Saturday, October 26, 2019

VSS Round up


Clear nostrils, have several big breaths. Water glass at hand. The line waits, finely chopped, laid out long. Exhale, grab tooter, snort deeply. Snort water, wait for drain. Flop onto bed and feel entire body expand as chemicals zing through system.

They smile awkwardly as I take pictures, not wanting to stand too close or hold hands while I watch. I remember my senior prom, and my mother performing this same ritual. "Okay, you two, skedaddle. And don't do anything I wouldn't."
A short list, to be sure.

I step around a corner and the melange of herbs and incense and oils is no more. Thankfully, all I smell is dust and earth.
Seeing the massive obsidian in the middle of the floor, I realize the smells were just armor, keeping most at bay. I kneel and hug it.

"How have you two stayed together for so long?"
"We realize that life is dynamic."
"And that helps how?"
"We try to be too. Go with the flow. Change and adapt and learn about each other. Rely on each other and get to share all the very cool things."

"You don't seem that anachronistic."
"Because I look like everyone else?"
"Well, I-"
"Not going to find out what I think about capital punishment or work or food or animals or witchcraft?"
"Uh, I-"
"Lack of superficiality is also a little old fashioned."

"I'm the Tuatha's familiar."
"Um, people aren't familiars. Just cats and toads and ravens and such."
"I'm sorry, what else would you call it when I'm a conduit of magical power for a spellcaster, who treats me like a beloved pet?"
"..."
"Exactly."

My niece watches me, fascinated by the motions of my hands and the yarn. She hasn't asked yet, but I know she wants to learn. Knitting is almost a lost skill, and I can't wait to put the needles in her chubby little hands so she can cast purls too.

"You should be more spontaneous."
"Not this again. I'm happy with things they way they are."
"It would be good for you, to just do something fun out of no where."
"Okay. YOU make dinner tonight."
"Whoa whoa whoa. Let's not get all crazy with this."

The giants battled without thought to those beneath their enormous feet. Each blow thundered the sky. Each drop of sweat and blood flooded the fields. Each brutal stomp tore the very ground asunder.
We could only watch in horror.

I stare at the cluster of blood red berries, the last of the purple flowers fading above them. Then I read the article again, absolutely certain I've identified them properly. Tough choice, because it could certainly be lethal. But could also be a great high.

"Oh my, this cider is amazing."
"Continue."
"It's raspberry and rose, and oh my, they have captured the essence of the rose. It tastes just like how they smell, and so perfectly reddish pink."
"I envy your synesthesia. I don't taste anything but alcohol."

Time to rest and recharge. Need to get away from the world for a bit. I duck beneath the boughs into my leafy bower. Leaves act as a prism, refracting the light into rainbows. The stream sings to me, and the bank of river stones offer me a bed.

"...yes, but when we defrock one of our priests, it's truly something to see. Everyone leaves with a sense of justice, and a little piece of the godless fool."
Some conversations are better without context.

"You ever wanted to be like this stream?"
"Wet, cold, and babbling?"
"No. Steady in your course, changing incrementally, sustaining all the life around you."
"Did you really get philosophical about this little brook?"
"Why don't you?"

He always recognizes that particular crestfallen posture of mine. He doesn't need to ask anymore, just pours me a Dark and Stormy and watches something on television with me.
The next day, I'm ready to submit another story, bolstered by his love.

Running a little behind is one thing. But when I've got a backlog of housework like this, it becomes overwhelming. Where do I even start? It will never end, I'll never get caught up.
I stare at the box of matches. Might be easier to just start over.

"He's delectable."
"Do you only think about sex?"
"It's more than that. I want to taste and sample, and just feel him tremble."
"How isn't that-"
"I don't want to eat the entire cake, just nibble on the icing."

Me and the others nod, ready to knock out the internet. We've made plenty of videos and flyers and speeches about how cancerous the online world has become, and that people should get outside more.
Time to encourage them to step away from their connections.

We lay in the grass, talking and getting to know each other. "I'm a Taurus," I tell him.
"Neat. I'm a Cancer. Know what that means?" He smiles, waiting for me to answer. I shrug. "Well, you're earth, and I'm water. Together we make mud."
I could marry him.

I find it while browsing through horror stories online. At first I think it's just another story, but the more of it I read, the more the doubts build. Self-care for Serial Killers can't be a real thing. Right?

"What in the hell are you watching?"
"This guy screws with telephone scammers so they spend their time with him instead of some vulnerable person."
"That's a thing?"
"Yeah. They're basically stealing from old people."
"They deserve to be beaten."
"Yup."

"What's it like sensing other people's emotions?"
"You're not trying to make fun of me, are you?"
"No. Genuinely curious."
"There's kinda this nebulous cloud around them, like perfume but made of their emotions, and I can pick out various scents."
"Neat."

"So, you're a gamer?" she asks, eyes glazing over. She doesn't want to hear my answer. Just wants to put me in an easy box that she thinks she understands, because then she'll understand me.
"Yeah, sure. That's me." Easier to just be labelled some days.

"Those are lovely kittens. I've never seen such big black cats."
"Shadow, Shade, and Silhouette, won't you say hello to the nice lady?"
"..."
"What? Cats don't talk in your world?"
"..."

I stopped just scrawling my messages. Now I print them out on labels, stick them in places people can see them. Bathroom walls, bus stops, park gates. "Do not take umbrage at the words of others. Focus on your path and remain positive. Offer your light."

Everyone thought she was a little odd when she was a child, but agreed that she'd grow out of it.
But when she was sixteen and called Billy the Exterminator a horror show, there was no denying there child was a changeling.

"You're lucky to have a decent brother. I had to replace mine."
"Can you do something like that?"
"Of course. Grandfather left me his journal and his eels. I just had to do the hard work. Have you any idea how expensive a lab is these days?"
"?!?"

They appeal to the margravine to settle he dispute. "What is it you want?" she asks.
"We seek justice, delivered by your wisdom." They make obeisance.
She laughs, tosses two knives to the floor. "Settle it yourselves, the old fashioned way."

"A little danger really adds excitement."
"R-e-a-l-l-y?"
"You know I'm right. Get the adrenaline flowing, the heart pumping, and thrill to live through the experience."
"You're trying medium rare pork."
"Here I go! Prepare to rescue me if necessary."

"Hey there! Welcome in!" She's cheerful, loud, and her words drip with pizzazz. I can't help but smile. Today was a bitch, wearing me down to the core, but something about this little pixie makes me feel better.
Maybe it isn't that bad, and I can go on. "Hi."

The can tips, pouring hot bacon grease across the back of my hand. I move by instinct, knowing I need it in cold water before I even saw the word ow.
Husband is beside me with alacrity, sensing my pain, needing to protect me even if he cannot stop the burn.

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