News

News: My thoughts are clouds I cannot fathom into pastries.

--1 June 2018--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

November 17, 2018

18.11.17 - Milk White Tea





My weary soul slipped out of a rumpled skin, wilted at the edges,
And draped across my forearms, I took her softly - gently
And let her glide down into a chai tea bath,
Soaking silently in milk white softness.

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I am tired and my skeleton is brittle with exhaustion,
So I sit here, covered up to my collarbones in warm water
Sadness seeping silently into the silky sound of the background music. 
I inhale peace and exhale the anxiety that wraps itself around my neck -
And in this stillness I float, immersed in a moment of meditation
Where I am neither here nor there -- spread as butter, everywhere. 

My mind carefully chews the inflections of melody
That pass like bubbles beneath my chin
And here in this in-between I have melted out my tones 
Into the shades of milk and flesh, brushed across a palette of experiences.
And I will steep until my breath fogs the glass of reality 
And comfort, like a cloud, wraps my shoulders in a shroud of contentment.

---
Signed with a pastel flower petal kiss,
Squeaks.

November 6, 2018

18.11.06 - War Zone Rebels

I bring yet another bus-contrived short story to you :) This one was inspired by overcast skies and the Inception soundtrack. Enjoy.

Pinterest

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A red dawn spilled across the distant mountain range like blood on a battlefield. Jace flattened his pale lips in a grimace and snapped the moth-eaten curtains shut. The squeak of booted heels echoed against the marbled floor as he turned, pacing back to the giant obsidian table that stretched across the room.  Thirty pairs of eyes, ringed with purpled bruises, dark shadows, and edged with dispair, flicked up to meet his.
“It’s about as dead as Halovan’s Helm outside.” Jace unzipped his black leather jacket, shrugging out of it before laying it across the back of his chair at the head of the table, “Our best suit of action would be to move our men through the tunnels as soon as possible. We can transit the warcraft and hellhogs tonight under cover of darkness,” he paused, “although I think the Council will predict that move.”
A shallow cough interrupted him. Elder Donovan, one of several forefront Rebel members, spit a toothpick onto the table and rubbed at his gritty eyes with greasy fingers.
“It isn’t enough.”
Jace turned, dark eyes narrowing ominously, “What do you mean it isn’t enough? It has to be enough.” His jaw jutted forward as the blue-black veins on his pale white neck pulsed angrily, “We have hundreds of lives dependent on this war council. We must be absolutely certain it is enough. This is why we are here, Elder. We have no other option.”
The caustic snap of Jace’s voice, laced with a poisonous expectation that warned of the very real possibility of death, silenced the sounds of fidgeting.
Elder Donovan raised his gaze from the toothpick to meet the Rebel leader, “Of course – but we all know it won’t be. There’s enough husked skinbags out there on the plains to make ourselves a new canvas for a full-sized airship. Moving hundreds of people is a death-sentence. Might as well surrender ourselves to the—”
“Donovan,” the woman beside him lay her wrinkled hand on his arm. He shrugged her off,
“And on top of that, we have dangerously low fuel reserves. Why bother with the warcraft and hellhogs in the first place when we know we won’t have enough to last.”
Jace ground his teeth and stood back, running calloused hands through a shock of dark, ragged hair. The distant rumble of a wall collapsing guttered against the hum of the emergency generators.
“I know.” Jace conceded, “I know, but we have to do our best with what we have. If we don’t move our equipment out they’ll take it. And I hate to raze such fine engineering, which must be done if we choose to leave it all behind.”
“Raze or regret,” a voice piped from further down the table.
“Raze or regret.” Jace nodded and exhaled, “What is our consensus? Do we attempt to bring the craft with us or leave it here?”
Several heartbeats passed before a clear voice loudly called, “Raze!”
The rest of the table nodded as the word was muttered and coughed from more than a dozen chemically-damaged lungs. Jace frowned, hands clenched tight behind his back,
“Very well then. Raze it is, although I —”
The hallway door smacked open with a vibrant snap and a tall, lithe female in assassins black stepped into the room. Two men flanked her, their automatic weapons were strapped tightly across broad backs.
“Ma’am you can’t be in here.” A Rebel ranger from a seat nearest the door stood to intercept the trio.
The newcomer held up a gloved hand as she raised the other to pull down her mask, exposing a face stained with ash, dust, and rusted blood.
“Don’t bother with your formalities, ranger.” Her voice was sharp and lethal, “I can be wheresoever I please.”
Several rebel members had started to murmur and rise from their seats. The sound of safeties unlatching clinked around the table. Jace glared at the intruder as he stepped forward,
“Shall I have you arrested? You have no place here, particularly unannounced. You need to leave.”
The assassin smirked and drew a fold of paper from a pocket, “I think you’ll reconsider that statement after you read this.”
The tension in the room roiled as it became obvious that the seal of the Council had been seared onto the message.
“Don’t touch that.” Elder Donovan spoke over the exclamations of disgust.
“How did you get in here?” Jace asked, having now made his way within several meters of the newcomers. They held their place with a solid assurance and calm that only befits an enemy with the foreknowledge that they have their prey in a bind.
“Cassandra,” the leader extended the message, “I think you’ll be thankful I come with this news.”
Jace took the message and broke the seal.
“What if it’s poisoned?!” someone shouted.
“Then their highly trained messenger is dead as well.” Jace looked up at Cassandra momentarily before returning his eyes to the paper.
He skimmed the note. A muscle in his jaw ticked in time with the watch on Elder Donovan’s gaunt wrist.
The room hushed enough for the pulsing buzz of electricity in the overhead lights to sound nearly deafening. Jace folded the message shut and reached into the pocket of his pants, withdrawing a lighter. He flicked it once, twice, and held the flame to the parchment until only ash floated before his feet.
The room was still – a staggered breath held before the exhaled scream. Jace looked up at Cassandra.

“Very well.” He nodded before turning to the room of leaders, “We have a new plan.”
-------

Signed with a torch, 
Squeaks.

October 11, 2018

18.10.11 - Two Wanderers {A Poem}

My church is studying the book of Ephesians right now. So, having been inspired by chapter 2 as well as current circumstances in my life, I wrote a poem and wanted to share it with you :)
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. -- Ephesians 2:13-18 NASB 
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Wanderer in a desert place, dry and bleached bones -
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Watch the twist of lip and bend of brow.
Drooping lids and stilted breaths. Searching. 
Dusted clothes, cracked and crooked 
Broken things make homes here. 
A cavernous ache makes a path, heavily trodden
Beneath the breastbone of this skeleton. 
Patterns of sorrow swirl silently, singing a song
A softened song of pain and pestilence. 
This was my lot in life, my unlucky landing, 
To a livelihood of longing and lingering
Just at the footstool of a place I thought
Would send me a little light, a little water,
A little grace. Yet lacking, I've lately come to see
That my lungs cannot hold the meager supply
And I am left wishing and hoping for more. 
And chains bind me to a path I cannot endure.

It is during these times of lingering and lacking
That wanderers find the softest breeze,
The silent, still breeze - a paradox of warring peace -
A strong peace. A furious peace. An explosive peace. 
Once tasted, nothing quenches the burning thirst
Except a drought of violent peace. 
A peace that silences the decay and death
And fills the empty, dry places with something cool
Something sweet and something softly akin to fullness. 

I tasted this peace and, ragged and wrongful, 
My staggering steps drew me from my knees -
Wounded and bleeding, disease-riddled sinner,
I followed the call of the still breeze. 
And there, in the epicenter of chaos and death, 
I found a well - deeply dug with damp dirt walls. 
And a wanderer, more darkly dirtied than I, 
Sat propped against the side, bucket in hand, smile cracking face.
And nearer I drew, led by the breeze, to the foot of the well. 

"Daughter, drink," spoke the wanderer,
Voice ragged and tired, body built from blood and bleedings. 
A cup he held and extended, filled with cool water
Water from the well - water I craved - water I would kill for. 
But I hesitated; this must be a mirage, surely?
I could not comprehend, having spent ages searching
To now find, so conveniently placed, a wanted well of water.
But his eyes, kindly and soft, spoke to my soul
And so I reached, with worn hand and tired limb,
Taking cup to raise to lips. I drank. 

The water was sweet, filling, and delicious. 
And as I drank, the world melted as wax before my eyes
The bronzed, dusty hues I had walked in for ages
Crumbled like dirt from a glass, and before me
I watched life bleed into the scene. 
A full spectrum of colour fleshed out and bloomed
Filling trees and grass and dust 
In greens and blues and reds.
It was as if the earth took a breath and exhaled hell,
And everything calloused fell away into beauty. 
My eyes found the wanderer, still resting by the well -
He was glorious. He was Glory itself. 
And he emanated Love and Life and Peace -
A magnetizing essence that spoke to my soul. 
His face was filled with kindness and his eyes with purpose.

"My daughter," he spoke - his voice like thunder now
And I felt my knees shake, but I stood firm and listened with opened ears.
"You have been reconciled. Hostility is dead in your bones,
I have cleansed it out and infused you with peace.
You were far, but I have brought you near. 
You were a stranger, now I call you friend.
What was heathen has now been reframed
And is holy - your body, bruised and broken
I have refreshed. You are new. You are remade.
This beauty, born into a dry and weary place,
Is seen with new eyes that are not your own
But rather, are Other. You were truly blind
But now, now my child, you will truly see." 

Then with no hesitation, the wanderer raised himself
And his garb, no longer moth-eaten and dust-crusted,
Glowed with the glow of a thousand diamonds, 
Setting fire to the grass with a collision of reflected rainbows.
And he lifted his arms, beckoning me closer -
So I stepped, one step at a time,
And with the closing distance, every dirty thing about me
Fell by the wayside, until I too gleamed healthy,
Unbruised, unscarred, unbeaten. 
At last I reached his outstretched arms 
And he pulled me close to his solid chest
And I felt the battle clothes beneath his glorious robe. 

"I have loved you with an everlasting love,"
He spoke. The truth spilled into my soul; salvation itself. 
"I have never left your side." 
My heart beat. Steady. Strong. 
"My water is life - you will never thirst again." 
And the last of the chains fell from aching ankles
Crystal tears dripped down my cheeks -
And gratitude and love and hope flooded me.
"I have called you - freedom I have given you
You are never alone. Hold fast to truth
And my light will always guide you home." 
And in that moment I knew, as I have always known,
That I would lay down my very life
For a love so pure and patient -
And at last, I have found my purpose, my peace, my only hope -
In the warm and welcoming face of a wanderer
Called Jesus. 


-----

Signed with a peace that surpasses the understanding of this world,
Squeaks.

September 19, 2018

18.09.19 - Drowned Souls {A Poem}


-------

If you were to sit in a barren abyss, surrounded by convicts - heathens - 
Would you see the indescribable beauty?
A beauty in the way the light of heaven filtered through their hurting souls. 
Would you pause to appreciate the complexity of character and brokenness? 
Or would you sift and stumble over preconceived societal constructs 
That brazenly burned the words "UNFORGIVABLE" across their foreheads?
I once bore that brand. 

I have been asked to weigh and judge the human soul,
And here I sit, legs crossed, back straight, chin up - BRAVE.
I have been given a scale and a gavel. 
One end holds the soul I weigh and one holds RIGHTEOUSNESS 
But this isn't the righteousness of God - it is righteousness in my perspective
Flawed, judgmental, impure, unholy. 
I am not one to judge a soul. Who am I, but flesh and bone?
So why am I being asked - no, forced - to make a final statement? 

I look out over a sea of people - hundreds and thousands and millions, 
They drift before me; a multitude of ever-changing faces and stories and lives
Each one as colourful and full of meaning as my own life. 
Every being jammed full with potential and beauty and holy purpose. 
I look and see, marring their complexions, wild and furious stains - 
They are impure and unrighteous and destined for hell. 
Yet, I look again and see, through the eyes of the Father, 
And there in the midst of the torment and damnation, 
A flicker of hope arises beneath their throats, above their collarbones.

This is a people destined for salvation. This is a people worth dying for - 
Everyone, purposed for new life and bold beginnings.
And for every being, an infinite measure of hope and love 

To my right there lies a pool, with unchurned waters - still and calm.
It is the wellspring of life, direct from the throne room. 
One drink and every sin is washed away. Freedom is freely given,
Renewal, repurposing, refreshment - all available to every soul, 
No matter their condemnation.

I stagger to my feet, dropping scale and gavel - they clatter on the floor. 
My feet take me to the edge of the pool, and I gaze down at the crisp waters.
Everything in my being says DRINK, and so I bend my knees and cup my hands,
I drag my humiliation through the surface, breaking the unbroken, 
Drawing it up, I press my lips to the chilled liquid and drink.
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A clamour arises somewhere behind the scale and gavel -
Someone is shouting, calling out my name in condemnation.
"Sinner! Whore! Vile! Beast! Sinner! Whore! Vile! Beast!"
It repeats my desolation, louder and louder, until others take up the chant. 

I am broken and my heart is strung out on a line, stitched with twine 
Strangled with wire, choking on the smokey shape of words. 
All the life I felt from the throne-room waters drains out my feet.

This moment is one of thousands I have lived. 
I stay my course, forced to judge, refusing to lift the scale and gavel, 
Condemned on every side, I turn my gaze from the disembodied words
And set it on the mass of souls settling before me. 
I cannot afford to let the judgement of the world 
Claim the compassion of my heart. 
And so, ragged and roughened, I raise my voice to the throng. 
"There is a love greater than life, for any and all who seek it -
There is a beauty and mystery in the discovery of the Logos.
There is a simplicity and refreshment in the humility of the soul. 
Come drink - in desperation sink yourselves in the well;
Immerse your hearts in the cleansing salvation freely given."

And there I stand, bruised - broken - beaten into the gravel;
They perceive an angelic visage, but I am just as mutilated as they.

Slowly, one by one, they come. 
Every marred soul - tentatively, tenderly, approaching the well
Slipping, dipping, diving down into the depths
To drown their pasts and rise renewed, refreshed, reformed. 
And they glow - oh they glow - with an inexpressible beauty.

I weep. 
My heart floods with joy and hope and strength. 
This is what I exist for - this is why I am here and now and this very moment. 
Not even one of these is too lesser to stoop down and love
Not even a single one. 

So I resolve myself - no matter the dirt, the mud, the hate
No matter the scars, the pain, the brutality
No matter the violence, the impurity, or embodiment of hell
I will spill the water I carry on the souls I touch
For even the smallest hope they will one day too be refreshed and renewed.



-------

Signed with my bare hands,
Squeaks.

August 17, 2018

{A Review} - The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Wow. If you want your heart to be touched deeply by the love of God, this book is something you should read. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning is a beautiful call to arms - it is a cry to every human to stop thinking that we can make it on our own good measure but rather to simply accept the loving grace of a God who shows us immeasurable and undeserved goodness and mercy.

I received an ecopy of The Ragamuffin Gospel via Netgalley, in exhange for my honest review. The Goodreads overview of this book is as follows:
A Furious Love Is Hot on Your Trail!
Many believers feel stunted in their Christian growth. We beat ourselves up over our failures and, in the process, pull away from God because we subconsciously believe He tallies our defects and hangs His head in disappointment. In this newly repackaged edition--now with full appendix, study questions, and the author's own epilogue, ""Ragamuffin" Ten Years Later," Brennan Manning reminds us that nothing could be further from the truth. The Father beckons us to Himself with a "furious love" that burns brightly and constantly. Only when we truly embrace God's grace can we bask in the joy of a gospel that enfolds the most needy of His flock--the "ragamuffins."
Are you bedraggled, beat-up, burnt-out?
Most of us believe in God's grace--in theory. But somehow we can't seem to apply it in our daily lives. We continue to see Him as a small-minded bookkeeper, tallying our failures and successes on a score sheet.
Yet God gives us His grace, willingly, no matter what we've done. We come to Him as ragamuffins--dirty, bedraggled, and beat-up. And when we sit at His feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen objects of His "furious love."
Brennan Manning 's now-classic meditation on grace and what it takes to access it--simple honesty--has changed thousands of lives. Now with a Ragamuffin's thirty-day spiritual journey guide, it will change yours, too. 

I sat down to read without any clear expectations for what I might learn. I truly had my heart touched by the story that Brennan shares - it was powerful and overwhelming and something I really needed at this very point in my life. He opens with a discussion of the incredible grace of God, and then takes you on a journey into the heart of the Father. It is a beautiful, convicting story that made me think deeply about exactly how impossibly unfathomable the love of God is for us. I am honestly overwhelmed and very grateful to have been given this opportunity.

Let me share a few quotes that spoke to me:


  • The bending of the mind by the powers of this world has twisted the gospel of grace into religious bondage and distorted the image of God into an eternal, small-minded bookkeeper.
  • "...Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case." {quoting Robert Capon}
  • Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.
  • Home is that sacred space -- external or internal -- where we don't have to be afraid; where we are confident of hospitality and love.
  • To those of us in flight, who are afraid to turn around lest we run into ourselves, Jesus says, You have a home. I am your home. Claim me as your home. You will find it to be the intimate place where I have found my home. It is right where you are, in your innermost being. In your heart.
  • In faith there is movement and development. Each day something is new. To be Christian, faith has to be new-- that is, alive and growing. It cannot be static, finished, settled. When Scripture, prayer, worship, ministry become routine, they are dead. When I conclude that I can now cope with the awful love of God, I have headed for the shallows to avoid the deeps. I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.
If you are in need of refreshment, refocus, or simply reminder about the infinite love of God, this book is a must read. If you are disillusioned, lost in self-loathing, depression, anxiety, fear - this is a book you must read. I can practically guarantee it will touch your heart and open your mind to the beauty of Jesus in a way that you may not have considered before. 

{Rating} - 5/5 stars

Interested in purchasing a copy of this book? See the links below for details: 

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Nobles     Indigo

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Signed with Love, 
Squeaks.

{A Review} - Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber

I have been terrifically (or should I say, horrifically) silent on the review platform these days. I have several that I absolutely NEED to finish and therefore every time I look at them on my Kindle... I freeze up and push it off for another day. I am currently on break from work (I have been for nearly two weeks now) and I'm going back in 3 days so I'm trying my best to finalize a few things that should have been done months ago. Yikes. My deepest apologies to the great ether that judges me for my lack of determination. *nervous chuckle*

I bring to you today, a brief review of Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber, acclaimed author of the Storm Siren series (which I adored). I received an ecopy for free via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

The Amazon synopsis is delicious:

She was far more capable than Earth's leaders had accounted for, and they had no idea what she'd do next.“In this sequel to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, Weber takes a darker tone, delving into alien abduction, experimentation on children, the machinations of power-hungry politicians, and black-market corruption . . . This is a well-paced page-turner.” Kirkus ReviewsKnown as a brilliant mind that could hack her world’s darkest secrets, seventeen-year-old Sofi Snow is the most wanted teenager alive. She found her way to the icy, technologically brilliant planet of Delon to find Shilo, the brother everyone but Sofi believes is dead.But as she and Ambassador Miguel partner to find her brother and warn those on Earth of Delon’s dark designs on humanity, Sofi’s memories threaten to overtake her, distorting everything she holds true. She knows the Delonese once kept her in a dark, deceptive place . . . and destroyed a portion of her life. Now, the more they discover of Sofi’s past, the more Sofi feels herself unraveling—as each new revelation has her questioning the very existence of reality.In this harrowing sequel to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, Sofi and Miguel must trust each other and discover the secrets locked inside Sofi’s mind as the line between what’s real and what they imagine begins to slip away . . . threatening to take the human race with it.
I was initially drawn to this book because Mary Weber is amazing and I fully adored (have I mentioned that enough yet??) her Storm Siren series. Yes. I was/am/will forever be in love with it. So like any good bookwyrm, I had to read more. Hence my latching on to this series. It was very different from what I expected, I'll say that right off the bat. It definitely gave me sci-fi, Hunger Games vibes ... I didn't hate it, but I was a little disoriented at first. Once I had myself oriented after reading the first book, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, I dove into the duology finale.

We are thrown into a political upheaval where high-stakes games of interplanetary delegations dance on the tip of a knife. One of the themes very prevelant to this finale is human trafficking - Weber paints a really poignant picture of the terror faced by abducted children; in fact, for a 2 week period some of the proceeds of her book sales went towards an A21 campaign to fight against human trafficking and slavery. This topic is covered elegantly in this finale as Sofi, Miguel, and Inola scramble to fix their swiftly deteriorating relationship with the Delonese.

Let's take this puppy to the breakdown we've all been waiting for: 

  • Goodies: Fantastic action scenes (fight scenes, running scenes, etc etc). Poison. Machines implanted in people's brainstems... yay! Unique politics. Fanfight! FANFIGHT! *pretend audience ROARS*. Tragic scenes (we love those... are your eyes crinkling with agony yet?). Aliens. More aliens. AND EVEN MORE ALIENS - especially the stuff you DIDN'T want to know... mwahaha. A race against time (we hate that). Miguel *fangirls* I love him. Sass. Epic sci fi tech. Ghost mode. Explosions. Sharks.
  • Character Development: (2.5/5) I'm about halvsies on this point. Some of the characters developed nicely - I really liked Sofi's viewpoint and the transformation (you'll see what I mean if you read it... go on, you know you want to!) she endured. It shines through very nicely. Miguel as well - there were a few points where I felt slightly disappointed with the trajectory he was taking...but then he'd surprise me by turning around and heading back along the development path we all hope our favouite characters will take. Inola and Shilo were relatively static - even though Inola (Sofi and Shilo's mother) did technically change her arc, it didn't feel real enough and so I'm just going to say I think she was pretty static. Nothing felt forced, but there were points in the story where I was confused as heck. 
  • Content Snatchery: (3/5) I was going to give this a 2.5, but I really need to applaud Weber because she did a fantastic job. See, I have this issue with the overall story. There were parts where I was completely immersed in the content...and then I'd be catapulted out on my butt thinking to myself, "THIS IS BORING WHAT IS HAPPENING WHAT EVEN!?". I don't mean this to sound like a horrible criticism, but it was a little jolting at times? I'm not saying that the scenes were not captivating - they were! They were impressively done and well written, but it felt like they didn't meld together seemlessly like you dream they might. So yeah, could just be me, but *shrugs* it was still a snatching read :) 
  • Boring Parts: (minimal) What with all the political backstabbing, hunting, alien abducting, and weaponizing of humanity... there wasn't time for it to be boring. Jolting (as mentioned above) yes, but not boring. 
  • Romance: (yes but it was awesome) Ok, like I normally tell you guys, romance is a tricky one with me. I hate it when characters act as though their partner is the only thing worth living for (I mean, excuse me? don't we all heckle the teenagers of today for doing that same thing?). However, when you get a strong, dynamic duo to take on the dissolving world together... I dig that. Sofi and Miguel's romance arc was gorgeous - it was a little dorky at times, but I really like how it developed over the finale. It might have been a little stereotypical, but Miguel is my babe and he can do no wrong.. prepare to have your heart melted. 
  • My eyes are sweating: (2/5) There were some tear-worthy scenes, but I didn't cry... Mostly I think it was because I didn't connect with the characters as well this time (due to the joltiness... you guys get what I mean, right?). 

Overall, I did enjoy this read. I admit, I read it purely for Miguel... oops. Nevertheless, it was well done and intriguing. I do feel it was a little too close to a very unique fan-fiction spin off of the Hunger Games and Divergent, but maybe that's just me :) If you like sci-fi with a little fight-for-your-life and brain-suckers-attacking-your-soul then you'll probably enjoy this little fellow! However, if you haven't read the first book, you really need to go do that before you pick up this one (it is NOT a stand-alone by any means). 
odreads


{RATING} - 3/5 stars


Interested in purchasing a copy of this book? See the links below for details! 

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Nobles     Indigo     Kobo

Want to find out more about Mary Weber, the author of this fast-paced series? Check out her social media below:

Twitter     Facebook     Blog     Instagram

-----
Signed with an icepick, 
Squeaks.

August 2, 2018

18.08.02 - Figures in the Room {Short Story}

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A short story, inspired by midnight, Midnight (lyrics below), and Coldplay <3 and probably also conversations about metaphysical concepts and questions...such as, "What is there and what is there like?" Have you ever tried to define there without specifying a direct location? Hm. Have you ever tried to explain your mind and the space it occupies, outside of simply, "Tis somewhere in my brain I become I... and so I'm just the essence of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, throw in some cells and stuff and yeah...that's me." Let's get metaphysical, my peoples. Dive deep with me.

In the darkness before the dawn
In the swirling of this storm
When I'm rolling with the punches and hope is gone
Leave a light, a light on
Millions of miles from home
In the swirling swimming on
When I'm rolling with the thunder but bleed from thorns
Leave a light, a light on
Leave a light, a light on
Leave a light, a light on
Leave a light, a light on
In the darkness before the dawn
In the darkness before the dawn
Leave a light, a light on
Leave a light, a light on 

-------


The darkness of this room is a comfort to me. I stand in the dim refraction of light from the distant windows, my feet bare, my clothes loose and comfortable. My fingers brush through a tangled web of dust-gold strands that curve my face. I am tired, I am lonely, I am here. 

Before me stands a table of solid, dark wooden mahogany. Its surface is smooth and polished; set before it is one sturdy chair and on it have been set two globed bowls. I approach and take the chair, my bones creaking around my joints. The bowls are silver and absorb the dim afterlight into their euclidean surfaces. On the left, the contents are a thick, oil-slicked black of the darkest variety. I gaze at its unrippling surface and see no reflection of anything worth speaking about. On the right, the contents are as opposing to the black bowl as light is to dark. A thin, cream-white liquid is undisturbed in the depths. 

I pull both bowls closer to me and sit for a long time, staring at them. Reading their unchanging surfaces, trying to find meaning in the simplicity of their story. I see nothing. I am nothing. 

A door in the distance opens and shuts with a firm hand. Out of the shadows, a figure approaches - it is dressed head to toe in a gold robe that flows like liquid - I cannot make out the features, male or female or other. Perhaps spirit? Perhaps soul? I sit and watch it approach the table, where it takes a seat on the far opposite side. Its cavernous hood pools around what I suppose is a head. I wait. 

This is a place of knowledge, of wisdom; a place of you. The voice does not proceed from the figure's mouth but rather invades the thoughts of my mind as calmly as a drizzled rainfall meets the dust. I shift in my seat and continue waiting. 

Before you are two bowls. Do you know what these bowls represent? 

I look down at the filled silver before me - the glistening black and white draughts. My eyes return to the golden shape of the figure, "I might?" I hesitantly respond. 

And what would your guess be?

I wait a moment. Waiting is good, it allows me to collect my thoughts, although a part of me feels as if my thoughts are corporeal in this mysterious place. 

"Well, I think these might be collected memories or commentaries? I get the feeling there's more to this than meets the eye. These are no simple liquids, but pooled essence of the words spoken against and for me?"

The figure almost imperceptibly nods, and the gold hood ripples elegantly against its hidden figure. 

You have been called to furnish your mind. You left this place blank and desolate for too long. You have tormented yourself by staring in the bowls, by boxing up the products of society and leaving them to rot and mold in the depths of this place. It is yours to choose what you do with, but ultimately a choice must be made. You can no longer live here as if you rent it by the week - this is your semi-permanent abode and I am tasked to see you inhabit it to your fullest extent. 

I drink in the concept and my eyes shift back to the bowls. Commentary? Products of society? Am I supposed to paint with these? Am I supposed to drink these? What is the purpose of all this abstract nonsense. 

I sit and wonder over and over for a time and a half. The space surrounding me is silent and empty. The figure does not move. I wait. It speaks again, eventually. 

Sitting and thinking does no good to you, it only prolongs the inevitable. I cannot help you from here, although I can make the way easier. Take this.

A lantern materializes in front of me, between the bowls. It casts a warm, healthy golden glow on the stark realities beset on either side of it. The flickering light within draws my eyes hungrily and I feel warm somehow in this nonexistent space I think might be my mind. 

I look up, but the figure is gone and so is the second chair. I am alone again, but the faint sputter of the glass-cased flame makes me feel less afraid of this place. 

I extend a pale arm and take the lantern. The glow shifts around the pooled darkness as I lift it towards me. I look at the bowls and decide to leave them for now. 

Rising, I step away from the table with my golden glowing lantern and enter into the open space. Darkness flees before me and reveals boxes pushed haphazardly against the walls. I make my way to one and, setting down the lantern beside it, I pull open the cardboard mouth and glance inside. 

A pair of cobras stare back with glittery eyes that are overflowing with hate and malice. My breath catches in my throat and I slam the lid back in place - my heart beat skips violently against my wrists and I backstep, lantern in tow. I look to the table, half expecting the figure to have returned with malicious laughter gracing its covered shoulders. There's no one. 

I swallow and shift to a different set of boxes - these ones are small, red velvet cushions of luxury in the midst of a cardboard castle. 

I taste blood on my lip and force myself to breathe slowly. I set the lantern aside and pull the first tiny box from off the top of several that have been carelessly piled there. It feels light and soft in the palm of my sweating hand. 

Tentatively, I open the lid and look inside. 

A small white-gold ring is set in the thick fabric. A note has been tucked carefully on the inside top of the box. I pull it out and it crinkles as I open the folds. 

We're proud of you! The script is familiar to me. Some of the words are smudged, as if it has been read fondly, multiple times. I fold it back and tuck it in the lid. The ring glows hot and illuminates the room beyond the lantern light. 

I exhale loudly and then, slowly, I reach in and pluck it off its resting place and snugly place it on my finger. 

I glance up at the endless pile of boxes. Sorting through them will be chaos, but I must. 

I pull another box down at peel open the lid. The sweet, fresh smell of oatmeal cookies wafts into the air. I reach in and remove a platter piled high with still hot baked goods. Taking one, I bite in and am overwhelmed by the taste and smell. A caring heart, a comforting hand-on-shoulder, I am thrown backwards into memories of friends embracing, eyes glinting with joy, belly laughs, and dimpled smiles. 

I wipe tears off my face, they drip down my hand to my sleeve, and I bring the plate to the table. Gently, I set it down, far away from the two ominous bowls. I turn and make my way back to the boxes, eager to pull down the next one. 

It's a medium sized rectangular box about the length of my forearm. The exterior is varnished wood sealed by silver clasps. I undo the clasps and open the box. 

A pistol stares back at me. Cold, black, harsh and glittering. A note sits tucked by the trigger. I pull it out, my heart once more in my throat. The smell of fresh baked cookies seems stale and the honey-sweet taste fades in my mouth. 

I open the note once, twice - there are two more folds left when a strong hand sets upon my shoulder and I jump, whipping around. 

Another figure stands before me - this one covered head to toe in bronze armor. A heavy sword rests easily against its hip. I can't see its features through the shielded faceguard, but I glimpse the sparkle of eyes set deep within. 

Do you really need to read that? it asks me in my mind. 

I glance back at the box, now upended from my surprise. The pistol clattered noisily to the floor and seemed to stare back at me as though daring me to read the note. 

Do you really need to read that? the figure asked, more sternly this time. I knew the answer I should give - I knew the right thing to do, but a part of me resisted, desiring the bring on the pain of what I might read inside those last two folds. 

I picked up the pistol and returned it to the box. I stuffed the note back inside before shutting the lid and clasping the clasps. Jaw clenched and brow furrowed, I turned to the figure and said,

"No, I want to, but I shouldn't. I'm angry because this was here amidst the good things - the cookies, the ring. I don't know what to do with this. It's too much." 

The figure nodded as if in agreement and placed a soft gloved hand gently on my shoulder. The tender gesture softened the lines in my face. It reached out with a hand and motioned with its fingers - I understood and passed the box over. It grasped it tight before shifting to set it aside.

There are many things here - too many have been boxed up and left undealt with, and so the surprises will sometimes be unpleasant as you work through the piles. This is why you have been given the bowls. 

"I was wondering about those. Am I supposed to drink them? Paint with them? They look too thick to drink... toxic almost. I wasn't sure and no one said - the other figure just told me to furnish this place. I don't even know where to start."

I had the uncanny sense that the armored figure was smiling, and it spoke, 

Yes, let me show you. Take me to your table. 

I realized then that this figure could not see me or the room for that matter. Confused, I took its gloved hand in mine - it felt warm and confident - and I led it to the table. 

The black bowl will give you insight into the dark boxes. It will highlight the ones you need to throw away, the ones you need to store, and the ones you need to open and deal with. It will illuminate the lies and the destruction, the hurt and the anger. Drink of this one only as often as you are strong enough to deal with the darkness. It should not be taken every day - and it should not be taken alone. 

I nodded, "And the white one?"

The white one will highlight the boxes filled with good things. Drink of it as often as you can, for you need refreshment from the darkness of this place until it is once more filled with light. Fill your mind with things trustworthy and true, good and noble, honorable and pure. This bowl will give you insight into how that is managed. 

The figure reached to its right and pulled out a crystal-studded goblet that had not been there before. It passed the goblet to me and motioned for me to pick a bowl. I breathed out heavily and nodded. 

Reaching forward I dipped the cup into the white liquid. It was creamier and thicker than I thought. The side of the goblet streamed with the white substance and I brushed the edge against the side of the bowl to keep it from dripping. 

Raising it to my lips, I opened my mouth and drank. At first I tasted nothing, but then a comforting fragrance filled the air and the liquid turned sweet and magical on my tongue. If starlight and painted skies could have a flavour, this was it. Every cell in my body awoke and I leaned into the beauty of the moment, enraptured by the simplicity of how everything had changed with but a taste of the joy before me. 

I felt the graze of a palm against my shoulder blades and I turned to look at the armored figure. It was glowing so vibrantly now, as if the very sun itself decided to embody the plated metal fitted carefully around its lines and edges. I stepped back, but its hand held firm and the blinding light grew stronger. 

We emit what we embody. We embody what we dwell upon. We dwell upon that which impacts us. You must choose wisely what you will allow yourself to be impacted by - because it will change your glow. Do you understand?

I thought I did, so I nodded.

Now somewhere in your boxes, you'll find armor and other things of use as well - these will help you make this place a home. 

I felt self conscious of my present state, all pale and loose clothed and clearly unready for what I might find within the stored things towering around me. 

If you need help, simply ask. You might feel alone, but you are never alone.

I blinked and the figure was gone. The room was much brighter now, and somehow I felt ready. Turning my gaze back to the boxes, I became determined to find that suit of armor. So, with the lantern in one hand and a fresh cookie in the other, I set out to deal with the overwhelming mountain of boxes.

-------

Signed with lantern-light
Squeaks.
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