’s chest, cradling him back into his body. The man turned to him and whispered a word he understood.


The tall men reached to his waist, took his dagger and quickly slit the small mans throat. He then held the man tight as he died. The man had struggled a moment, then stilled as his lifeblood gushed out. He managed to turn to look at his savior. Relief was evident in his eyes. He died quickly.

As the tall man struggled to rise, he heard a new sound and looked up to see three riders nearby. Short men with the yellow diamond. One shouted something he could not understand, and another unlimbered a bow. The tall man turned away and looked out at the sun as it touched the water.

A moment later, the tall men pitched forward, pierced by an arrow through the back, into his heart. His last view was of a blood red sky. Now he saw nothing, but could hear the surf pounding. Then that too ceased and he could only pain, then numbness, then oblivion took it all away.

His last thought was that his name had been Gourd. He had been a man of war his whole life. And yet, at the end he could only feel pity for those who killed him.

The three riders had moved on.

The sun had set into a deep argent sky.

The ocean rumbled on without care.

The gulls cried and circled.

And men suffered alone in the darkness.

May 21st, 2004, 03:42 PM
all gone...

May 26th, 2004, 06:21 PM
A little nod to the LRI gang ---
“The Wedding of Boldar and Mya”
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be in time
It's easy.

Appropriately, the big day had dawned sunny, then thundered briefly, and resolved itself into a hail storm.

Boldar stood at the Altar, dressed in fine leathers. To his left stood Cromwell Hornsmash, the ogre, dressed out in regiment formals and Bass, the crinkled old mage wearing his brown robes. Crom looked bored, Bass looked expectant, and Boldar looked nervous and a bit sweaty.

Several dozen people sat on simple wooden benches in the largest temple to Varsnya in Hull City, among them Juzzza, Lord Gravin, Nedrak Halfface, and Mik.

Boldar put his hand to his stomach and his lips twisted as if in pain. A moment later, he flatulated loudly.

In unison, the entire gathering shouted “Boldar!”

Crom laughed. “That for the vow’s friend Boldar!”

Bass barked. “Really Boldar! And Crom, this is not an ogre wedding…”

Boldar, for a change, looked embarrassed. “Sorry… I shouldn’t have eaten the pickled squid, nor drank that brown mead afterward. Or, maybe that burnberry wine…”

Danial shot up and soared over the small crowd. “Would someone feed the drake?”

Boldar growled. “Could someone PLEASE get that damned creature out of here?”

Bass shrugged. “What do you want me to do, blast him with a fireball?”

Crom looked panicked. “No, not cast fireball so soon after Boldar… well, you know!”

Boldar cuffed the ogre. “Just shut up.”

Bass interrupted. “Shut up, here she comes!”

Mya strode into the chapel with Gina a few steps behind.

“Oh my…” Someone whispered a bit too loud in the audience.

Boldar smiled. Mya was wearing a thin beaten wrap of silver that began just above her breasts, wrapped around them (covering some of them) and then around her back, and returning to come partway across her naval before turning downward to cover her crotch. The only other thing she wore was a long dagger in a golden sheath. Basically, she was mostly nude, and basking in the attention.

She strode up to the dias and stood next to Boldar, smiling widely, and a bit challengingly. There was another more widely distributed “Ooh” from the audience. Boldar leaned back and looked behind Mya, noticing that the wrap did not cover any part of her bottom, exposing it in its full glory.

He turned beet red.

Mya smiled. “See something you don’t like big man?”

Boldar grimaced. “No, it’s not that, it’s just that…”

Crom burst in. “Boldar in hurry to finish ceremony!”

Boldar burst out, “Shut up, or I’ll kill you… you oaf!”

“Not with that. You need for later.” Crom managed between chuckles.

Mya smiled. “Well then, that worked about as expected. Let’s get on with it.”

Daniel swooped by again. “Feed the drake or you’ll be sorry!”

Boldar took a halfhearted swipe at the drake. “Where is the bloody priest?”

Mya gave a start. “He was just behind me… Daniel, did you?”

“No! What me?” Daniel landed on the small lectern at the back of the dias. He bulged a bit and coughed.

“Daniel!” Mya seemed scandalized. “You put him back, right now!”

“But I’m hungry!” He noticed Mya’s face and thought better of it. “Fine.” He began to cough, and a large tome burst out of his mouth, followed by an arm, and then a black robed priest, who looked thoroughly disheveled and confused.

The priest began to compose himself, though he looked a bit wild eyed. Boldar looked at Daniel and spoke in low tones. “Daniel, go out to the reception hall. Go now, or I swear…”

Daniel shook himself. “Already swear a lot, old man. But fine, I’ll go.” And he flicked his wings and shot out of the chapel.

A moment later the ceremony began.
The ceremony was brief and without further incident, and a half hour later, the bride and groom were walking down the corridor towards the reception hall, being pelted by rice.

“Damned rice…” Boldar grumbled, picking some out of his hair.

“It’s a fertility thing dear, help with making healthy babies…” Mya purred.

“Babbies?” Boldar looked a bit thunderstruck, his face going ashen.

“Oh, come now big man, don’t worry, I don’t want more than three or four.” Boldar’s face went more ashen, though Mya continued as if she did not notice. “However, as to the rice, I do have a few pieces stuck in the most uncomfortable places.”

Boldar perked up. “Need help getting them out?”

“Later, maybe.” Mya smiled coyly.

The two emerged into the reception hall first, and found chaos; table overturned, food remnants spattered on the wall, and burn marks everywhere. Quinot was sitting on the floor rubbing the drakes hugely distended belly.

“DANIEL!” roared Mya and Boldar in unison.

Daniel’s long neck craned so that his head faced the two. “I told you I was hungry. You sent me here. I ate. Just go and make babies, I don’t feel well.”

The rest of the wedding party wandered in, taking in the scene, mumbling behind covering hands, some chuckling.

Juzzza stepped forward, Myst curled around his arm. “I hoped to give a toast mate… but since there is no glassware, nor any wine, I suppose I’ll just say a few words. Boldar, you’re a good man in a tight spot… and I think you’ll find that handy tonight.” He winked at Mya, who blushed, then scowled. Juzzza turned his attention to Mya “Mya, you’ve shown you can handle a blade, and you’ve shown good handwork. Putting those together almost makes me envy Boldar.” Boldar smiled widely, Mya looked a bit confused. “But all in all, I wish you the best of luck on this adventure, and expect we just may be sharing other future adventures…”

The room rang with a loud “Here, here!” and some applause.

Boldar and Mya began to walk away towards the door, waving at everyone.

“Time to go home, lass!” Boldar smiled wickedly.

Mya looked over at Boldar. “Uh… big man, I though you knew…”

“Knew what?”

“My families from Elindar, and I have to follow their marriage customs…”


“Well, my mother. She’s at home, preparing for the customary homecoming.”

“I figured you had no parents… never thought to ask. Why is she at home instead of here, and what do you mean ‘homecoming’?”

Mya put her arm around him firmly, as if bolstering him. “She’s at home because in Elindar family does not attend the wedding. It is for friends. The homecoming is the family sharing of the beginning of our life together. We are going to live with my mother for the next two months!”

Boldar stutter stepped, sputtered a few times, and fell to the floor, unconscious.

Daniel waddled over. “Is he dead?”

Juzzza laughed. “Not yet, but in a few hours when he comes to and hears the rest, he’ll wish he was.”

Mya scowled at Juzzza while trying to revive Boldar.

“Why” Asked Daniel.

“Because that,” Juzzza answered, “is when Mya is going to explain that they have to live IN THE SAME BEDROOM until her mother is sure that Mya is pregnant, at which point Boldar will move out and Mya will stay for the remainder of the two months, learning about being a mother.”

Mik sputtered. “You mean they have to… in front of… and then…”

Juzzza smiled. “Yep. I suppose I could have warned him…but I think I made the right choice.”

Mik smiled. “You’re a cruel man, Juz.”

Myst cooed. And that’s what I love about you. In fact, dear, in light of my condition, shouldn’t we be talking about getting married?”

It was Juzzza’s turn to look terrified.