Archive for July, 2013

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Book description: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows is set in the Modern Middle Ages, the age after the ages of Earth, when humans inhabit a planet where, unbeknownst to them, the moons control every action. What remains of the Earth is confined to books. In fact, many have decided to live by the rules of those books once called fiction. But no fiction or reality rules over the Mystic. He rules by only two laws: obey his desires and obey your desires. His desires are twofold: virgins and immortality. However, the desires of his subjects are as wicked as ever known. But the Dagens, a family rooted in the old ways of society, cannot give into their desires. They cannot kill just to kill, hate just to hate, destroy just to destroy. Yet if society is to become what it once was, the Dagens must destroy freedom and place chains around those who no longer wish to be chained.

4 – Bann

“I don’t want a legacy.” On a throne carved from human bones, the Mystic perched stroking his long white beard. Cosmetics about his eyes enhanced the terror of his hazel glare.  Almost he appeared more hawk than man. “Legacies are for dead people.”

A sea of priests mumbled amongst one another. Each had their head shaved bald, their eyebrows dyed absurd colors, and wore yellow cassocks. Besides height and weight, they all looked alike.

Father Panis, the eldest priest, stepped to the front of the crowd. His cassock was white-and-yellow. Short and pudgy described him best. Blue eyebrows made him look a clown.

“Arkin, you cannot be the Mystic forever,” the priest said beside a low chuckle. “Eventually your children must follow.”

Arkin hammered his hand against the arm of the throne. “My grandmother lived until she was two years more than one hundred and twenty. I am only half that age, priest, but I will outlive it.”

Bann lifted the cradled babies off the kaleidoscopic-checkered floor, climbed the stairs to the Mystic. “You cannot murder your children for eternity, Arkin.”

Arkin put his face in front of one of the babies, and it began to cry. “Why can’t I? Will they not die every time they swallow steel?”

The baby cried louder, woke its sister, and they cried together.

“Yes, they will die every time,” Bann said over the noise. “But part of yourself will die as well.”

Arkin eyed Bann as if he’d just discovered the stars. “What part of me will die from destroying these abominations?”

“The part it took to create them,” Bann said.

Slowly slow, the Mystic outstretched his hands, allowed each of the babies to play with his fingers. Then the Mystic sang in a key, it seemed, he’d only just created:

  Hush little baby, don’t you cry

  Daddy’s gonna teach you a lullaby

  And if that song don’t make you quit

 Daddy’s gonna beat you with a stick.

The babies cried louder.

Arkin pulled away his hands, cleaned them with his own spit. “Remove the life from the both of them.”

“But they are your heirs, Your Grace.” Father Tillicum squeezed the sides of his cassock. “Your wife grows weaker than the sun’s light at night. If she dies we’ll not be able to convince the people of another pregnancy. Many questioned this pregnancy because of your wife’s age. Ninety year olds do not regularly reproduce.”

“I want not to speak,” Father Logrip said, pink eyebrows nearly kissing each other, “but Father Tillicum’s words open my mouth. The people will reject a birth from the grave. They barely believed in this pregnancy. If it weren’t for the story of Sarah in the Old Testament they would’ve stormed the palace and treated us like food.”

“You need a new spouse,” Father Panis said. “It is time your mother becomes your mother once again and not your wife.”

“This room is filled with truth,” Bann said, although he wished not to admit it. He distrusted the agenda of anyone who claimed to speak for God. “These are your daughters, Arkin. You should not murder them”—he needed a reason why—“until you at least mount them.”

Arkin covered his ears. “I’ll never fuck a thing that wants me dead. Remove these twins before I remove all of your mounting equipment.”

All the priests laughed. They weren’t afraid of castration since they’d already castrated themselves in order to serve their God. Although some married and adopted heirs, none of them created children of their own.

“Why are you laughing, you nitwits?” Surely he knew why. Arkin stood up tall, giraffed his neck. “Do you enjoy death?”

“No, Mystic,” they all said in unison, saluting with their middle fingers.

“Forgive our joy,” Father Ferret said, covering his rabbit teeth with a hand. “We laugh not at your stupidity but at our own inferior conditions.”

Bann put down the babies, walked back down the stairs. “Remind yourselves of who you laugh at before you laugh.” He unsheathed his sword. “I challenge you to achieve your emotional erections without your heads.”

In one swing he killed Father Ferret. With a second swing he parted the dead body of its head. Blood squirted here and there without a determined destination.

“Enough, you idiots.” Down the stairs, the Mystic ran. He circled around the mess, kicked the corpse, let out a wildly wild laugh. “I tire of this repetition. Both babies will die. I will make a new daughter as I made these nonhumans, and this child will become my new wife. Now one of you dolts bring thirty virgins to my bed chambers and make sure none of them are decaying this time.”

Bann wiped red out of his eyes. “Follow the instructions of your Eternal King.”

Father Slocum cleared his throat. And with a handkerchief Father Income wiped his brow.

Father Panis stepped to the front of the crowd again. “We cannot follow these directions.”

Bann raised his sword. “And why can’t you, priest?”

Louder, the babies cried.

“There are no more virgins in the harem,” Father Panis said. “For months now we’ve been recycling them.”

Bann directed his sword toward the elder priest. “The Mystic’s harem must be filled with 1,500 virgins at all times.”

“It is impossible,” Father Income said. “One cannot pull a yes from a no.”

“A man is not supposed to deflower thirty virgins a night,” Father Logrip said. “Only Hercules even attempted such a feat from what we’ve garnered from recorded history. In Hinduism gods could embrace for years at a time, yet even this was usually with just one other. Perhaps Jesus Christ might’ve had such capabilities if he was indeed who he said he was, but we are unsure of his sexual preferences.”

Arkin clutched his stomach. “I am no mortal, you nitwits. I am God with a human face. I will always have my wants. Always.”

Priests cheetahed out of the throne room to find virgins. One could pull a yes from a no, it seemed.

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Book description: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows is set in the Modern Middle Ages, the age after the ages of Earth, when humans inhabit a planet where, unbeknownst to them, the moons control every action. What remains of the Earth is confined to books. In fact, many have decided to live by the rules of those books once called fiction. But no fiction or reality rules over the Mystic. He rules by only two laws: obey his desires and obey your desires. His desires are twofold: virgins and immortality. However, the desires of his subjects are as wicked as ever known. But the Dagens, a family rooted in the old ways of society, cannot give into their desires. They cannot kill just to kill, hate just to hate, destroy just to destroy. Yet if society is to become what it once was, the Dagens must destroy freedom and place chains around those who no longer wish to be chained.

3 – Jordan

“You interrupted everything.” Cassandra crumpled the paper resting between herself and Damyn. Cross-legged the two of them sat atop her bed, an arm’s length apart. “We were playing a very adult game not intended for our immature minds.”

Jordan knew the game well. Sex stripped of love, his father had called it. It was a pastime that had recently developed in the country of Masago, involving no action just words, copulation for the mind. Another example of how intercourse had turned into a sport such as fishing or mushroom hunting. Fellatio contests on every street corner, masturbation competitions every Sunday, children playing Simon Sex.

And yet the room smelled not of fornication but of vanilla.

Jordan crossed his arms at his chest, thought of how he’d nearly been raped by a pack of women after leaving his father. If it weren’t safe to walk the castle halls alone, how dangerous was it to walk the streets? “Perhaps you two should finish this game in the shadows. Incest wasn’t always allowed on Earth.”

Damyn grinned. “And where is Earth located now?”

On the pages of books, Jordan thought. Earth lived in history, truly. The planet had disappeared hundreds of years ago. Only in words did it now remain.

Cassandra came from the bed, crossed the room to an open window, and discarded her crumblings below. Despite the age of a girl, she possessed the figure and confidence of a woman. Still at fifteen, she had more growth within. Who knew how much more child she had left to shuck?

“A society that suppresses love doesn’t have a future,” Cassandra said, as she eyed her reflection in the closest mirror. She picked up a paintbrush from the mirror’s table and swirled pinkness around her navel, touching up her painted on garments.

Damyn stood, smoothed out his clothes, entered the conversation: “It once was illegal to believe in yourself, and to think and be happy, you know? This is the age of freedom, though. One step out of God’s hands we’ve walked.”

Jordan turned his eyes from his sister’s desirability, looked at the floor. Once it had been illegal to be ugly, as well. “And what age comes next?”

Cassandra placed the paintbrush back into its container. “There is no going forward after nothing. Freedom doesn’t like to wear chains.”

Jordan cracked his fingers, then pointed to Damyn, remembered why he’d come here in the first place: “Father wants us to abort the Mystic’s children.”

“How can you abort them?” Horror distorted Cassandra’s voice. “I thought they’ve already been born?”

“It’s never too late to terminate a thing,” Jordan said, slamming the door as he left. Quickly quick he let himself back in. “Remind yourself that the Mystic owns your virginity, Cass.”

All women owed their virginity to the Mystic. Without virgins it was known the Mystic wouldn’t survive. Nobody knew exactly why he wouldn’t survive, but they just knew he wouldn’t.

Cassandra twirled her hair around her finger, said nothing. Instead she stared ahead like she expected a stare to do physical harm. “Father birthed those same words yesterday.”

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Book description: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows is set in the Modern Middle Ages, the age after the ages of Earth, when humans inhabit a planet where, unbeknownst to them, the moons control every action. What remains of the Earth is confined to books. In fact, many have decided to live by the rules of those books once called fiction. But no fiction or reality rules over the Mystic. He rules by only two laws: obey his desires and obey your desires. His desires are twofold: virgins and immortality. However, the desires of his subjects are as wicked as ever known. But the Dagens, a family rooted in the old ways of society, cannot give into their desires. They cannot kill just to kill, hate just to hate, destroy just to destroy. Yet if society is to become what it once was, the Dagens must destroy freedom and place chains around those who no longer wish to be chained.

If you like what read and want to have it all you can buy a paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

2 – Jordan

“Do you not listen to the commands of your father?” Bann Dagen asked from seated behind his long desk, letter opener in hand. “Or have you rearranged time according to your own rules?”

“Father is a very old-fashioned word,” Jordan said, and it was true. Father no longer meant authority; sons were no longer like fathers. Parents were more like friends than parents.  “I listen to myself, Bann. Isn’t that the point of being free?”

Bann stamped the yin-yang symbol of House Dagen at the bottom of one letter, then another. Afterward, he folded each piece of paper into a separate envelope and set them aside at the corner of the desk.

Out of his chair he came—bell-bottomed pants clouded his feet—walked around to meet Jordan face to face. “You have a keen sense of the benefits of freedom, my son. However, you still are unaware of the dangers.”

With brevity Bann rested the paper knife under Jordan’s chin. The attack came so quick that Jordan hadn’t even thought to protect himself. Only instinct had kept steel from severing throat. Truly his arms had moved without him telling them to.

Jordan felt like David arm wrestling Goliath as compared to his father. How much more did he need to grow in order to become a man? He saw himself in his father’s pupils, shrunken and halved. The reflection looked terrified, inflexibly aware of the situation. If Bann wanted him dead he would be dead: if his father wanted him dead he would be dead.

Jordan wanted to surrender but he couldn’t speak in the midst of the struggle. Every muscle was focused on saving his life. Cold touched what was left of Adam in him, threatened to slice up the apple in his throat, to cut, to cut, to cut….

Bann let up, pulled back from filicide, homicide, murder, dropped the letter opener as if it weren’t a weapon but a wilting flower. “Now do you see the danger in freedom?”

Jordan wrapped both hands around his throat, went to one knee. “Why did you scare me?”

“To show you that my freedom is not your freedom,” his father said writerly. “You are my semen. And I own my semen. Therefore, you own nothing of yourself until I am dead. I am your father, your creator, not your equal.”

Jordan rose, eyed the letter opener that almost killed him, continued rubbing at his neck. “I understand, Father.”

Did he think a son had never murdered his father? Patricide existed for a reason. Hate could lessen the burden of murder. Resentment helped as well.

Bann shuffled his charcoal-tinged hair. Though he was aging, his eyes were such a fierce blue that not even a bastard could ruin his line. Damyn had been proof of that. “You have much boy to shed before you can become a man.”

“As a man has much animal to shed before he becomes human.” Again Jordan shifted his focus to the floored letter opener.

Bann looked to where Jordan was looking, said: “The Mystic wants his newborn children taken care of. They’re twins.”

Jordan nodded. It would be the first time he worked for the Mystic under actual commands. “I’ll dispose of them discretely.”

The Mystic hated twins. The Bible of the Sun prophesied his death as coming about by them. Even those unable to read knew of the prophecy’s existence.

By the arm, Bann pulled his son close to him. “Has the good part of your brain evaporated? You would kill babies without hesitation?”

“Should I hesitate, Father?”

“No, not this time.” Bann released his son’s arm.  “Hesitation has killed many. Twins are taboo. They are unnaturally unnatural.”

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Book description: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows is set in the Modern Middle Ages, the age after the ages of Earth, when humans inhabit a planet where, unbeknownst to them, the moons control every action. What remains of the Earth is confined to books. In fact, many have decided to live by the rules of those books once called fiction. But no fiction or reality rules over the Mystic. He rules by only two laws: obey his desires and obey your desires. His desires are twofold: virgins and immortality. However, the desires of his subjects are as wicked as ever known. But the Dagens, a family rooted in the old ways of society, cannot give into their desires. They cannot kill just to kill, hate just to hate, destroy just to destroy. Yet if society is to become what it once was, the Dagens must destroy freedom and place chains around those who no longer wish to be chained.

1 – Jordan

Don’t believe in yourself.

Don’t believe in yourself.

Don’t believe in yourself.

The chant wafted in through the open window. So many times Jordan had heard the song that he barely noticed its presence. Nightly, the Cult of Jesus repeated their mantra in hopes of enticing new believers to their dying cause: ruin the world and force Jesus to return. If people would not join by words and logic, then the cult hoped they would join by song and fear. Still Christian numbers dwindled; suicide attempts to prematurely reach heaven only added to its diminishment.

Jordan slashed a stroke across a canvas with a charcoal pencil. If he weren’t the son of a lord, perhaps he would turn his eyes toward art. Damyn, his bastard brother, suppressed a laugh. Truly, he lived up to his halfness. Of late he’d taken to wearing an undone tie. Perhaps one of such common birth couldn’t possess normal qualities.

Across the room, amongst the plush pillows, a redheaded woman shifted, her apple-shaped breasts heaving. Because red hair neared extinction, she was only the first real redhead Jordan had ever seen. If it weren’t for pictures, nobody would even suspect a human could own hair of such a color. Many dyed their hair red, though, or wore red wigs; even the poor used brewed teas and berries to maintain the popular trend.

“How is my likeness, m’lords?” the woman asked, unaware that only he, and not the bastard, was a lord.

“I’ve never seen a true artist draw in such a fashion,” Damyn said, pairing his words with a grin. He flicked his bastardly golden-flecked hair out of his face, the only sign of his otherness. Truly, his eyes were as blue as any other Dagen. “My brother has given you the desired likeness of all stylish women.”

“Truly. The popularity and intrigue of your nature will replace that of the Mona Lisa.” Jordan placed lumps about the chest area, exaggerated the nipples.

Don’t believe in yourself.

Put your faith in someone else.

“Can I see myself?” The woman came off the bed, but Jordan bid her to remain still, wondered if he should attempt to draw surroundings: the moonlit skylights, the ornate chandelier, the canopied bed.

“One cannot fully see themselves until the end.” Jordan penciled a shaggy mane around the woman’s alternate self. “Truly they cannot,”—he would’ve called her by her name if he knew it—“my lady.”

 

Don’t believe in yourself.

Put your faith in someone else.

Death will grant us all release.

“Perhaps you should remove your skirts and whatever is underneath,” Jordan said.

“My skirts?” the woman repeated.

Jordan swallowed. “No nude can be considered a nude if the portrait is half-nude.”

The woman with a name but without a name stood, removed her skirts and undergarments, and then resituated herself atop the pillows without any further complaints. Truly, nudity caused a person to dissolve in such a way that only their private parts remained, Jordan reflected. And yet he was in no rush to have the rest of the woman reappear. No, his loins certainly didn’t want that either.

Damyn grinned, tapped him on the shoulder. Jordan figured it a cue to continue on with his work in which he had no ability to finish. Surely the bastard wasn’t indicating a shared erection.

“It is a crying shame that God didn’t bless us all with extraordinary talents,” Jordan said as the main door to the room opened. “Sometimes I feel sorry for my bastard brother or even my dear sister who has just entered here for not being so blessed.”

Cassandra left the door open and crossed the room as if she had a purpose besides walking. She had the blue, blue eyes and black, black hair that only a Dagen could. In pattern with the new-wave fashion, half her hair was braided while the opposite side hung loose and curled. And her one-shouldered dress was no dress at all, but rather pink-and-black paint used in such a way to resemble true clothing. The engagement ring on her finger wasn’t real either, just a statement to others that she could be theirs forever.

Marriage wasn’t the end of searching for a mating partner, but rather the beginning. Wives could have six rings on their fingers within a month of matrimony. In fact, six was about the norm. The saying went: A spouse to one is a spouse for all. Supposedly, a long time ago things had been different. But who could trust history?

Damyn shifted his gaze from the unclothed woman to his half-sister, folded his arms about his chest, and closed his mouth. When bearing one’s teeth did not expose happiness, it exposed hostility. Teeth always exposed intent. Even idiots knew that. Truly, Damyn was an idiot of body but not of mind.

Cassandra’s eyes went from the woman to the canvas to the woman and back again to the canvas. “Father wishes a word with you, Brother.”

Jordan knew he was the brother she meant. Nobody but a fool used wishes on a bastard. “Father should be more mindful of how he uses his wishes, Sister. All the stories show that one has a tendency to run out of magic if overused.”

Cassandra twirled her hair around her finger, looked off into the distance like the future lay nude before her eyes. “Should I tell Father that you’re busy drawing sticks?”

“Women are not sticks,” Jordan informed her.

“And yet sticks are what you draw when you look at a woman.” Cassandra started back from where she’d come. “You are not the first to be seduced by charm,” she told the woman with a name but without a name, “but hopefully you are the last.”

Absent of a farewell or closing the door, his sister left. And once she left, the woman with a name but without a name rematerialized to Jordan, no longer just suspended sexual organs. Once again she had a complete form and voice.

“In a world with laws you’d be condemned as a villain,” the woman screamed while she jumped back into her stockings and skirts and blouse and shoes.

Jordan mentally agreed because laws had always been the easiest way to decipher between villains and heroes: in a society that placed chains on every living being, his actions very well might have been deemed immoral. But what was good and bad to a free society?

“Even in this world I’ll call what you are,” the woman added, when she fixed her outfit the way she liked, breathed out some forceful breaths of hate, turned her face ugly with annoyance, and made her way closer to the door, “a villain that not even a hero would like to call his enemy. It’s disgusting how you misuse your freedom.”

Unsure of her parting words, Jordan crossed out the stick-figured portrait of the woman with a name but without a name. How could one misuse freedom? Wasn’t freedom the right to act in whatever way one liked?

“At least she had the decency to close the door upon her exit,” Damyn said, freeing his teeth once more for his overused grin. The bastard clapped him on the shoulder and hurried out, leaving the door ajar in his haste.

“At least,” Jordan agreed to himself, or perhaps to the words that, too, occupied the room.

Don’t believe in yourself.

Put your faith in someone else.

Death will grant us all release.

Place your head at our feet.

My first ever publication was a flash fiction piece from the Eunoia Review. Flash fiction is a short form of writing that is semi-taboo but gaining increased popularity amongst the literary world. It involves telling a complete story in as few words as possible, usually somewhere between 6 to 1,000 words.

Little Gifts

On Christmas Eve my father gave me bruises as a little gift. He dragged me down the stairs by my long hair and beat me under the tree’s lights.

“You think Jesus never got a whipping for doing something bad?” he yelled.

He wasn’t drunk and he wasn’t out of his mind either. My father just beat me because he was mean. I didn’t even know what I had done wrong.

“You’re a leech,” he told me. “A leech.”

I wasn’t even sure what a leech was but that night I looked it up in the dictionary.

On Christmas morning my father woke up with my teeth in his arm. That was my little gift.

“What are you doing?” he yelled.

“Being a leech,” I said. “I’m a leech.”

My father didn’t call me a leech no more after that but he did knock out my front teeth. They were just baby teeth. I didn’t need them anyway.

Again, Jake Emlyn is back doing what he wants. Check out his new song and video below and read this great article from hungertv.com by Karim Khan explaining Emlyn’s taboo style. Jake intends to change rap and pop music. The future will let us know if that’s possible.

And watch this to see the polar opposite of the previous song.

Then try listening to a poem.

A brief history of triangles in one of my prose poems, published earlier this week at The Camel Saloon. Sometimes time helps us forget, but often words help us remember what was.

Triangles

are the crowned shapes. They were the earliest markings upon the walls, the beginning dribbles of art. “Pubic triangles” ancients called women’s reproductive organs before language grew immature. But some mummified opinion will say we are born from holes. Yes, circles bring us into life but all those circles lay at the center of closed v’s. More than God knows why Egyptian monuments aren’t pentagons. It wasn’t a crash that placed healthy eating inside of a pyramid. Aristotle understood the golden imprint a three-sided structure leaves upon a story.  A trapezoid must be a trapezoid. A square must be square or it risks being mistaken for a rectangle. But a triangle is a contortionist, able to shrink and expand and change while never changing. No matter the exterior conditions, the interior of a triangle will remain constant. We should all be turned green by the inner perfection of such a flexible shape.