Archive for August, 2013

Wasting Time (If You Ever Come Back)

After Robert Hayden

 

Unable to sleep, or pray, I stand

By the window looking out

Stars excommunicated, the sky, faithless, black

Children in torn pants and shirts devouring

Air for oxygen, for food, and

A woman suckles a pup at her breast

Her newborn clawing at naked feet

 

Unable to pray, or pretend, I wish

That change comes with blinks

But, I am, I am a prisoner of logic

And reality is the way I left it

So I set the table, like you, for three

In case another joins me from the street

I won’t eat, though, I won’t eat

Until you come back

Inaudible Differences

The present cannot birth the future if the past leaps out of its coffin. Each today was yesterday’s tomorrow and tomorrow’s yesterday. Growth must slough off its younger self in order to become its older self. Eyes close to sleep but also to blink, to die. Behind every step is another step, another step, another step. Even at the center of hate there is love, a love to hate. After enough days of staring at the world you’ll begin to notice these inaudible differences. Every idea’s umbilical chord is still attached to an ancient idea. Truth massages Lie’s shoulders. Freedom drinks tears. Safety rests in a box of sharp objects.

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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.

15 – Jordan

“The fattest are always starving.” Bann closed the windows, one after another. “The richest are always the poor.”

Jordan furrowed his brows. “I don’t understand, Father. If you’re not speaking in riddles then I know not what a riddle is.”

“Intelligence is no riddle.” He shut the last window, cheetahed to the door and opened it. Then shut it again. “A person can only remain at the feet of another for so long. At some point they tire of looking up. Any strong person enjoys looking down, after all. Though moral men view everything at eye-level.”

“And are we not men of morals?” Jordan wiped his mouth of lipstick. This conversation had pulled him away from a sexual encounter with a beautiful woman. At least he hoped she were a woman. They hadn’t gone far enough to find out each other’s real gender.

“All normal men have bad morals when enslaved and even worse morals when in control. Good morals only exist between these two extremes. Currently we are between.”

Jordan buttoned up his shirt. “Then between is good and so are we.” “Sometimes you think the thoughts of an idiot. Would you like to be between a man and another man?”

“No, but I could not deny myself the pleasure of two women.” Bann raised a hand as if to strike. Jordan flinched.

“Even a woman can have a penis,” his father reminded.

Sometimes it was nearly impossible to decipher a person’s sex. Androgyny had become a trend of its own. Everybody wanted to choose his or her own gender. Apparently the one they’d been given upon birth wasn’t good enough.

Bann opened the door again, closed it. “‘Nothing is as it seems’ has never been truer. Truth has become a taboo.”

“What are all these strange words?” Jordan couldn’t believe he’d left the embrace of a woman for babble. Hard talk didn’t compare to a hard penis.

Against the doorknob, Bann forced a chair. “At the moment humans rule over heaven. But soon God will return to the throne. We weren’t meant to rise past knowledge. I fear our next fall will be our last. Nothing progresses forever.”

Jordan wished he had a knife to plunge into this man. Truly this wasn’t his father. Perhaps it hadn’t been his father for a long time. Could the man be senile?

“This naked era is over, my son. The majority wishes to be clothed again. No matter how much a man claims he wants to be undressed, he always longs to put his clothes back on. A man cannot be an animal or he is no man.”

“Have you become a prophet or heretic?”

“Synonyms for the same meaning.” Bann cheetahed across the room, curtained the windows. “One must learn to separate wisdom from revelation. The end of freedom is near. Society will resurrect itself.”

Jordan raised an eyebrow, cleared his throat. “What have you been reading?” For once he felt the questioning father.

Bann came toward him, squeezed Jordan’s arms together. “Rebellion is a tree that grows everywhere, in any climate, under any sun, spontaneously.”

“Do you have a plot to assassinate the Mystic?” Jordan asked, surprise hanging on every word.

Bann shook his head, swallowed. “There are things that should never be said but only thought.”

“What are you telling me, Father?”

“Killing a king, a religion, a culture, can always be dangerously dangerous. But there is assimilation. People are tired of wings. They hold out their hands for chains. They clamor for the protection of laws.”

“Do we murder the Mystic?”

“No. We put the future on its knees before us.”

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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.

For an kindle or trade paperback edition visit Amazon here.

14  – Cassandra

She’d cried enough tears for a thousand eyes. It was as if the emotions were stuck on her pupils. A hand could wipe away tears easy enough but not emotions.

“I don’t want you leaving this room until you turn back into a human.” Her father sounded concerned, but not concerned about her well-being. “When the clock strikes twelve o’clock you’ll turn back into my daughter, understand?”

Cassandra sniffled, nodded, eyed the clock. It had four hands rather than two: the gold hands counted hours of day, the silver hands counted hours of night. But how could one confine sadness to time? Feelings were feelings because they were uncontrollable.

“Life doesn’t enjoy being wept upon,” Bann said. Something other than sympathy revised his tone.

The more he talked, the more she realized he wasn’t much of a father. Or not what a father used to be anyway. Sometimes stories had evil fathers. But in the end the evil ones always died.

“This is a land of tears,” he said, and he shook her, “but your tears are pointless.”

More sadness volcanoed from her eyes. It was hard to stand. She felt like her bones had been removed, like she was a hundred percent water.

Bann shook her again. “When we constructed this world….” His voice lowered through grief. “When we constructed this world we never forecasted the consequences of total freedom. We never could’ve guessed that freedom was just as dangerously dangerous as oppression, that freedom was cloaked chaos. And now I fear this world has become the land without footprints.”

He held her tight so she couldn’t turn away.

“Anyone can do anything and no punishment is guaranteed.” To prove his point he punched her mouth, held her up so she didn’t fall. Once that might’ve been called child abuse. Now it was just a punch, just an action, face hitting hand, nothing else. “If you want to survive in this world you’ll have to put cobwebs over your heart.”

Three times, the clock struck twelve.

“The future is the past,” he said. “And we will deny neither what is gone or what is to come.”

Cassandra hadn’t a clue of what he meant.

“Don’t powder the bruises off your face, understand?” Cassandra nodded, touched her face. “Draw on more if you can. We’ll use them for my revenge. I’ll show Father Tillicum that plans aren’t just for amateurs.” The  clock went silent.   Her tears ceased, but she still wasn’t his daughter.  Why would she respect him as a daughter if he didn’t protect her like a father?

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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.

13 – Cassandra

Cassandra slathered semen butter on the cornbread. She wasn’t sure how a person could eat donkey semen, though. She doubted a man’s even tasted good. But she’d heard of women chugging mugs of semen for fun.

Some said semen would replace wine, but she doubted it. Nothing replaced wine. Just like nothing had ever replaced sex … or words.

By the time she’d prepared breakfast, the Mystic’s wife was already asleep. Death really was coming for her. Nobody slept anymore. Fifteen- minute naps were all anybody risked if they wanted to stay alive. A mother could rape her daughter just as fast as a stranger. In truth, nobody could trust anyone. They couldn’t even just pretend.

Cassandra dipped her finger in semen, smelled it. She wondered—a noise frightened her and she dropped everything on the floor.

A priest unwrapped himself from the curtains, pulled them closed. The room grew dark as first light.

“She’s very sick, my child”—he crouched down to clean the mess—“but you’ve taken very good care of her.”

Cassandra threw the bread and glass back into the basket. The urine wouldn’t leave a visible stain but the smell might take time to fade. “How long were you watching me?”

“I wasn’t watching,” the man said, and Cassandra noticed he had no eyebrows. “I was admiring.”

“Admiring can still be very creepy,” she said, setting the basket on the bedside table.

“I was praying,” the priest said then. But who prayed inside of a curtain? “A church can be anywhere. It’s one of our new doctrines.”

“People shouldn’t change doctrines. Doctrines should change people.” “Your father sent me here to check on your virginity.” He sucked his

finger wet. “He’s been concerned by many unsavory rumors.”

At first Cassandra stopped his insertion, but then he forced his finger deep inside anyway. It didn’t feel as good as when she’d done it to herself. When  the  priest  finished  his  probe,  he  pulled  his  hand  out  from underneath her skirt. Menstruation dripped off his hand. He sucked his finger again, cleanly clean.

“You’re definitely still a virgin,” he said, flicking his tongue. “I’ll make sure to inform your father of the unexpected news. Or you can tell him yourself.”

front_cover_small

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.

12 – Bann

“I shouldn’t listen to this silliness,” Father Tillicum said, tightening his white-and-yellow cassock. “I am now the head priest. God and the Mystic alone will judge me.”

“You owe me your life,” Bann said. Father Panis lay dead in a pool of blood and tears because of what Bann had done.

“I owe you no such thing.” Father Tillicum puckered his lips. “Your words did not save me.”

Two teenage boys passed them in the hall. Each adolescent held a spear with a baby skewered on it. One of Arkin’s favorite games that had now become a favorite to all. The Mystic had invented it himself during the last minor war. Throwing children into the air and attempting to land them on weapons.  Whatever pleasure could be obtained by killing the helpless, Bann couldn’t understand. He’d been against it always.

“We misremember the past,” Bann finally said, now chest to chest with the priest. It wouldn’t be so hard to carve red eyebrows back onto the man’s face.

Overhead, a circular paper lantern blew out.

“Threats are taken very serious by God,” Father Tillicum said, and he looked to the dead lantern. “You would be smart to have God on your side.”

“What are your plans?”

“I have no plans.” Father Tillicum created distance, licked his lips. “Plans are for amateurs. Actions are for serious men. Now goodbye, sir.” Once the man turned to go, Bann grabbed his arm. “You don’t understand my intentions.”

The priest clenched his teeth. “I stand under all understanding. Now goodbye, sir.”

front_cover_small

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.

11 – Bann

Rain descended through the roof’s opening. Once again the throne room was occupied by a plethora of priests.

“I am God with a human face,” Arkin said, as he pounded his fist against the throne. “Not a human with the face of God.” He let the distinction settle. “This body will not age. And it will not die.”

“You cannot live past your life,” Father Panis said, waving the notion aside. “Bodies are left out of heaven for a reason.”

Arkin pointed toward the sea of yellow cassocks. “How many of you question my immortality?”

Of the twenty priests that were present not a single one raised their hand. But their faces said a different thing, a subtler thing. Perhaps Father Ferret’s death still held down their tongues.

Father Nocum shifted the yarmulke on his head. No dye hanged to either of his eyebrows. He had the appearance of a snake if ever a snake looked human. “Mystic, we have no doubts about your immortality. None of us have ever questioned your existence in that respect.”

Father Logrip seconded the opinion: “Immortality is not as fantastic an attribute as it seems. Many immortals have shared the same fate of us mortals. In fact, one scholar once wrote that more gods had fallen from the skies than men had been born from the womb. Many smart minds agree  that  immortality  can  only  be  achieved  through  writing.  We remember Shakespeare easier than we remember the Twelve Olympian gods of the ancient Greek world.”

“Father Logrip is a master of history,” Father Tillicum said. His missing eyebrows distracted Bann, made it harder to focus on words. “A man is not wise unless he knows the past as well as the future.”

Bann noticed the fervor in the priest’s voice, how he talked as if he were a prophet. Was that an erection under his cassock? Impossible. One couldn’t achieve sexual excitement through faith alone. No testicles, no arousal.

“And what do you know of the future, Tillicum?” Intrigue soaked the Mystic’s tone.

“I know a thing will always be surpassed by another thing,” Father Tillicum said, tightening his cassock.

“And I am told that a wise man has extra holes in his brain. Let us see if that is, in fact, true, priest.” Arkin cackled like a man who’d just drunk hysterics.

Two men came from the shadows of the columns and forced Father Tillicum to his knees. In less time than it took to step, a sword was drawn.

Finally, Father Panis threw up his hands, raised his voice: “You cannot kill my priests because you dislike the answers they give.”

“But I can, you nitwit.” Down the marble stairs Arkin ran, and when he reached the bottom he ran back up, pulled a sword from behind his throne of bones, and went back down to the unevenly-colored checkered floor.

While he caught his breath, he leaned on his sword as if not to fall over. “I can, you nitwit. Open up Father Tillicum’s head so we can examine his mind.”

One guard raised his sword, swung down. Missed. The fool must’ve never been trained to be accurate, only to swing.

“A mind is immaterial,” Bann shouted, pushing past the crowd of cassocks. “We can examine that better if the priest is alive.”

“I can promise you immortality,” Father Tillicum said, staring up at the ceiling. He rose to his knees. “I can promise you the next step beyond immortality.”

“The next step?” Arkin repeated.

“This is nonsense,” Father Panis said. “One step has to be the last step.” Father Tillicum stood up, knocked aside the guards who attempted to seize him. “In Father Panis’ world the last step has been taken,” the priest agreed, brushing his cassock of dirt. “This world, however, is based on chaos and irrationality. And how can a world lacking reason be forced into a box beside logic and order. It cannot. It cannot.”

“This is nonsense.” Father Panis waved a clenched fist.

Arkin thrust his sword skyward. “I am told that a wise man has extra holes in his brain. Let us see if that is, in fact, true, Father Panis.”