Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

prose poem 20 | wings and chains and too many metaphors

The rampart was built and the beast; both framed in bones of pain.

She slammed into the sofa, barely screaming. There was an upraised hand, and I ran.

Crenellations and walls well-buttressed and orthogonal towers leer from on high. An old Norman keep, a mark of invasion, this is merely the donjon. Star fort, granite-rimmed earthen work, outlies it all.

Motte and bailey was not enough.

In the oubliette I hide; I await; I wither.

To mount the outward attack takes always heavy toll. I sally forth and fleetingly assail the world.

(A world I try to remember is not so very wretched.)

Each pill is a chain, necessitated more and more with each use. (All this without even the pleasure of abuse.) It is hard to remember, sometimes, that the chains can be wrought into wings through the furnace of time. It is hard to remember.

It is hard to remember calm. It is hard to remember center. It is hard to remember joy which will not flutter away against any breeze.

A stranger’s smile beckons panic. A phoning friend weighs like lead. That you wish to discuss the weather, makes me wish to explode. The rigid controls still yet hold, but these things too take their toll.

I have switchblades for bones: hidden and strong, cutting when pressed. It seems I’m always bleeding inside.

All that blood feeds the beast. Raging and ready and even, on occasion, righteously so, it stands ready to tear free, wreak havoc, and sow entropic seeds. I have no healthy way to release it. Barely beneath my skin it seethes.

The reality is… I can control only myself, and even then I am slipping. Even there I am failing.

I weather each storm, hidden away, screaming in the dark as the oubliette floods from the torrent outside. Something soon will break, or I will drown, or the walls will fall.

Will my wings then be ready, and I shall fly into an angry sun?

Monday, September 28, 2015

voided

left without center
always tilting. median 
responses remain

an impossible
dream. overcorrections are
borne the only seed.

what flowers but pain?
brief smiling respite amongst
life's ruthless folly.

so fleeting is joy
surging persistent is pain
broken smiles buoy

but little, but still
pain can bring, can sing beauty...
harm ever tallies

heavy burdens held,
rusting hooks, irony bites
best against struggle  

voided time. voided form. voided worth.
voided rhyme. void forlorn.voided works.

Friday, September 25, 2015

and the cloying stench of gardenias

booming basso breaks
chartreuse and vermillion demand
cold sinks through every open pore
bitter pills begin their cascade
when
tongues need a single sweet respite
taut sinews yearn towards warm release
tired eyes, seek soft visions
tinny ears despair for simple silence

Thursday, September 24, 2015

troubling strands

Cyclopean chains, gossamer threads, rough mooring ropes, broad leather straps, still-bloody strips of sinew: filaments, cables, and strands of all kinds, shapes, sizes crisscrossed at all but right angles. Each line receded into the irregular darkness, without touching another. Falling balls of guttering sanguine flame formed the only illumination possible, in yet another infinite void without reason.

“Oh, what fresh and annoying hell is this?” the wizard asked aloud.

He’d been in the middle of scrubbing out an infestation of hollow laughter from his bedroom. Liquid ennui was filling the basement, staining everything. His burnished copper pot busily bubbled away, heating up his endless stew; an angry stomach rumbled its complaint at the thought. Besides, there was that hole in reality which needed mending. The wizard really didn’t have time for this…

And the metaphysical set dressing for the place, ughhh, if he ever met a godling or greater spirit with any sense of style, the wizard swore he would eat his own beard. The vague sense of foreboding, the shadows flitting always in the corner of his eye, the scent of citrus and roses…

Actually that was interesting. The wizard ran one hand across his bald pate before vigorously scratching his scruffy chin. Not interesting enough if he didn’t have time for a bath before his midnight ascension.

He sighed, impatiently awaiting the middling offer of whatever ridiculous godhead had crafted this space.

When he realized he was breathing, concern exploded across his unhappy guts. On shaking painful feet, the old man stood with forgotten effort. Tearing off his adamantine mitten revealed no skeletal fist, but rather new pink skin atop flesh and fingers. Even the froglike goiter had fled from his throat.

All the marks of his wizardry were removed. He tried to punch through the Veil and found no familiar pressure at his temples, no surging power rolling down his spine.

The wizard coughed bloodily into his fist…

[to be continued]

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

the terrible burden of gnosis and god, overcome

I remember when I came back to myself, she was holding my hand.

“Do you understand?”

I did.

We’d had too much to drink, which is to say it was the night time. Everyone else lurched towards other parties or else lay snoring where they fell.

Sitting on a ratty old couch in a stinking, stained basement, we smoked cigarettes and had our argument. She was winning, and had been for some time.

“Do you understand?!”

It was strange we were holding hands. Though there was deep affection between us, rarely did we touch. It was stranger still to be so uplifted, so light, and so finally free. I cried, I think.

I remember the blinding shift most of all: the sudden crystalizing clarity of reason and reality intersecting. The foundational shift in thinking, so profound, it left me literally blinded. Unforgiving fire exploded throughout my mind. It was all so suddenly clear, I could not see.

“Yes.”

We embraced, I think.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

like clockwork

The vents kick on like clockwork, distributing cooled, oxygenated air. Wait, no. Chrono calls it at 4 minutes of 2. 4 minutes of 2!

That can’t be right. Is there a system’s error? Is this the end? One single error, cascading chain… rat-a-tat-tat, that’ll be that.

He groaned aloud in the unrelenting red light, to well-wound to realize his error.

Shit. Shit. Shit. Is the chrono wrong? Dad’s chrono? No. No. The half-life of iron-60. Can’t be wrong.

System’s wrong. System’s WRONG! Gonna drown. Gonna drown. All the heavy water, crush, crush, crush.

He sat on the floor of hard plastic grate and held his shaking knees. Gently he rocked back against the rusty access panel. He didn’t notice bright fresh welds around the panel’s seams. He didn’t notice that the cooled air no longer touched him. He didn’t feel the plastic softening. He couldn’t sense the intense heat flowing off of him in dizzying waves. He had no idea he was glowing.

He would never know that this particular breakdown saved his life.

The slap of a chiv hitting the floor snapped his attention outward. Obsessively he checked the chrono; it still read 4 of 2. The hardened glass faceplate shattered into ruby shards underneath the oppressive red lights.

Chrono broke. System… system, ok?

He took a deep breath. It was the chrono; his father’s watch finally had failed him. The system had not. Yet.

He stood on shaking legs. The floor seemed too soft, but he mistook it for lightheadedness. He did not notice the cooling rivulets of molten plastic running down the backs of his thighs.

He felt oddly thirsty and furtively made for the nearest fount.


Other Stories Part 1  |  Part 2




----

So I've added a tip jar to the blog, in the form a Patreon Campaign. 

If you've gotten any worth out of these poems and stories and experimental fiction and what-have-you, please consider donating. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and help to ensure I am able to keep doing this.


Thanks,
Edward

Monday, September 21, 2015

prose poem 19 | feelings while watching Brody Dalle on youtube



I stare into her eyes and try to see the person behind them, but too much time and distance and too many lenses and screens separate these moments. She can’t look back at me and (probably) never will. I can hear her words, wherein she makes visible old scars and (probably) still-festering wounds; words that are a beacon and searchlight trained upon us both.

The keyboard stutters in its clacking even as the moment I failed to capture slips further into the voided oblivion.

[I cheated. This one was written yesterday. Suck It! rules I made for myself.]

[An exception to the (c) notice at the bottom must be made for this video. Pretty obviously not my IP.]

Thursday, September 10, 2015

every day

bitter pill, swallowed
quiet, choking, dulled. bright pain
slide away, not far:

becomes a nimbus
of light. sad flame burn away
goodwill, glad tidings.


[blog news: I'm taking next week off to work on other projects and deal with some unfortunate life stuff. Actually, I'm taking tomorrow and next week off to do the abovementioned. I'll be back on the 21st, hopefully refreshed and ready to write something less depressing. Or maybe MORE depressing, who knows... perhaps there are depths of tragedy I've yet to plumb.]

[Also, I'm editing the very last piece of the Fictives blog-anthology-with-new-stuff-too book. Layout will probably commence in earnest, next week-ish.]

[If you like the RPG blog, there'll probably be something to tide you over until this sadness+adventure factory resumes operations.]

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

the scattered notes of Bertram Harrold

[The whole of it, together at last. If you wish only to read the new bits, they are highlighted at the bottom. Also, this story, is very much related.]


“…It was not simply the austere, earnest demeanor of young William which committed me to this endeavor. Despite the unyielding consistency of the boy’s claims, and his tired and almost numb delivery of the tale when pressed, the outlandish nature of his narrative would have predisposed me strongly against its validity. That is, of course, had I not begun dabbling in real estate some years ago.
Nevertheless, the lad’s story of glowing coal eyes, impossible infernos, and narrow escape beggared belief. Still though, I shall never forget the empty distance within the rough little fellow’s eyes as he described to me the terrible screams of his father. That such a young child could so vividly describe his own father’s agonizing final moments as a blanket list of emotionless facts, it twists knots into my chest still. Perhaps not all those bruises came from his tumble through the roof.
More shocking still, I had read such a tale before. In a dusty journal, inherited from a former tenant, I came across such an astonishingly surreal passage.
The unfortunate Mrs. Brinkley had lost both her husband and only son to the ravages of the relentless sea. Her parents, in-laws, and other possible relations remained a world away when she too passed. It was a sad story, netting me little beyond sighs.
I thumbed through a worn journal while my hired men carted away her meagre possessions. Therein I discovered a strange passage, situated within the normalcies (one imagines) of a young lady's diary…”

“…Saving that she wrote to her diary in a uniquely epistolary fashion, far beyond the convention of ‘Dear Diary.’
Young Ms. Bennet asked it questions, for one thing, and seemed to regard them as answered the day after. Why she even made frequent requests to be kept in the book’s nightly prayers!
Conspicuously absent were any references to actual friends. It was difficult to reconcile the gregarious Mrs. Dolores Brinkley against the quiet, demurring character of young Ms. Dolores Bennet.
Mostly she wrote of stolen moments; monotony quelled by observations of tadpoles, beetles, and small lizards. A childhood, it seemed, much like my own. A speck more isolated, perhaps, but much like my own
Until Whispering Embers slid like oily smoke into Ms. Bennet’s strange new world…”



“…Ms. Bennet first remarked upon the creature thusly:

‘…strange and noisome visitor to my room late last night. At first I thought it father, in one of his moods, but soon the smell of cracklings came on very strongly. Oh diary, it may well have knocked me down were I not already abed. Two tiny flames, like faltering candles, looked at me for a long time. Oh I don’t even know how I knew they were eyes. Have you ever just felt that you were watched?

I pretended to sleep. I didn’t know what else to do. Finally I screwed up enough courage to call out to it. “Go away!” I shouted in a whisper from beneath the linens.

“Sorry, Dolores,” it said. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

I suppose that if I must have a ghost, I would prefer a polite one.’

Slowly, in the subtext of her rambling conversations with ‘Dear Diary’, it seemed the creature gained the confidence of young Ms. Bennet. “Long conversation with Whispering Embers last night. She is so funny, and she really listens. I think you would like her, diary…” Such sentences and sentiments became increasingly frequent as her diary slowly faded into an occasionally updated journal.

Her final three entries were of particular interest.

The first of them was written in atypically plain script.

‘Hello Diary,
Spoke at length with W. E. last night. I don’t think father is a good person.’

The second looked jagged, abrupt, and peppered with hesitant puddles of ink.
          
‘The fire came with her. I was not I had no way to be ready. I couldn’t do it. I got too scared and climbed out the window. Whispers looked at me from the window, from up there, wings of of (sic) fire. She smiled at me, but sadly. Father continued to scream.

Aunt Meredith is on her way.’

The Final was written in with a palsied hand, with a different pen and much thicker ink.
          
‘I saw her at Ryan’s wake, while most of us slept surrounding his empty coffin, W. E. came out from the shadows. She offered her simple sympathy and left me with a rose and the stink of rendering lard.’ ”

“It was settled then, my course of action. The clarity of the vine, a spent pouch of tobacco, a sheath of maps, and a quiet considered evening brought about the specifics of the matter.

It had been a pair of years since I retired from Highport to our tiny village and one more besides since I had read Mrs. Brinkley’s journal. Add to that the year she lived post Ryan’s loss at sea, and it appeared the creature moved quite slowly, or perhaps wandered broadly. By hired horse and chartered boat, it should’ve taken me short of a month to arrive in Highport.

From there I would take the more direct, if much wilder, overland route, seeking any and all clues of the creature. For it was then that my curiosity overleapt and my desire for motion waxed full; the idleness of retired country life had sat poorly upon me for some time. (I, of course, miss idleness terribly at present.)

Between dangerous men, uncooperative equines, and petulant spring storms, I arrived in Highport somewhat worse for the wear, six weeks later.”

“The trail of the creature was quite cold. I floundered and stewed for some time, cursing this as a fool’s errand. Trips to outlying villages netted nothing: no memory of mysterious fires, no legends of smoke-stinking monsters. What had I hoped for? To befriend some dowager and sort through her thorough collection of regional newspapers?

Many miles of trackless wilds and scattered settlements lay between myself and home. After my unfortunate journey there, the daunting trek back weighed upon me.

Should I have even concerned myself with the creature? I wondered.

It seemed intent only upon destroying wicked men.

But then there was Edith, young William’s sister.

I had to go on. I needed more. I needed to know.

I resolved myself with the aid of a well-traveled whiskey and plotted a circuitous route homeward. Village upon village, tiny trackless towns, and abandoned crossroad public houses  all lay in wait for me.

As word of my eccentric search spread faster than my hired coach, I gradually found myself better directed towards those with interest or knowledge of occult matters. Upstanding citizens more quickly dismissed me as a loon, and the queer folk whose words I sought more readily accepted me as one of their own…”

“…She was whispered to be a witch. She called herself a sorceress. I remain uncertain, even after all I’ve seen, if I could tell any difference between the two. However, it is difficult to imagine kind eyed Angelique to be in collusion with Old Scratch.

Nonetheless, she certainly kept strange company: one eyed hunchbacks, pale skinned pygmies, women so wild and hirsute their eloquent tongues beggared belief. These odd folk?, creatures?, perhaps I shall turn further back for a more appropriate term: These gentyl wights were the most courteous and civil houseguests I have ever observed. Still yet, they politely demurred away from my questions, and I was well enough raised not to press the matter.

It was the whistling of birds, chattering of squirrels, and ominous cries of the whip-poor-wills which served as my ultimate guide: none of which would have been possible without Angelique’s uncanny translations.

We took a long winding tour of lonely charred cabins and fire-wrecked cottages within abandoned towns. The further I trod upon this unusual path, the deeper and deeper a sense of haunting yet palpable rage did fill the air. I began waking in fright at the popping of my increasingly diminutive campfires. I slept less and less once Angelique announced her abandonment. Without any to watch over my sleep – for the teamster had long ago left my employ – I slept but little.

Still yet every morn thus far, an hour ahead of dawn, the whip-poor-wills have cried me to the necessary path. Though there are now far fewer amongst their ranks. Today, I believe, only a single pair remained…”

“I write to you in haste. I have gathered such notes as survived my interaction with the creature.

It is mad. It has no regard for human life. It seeks only to recreate the accident of its horrid birth.

Even as I pleaded for the lives of the children it once defended, it ruthlessly burned alive the very last of the helpful whip-poor-wills. I swear by God’s wounds the bird cried out in human agony.

It told me those children were already dead, ‘marred and scarred beyond kind and ken.’

The creature’s only expression? A resigned and empty smile. Whatever humanity once held within it has long ago evaporated under overexposure to conflagration or perhaps simply to the passage of years.

It will not cease. It will only become more dangerous. I alone know its destination and only for this eve.

My time in Highport was not wasted. I believe the wire rope, imported at some cost via a mining supply consortium, will serve well enough. The father is a sawyer. The family lives above his mill. My hopes are not high, but success is far from impossible.

Wish me luck. And let us both hope wishes can move backward through time.

Yours,
-           Bertram”


This remains the last known correspondence of Bertram Harrold. 

----

So I've added a tip jar to the blog, in the form a Patreon Campaign. 

If you've gotten any worth out of these poems and stories and experimental fiction and what-have-you, please consider donating. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and help to ensure I am able to keep doing this.


Thanks,
Edward

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

a bit more from the scattered notes of Bertram Harrold

[Read the previous post to be caught up on the story thus far. We are not long from the conclusion, I believe.]

“…She was whispered to be a witch. She called herself a sorceress. I remain uncertain, even after all I’ve seen, if I could tell any difference between the two. However, it is difficult to imagine kind eyed Angelique to be in collusion with Old Scratch.

Nonetheless, she certainly kept strange company: one eyed hunchbacks, pale skinned pygmies, women so wild and hirsute their eloquent tongues beggared belief. These odd folk?, creatures?, perhaps I shall turn further back for a more appropriate term: These gentyl wights were the most courteous and civil houseguests I have ever observed. Still yet, they politely demurred away from my questions, and I was well enough raised not to press the matter. 

It was the whistling of birds, chattering of squirrels, and ominous cries of the whip-poor-wills which served as my ultimate guide: none of which would have been possible without Angelique’s uncanny translations. 

We took a long winding tour of lonely charred cabins and fire-wrecked cottages within abandoned towns. The further I trod upon this unusual path, the deeper and deeper a sense of haunting yet palpable rage did fill the air. I began waking in fright at the popping of my increasingly diminutive campfires. I slept less and less once Angelique announced her abandonment. Without any to watch over my sleep – for the teamster had long ago left my employ – I slept but little. 

Still yet every morn thus far, an hour ahead of dawn, the whip-poor-wills have cried me to the necessary path. Though there are now far fewer amongst their ranks. Today, I believe, only a single pair remained…”



----

So I've added a tip jar to the blog, in the form a Patreon Campaign. 

If you've gotten any worth out of these poems and stories and experimental fiction and what-have-you, please consider donating. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and help to ensure I am able to keep doing this.


Thanks,
Edward

Monday, September 7, 2015

clearly not trying

I'm full of sausage.
Don't expect too much from me.
It's totes Labor Day.

Friday, September 4, 2015

from the scattered notes of Bertram Harrold: everything so far...

[This is everything so far, lightly edited, and glued together... plus a touch more]


“…It was not simply the austere, earnest demeanor of young William which committed me to this endeavor. Despite the unyielding consistency of the boy’s claims, and his tired and almost numb delivery of the tale when pressed, the outlandish nature of his narrative would have predisposed me strongly against its validity. That is, of course, had I not begun dabbling in real estate.
Nevertheless, the lad’s story of glowing coal eyes, impossible infernos, and narrow escape beggared belief. Still though, I shall never forget the empty distance within the rough little fellow’s eyes as he described to me the terrible screams of his father. That such a young child could so vividly describe his own father’s agonizing final moments as a blanket list of emotionless facts, it twists knots into my chest still. Perhaps not all those bruises came from his tumble through the roof.
More shocking still, I had read such a tale before. In a dusty journal, inherited from a former tenant, I came across such an astonishingly surreal passage.
The unfortunate Mrs. Brinkley had lost both her husband and only son to the ravages of the relentless sea. Her parents, in-laws, and other possible relations remained a world away when she too passed. It was a sad story, netting me little beyond sighs.
I thumbed through a worn journal while my hired men carted away her meagre possessions. Therein I discovered a strange passage, situated within the normalcies (one imagines) of a young lady's diary…”

“…Saving that she wrote to her diary in a uniquely epistolary fashion, far beyond the convention of ‘Dear Diary.’
Young Ms. Bennet asked it questions, for one thing, and seemed to regard them as answered the day after. Why she even made frequent requests to be kept in the book’s nightly prayers!
Conspicuously absent were any references to actual friends. It was difficult to reconcile the gregarious Mrs. Dolores Brinkley against the quiet, demurring character of young Ms. Dolores Bennet.
Mostly she wrote of stolen moments; monotony quelled by observations of tadpoles, beetles, and small lizards. A childhood, it seemed, much like my own. A speck more isolated, perhaps, but much like my own
Until Whispering Embers slid like oily smoke into Ms. Bennet’s strange new world…”



“…Ms. Bennet first remarked upon the creature thusly:

‘…strange and noisome visitor to my room late last night. At first I thought it father, in one of his moods, but soon the smell of cracklings came on very strongly. Oh diary, it may well have knocked me down were I not already abed. Two tiny flames, like faltering candles, looked at me for a long time. Oh I don’t even know how I knew they were eyes. Have you ever just felt that you were watched?

I pretended to sleep. I didn’t know what else to do. Finally I screwed up enough courage to call out to it. “Go away!” I shouted in a whisper from beneath the linens.

“Sorry, Dolores,” it said. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

I suppose that if I must have a ghost, I would prefer a polite one.’

Slowly, in the subtext of her rambling conversations with ‘Dear Diary’, it seemed the creature gained the confidence of young Ms. Bennet. “Long conversation with Whispering Embers last night. She is so funny, and she really listens. I think you would like her, diary…” Such sentences and sentiments became increasingly frequent as her diary slowly faded into an occasionally updated journal.

Her final three entries were of particular interest.

The first of them was written in atypically plain script.

‘Hello Diary,
Spoke at length with W. E. last night. I don’t think father is a good person.’

The second looked jagged, abrupt, and peppered with hesitant puddles of ink.
          
‘The fire came with her. I was not I had no way to be ready. I couldn’t do it. I got too scared and climbed out the window. Whispers looked at me from the window, from up there, wings of of (sic) fire. She smiled at me, but sadly. Father continued to scream.

Aunt Meredith is on her way.’

The Final was written in with a palsied hand, with a different pen and much thicker ink.
          
‘I saw her at Ryan’s wake, while most of us slept surrounding his empty coffin, W. E. came out from the shadows. She offered her simple sympathy and left me with a rose and the stink of rendering lard.’ ”

“It was settled then, my course of action. The clarity of the vine, a spent pouch of tobacco, a sheath of maps, and a quiet considered evening brought about the specifics of the matter.

It had been a pair of years since I retired from Highport to our tiny village and one more besides since I had read Mrs. Brinkley’s journal. Add to that the year she lived post Ryan’s loss at sea, and it appeared the creature moved quite slowly, or perhaps wandered broadly. By hired horse and chartered boat, it should’ve taken me short of a month to arrive in Highport.

From there I would take the more direct, if much wilder, overland route, seeking any and all clues of the creature. For it was then that my curiosity overleapt and my desire for motion waxed full; the idleness of retired country life had sat poorly upon me for some time. (I, of course, miss idleness terribly at present.)

Between dangerous men, uncooperative equines, and petulant spring storms, I arrived in Highport somewhat worse for the wear, six weeks later.”

“The trail of the creature was quite cold. I floundered and stewed for some time, cursing this as a fool’s errand. Trips to outlying villages netted nothing: no memory of mysterious fires, no legends of smoke-stinking monsters. What had I hoped for? To befriend some dowager and sort through her thorough collection of regional newspapers?

Many miles of trackless wilds and scattered settlements lay between myself and home. After my unfortunate journey there, the daunting trek back weighed upon me.

Should I have even concerned myself with the creature?

It seemed intent only upon destroying wicked men.

But then there was Edith, young William’s sister.

I had to go on. I needed more. I needed to know.

I resolved myself with the aid of a well-traveled whiskey and plotted a circuitous route homeward. Village upon village, tiny trackless towns, and abandoned crossroad public houses  all lay in wait for me.

As word of my eccentric search spread faster than my hired coach, I gradually found myself better directed towards those with interest or knowledge of occult matters. Upstanding citizens more quickly dismissed me as a loon, and the queer folk whose words I sought more readily accepted me as one of their own…”


Thursday, September 3, 2015

from the scattered notes of Bertram Harrold part the fourth: from a to b and a timeframe

[Another long, exhausting day for me. Not much grown in the story, some establishment of geography and time mostly. I expect, I'll edit and paste everything together with tomorrow's addition. It probably won't be the last, however. ]



“It was settled then, my course of action. The clarity of the vine, a spent pouch of tobacco, a sheath of maps, and a quiet considered evening brought about the specifics of the matter.

It had been a pair of years since I retired from Highport to our tiny village and one more besides since I had read Mrs. Brinkley’s journal. Add to that the year she lived post Ryan’s loss at sea, and it appeared the creature moved quite slowly, or perhaps wandered broadly. By hired horse and chartered boat, it should’ve taken me short of a month to arrive in Highport.

From there I would take the more direct, if much wilder, overland route, seeking any and all clues of the creature. For it was then that my curiosity overleapt and my desire for motion waxed full; the idleness of retired country life had sat poorly upon me for some time. (I, of course, miss idleness terribly at present.)


Between dangerous men, uncooperative equines, and petulant spring storms, I arrived in Highport somewhat worse for the wear, six weeks later.”

[Bertrams meandering, long-winded, comma-laden voice is a pleasure to write for some reason... maybe Thoreau was on to something.]

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

from the scattered notes of Bertram Harrold part III : extra ellipses edition

[this is a continuation; read the other ones first, if you want]

“…Ms. Bennet first remarked upon the creature thusly:

‘…strange and noisome visitor to my room late last night. At first I thought it father, in one of his moods, but soon the smell of cracklings came on very strongly. Oh diary, it may well have knocked me down were I not already abed. Two tiny flames, like faltering candles, looked at me for a long time. Oh I don’t even know how I knew they were eyes. Have you ever just felt that you were watched?

I pretended to sleep. I didn’t know what else to do. Finally I screwed up enough courage to call out to it. “Go away!” I shouted in a whisper from beneath the linens.

“Sorry, Dolores,” it said. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

I suppose that if I must have a ghost, I would prefer a polite one.’

Slowly, in the subtext of her rambling conversations with ‘Dear Diary’, it seemed the creature gained the confidence of young Ms. Bennet. “Long conversation with Whispering Embers last night. She is so funny, and she really listens. I think you would like her, diary…” Such sentences and sentiments became increasingly frequent as her diary slowly faded into an occasionally updated journal.

Her final three entries were of particular interest.

The first of them was written in atypically plain script.

‘Hello Diary,
Spoke at length with W. E. last night. I don’t think father is a good person.’

The second looked jagged, abrupt, and peppered with hesitant puddles of ink.
           
‘The fire came with her. I was not I had no way to be ready. I couldn’t do it. I got too scared and climbed out the window. Whispers looked at me from the window, from up there, wings of of (sic) fire. She smiled at me, but sadly. Father continued to scream.

Aunt Meredith is on her way.’

The Final was written in with a palsied hand, with a different pen and much thicker ink.
           

‘I saw her at Ryan’s wake, while most of us slept surrounding his empty coffin, W. P. came out from the shadows. She offer her simple sympathy and left me with a rose and the stink of rendering lard.’ ”

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

from the scattered notes of Bertram Harrold again

[see yesterday's for the beginning.]

“…Saving that she wrote to her diary in a uniquely epistolary fashion, far beyond the convention of ‘Dear Diary.’

Young Ms. Bennet asked it questions, for one thing, and seemed to regard them as answered the day after. Why she even made frequent requests to be kept in the book’s nightly prayers!

Conspicuously absent were any references to actual friends. It was difficult to reconcile the gregarious Mrs. Dolores Brinkley against the quiet, demurring character of young Ms. Dolores Bennet.

Mostly she wrote of stolen moments; monotony quelled by observations of tadpoles, beetles, and small lizards. A childhood, it seemed, much like my own. A speck more isolated, perhaps, but much like my own

Until Whispering Embers slid like oily smoke into Ms. Bennet’s strange new world…”