The telescope rests now,
its giant eye watching the stars.
The boy sleeps, his ceiling glows
with painted constellations.
Stars arrange themselves—
a story he refuses to read.
He finds a one-eyed dog, a unicorn that lost
its horn, a motherless boy.
When stars peek, like tiny
suns, he goes up to his room to watch.
His father’s voice quivers
through the carpet, punctuated
by clinking glass. He stares through
a telescope pretending
there are other worlds.
A constellation of tumbling stars,
like hair, framing blue eyes
that see how tough nights are.
When he screams
his father doesn’t come.
Sweated blankets cocoon him.
Starlight slips through the window,
almost kneels next to him,
and burns the terrors away.
His face eases into sleep.
The starlight fades, catches on
the photo of his mother,
and is gone.
The auditorium exploded into a flurry of activity. General Matthias and Commissioner Wallace were on their phones, shouting at their people trying to figure out what was happening in Harlem. Magister Rochester talked to the Conduit that had rushed in; his sword hilt held by white knuckles.
“What’s going on in Harlem?” Magister Rochester asked.
The Conduit shook his head. “No one’s been responding, Magister. All communication has ceased since the Field fell.”
“Keep trying. We need to know what’s happening there.” Magister Rochester waved the Conduit away. “General, Commissioner, do your men have any eyes or ears in Harlem?”
Commissioner Wallace was still on the phone, and he simply shook his head.
“We’ve lost communications as well. We’re tasking a satellite to get a visual. It’ll be in position in thirty seconds.” General Matthias returned to barking orders at his phone. “We need eyes on! Do we have any birds in the area? Well get them over there!”
Fin, Xander, and Grace fought their way through the churning turmoil of Conduits, soldiers, and police officers to get to the command table. No one had left the room yet. They seemed hesitant to leave. Each Damp Field in the city had been attacked by a Soulless, but they had left the fields and been off the radar for a while. And now, an entire sector is dark? No one was saying, but everyone was thinking it. The Soulless had gathered.
Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 1:57pm”
The lights above
guide the lights below.
Red, green, yellow.
I drive home to her.
A green arrow pushes
me to the left, and I
Green, yellow, red.
I’ve never seen that weeping
willow dipping to kiss
the road. Yellow leaves
dripping like paint.
Yellow, red, green.
Stop. Wait for the red eye
to blink—go straight, take a left.
A lake keeps the moon,
and I keep making
wrong turns when
the lights above—
Red, green, yellow.
Her driveway is inviting, yet
the cobblestones are all
wrong. A yellow road vacillating
to the green front door
I don’t recognize. But the porch
light is beckoning,
luring me to knock.
Green, yellow, red.
She answers, red hair
instead of brunette. And the ring
on her finger is missing,
not even leaving a ghost.
Her lips are pleasant, red pressed,
yet the hands holding mine
Yellow, red, green.
Green eyes go into mine,
but they should
be brown. So I go—
the lights above
guide the lights below.
Hesitate at the yellow flashing,
winking, blurring. It’s clear,
and the prisoner moon ripples
in front of me, almost begging
me to notice
the green light is really
Red, green, yellow.
“We need to lower the Damp Fields. For whatever reason, they’ve been altered to allow magical use within them, but they still prevent magic from entering them. Right now, we’re giving the Soulless perfect bases of operation.”
Fin and the other Conduits were sitting in the large auditorium at command. It was a large briefing, where the higher ups were trying to decide how to handle what could quickly become all out war. This was an unusual meeting, beyond the reemergence of the Soulless. For the first time that anyone could remember members of the mundane police and military forces were present. And right now, they were arguing with the head of the Conduits, Magister Rochester.
Magister Rochester shook his head. “We don’t even know how the Damp Fields have been altered. I understand your concern, General, but we need to investigate.”
“Investigate? You want to investigate?” General Matthias slammed his fist on the giant, oval oak table the leaders were sitting at. “We’re on the brink of a war that few of us are equipped to fight! Your Conduits stand the best chance. The rest of us might as well be throwing rocks and sticks at the Soulless.”
“I can understand the desire to investigate, Magister. But I have to agree with the General.” Commissioner Wallace had been sitting quietly. “But, my officers were the first responders.” He glanced over at Fin. “Perhaps with one exception. And, I believe, that we should hear what that exception has to say.”
Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 12:45pm”
There is a twist in the cloud.
Like she twists a finger
through her hair and sighs.
She wants to fly,
but angels don’t have wings.
Or so they say.
Instead, she dangles her feet
from the edge of heaven and imagines
the ocean kissing her ankles.
His cigarette was burning low. He took the final drag and flicked the cigarette into the street, watching the last metro bus of the night drive by. Blowing out the smoke, he looked up at the large house in front of him. He didn’t want to be here. He fumbled in the pocket of his cloak for another cigarette, but the package turned up empty.
“It’s bad for you anyway,” whispered a light seductive voice.
He smiled slightly, the hint of oak trees filling his nose. “Not as bad as this Halloween party idea of yours.”
He turned and found himself face to face with a stunningly beautiful woman. Her brilliant green eyes gleamed in the moonlight, and her bark brown hair wafted down over her shoulders.
Her smile was radiant. “It’s good for you to get out and actually see the humans you spend so much time saving.”
He laughed and looked back to the house. “You just want the chance to show off your clothes.” He smiled back at her and shook his head. “I’ll never understand a dryad that actually enjoys wearing clothing.”
She laughed and bounced over to the door. “Well, you ready, Mr. Savior?”
“Oh good!” She threw open the door and waltzed in.
Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter One”
Fin slipped back into his dirty, torn, and burned clothes. The nurses and doctors had made short work of healing Fin, using their unique blend of science and magic to regrow his skin. All that remained from the Thief’s attack was a long, pale scar. A nurse walked in, smiled at Fin, and unhooked him from his IV.
“As I’m sure the doctor already told you, everything checks out. Your skin grew back just fine, and there’s no permanent damage. You had lost quite a bit of blood, but the transfusion worked.”
Fin rubbed his hand where the IV needle had been, and nodded. “Thanks, I appreciate it.”
“Well, if the rumors are true, we’ll need all of our Conduits ready to fight. Your other Conduits are in the waiting room. You’re all set to go.”
Fin stood up, wondering briefly at her comment, but he was ready to get back to Grace and Xander and head back, so they could get a full report of what was happening in New Brooklyn. “Thanks again.”
The nurse nodded at him, writing in a chart, as he walked out of the room. Fin walked down the white halls, sidestepping scrambling nurses and doctors. The sound of paper, feet, and voices echoed down the halls, as the medical staff read through charts. Fin caught bits and pieces of conversations as he headed toward the waiting room.
Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 10:17am”
When the mountains are devoured
by the soft, white tongue
of the sky, the world ceases to exist
for a moment. Everything is erased—
and I am isolated, a tiny lake
surrounded by land.
Only magic could do this, but I know
that magic doesn’t exist.
But tell that to the mountains,
swimming in the belly of the sky
and waiting to be broken
“No one asked you.” Brandon Jacobus sat up and stared at the smoldering tobacco pipe in his hand.
“I don’t think you understood…”
Brandon cutoff the pipe. “No, I understood you just fine. I said no one asked you.” Brandon tapped the pipe into an ashtray and started packing it with fresh tobacco. “I don’t care what you think you saw in Nigeria. Zombies don’t exist. Never have.”
“Whether you call it a zombie or not, it was eating that man’s brain.” The pipe let out a puff indignant smoke as Brandon touched a match to the tobacco.
Brandon sighed, sliding his legs off the edge of the bed. “Just because it was eating someone’s brain doesn’t make it a zombie.”
“Sure.” The pipe seemed to sigh, embers glowing as Brandon inhaled. “Fine, not a zombie. Still, eating brains…”
“All manner of creatures eat brains.” The spellbook had remained silent until now. “Real creatures,” it said, before the pipe could say anything else.
“Right.” Brandon puffed on the pipe, smoke swirling through his long beard. “This is something very real. The police just don’t know what they stumbled on. We’ll need to get moving before this creature claims one of them as its next meal.” Brandon tapped the pipe in the ashtray, perhaps a little harder than necessary. “Don’t even say it. Again, not a zombie!”
Fin woke to a feeling like being submerged in an ice bath. It crept across his wound, starting in his leg, creeping across his chest, and then chilling his arm, causing him to gasp for air. He opened his eyes, and was greeted by silver eyes fading back to violet.
“I told you to get out of here, you jackass.”
Fin smiled weakly. “I missed you too, Grace.”
“You’re just lucky we got here when we did. Accelerating your body like while wounded? You almost bled out.”
Fin pushed himself onto his elbows resisting Grace’s attempts to push him back down. “It was either that or let the Thief kill me. I took my chances.”
“If you had left when you were ordered to, you wouldn’t be in this mess.”
Fin ignored Grace. “When did you guys get here?”
“Right after you chopped that Thief in half with some crazy ash sword and passed out,” a gruff voice responded.
“That’s just like you, Xander. Always showing up late to the party.”
Xander guffawed, slapping Fin’s back causing pain to shoot across his wounds.
“How’d you think of the ash sword, anyway? Did ya know it would work?”
Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 9:07am”