Posts Tagged ‘Dark Fantasy’

The Mores (Rewrite)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

“The dragon has scales like the black o’ night and teeth the size of yer forearm,” the merchant says.

 “No one said anything in the village,” I say.

 “They wouldn’t know, would they? It’s going on 50 years, since the last time he’s been seen.”

 “There would be stories if what you say is true.”

 “Maybe they didn’t want to scare you, lass, being new to the area and all.”

 “I don’t believe you.”

 With a tip of his hat, the merchant says, “Believe whatcha will.”

 The decaying smell of swamp assails me as I walk away. I do not fancy living here, and prefer living in a city. I miss the neighbors and the sounds. Here visitors are frequent because of Colby’s work, but it is not the same. Now this merchant brings tales of a dragon who hunted in this area. I do not like it, not one little bit. I enter the house, sit down and start reading while I wait for Colby to finish bartering with the traveler.

 The sound of hammer hitting steel signals the merchant’s departure. I put my book down, and check to make sure there is no trace of him or his wagon. Seeing none, I head to the forge.

 I watch my husband slam red hot steel with a hammer. The impact bathes the forge in sparks. The noise is deafening, but I can tell his focus is intense. The sight of him in a loin cloth with the front of his torso and arms covered in protective leather still looks strange. I watch the muscles in his back as he swings the hammer and pounds the metal.

 Colby sees me watching him, and I say, “Did you hear about the dragon?”

 “Yes, I expect he hears and makes up many stories while on the road.”

 “So you don’t believe it to be true?”

 He puts down his work, walks over to me and engulfs me in a hug smelling of fire and ash.

 “My love, do not fear the daydreams of some aspiring bard. He has little to do on the road but make fanciful tales.”

 “So you think it made up?”

 “Yes. he’s just an old man who spends too much time alone.”

 Colby’s reassurances put my fears at ease, and I kiss him deeply.

 “I love you,” he whispers.

 I say, “I love you too,” and smile.

 I finish the daily chores, and still have time to read before supper. I pull out my most treasured book, Magical Creatures. It is Colby’s gift to me from our wedding day. I turn to the page on black dragons and begin to read:

 Black dragons are a medium sized with a breath of acid. They prefer swamps, bogs and marshlands. They crave treasure and sleep for long periods of time. They are not as aggressive as the reds, but they are still evil.

 The weeks pass, and I forget about the merchant’s fantasies. Colby and I enjoy time together talking and reading. We buy books and spend the night discussing them at length. Our first year of marriage is glorious.

 It is a joy to have someone to talk with who cares for what I have to say. Men are so troublesome when it comes to listening to a woman’s mind. Colby is different; he sees me. He appreciates my opinions, and it is one of the many reasons I love him.

 On a drizzly twilight, a midwife confirms my suspicion; I am pregnant. Overjoyed, I run to the forge to tell Colby as the midwife leaves. She believes I carry a girl, and I worry that message will not be taken well. Men prefer male children, and I fear his disappointment, but I am still elated.

 “I’m pregnant,” I say.

 Colby turns and grins, “That’s good news!”

 “The midwife thinks it’s a girl.”

 His delight never falters, “We’re going ta be parents…”

 “I know!” I say as we embrace.

 We talk about names and building a crib. We discuss clothes and buying a cow. The excitement of the baby keeps us up late into the night, and we fall asleep holding each other.

 The next night when I call to Colby that dinner is ready, I hear something large breaking through the trees of the swamp. Upon hearing the noise, Colby and I go inside of the security of our home.

 “What is that?”

 “I have no idea, but it’s big,” Colby says as he draws his bow and scans the swamplands behind our home.

 Something twice the size of a wagon breaks through the tree line. The ebony dragon advances on its two powerful hind legs. Its wings curl to its sides, to prevent them from catching in the trees. The sight of it fills me with terror. It stops to look at the clearing around our home and lifts its head. Its nostrils flare and a foul stench overcomes me. It notices our movement, and rushes the house. Colby’s arrow hits the dragon in its right shoulder. The tip barely penetrates the skin.

 The dragon’s head lowers as he peers into the window. I hear a deep intake of air, and it snaps me out of my terror. Colby pushes me into the front of the house as the acid blasts through the small window. The spray covers the entire room and splatters onto Colby’s back. The smell of acid is so pungent I vomit in my mouth.

 Time slows down as we scramble to get away from the dragon. I hear the dragon’s claws raking the roof off the house. I see Colby struggling to stand, and then I see his back. The skin is gone, the muscle is exposed and I can see the white of bones clearly. In my shock it seems unreal, as if his skin is a shirt, and I need him to put his shirt back on.

 The dragon’s hole in the roof expands, and I expect another breath attack. Unable to open the front door, Colby uses the window beside it. The gruesome wounds on his back should have killed him, but he grabs me off the floor, and tosses me sailing into the front yard.

 “Run!” is the last word he ever speaks.

 Paralyzed in the front yard, I watch in horror as the dragon looms over my home. The drake’s acid strikes Colby. The acid flows over him like thick green drops of water. The shower melts off his face, leaving his skull and jaw open in a soundless scream of agony. I lay in horror as I watch my darling devoured by this enormous winged serpent.

 He is gone, and I am left with a hole where my heart used to be. Everything is gone. . .

 I wail as I understand he is gone, gone forever!

 I wail my voice ragged.

 I wail every time I relive his death, as he tries crying out to me.

 He’s gone.

 I wail. I know hunger and thirst and yet I wail.

 I wail as my mind loops through our life together, knowing that I will never experience moments like that with him again.

 I wail that he is gone. Truly, permanently gone. Never again will I see his smile or feel his touch.

 I wail at losing half my soul.

 No sound emerges and yet I try; even without voice my loss still needs out.

 I have no notion how long I sit replaying the final moments of his life over and over again. I try to yell and scream, but my body will not obey. I put every ounce of my pain and suffering into my scream. Everything falls away but trying to make my voice work again. The sorrow pounds me for release.

 I feel time pass and my body transforming. I concentrate on making my voice heard. I move but not with my legs; my body is no longer human. The oddity of it breaks my focus. The overgrowth of weeds mean several months must have passed.

 I move to the place where he died. I look down at the scarred stone and finally funnel all my grief and pain into noise. I sound much louder and stronger than I ever did while human. The keening sound of my cry shatters the windows, and some part of my mind knows me as the mournful spirit foretelling death. I am a banshee.

 I know things. I know how to cast magic. I know I do not have milk to nurture my daughter and need to find someone who does. About to give birth, my knowledge includes the time of my pregnancy. The art of how to mask my unborn child jumps to mind. I just need to find a wet mother with a girl child to replace.

 I search for homes not protected with iron, and find a defenseless cottage. The spell I weave puts their child in a form of stasis while mine can develop and strengthen. As I leave, the loss of my child overwhelms me. I wander lost, unable to find my home.

 I hear sounds of merriment and waves of anger hit me.

 How can they be joyous? How dare they?

I will make them pay.

 I enter the clearing and scream at them. I will end their happiness, and I give them all my mourning and anguish. My cry kills all ten of the fairies and turns them pure white.

 I did not want to kill them, and the shame of it brings me back to thoughts of Colby. I become engrossed in my thoughts again. I travel to where I lost everything, to the place that defines me: Boglamore.

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Lux’s Death

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Yanked by my shirt, dad tore me from the cupboard. I did not see a sword, so it meant father just wanted to beat on me. I deflected the first punch with my arms. He leaned toward me as he drew back his dominant hand for a hook. Connecting that hit would mean lights out for me. One hairy punch would end the fight with little damage, still I ducked.

I am 5’10” tall at 15. My father is 6’5″ with arms the size of most men’s thighs. Our fights are not fair. My life is not fair. I do the best I can.

I jumped back from his left front kick, but hit the back wall. The overextended kick still landed. My right jab hit his nose. I sidestepped toward the door. I hoped to make the door before his vision returned.

He blindly rushed me for a tackle. I drew my knee up spearing his jewels on impact. Contact took the air out of me, but he hurt worse. This close I could smell the liquor on him. I pushed him away when I noticed his pain. He landed on his knees and looked up at me.

“Your a bastard, and your whore of a mo–” he squeaked.

My right cross knocked him unconscious, blood oozing from his busted lip.

Who’s the bastard now? I thought.

My earliest memories are fighting. I fought my father. I watch my father beat, bruise, and break my mother. I watch my father fight strangers at the bar. At eleven my mother died. I know my father’s viciousness. I don’t consider her death a mystery but everyone in town does.

I checked the mirror for bruises or blood, then I went to what started the fight: his treasure. I rummaged through the gold coins. The amount of gold in the chest amazed me.

He is rich and we live like paupers! I thought angrily.

Numb, I could not think. I could not decide what this new revelation meant, or what I should do. I put the chest back and traveled to the place I do the best thinking: the bar.

As I walked to the bar I thought of how I started working there three years ago. It is one of the few times my father’s constant fighting caused some good. I fantasized many times about the owner being my real father. We talked about how wine and beer is made. He showed me a book once on the whole process. The book must have cost him a fortune. He let me look at the book unsupervised.

The bar is a five minute walk from our house. Dad liked living close to liquor. As I walk in I see three foreigners. One is a dwarf! I assume a warrior from dad’s teachings. The scarred human with all the pouches would be the wizard. Leathers meant the other human is either a thief or a ranger. They looked familiar to me.

My memory synced. I knew father’s tales of his adventuring party. I moved closer to hear what they are saying.

“Lux’s house has got to be around here.” Said the ranger.

They are talking about dad. I thought.

“Crush some skulls, and they’ll talk I say.” Grunted the dwarf.

“My spell might work if he’s close enough.” The wizard said.

“I want’s me part of the treasure, even if I have to take it out of his hide!” Exclaimed the dwarf.

Dad stole their treasure. It dawned on me.

I attempted to draw no attention as I left the bar, but the owner spotted me.

“Rellik you gonna work tonight?” He questioned.

“Naw I’m not feel’n well.” I responded.

“Ok, hope you feel better.” He said with a concerned look.

“Thanks.” I said as I left the bar.

I noticed the adventures still talking amongst themselves as I left. I ran to warn father. While running my mind kept asking why.

Why should I help him?

What do I owe him?

Why should they get the money?

Why not let him die, he killed my mother.

My pace slowed as I neared the house. Father did not stay down for long. I lost track of time while at the bar.

How much time passed? I could not remember.

I peered into the house checking to see if he is still sleeping. He looked exactly as I left him. I creeped through the house for the treasure chest. I will not limp away empty handed.

This is my chance. I thought.

I could live out my days on a farm I bought with this money. After I stole the chest I strapped it to a horse in the barn. Guilt seeped into me as I led the horse away from my home.

They would find him helpless.

My father never did a selfless act in his life. My mind struggled with leaving him to die. My father feared helplessness. I know the worst end he could imagine is to be slaughtered like some farm animal. So I tied up the horse, and ran back.

The group found the house. I could see them looking from the edge of the forest, just outside the clearing to our house. I circled to the back. I pulled my bow, and shot. The arrow hit the shutters on the back window with a loud thunk. I could see dad moving inside the house. I positioned myself for a better view of what was about to transpire.

The adventures walked up, and the dwarf found the door locked. The wizard began moving his hand, then threw dust in the air. He put his fist through the cloud. A wagon wheel size opaque fist hit the door, and blew it off it’s hinges. As soon as the door disappeared, my father’s arrow head exploded blood from the back of the Wizard’s neck. His death mask a frozen smirk.

The ranger returned fire so quickly I never saw him pull off his bow. The dwarf rolled out of the doorway and drew his hammer. It seemed practiced somehow.

“Lux throw me gold out and you don’t get smash’d.” Yelled the dwarf.

I did not hear a response.

The dwarf picked up a board beside the house as a makeshift shield. They nodded to each other. Simultaneously the dwarf rushed through the door as the ranger fired arrows through the front window.

I could hear fighting inside. The ranger drew his swords and joined the fray. Several minutes later the ranger stumbled back outside, his chest soaked in blood. The ranger looked pale even from here. He sat down outside the house and looked at the stars. The dwarf followed him with his right arm and leg bandaged. The dwarf looked at the ranger’s wound, shook his head, and went back inside to rummage around the house.

The ranger gazed around. He stared toward me. I felt he could see me somehow. He smiled, slumped, and died. My stupor broken I ran to my horse.

I rode for several weeks toward wine country. I only spent modestly. I did not want to draw attention to myself. After I started seeing grape fields I relaxed. My dream to make wine filling my head.

Before I entered the inn’s barn, I saw a woman washing her hair. Her beautiful hair allured me. I figured her a barmaid.

“Barmaid, are their any vineyards for sale ‘n this area?” I asked.

“I’m no barmaid!” She seemed insulted.

“I’m sorry, do ya know about anything fer sale?” I prompted again.

She relaxed saying “There is one in town, but I wouldn’t buy it.”

Intrigued I asked, “Why’s that?”

“Old man smith ran the place in the ground.” She said matter of factly.

Attracted, I responded, “Well, which one would ya suggest?”

“Brown’s place about 10 miles from here. It’s been taken care of, and it’s at a good price.” She stated businesslike.

“Well thank ye, would ya mind if I bought ya dinner as payment for this valuable information?” I said.

Her cheeks turned bright red. Her gaze dropped to the floor. Timidly she responded. “If you like.”

Her response excited me in ways I can not even explain. I knew this golden hair girl would be mine.

Over the course of the next week I bought the Brown’s vineyard, and we talked repeatedly. She is knowledgeable about the process of producing wine. We married before long.

My life is now as I dreamed it, all those years ago. I captured what I always wanted. Sadly the violence is still inside my head. My father is not truly gone from my life. Daily, I control the frustration and anger lest they consume me.

I promise myself I will never lay a hand on my wife or child as my father did. If I can provide nothing else for them, this I guarantee. I am not my father.

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According to Engel, “in the past twenty-five years studies on abuse and family assaults strongly suggest that abused children become abusers themselves,” yet victims often don’t receive any treatment until their repetition of the abuse is already underway.

Also check out Victoria Women’s Transition House. The link is to a list of the cycle of abuse. If your being abused, get the help you need.

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