The day’s December melancholy draped the hills and streets in the form of an omnipresent mist accented with drizzle. The traveler’s refuge was the festive environment of a Starbucks rather peculiarly situated in the sculpted desert neighborhood where he had recently been hanging his hat. … Continue reading Noah, Part One
A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away, there was a great lord who lived in a castle. He had knights and nobles and servants, as well as mountains of gold, and the walls of his castle were impossible to break by anything from this earth. But the great lord’s most prized possession was his princess. The princess was more beautiful than all the ladies in all the courts of all of the noble and royal houses of the whole world. And she had an apple tree. It was a very special apple tree, and whoever she gave one of the apples from the tree would grow strong.
One day, the princess saw a broken old knight with only a black spot on his shield where a family crest should be. Moved, she gave him an apple and returned to her castle. That could have been the end of the story. Perhaps the knight would have thanked her and been on his way. Or maybe they would have sat together under the apple tree once in a while. But that’s not what happened. The great lord was furious. He told her that her apples were only for the knights of the castle. Then he locked her in the castle’s tower.
Now the old knight heard the weeping of the princess, and smelled her fragrance mixed with the salt of her tears. So he sat on his roan in front of the castle’s drawbridge with his apple in his hand. His heart began to beat with power, and his blood began to flow faster, and he became strong. Now as he became strong, he began to pray, and a myriad of angels appeared on the horizon. Some of the angels were kind bearers of good fortune. Others were wise deliverers of God’s word. But others were angels of vengeance, and there was fire in their eyes. The strong knight thought of the walls of Jericho, and he trembled.
This is the story of how the great lord gave the princess a strong knight for a champion.
I watch you from so far away, unable to reach you as I am shackled to this skull and bones throne of propriety. You stand there alone, surrounded by legions of nascent Olympians. Every inch of you, from your cinnamon hair to your angel-winged feet, glistens from the covering of the juice of their passion. My heart is on fire. Yet my blazing heart falls broken to the floor, nothing but angry ashes, ripped out of my body and dashed upon jagged rocks by chords fashioned from the hair of Delilah the betrayer. There was once a hero who could break those bonds. I have his same source of strength. But will it be there for me? What road must I travel to find you? You, who are the only one who is loyal. You, the only one who is pure.
There he stood as always, outside her door, waiting for her to come out. They had somehow gotten the myths crossed. It was not vampires who had to ask permission to enter a house. It was people like him. Unfortunately people had to know he was there in order to proffer an invitation.
His thoughts turned to the first moment he saw her, standing there in shock, wearing that beautiful crimson cocktail dress. She looked at him fearlessly as he lay there, drenched in the scarlet of the pool of blood that was tainting the white snow of that deep winter evening. As he saw her, he thought not of his own life ebbing away, but could only wonder how she could be so beautiful in that dress, obviously on her way to a festive occasion, with no man there to take her arm. He remembered how he got up effortlessly and in no pain, clean and unharmed, and walked toward her. She continued to stare not in horror, but in fascination. As he approached and stood before her he heard the sounds of people clamoring behind him. He turned around to see a crowd of people gathered together on a blanket of blood-stained snow. Turning again toward her, he said, “I think I am dying.”
To this she responded with a comforting smile, “you look fine to me.” Then she turned and continued walking to wherever she was going.
“Wait!” he shouted, but she continued walking, completely oblivious to his existence.
Now it was not quite a month later, and he was standing at her door, as always, waiting for her to come out. He had been following her around, learning everything he could. Walking through walls, walking through people, trying to talk to her. Several times in the past weeks he had felt the familiar tug of the black void which was to be his death, but each time the call of death beckoned him, his connection to her kept him alive, or at least in this state that resembled a sort of life. He had read about this. People kept from the coldness of death by an unbreakable connection to the living. He wondered if he was affecting her in some way at all. If so, it had to be in a way that he was not aware of, for every attempt to talk to her had been in vain. He had spoken, he had screamed, he had cried to her, but she did not react at all. It was like he was nothing. Invisible. Phantasmal.
As he stood there waiting, headlights from a car illuminated the house. A door opened. There were footsteps. Suddenly a man passed right through him and stood at the door with a pizza in his hand. The man rang the doorbell, and in a few seconds the door swung open and she was there, smiling and merry, the vibrant waves of her flowing brown hair cascaded over her shoulders. He heard laughter coming from inside the house over the tones of beautiful country music sung by a young woman. Giggling, she handed some money to the pizza boy and told him to keep the change. As she plucked the pizza, he lunged right through the pizza boy and reached out for her hand, pleading, “let me in!”
His hand passed right through hers, and she slammed the door shut not even knowing he was there.
So he stood there as always, outside her door, waiting for her to come out.
The Greeks spoke of three fates. I am fated to have three of my own: the one that never was, the one that isn’t now, and the one that never will be. While they can be conveniently arrayed into past, present, and future, none are bound by time, as my love for them is timeless. All of them are affecting my present, and will forever. Only two of them are sisters, but they all have the same blood in their veins: they cannot love, or at the risk of sounding narcissistic, they cannot love me. The first is the white stag of Celtic myth, released into the world in the dead of winter by the Master of the Hunt, who promised that if she could be found among the pale mists of the north amidst dreary snows, there would be a bountiful harvest. I have seen fleeting glances of her winter after winter, but she is preternaturally elusive, concerned only with beguiling my fellow hunters. Thus I spend my decades convincing myself that she is not merely a myth invented by long-dead tribesmen, as I have never tasted the juice of Spring’s fruit. The second is my damsel in distress. Sadly, she is a damsel who was not content to be rescued by Shrek. Ten long years I have spent with my helmet on, masking my voice into some kind of caricature of a bard, and while I fooled the world for so long, she never heard my song, instead hearing only industrial noise, which she told herself was beautiful until she couldn’t anymore. The look in her eyes when she beheld my chrysalis spoke thunderous daggers of fear and revulsion, and she ran shrieking into a vat of asps, refusing any further rescue. The third is the queen of my realm, whose blonde locks bore to me the warmth of the day as I burrowed through the earth’s abyss of catharsis with Cerberus gnawing furiously on my heels. My queen labors exhaustedly in dry fields of desert sand as a pauper, her hair soaked in the sweat of sorrows as she waits for her king to hand her a crown set upon a gently folded gown of gossamer, standing warily as her evil step-sisters mock her dreams and deny her birthright. In my pocket there is only a slipper made of wood and ominously protruding nails for her, as I am no king, but merely the prince of a swamp of bumbling fairy tales. In her field she chooses remain. I ride alone, a Ronin on my Japanese steed of black and steel, into a blood-red sun as He retreats behind foreboding mountains into unknown realms, in the hope that before twilight fades to darkness some chicane will lead to a fork in the path of my life, and that the sorority of fate includes a future unknown to the Achaean sages.