What they found was a mystery. But mysteries are never hard to find, answers are the hard part. It was round and deep, a shaft that struck the heart of the earth and seemed to have no end. One wit dropped a rock in to hear the bottom. They say he’s still waiting for it to hit. They say the rock is still falling. Answers are the hardest thing to find, harder still when you refuse to follow the course of the puzzle. Flipping the chessboard wins no games. Destruction only leaves a bigger hole.
Today was one of the stories no one ever tells because there are none who would believe save for those who bore witness. We were pressed by the rebel forces, penned down behind our meager fortifications of fallen trees and farmer’s fences. Shots rang out on all sides and a haze filled the air. That was when I saw the figures step in to fill out our ranks. They were clad in blue, same as my own Massachusetts regiment, but these men were a breed apart. The man beside me put a hand on my shoulder and grinned at my surprise, for he was my own great-grandfather, decades gone to his rest. Bolstered by the numbers of this greatest generation of soldiers, we rallied. I swear to you, the sound of horses was in our infantry charge and I saw a tall man astride a white horse in the vanguard, his saber raised high. The rebels broke and ran, leaving the day to us. But none will ever believe, I fear. Even now as I commit it to paper and ink, it sounds like a flight of fancy. But I will never forget.
The sun rose twice. Already hanging in the sky like a baleful eye, a second glowing orb rose to meet it like a drunken firefly grown out of all proportion. It was as though he moon had forgotten her proper course and color, and gone to meet her brother at the zenith of the day. It was a time of no shadows, as the two day-stars cast everything into a sharp relief and refused to be balked. As the day wore on, the original continued it’s inexorable march westward until it finally dipped below the horizon to continue on its millennia old course through the underworld. The second? The second still hung in the sky.
Sparks arch into the air
Fire in the sky
The ground is shaking
Not a star can be seen
A cloud of ash
The roaring sound
People running in the streets
City on fire
The sky is aflame
Sails of ships struck through with holes
The harbor in chaos
A silent city
People walk the streets
Among ruins and murals of yore
Pompeii and Herculaneum
She watched as the stripped the colors from the old statues and wept. Why were they doing this? These people weren’t from here. They didn’t know, didn’t understand. They had never seen the nymphs of the forest or the satyrs frolicking in a field. But they imagined that they had. They had read Herodotus and Homer and Pliny and dreamed that they had stood atop Olympus among staid and stolid gods of dignity and refinement, relegating their fatal flaws to mere misdemeanor and rendering their colors to muted silence. She pulled her shawl tighter around her shoulders, wondering if her family would ever come back and set to rights what had happened. Would they hear her silent tears or sense the bitter anguish? She took up the poker once more and checked three small brazier before her. They might remove the colors, these foreigners, but they would never extinguish the flame
Sun filters through the rain
Light scatters, fractured, broken
Trying to hold it in my hand
Longing to catch it, to hold it
Colors made from nothing
Shining on my hands
They float away
They can’t be caught
Broken light can’t be held
It won’t be chained in
Bent light can’t be controlled
Haven in the Forest
The moon looking down, she watches
Bows are strung, armor donned
But these are not the soldiers
They are not made for war
Peace cries for them but they have only these trees
In the forest, they can live
Against the darkness, they will fight
From all corners, far and near
This place, their new home
A beacon, a bastion
I was fidgeting with the fork again, spinning it between my fingers as I watched the door. The waiter was standing near the kitchen giving me this piteous look and I felt miserable. The placemat drew my eyes again and I wondered if she was going to show up at all. I was about to reach for my phone when the little bell above the door rang and my eyes snapped up. A woman like none I’d ever seen before stood just inside the door with a little frown of concentration on her face. But my shoulders only slumped. She wasn’t Jessica. This was pretty quickly sizing up to be the worst Valentine’s ever. That was when the woman slid into the empty seat opposite me and gave me a smile.
“Sorry, I’m late.”
For a long moment, I just stared into her eyes. It was like looking at the ocean; bottomless, beautiful, and a little bit terrifying. Then I gave my head a little shake.
Her smile turned a little sad and she nodded.
“I’m here to make sure you don’t spend today alone. She’s not coming.”
I looked down again and then back up, forcing a smile.
“You don’t have to do this. I’ll be alright.”
She shook her head and her hair fell loose around her shoulders.
“Let me just make this up to you. After all, it shouldn’t have happened.” She hesitated and then smiled at the approaching waiter. “A bottle of sauvignon blanc, if you would? Thank you.”
“Right away, Miss.”
He gave me a grin and a wink and walked off to fetch the bottle in question.
“What do you mean ‘shouldn’t have happened’? Is everything alright?”
But she didn’t seem to hear me. She leaned in, smiling.
“So, handsome, what is it you do?”
That was how the evening went. She suggested a few appetizers I’d never had before, calling them crudités and teasing me into trying them. She flirted and we laughed and at last, we sat there with sundae between us. That was when she finally answered my question.
“You’ll see Jessica tomorrow, just so you know. Once I’ve had a chance to fix things. But I couldn’t let you be alone tonight. Not when it was all because of my son and his leaden arrows.” She smiled cryptically. “Eros feels rather badly about his mistake.”
That’s the thing with living in the Scuttle Bay area. It seems like half of the people in the city have a mask tucked in a pocket and some kind of super powers. It could come from the nuclear tests they did just up river back in the 40s. It could come from the modern biotech firms dotting the city. It could also come from the meteor storm that struck about ten years back. I’ve even heard a few people say it’s an old curse or something else to do with the pirates the bay is named for. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. It’s enough to know that half the people in the city have powers and other lives. And the biggest hero is none other than Atomic Ace. He’s pretty much what you’d expect, really. Over 6-foot, sculpted like a god and hung like a horse based on the way the leather clings. Bright blue eyes, like a cloudless day, framed by strong, dark brows and a roman nose. His hair is black as night and cut in a way that screams rugged and manly, which is honestly impressive for a guy who wears his underwear on the outside. Who am I? Folks around here call me Rabbit. I’m what you’d call a speedster. It cropped up when I was about 14, and my folks are both normals so it was something of a surprise. I tried to live as normally as I could, blend in and all that. I was about 17 when I first encountered Atomic Ace. And I thought I was going to die
Laughter coursed through oaken bowsbut Sarra walked alone
no lover had she to be with tonight
nor o’er leap smoldering coals
Hand in hand, lovers did leap
for bounty and younglings to come
but she was alone and strayed from the path
out to where legends do roam
She sat ‘neath a tree to ponder the time
when nearby snapped a twig
eyes that were the leaves of spring
pulled her deep into his soul
Full of mystery, cloaked in might
he stood casually, hand outstretched
with a slight smile, he spake thusly
“How wonderful ’tis to see you here on this Beltane night.”
“I know you not yet seems you know me.”
came her surprised reply
“Are you from near of have you traveled far,
to see me this Beltane night?”
“You know me more than you would know,
and I you in turn.
But for your second question,
these very woods are more home.”
It was in that instant that she did see
his skin held a shade of greenery
from atop his chestnut locks did sprout
antlers of which a stag would be proud
He smiled knowingly as she took in the sight
was he a demon, elemental or sprite?
perhaps one of those who ruled all out world
one of the gods of glade and dell
Shee took his hand, got to her feet
she knew him now for who he was
soon their lips did meet
passion leapt from god to woman
He held her tight against his chest
her arms looped round his waist
the scent of leaves, of forest of dew
covered Sarra in blankets of calm
Years passed by and Sarra sat
‘fore the fire with a babe
to her she told the story of whence
and the day she’d met the girl’s da