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Minor thirds bring the head to sway, while a sixth swells the throat. Mere measurements, as the dying guitarist understands. Time is something that he will not know for long, and he relishes in his tones. A pulse driven by low resonance that pushes at the gut every time it’s plucked. And he dances with them. In spite of his willowed legs and arms, he still dances with those dancing notes. The sway of a knobby hip and a knotted shoulder. A dance of a dead thing that hasn’t left its time behind to finally get some rest. Still that dying thing plays. And he smiles.

 

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…shadow on shallow…

She felt the push and pull of the currents against her.

Weightless, her body shifted with the pull from the undertow. Serene, she flowed with its movement, twisting and turning. The currents caressed her young flesh, its sensual touch cradling every part. Not just her flesh, it went deeper. Inside of her, where nature could never penetrate, she felt a pulse in perfect harmony with the one that moved in her chest. As it pushed against her, her pulse pulled, and as her pulse pushed back, those currents lifted. She longed for nothing. She felt nothing. She knew nothing of…

…death…

Floating, senseless with nothing of suffering, some things still lingered, questions of things past, she struggled to find…

…life…

Was there life before this. Doesn’t really matter anyway. She had forgotten. There was something that she almost remembered, but she lost it again. She struggled for any thought, hazed and darkened, numbed and neglected. As quick as something came to her, it left. The only thing she could remember was that she yearned for whatever memory it was. She knew that she needed pain. She needed scars and the memory it would bring. The currents had carried her too far, and now she needed to try and find the lost pain that they had kept from her. Something else was kept from her, another sensation that had been long forgotten. Floating with those currents, she almost lost her thoughts again. Pleasure, she needed pain and pleasure. The currents had kept her from them both, suspended in their sway, pulsing with the current. They never left her.

She moved with them. As the currents moved, she ran her hand slowly across her body, feeling her firm flesh. As her palm grazed the peaks of her breasts, her blood warmed, and her muscles tensed slightly. The numb comfort of the pulsing currents held in contrast with the warmth of new blood moving through her flesh. Her fingers rose to her lips, caressing from one corner to the other. Her lips felt the slight heat from the tips. They gently parted, leaving way for one of her fingers to drop into the warmth of her mouth. Touching her tongue, she rolled it from side to side. The warmth swelled, spreading into her arms. She knew the currents felt it too and tried to keep their hold on her, trying to keep her numb. Pushing again against her body, the currents rolled her over.

She didn’t fight against them. She let them move her. Once again, the thoughts of her sensual touch were leaving her, and she struggled to bring them back. She kissed her fingertips, and, slowly, pulled them from her mouth and moved them down to her breasts. The heat from her fingertips had lost its subtlety and almost burned when touched her breasts. She moved the heat around her soft peaks, letting the warmth flow into her. She moved her hand farther down past her belly where she felt her greatest warmth.

Her other hand moved to her breasts, feeling more heat than had come with the former touch. The heat from her breasts moved down and met the heat that rose from between her thighs. Once they met, they flowed around each other and danced in her belly, flowing upward and outward, spreading through her entire body. She still moved with the current as she rolled over, head over foot and shoulder over shoulder, floating in the dark current and pulsing with it.

The hand between her thighs moved with the rhythm of the current, rubbing with its flowing movements. She caressed herself, breasts and belly, with one hand while she pushed the other harder and deeper inside. She pushed so hard that a sharp pain shook her from inside. She fell into herself as the pain shook her and took hold. More heat came with it. Her fingers warmed in her soft hot flesh that was swelling with blood. She threw her head back as the waves of heat moved up her body. She clutched tightly to her breast with one hand while the other moved deeper, feeling the pulse pushing strongly from inside. Still keeping with what was around her, she moved her hand in and out in a rhythm between the pulses of the currents. Somewhere between force and pulse, the heat came on strong again. Her fingers ground hard against the soft flesh inside of her, tearing it. Blood flowed from her and surrounded her with the warmth of life. It floated with her, bouncing from her skin and trying to return to the common body it once knew. As she moved, heat and pain flowed into each other in complement. She bit her lip until it bled, joining the rest of the blood in a dance of memory, sharing what was known and what was left behind. She pulled her legs together, still keeping the rhythm with her hand. In and out, soft flesh pulsated harder around her fingers. She pushed farther and harder, deeper and faster. She knew it was coming. It was almost there.

The heat reached its threshold and held her every. Push, feel the heat. Touch the warmth. Allow yourself to be engulfed by it, the pain, the catalyst, the heat, the means. It grew as her body turned and toppled out of control. The build was too much, and she couldn’t stop it.

Her hand clenched tightly around her breast as her fingers inside went rigid. Her legs pressed tightly against each other as her body erupted in a war of heat and power. She threw her head back and opened her green eyes. The…

…memory…

…returned to her in a sudden burst of thought, a pulse strong enough to allow the rivers of thought to flow through. With the pulse, the fear for her brother came to her.

She saw him. She saw him falling away from her, falling into the darkest pits of the earth, to be left there until the earth turn to stone.

She looked on his face as he fell away from her into the depths, his eyes glowing green.

His mouth moved as if to speak, but she couldn’t hear anything, nothing at all.

Her hand reached out but touched nothing, finding nothing kind. His body was disappearing into dark, and being consumed by it. His eyes were crying, crying for her. Those eyes that were a reflection of hers battled the same forces that sought to swallow all.

He fell too fast, too far

She pushed to him

To save him

To save her

He pushed to her

She fell too fast, too far

Wretched and scarred, he saw the sway of the water carry her deeper and deeper into oblivion. He could not stop her from falling away from him, her body going dark and deep as he reached for her, her flowing hair swimming around her lovely pale face, moving in long waves, brushing her gentle cheek.

Her mouth moved as if to speak, but he couldn’t hear anything, nothing at all.

Her pale skin faded too and all that was left were her glowing green eyes, and they too were fading. Her eyes faded gently into the dark depths, glowing darker and darker still with every passing moment. No. Not her. Leave her alone. He wanted it to be him instead. He would let his fate be the one of the fall and let hers be left to her. He would take it, one to take for the other. His end would be her deliverance.

…breathe…

The cold sway of the endless dark held him hard, holding him close to stone.

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Keep your teddy bears close! But not too close.

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For those of you who don’t know, I moonlight as a guitar god. Well, maybe not a god. But maybe an Daemon at least. Check out the video review I did for TheToneKing.com

 

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Click here for Musical Accompaniment

Beyond the fire, among the wild things and shadow, he found the child, and the child was his, to be held with care and to be guided through dark places, strange and distorted, and through the world, twisted and contorted. He would provide, and the child would learn from him. The frightened man lies broken on broken earth. He kills the wild things. The distance to here is too much for him, so he seeks out others.

…best to finish him off…

…probably…

…but you’re not going to do it…

…no…

The wild man stayed silent with his child in his arms. He anticipated that he would push through and find whatever waits on the other side, if anything at all. It would tear at him, shred his skin, and leave him broken. He knew that. He would take those scars and make them his.

They traveled when there was light and rested when there wasn’t. No words were spoken by any of them. They just moved. The wild man had set the frightened man’s arm, and it healed completely. The frightened man’s side was still so sore, though, and he still had trouble keeping up with them. He couldn’t help but walk behind the two. He watched the wild man’s back, gazing at his long dangling locks, tangled and twisted, brushing against the black mud that stuck to his skin.

Reuel longed for a bath, to find a cool spring to wash away the sticky blood from his chest and arms. The slathered mess smothered and choked him. He really wanted to speak, but he didn’t. Most of Reuel’s kill was already eaten, but the rest spoiled quickly. The wild man didn’t cook it enough, too red and raw to keep, and now it stank sour. He watched as the wild man sniffed at it, flaring his nostrils and curling his lips, then sniffing it again like something would’ve changed from a moment before. He watched the wild man throw it into the brush without any care. It could’ve lasted them much longer if it was properly preserved. Reuel knew of better ways to keep the meat. He thought of freezing it, but he wasn’t sure when the cold times were coming. He thought of using salt from the shores surrounding water to cure it, but they only found salt on the coasts, and they had been inland for some time. Drying it would work. It would hold longer. He wanted to say something about it, but he didn’t.

He looked to the wild man and the child resting from the distance they had traveled. The fire bathed the wild man’s naked muddy body, emphasizing his muscles underneath. Reuel looked down on himself, adding more to the leaves and mud that hid him.

Eventually, he couldn’t stand to keep his silence anymore, and he spoke to the wild man. “I…I was thinking that we should dry our meat next time we…” The wild man wasn’t paying attention to him. He just lay there on his back, holding the child to his chest. “Ahem, I said that if we dry the meat….” The wild man’s eyes opened, raising his head to peer down his chest at him. He didn’t answer. At least he was looking at him, Reuel thought. Reuel waved his hand at the wild man, hoping to get him to speak. The wild man raised his hand from the child and waved back. Then, he put his hand back where it was, lowered his head, closed his eyes, and started snoring.

“Well, I guess we could talk about it later. Um, goodnight.” Reuel turned and walked closer to the fire. He wasn’t sure why he kept building these fires. It was still warm, and there wasn’t any meat to sear. He could use it to boil roots and vegetables, but the wild man seldom ate them. Reuel just couldn’t live without a saving light, a dancing flame. It held his gaze while the others slept. He watched its sway as it kept to some old rhythm, some old thing dancing an ancient dance that was lost to him. It was as foreign to him as all old things were.

Reuel tried to speak often, needing to speak to the wild man about things, but the wild man never showed any interest. He only kept to the child, only moving for him.  The child reached for the wild man’s long brown locks, unwashed and unkempt, like the rest of his body, darkened with dirt and sun. The wild man lowered his locks, swaying them back and forth, taunting the child until he could reach them. When the child grabbed a bit with his small hands, the wild man quickly pulled it away. He smiled as the child smiled, a smile of young things that still find things new. There was always time for play.

This is irritating. Why won’t he say anything. Reuel tried to keep his silence like the wild man, but he found his silence was impossible to keep. Finally, after a fifth turn, he spoke to the wild man again. “Wha…what’s the child’s name?”

The man looked at him with some surprise, his eyes held wide. That gaze held on him for so long without a word, holding still to someone who seeks to speak. Then, looking to the earth as if he had lost something, he answered. “My son’s name is Joseph.”

Reuel stumbled. “Oh. Where’s your, I mean his mother?”

The wild man didn’t answer. He looked to the child again. His green eyes found his child sleeping. He pushed his bearded face to him, touching the child’s nose, tickling him. Startled, the child moved his head with his eyes still closed, pulling away for a moment, only to return and bury his face deep against his father’s course cheek with a whimper.

Reuel didn’t speak for another three days, and, when he finally did, he did so with care. “What’s…your name?”

The wild man was watching the fire, flames dancing on his mane that hung so gangly on his forehead. Despite the flame, his face was still black, covered with soil, blood, and dirt. He had been kept from the touch of water for so long. “Marc,” he murmured as he scratched his beard. He moved his eyes from the flames and looked to the sleeping child at his side. He put his large hand on the child’s back.

“I’m Reuel.” He waited for a moment to see if Marc would respond, but he didn’t. He just gently rubbed the child’s back. When he didn’t speak, Reuel continued. “Where…are you from?”

He kept his gaze to his sleeping son but pushed up his brow at the strange question. “Um, here.”

“Where? No. I mean…” What the hell is he talking about. “I don’t think you understand. I want to know where you came from.”

The wild man took his gaze from the child, his brow furrowed and his face serious, and stared at Reuel. He seemed, to Reuel, like a man irritated by questions. He must’ve thought of those same questions. He couldn’t move without them. Impossible, I can’t be the only one with them. Still, this wild thing didn’t want to talk at all, much less about such things.

For the moment, Reuel had nothing else to say, so he left it alone.

As time passed, Reuel put more questions to the wild man, but no answers came, just more silence. There wasn’t even the recognition of conversation. It had been so long that when Reuel tried to remember what the wild man’s voice sounded like, he found he had already forgotten.

Although speech was lost, Reuel did find trust and was allowed to help care for the child, such a delicate thing. Always still and smiling in his father’s arms, the child never calmed for Reuel. He was almost always struggling, especially when he would try to bathe him. The only thing worse than when the child squirmed was when he was still. Reuel hated those times. Gaze would catch gaze as he found the eyes of the child, each a different shade. One was the color of green earth and the other the clear sky above it. Those eyes showed old things that pushed too deep, shaking Reuel unnaturally. He found fear in those things and the eyes that held them there. He soon learned to keep his eyes from the child, shuddering when he remembered those pushing things. He always remembered them. That he could never forget.

As they continued to travel Reuel tried to speak less and less, leaving whatever questions he had unanswered. Time passed without words and came out only in need. They hunted, they ate, and they kept moving. He followed the wild man’s lead, unsure to what end. At first, it bothered him not knowing where they were going but not anymore. He had a companion, and he felt safe.

After a long time had passed since their last words, Marc spoke. His eyes fixed on a piece of bark that he moved between his finders, tearing a piece from one corner and rubbing his thumb on another. “Monsters.” He turned the bark over and found its smooth belly. “We’ll find monsters.” He gently brushed the dirt free. “If I die, take the child and leave me be.”

Reuel’s eyes shimmered as they widened.

Marc continued to roll the piece of bark over in the palm of his hand, looking at all of its sides. “Leave death be.” He pulled a piece off of the corner and threw the rest of it into the fire. He stood up and walked away from the light of the fire, away from the companion, and away from his child.

Reuel found himself unable to speak. He was shocked at hearing Marc’s voice again, and it was different than he remembered. He had never heard so many words from him. They still bounced around in his head, trying to escape, but they were held there so tightly. He stood up and tried to follow him, but he stumbled. Look to where the wild man moves and you’ll find nothing but shadows, shadows that look to each other, still finding shadows themselves. His hand reached for something to touch, something flesh, something with breath and something with warmth to help him hold and to help him keep whole. His mimics reached out too but found no flesh, breath, or warmth. Like Reuel, they found nothing. But there was something he found. He found the wild man’s death.

He closed his eyes.

Overwhelmed by a towering beast, the man is beaten, and his companion is helpless, kept still by a bond, a simple word. He sees the man being pushed into the dirt, rising with a bloody face only to be pushed back down again. Blows come from every direction and tearing claws come with them. Flesh rips off from his bones. His blood wells and pools in the wounds left by a savage beast, blood and dirt, shred and tear.

He moves to aid him, but the man reminds him of the bond. He says to leave him be. The man is pushed farther and further into the earth, each time rising smaller and smaller. He fights every blow with one of his own, but his blows soon become weaker and weaker until they lose control completely and hit nothing but air. Still, though, he tries to fight, swinging his arms helplessly. The last moment comes, a time that he can move in and save him, but he does nothing because of those words. I can only watch while you die. The man looks to his eyes for the last time, and the last blow ends him, killed. It’s over, and I couldn’t do anything.

He opened his eyes.

The wild man was gone, and the father didn’t return for some time. Reuel feared being alone again. He stayed at the camp and cared for the child. The day’s light came and left, and still the man was gone. There, waiting by the fire, Reuel felt a sudden pressure in his chest that pushed the air out of him. He struggled to pull his breath back in, but the pressure wouldn’t allow it. It left him on the dirt. The pressure pushed harder, popping his ears, bleeding them and bleeding him. He thought the pressure was going to tear him apart. His stomach twisted, and his legs went taut. Involuntarily, they kicked, cracking sharply at the knees but hitting nothing but air. His fingers forced themselves deep into earth, dragging and tearing at it, finding only deeper dirt.

As suddenly as it had left him, his breath returned to him. He pulled it in hard, tearing at his lungs. He pulled his muddied hands from soil and pushed them to his ears, smearing them with blood and mud. He stood, stumbling and wiping the blood from the sides of his face. He smeared and shaded his skin with its crimson hue. He let his breath out and pulled it back again sharply, fearing he would lose it again. His ears heard a cry, and he ran to the child. The child’s face crinkled and winced. Reaching for him, he found the child untorn and unblemished, no blood, mark, or scar. It was a long while before the child finally calmed down.

Light came and left again, and still the father was gone.

The wind was moving, blowing through the tall and swaying green. He stumbled forward slightly, taking a step in the wind’s pushing direction. The child was still behind him. He couldn’t leave him here. He turned to grab the child, but lost his breath again. Pulling his breath too hard, he choked and coughed out everything that was in him. Nothing stayed inside, and he couldn’t pull anything back. Things swam and spun around him, twisting around his head in a taunting game, mocking and laughing at his spinning state. He couldn’t stay any longer. It was becoming too much for him. The child would have to wait here for him to return. He turned away from the child again, breathing so hard that his chest and belly were sore. Another gust pushed against his back, and his foot fell forward again. He tripped and fell. His face hit the dirt as the harsh winds rolled over his back, moving past him. He lay his head to the earth. He couldn’t leave. He would have to wait and endure. He pushed himself up from the dirt, weak and weary, and walked to the child, binding himself to him with words left unspoken.

…until the end child…

Light came and left again, and finally the father returned, his body covered with clothes and his nakedness gone. His tangled mane was pulled behind his head, and his beard was braided. The man carried with him more clothes for Reuel and Joseph. As he reached for the child, the child started to cry. He rubbed the tears from the child’s face and finished dressing him. When he was done, he looked toward the east. “We move west. Come back when we’re ready.” He turned his back to their path and took up the child. Reuel looked to the path and saw the dark things that waited there. The light had already left them, resting somewhere in the opposite direction. They followed that direction and chased the falling light.

…I wasn’t ready…

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Music from my upcoming Audiobook: Becoming.

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