A Motionless Dream; Part I, Chapter II

The world spins back and forth as opposed to a steady rotation in one direction. Obviously one can observe the fact that this is false. It is only in the inner workings of people that something so obscure can make any sense. Every memory that rewinds time for even a second does make a fantasy. The present keeps moving forward like a glacier across unsteady land. In uncertainty any tale can be made with the right amount of willpower. I gotta stand my ground or be swept away under miles of ice. The glacier is both time and anxiety bearing their weight down upon everyone. If I could run fast enough it’ll never catch up to me. If I could climb it I’d understand. And if I do nothing will it crush me like it did to all those who came before?

I trust this man for some reason. Maybe it is from the fact that he saved me from that man. How did Penelope love Odysseus after he massacred her suitors? Things happen that don’t often make much sense. I know I have never been here before and my name isn’t Rae. I am still stuck here. I hold tightly to his hand because I need something tangible. Time cascades forward as the last rays of sunlight cast across the land. We chase the shouts of guards straight into dusk.
His heavy breathing soothes my worrying heart. The blood that I have left to bleed doesn’t seem as bad as it did earlier. My throat is parched from holding back the truth. Should I tell him? I have to! He doesn’t deserve to not know what’s going on after risking so much to save me. I stop paying attention to him as I wrestle with my own thoughts. Suddenly I fall backwards when he stops running.
“What’s the big idea?”
“Please keep quiet.”
“Stop talking. . .”
I lift my head up to see but he pushes it down. An oddly shaped shadow stretches across the ground. The jagged angles are not natural. A stillness washes over everything like a lump in my throat restricting me from speaking. Nothing changes. Back and forth moves the shadow as if the creature is pondering what’s in front of it. I accidentally let out a gasp. It stops moving. My heart is beating so hard I swear it could leap out of my chest. The creature takes in a deep breath like wind entering a cave then everything returns to stillness.
I hear its teeth clatter. Sharp, needle like teeth tearing away at both flesh and soul. This is the end. It will lunge at us and devour us in the most savage way possible. I begin screaming in my head stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, STOP!!! The beast roars. Blades of grass instantly dry out, burst into dry dust, and blows away in the wind. Fog begins rolling in. What is going on? I’m so confused. I wonder if I can say something now.
My escort slowly runs his hand through my hair. A shiver runs up my spine as he comes in and holds me against his body. I softly blush at the gesture. We are unable to see more than a few inches in front of us. The creature dashes through the fog most likely searching for us. I feel I should cry but the warmth of this man keeps me from doing anything. Do I have feelings for him? Am I just thankful he is here? All of this is so confusing.
Footsteps sound more and more faint. The fog is starting to clear. We are sitting in a circle of dirt yet he clings to me like a child to his mother. I smile at him. He drops me and jumps up. Our moment completely ruined. He sees me on the ground then offers me a hand. I refuse. After dusting off the dirt from myself I slap him across the face.
“What was that for?”
“You dropped me!”
“Oh, my bad.”
“Your bad? Excuse me. What is wrong with you? Save my life twice but drops me.”
“I think you’re over-exaggerating.”
“Fuck you.”
“Whoa but we’ve only met.”
“You’re not Rae.”
“How did you know?”
“Your slap was too weak.”
“Is that some sort of snide remark?”
“Yes. You hit like a girl.”
“I know some girls that would knock you the fuck out.”
“But not you.”
“And Rae could?”
“Let’s not talk about this.”
“The kettle calling the pot black much?”
“Sexist pig.”
“Bahahaha, are you serious?”
“Uh huh.”
“Well I saved your life twice. Does that mean anything?”
“Thank you. Thank you. Fuck you.”
“Fine. I will.”
“Can we stop?!?!”
“Where is another monster when I need one?”
“What was that thing?”
“A Shariez, Sha-Reez. They aren’t indigenous to here.”
“Why was it here?”
“No clue. I’ve met only like five in all my travels. Rae killed one. I studied the corpse and discovered unknown details about them. They’re blind. Shariez are creatures born from some dark and twisted magic. Drowned humans to be exact. A witch, sorcerer, or warlock fishes out the corpses then does a ritual to reanimate the beings. Before they can be used the eyes must be removed so that they lose all their self-imposed will. A Shariez wouldn’t go so far away from their master unless a very strong magician summoned it. I don’t know anything else.”
“So you pissed off some powerful magician? Nice job.”
“Okay. I shouldn’t have saved you from that human trafficker. They fund research into unsavory magics. I killed a ring leader and his boss wanted me dead.”
“Will there be more?”
“Most likely.”
“Why are you so calm?!?!?”
“Just follow me. I know a place where we’ll be safe.”
He starts running deep into the forest. I run after him while looking out for more monsters. The last light of day begins to wane as I find the guy standing before a lone grave. I look around and see nothing around not a squirrel, not a bird, not a bug. My escort reaches in his pocket and pulls out a necklace with a locket. He lets out a deep sigh.
“Look in your pockets. Do you have a key?”
“Just do it.”
I reach my hands into my pockets. A cold metal feeling settles at the bottom. Each pocket had half of a key in them. I never put these here. The halves click together easily. I glance at the man with a very confused look. He grabs the key from hands. It fits into the lock perfectly. A picture of him and beautiful woman resides in the locket. With a gesture I come over and help him take the top of the coffin off of this un-buried grave. He places the opened locket in the coffin then closes it.
“Now what?”
Minutes drag on ever so slowly. He kicks me randomly then points at the coffin. I glance at him with another confused face. Neither of us move. A quiet knocking echoes from the coffin. My escort starts pointing at the coffin again. I walk over there and look at it. Nothing is different from earlier. My curiosity piques and I start lifting up the lid of the coffin. Where the wood was before only darkness remained.
“What is this?”
“Stick the landing!” he shoves me down the hole then jumps after me.

I awake in a motionless dream. . .

A Motionless Dream — Part I, Chapter I

What makes the world start and go? Is it the people or the movement of atoms? The clock clicks forward as the soldiers march over a battlefield littered with corpses. A machine made of flesh and bone grinds against the harden earth. Every breath breaks away at the wall that separates today and tomorrow. Caught in the hands of a forsaken man who drives into me the cords of my own defeat like a symphony of strings heard only as a city burns. So why does this keep going?
Circumstance. We live only in an attempt to say we’re not dead. The beauty to be seen is merely an illusion fading away into the endless darkness of the night. A little iris flower sprouting from the flesh of a dead man as if he is only soil. Perhaps that is the reason I seek. All I need is a little reminder that everything is everything. You might ask why. I have no answer to that except a gut feeling. My past is unknown. I am here but without memories so am I truly me?
I awoke in this motionless dream. . . .

The sweet smell of dew covered flowers overwhelms me. My blurry eyes open up, I blink a few times, and look around me. A grassy field stretches far beyond the horizon in every direction. I try standing up but my legs feel so numb. I sit up to get a better idea of my surroundings. Flowers dot the landscape, small plots of wheat sway back and forth against a light gale, and a tree sits a few feet away casting shade over me. I dig my hands into the soil beside me. It’s wet and rich by the way it feels between my fingers like a moist cake.
I expect a bug to crawl up my thigh but never does. I glance around to see if there are birds flying in the sky. None. An eerie silence parades through this place like a chill down my spine. My heart races faster and the scenery starts to spin. A fear, so tangible, grips me by my throat. I struggle to awake from this nightmare. The blue sky darkens to a purple with black clouds drifting slowly on by. My eyes close.
Bustling noise of people brings me back. I look around to see nothing from before except for the tree. Concrete fills the fields, people replace the flowers, and long gorgeous hair flows in the wind. I’m leaning against a wooden pillar holding up the awning to a little wagon showing its wares. A guy perhaps only a year older than me watches me with a charmed expression. I blush at him ever so lightly.
“I see you’re awake! We haven’t had many customers yet. The day is just so beautiful I guess. They all walk on by with smiles. It’s just a part of the trade. How was your sleep? Any dreams?” he eagerly fills me in on what’s going on.
“I uh,” hesitating from the fact I don’t know him, “I did. It was this place but without the town. A beautiful meadow where I couldn’t get up or speak. It was so weird.”
“Dreams do that. Maybe you’ll find some hidden truth in it. Most people move on from their dreams so quickly to live this life but the dreams had something to say. Do you remember our talk three nights ago?”
“I can’t say I do.”
“We’ve grown up a lot in the last two years. We know just who we want to be. I want to follow my father’s footsteps and sell this prdouce to these people. I don’t grow enough for a small militia but enough to sell and eat. When I asked you what you want to be you said you wanted to think on it. Do you know now?”
“Hm I can’t say for sure. I really want only one thing right now.”
“I was going to say I want to know what’s going on.”
“What we do every week?”
“I don’t remember any of this. Do you really know me?”
“Uh yeah? Is something wrong?”
“Oh. Nothing. I guess I’m just really tired or something. Everything feels a little off.”
“Haha, alright. I was scared for a moment. You looked like you were lost.”
“Maybe what?”
“Sorry. I’m thinking out loud don’t mind me.”
“Rae go for a stroll. I can hold the fort down. You just seem like you need some time and space. I’ll be waiting here so try to get back before dusk. I’d hate to not get home before the storm.”
“Alright. What time is it though?”
“A little pass three. If the Sun starts setting just come back. Some people in this town are very weird and I don’t want you to get hurt. Go to the gardens or something. Let go of whatever is bothering you.”
I quickly walk away. My memories don’t exist. I try to recall them but only nothingness is there. I only remember my name of Ilyianna. People wave at me like they know me. I wave back only half heartedly. The sound of my feet tapping on the cobblestone road sounds so unreal. Every step tears me from this reality a little more. Thoughts about the dream circle around in my head adding to the disassociation.
My feet stop for a second as I look at the ground. A little piece of paper sits there with a rock weighing it down. I look around to see if anyone left it but no one did. Most of the people mind their own business and keep to themselves. Nervous hesitation shakes through my arm as I reach down and pick up the paper. Words written in blood seep through reading:
If you can see this you have awoke. Good. My name doesn’t matter. I know of Ilyianna’s secret and I bet you want to know. I can’t write it down. You’ll understand soon. Remember this — The clock strikes the umbral heart at exactly light of dawn before the breath of day.
What is going on? What does that mean? Damn it! I have no clue what to think. I need answers not more questions. Ugh, please something start to make sense. I start running. People look oddly at me making me run faster. My heart beats so fast that it could jump right out of my chest. Someone sneaks up on me and puts a hand around my stomach. I scream but nobody hears me. The person gets right next to my ear.
“Be quiet. Did anyone tell you not to walk to this side of town? Some really unsavory types set up shop here. A pretty girl like you could catch a nice penny. Hell, they don’t mind if you’re used too.”
“Get away from me!” I yell.
“Oh how cute. Men like a woman with a little sass especially in bed. It makes it more worthwhile.”
“You’re a monster.”
“I like to see myself as an entrepreneur. The real monster is all of us. These bodies crave lust. I can’t help but give the masses what they want. Supply and demand.”
An arrow flies pass both of us hitting the ground nearby. The man at the wagon from earlier stands there with a bow. He smiles and walks closer. My captor lets me go to back away from this scene. Another arrow hits him in the shin. He screams loudly then whimpers. I run to my savior and cower by his side.
“Are you hurt Rae?”
“I’m just shaken up. I’ll be okay.”
“So what were you trying to do? I know this is a shady part of town but still. I want an answer.” firmly states the young man.
“I thought she needed help. Some of these unsavory types would violate her. Not I. I would never hurt a woman.”
“What do you do for a living?”
“Really? A man has been accused of helping the slave trade by preying on helpless women and children. A scruffy man who finds the only thing beautiful in the world is money. He couldn’t respect a woman if he saw one.”
“Watch your tongue! This is my district. Stay to your own. Don’t act so high and mighty when you never starve. Do you even know what it takes to stay safe in this world? By being the first one to act.”
“No. If I starved I wouldn’t hurt another just to eat. Fight your own struggle don’t involve others. It’s a test of will. A test you failed. Pick up your stuff, leave those good people be, and get the hell out of my town. Now!”
“And if I don’t?”
“The law doesn’t protect criminals and thieves.”
“It actually does. Until a self-entitled saint swings his morals around like a gavel. I don’t have to listen to you. I’ll be staying here until the end.”
“Rae, please turn away.” as he says that I turn.
A single arrow flies through the air. The tang of the string echoes through the cobblestone streets. People look up at the unfolding scene. I lean my back against the man wondering what he feels deep inside. How do you kill someone so easily? Why would he not back down? I don’t even know you. Why? He places a hand on my shoulder and kisses my cheek.
“We shouldn’t stay here. Come on. Don’t look back whatever you do.”
He drags me up off the ground. I catch my footing and start running to keep up. The gasps of the townsfolk perpetuate the smell of iron in the air. They don’t understand why. I don’t understand either. I just run to keep ahead of my doubts that will surely tear apart this reality. A hundred questions left without answer. I’m the criminal running from a forgotten past.
My heart beat stabilizes with every step away from the blood spill. I can’t fight an urge to look back. I slightly turn my head right before he places a hand over my eyes. He laughs at me and I glare at him angrily. I decide to not look back despite my urge.
“If you look back at the darkness you’ll never escape. Look forward. Do you see the light?” he stretches a hand out towards the setting Sun.
“Stay focus on that. It will be the only way to awake from the darkness. I don’t know if I can take you there. I just hope you hold onto this. Don’t stay too long where you are lost or else you’ll become the reason why you’re lost. Learn to walk towards the light even by yourself. For now, just come with me.”

A City of Glass: Part II, Chapter I

Ariex holds onto his bottle of strong liquor with some sort of intensity in his grip. The cold glass, wet from condensation, seems to be fighting against the heat of his hand. Both sides know a different part of the same story. Struggle. His hand knows only of hard work. The bottle knows only of rest.

He lifts the bottle to take a drink. The liquid flows down his throat with its briskness. Once it hits his stomach warmth spreads over his body. Every sip he gets this chill and warmth. A puff of air  trails out of his mouth after every sip. Is he setting atmosphere or forgot? Ariex coughs on the bitter air.

“So the Frealigayn is a term once used for a religion that swore it could send living creatures to the Other Side. They wrote down their findings much more like scholars than believers of a faith. One day they decided sending a human through the device could be possible. Their hubris wrought their own pain. The leader of the faith, Raejak Utheyn, offered himself as the guinea pig.

Now most religions wouldn’t let their leader sacrifice himself. This religion didn’t question his choice. They started preparing for the test that day. The scariest part of the device is how it  works. Manuscripts about it have been long sought at by scholars but to no avail. Only the children of those people have the knowledge. We promised to our parents to never let anyone know the truth. Do you promise to never tell anyone?” he tips his drink towards me.

“I wouldn’t. The things I can tell from this so far tell me something terrible happened.” I shudder at the thought.

“Terrible? Yes. The animal tests only asked for a little bit of blood. It isn’t their choice. The device chooses the sacrifice. My parents told me the day before the trial that the cost could be grave. They had no clue. They thought it would be a limb not their lives. How can a device make such a complicated choice?

A gift known as a Frealigayn was given to them by a demon. He told them it had their answers. The thing, drawings that I’ve seen, showed a scepter made of bones, flesh, and ten eyes. It spoke to them with overlapping voices. They knew the thing couldn’t be good. Why would they take it? God. They wanted to beg for him to deal with the monsters in Dragacia. At what cost? Their whole beings. A choice like that is selflessly selfish. I cursed them for being so stupid. But they always said they already cursed themselves by taking the gift and so it is their destiny to take their sin before their Lord.

I was young back then. I didn’t get what Dragacia had done. Apparently the King of Dragacia found his status by sabotaging people who called him friend. Every country came together in an attempt to thwart the plans of an evil cult known as the Lost Crusaders. What plan? Legend says thirteen hellgates exist. They opened eleven of the Hellgates. Long story short the current Dragacian King ran a group of people into the heart of the Lost Crusaders’ base. They killed every last one of the Crusaders except one they wanted to interrogate. Fine and all right? Not even bloody close. The place where they were isn’t no ordinary place on Earth. It ain’t here anymore.

The King who fought the leader of the cult noticed something strange. Old magics stirred in the corridors. Some call it a Xylexia, others call it God’s Library, all I know is the King couldn’t help himself. He read through books that the leader had on a table in his private study. Something explained that anything taken from Xylexia would condemn the holder. He could’ve accepted that day’s victory but he only looked at what could be gained. A single grain of sand from an hourglass he hid in the supplies of the other royalty.

Everyone learned how one man’s greed can destroy all that’s good in the world. My parents watched ghostly wolves tear an innocent man apart. No one can pinpoint blame but nobody will say the King of Dragacia didn’t do it. Every nation wants his head. He’s marooned in Dragacia because Orion, the King of Cetera, and Faelorin, the King of Aldrassil, have made it a prime directive to hold their enemy accountable.

Now, I don’t know who did what back then. I don’t care. Dragacia as a whole has started killing people who are different. These people don’t impose their beliefs on anyone but for believing they’re executed. Aldrassil ain’t much different but Faelorin tries to stop the savage blood spill. Syael (see-ale) is the Dragacian King and he sees nobody as his equal. He isn’t a king. He proclaimed himself as an Emperor of the World.

Isn’t that messed up? He isn’t the only one responsible for the state of Dragacia. A few of the generals have stood faithfully by Syael’s side. My parents knew this. They decided sacrificing their souls for a better tomorrow was fair. Many demons have appeared on the Earth is what they told me. They want to abuse bleeding hearts and use them to create an even greater evil. The scepter did help them at a cost. Syael has the scepter now. I need to get it back. So here’s the rest of the story.

They dug a hole to place the scepter in. The eyes opened and used magic to draw lines around it. For animals it made bowls for blood sacrifice. It made five graves for them to rest forevermore. I sneaked into the building they selected for the ritual. I watched as my father laid down inside one of the graves. My mother went to kiss him one last time but the eyes wouldn’t have it. Crystallized magic skewered my father through the chest bringing his heart out. Another guy died, one woman died,  another guy  died, and my mother was getting ready. I yelled for my mom to not leave me. A chill ran down my spine.

The eyes turned towards me. A voice called to me. My mother begged for the eyes to let me go. Something took over my body, walked me to the empty grave, and my lips went numb. She screamed and cried for my life. I knew the eyes had no intent in killing me instead. I wasn’t a fit sacrifice. She had no idea what the eyes wanted. They craved for suffering. My mom jumped into the grave to save me. I couldn’t be saved or spared.

The crystallized magic came out at an angle. My body soaked in blood and a heart right in front of me.  I screamed. A man behind me placed his hand on my shoulder and told me to hear him out. I said no. He dumped a bucket of water on me and hugged me. The words he told me still echo in my head.

‘Your parents did everything out of love. That device right there is an evil thing I want to see destroyed. I’ll go through this portal. Promise me that you’ll destroy this thing.’ he said right before stepping through the portal.

By the strings of my heart I will keep that promise. I was so close to snapping the scepter in half but a mysterious group of people took it. The only thing I could see on them were the letters R and P. Today, Dragacia can be such a strong military state due to the efforts of the Royal Protectorate. Something tastes ill to me about them. They’ll stop a movement in Cetera and Aldrassil both at the same time. If they took  the Frealigayn they have an endless supply of people. Evil be stirring deep in Dragacia’s walls.

I didn’t leave that place at first. I waited for something I didn’t quite understand. Every time I tried to leave it felt like a hand held my shoulder. Ghosts. My parents kept giving me hints to their secret study. The key is all I needed. A key my father wore around his neck always. Wrapped around the crystallized magic was a necklace holding a small, rusty key. The stench was the worst thing. Decaying and rotting matter has a smell unlike anything. As soon as you smell it your stomach flips and you’ll find yourself dizzy, sick, and gagging. I threw up.

My shaky hands break the necklace but I caught the key by some miracle. I saw a glimpse of my father. Face became sullen, veins in his neck shallow and colorless, and the soil underneath him remains wet from blood. His intestines sprawled around the crystal like vines around a pillar. I ran from that room. My heart and mind were going crazy. I fumbled with the key once upstairs.

The hints showed a place behind the fireplace. I moved the wood out of the way and reached my hand down a shaft until I felt a valve, turned it a few times, a metal plate fell down from the back of the fireplace revealing a key hole, and I opened it without hesitation. The whole fireplace was on a hinge. I scurried into the room on the other side.

A dim light glows from overhead. In the light I could make out a cabinet, a desk, and a map on the wall. Every object in the place had information on Frealigayns. They come in many forms. A spirit, a scepter, a critter, and almost anything can be made into a Frealigayn. The strength of Frealigayn comes from its sorrow. Deeper into the journals I found a myth about them from thousands of years ago. These demons exist for the sole purpose of gathering shards from broken hearts for the revival of some arch demon. Personally I’d rather believe they only do this for themselves.

You said the Frealigayn knew your name? That’s strange. What else d id he tell you to do?”

“He wanted me to not go to the port. Something about how him and myself will want revenge and get it together. He said I’d become something I’m not. He said he is the future of the man I’ll call a friend.” my hushed tone whispers through the wind barely reaching Ariex’s ears.

“I see. Was he really a Frealigayn then? I can’t say. Spirits are weird. They come to us in times of need and times of no reason. My parents still haunt me when I let all the filth get to  me. Love can be a stranger thing too. He wouldn’t have came that far to warn you about something for no reason. Maybe he wants you to do his own bidding  or he truly wants to give you a second chance.

All in all, the choice is yours to make. We let you leave somewhere far from Aldrassil or you live your life. The costs and benefits don’t exist. It’s a gut feeling you gotta trust. It’s really like love. You either wait til you are ready or you jump right in.”

“Ariex thanks for everything. You saved me from the freezing ocean, gave me stuff to eat and drink, told me stories, abandoned me to die to a ghost. . .I’m not going to forget that one. I told you I want to be a part of your crew. For better or worse that’s what I intend to do.’ we shake hands as a way to seal the decision.

A City of Glass: Part I, Chapter IV

Tides rock the boat back and forth. Memories of being a child falling asleep on a rocking chair after crying for what felt like a very long time. Does the Earth care about us in the same way? This oscillating movement culls the hearts of these men living on the other end of goodbyes. I feel their pain inside, their bitter taste of anguish, and their longing to change what cannot be changed.

Each of us cries in the dark. Friends, family, lovers, and other people who lost their lives so that we could live will never be forgotten. The captain’s face floods with tears that reflect the moonlight. He takes a moment to get his thoughts together but his hand keeps shaking from fear or anticipation. Every member of the crew looks at their captain with respect and admiration.

“These tears seem magical tonight. If only they could bring those brave men back to life. Only myself and another man survived that night. The monstrous tide sent most of the boats to the bottom of the ocean. Myself and the leading commander of those soldiers drifted on the wreckage for a little while. I wanted to fall asleep but the commander made sure I didn’t. A part of me knew living through that experience would forever change me. Did I really want to see the man I’d become someday?

The commander knew what I was feeling. He called it the truth of the heart. We tell ourselves we are strong but that’s not true. A heart is a city of glass. It can shatter as fast as it’s created. At the time I didn’t know what to believe. I wasn’t willing to listen to his philosophical outbreak but nowadays I understand. I understand that I’m alive trying to make something beautiful in this world but that beauty wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t something ugly. Loss. We all lose things that mean the world to us. Is it enough to break our hearts?

I know you wanted to hear more about the storm. My mind either blocked it out or I blacked out because all I remember is those words. It’s not like I need to remember their screams ‘cuz if I did I wouldn’t be able to walk away. Oh I still didn’t walk away because their names are tattooed on my chest. I carry the small memory of them with me. They’re living on in the memories we have of them. All of us here have similar stories of loss but it’s the lessons and memories that stay with us until the end of time. Yes, we live in their light now. Shine on and make them know we aren’t falling to our knees in sorrow.” the captain’s words echo in the cold air.

My hands shiver with the realization that I can’t have what I once had. Every day beneath a warm Sun will be cloudy to me. I don’t see myself caught in a rut or sad for what has happened. The captain said the truth. I must be the source of light for those lost in the dark. It’s funny that we help others with nothing of our own but it’s the fact that we can cope with the dark. I grab my drink off the side of the boat and gulp down the sweet liquor.

“Damn, sure enjoy the mead?” Captain Ariex scoffs at my demeanor. “What makes it so good? The sweet flavor or the warmth in your gut? It matters a lot how a man sees his pleasures. Much more than what he’d do to achieve his fix.”

“The flavor. The flavor encompasses everything. Every drop of saliva mixes with it. It’s the contamination of order with chaos. A simple reminder to never get so obsessed in your success. We all need to let go. The reason the world is bad isn’t at all because people are bad. Some of us don’t get our heads out of the game and get lost in self-imposed sorrow. We’re too unaware of the beauty. Sometimes we need to just sit down and look at it. Get away from reality because it is fiction. A cruel fiction where dreams go to die.” my heart wins over my mind once again.

“Interesting. Who taught you?” Ariex gives me an unsettling stare.

“My mother. We were poor and unable to pay for schooling but she did the best she could. Is there something wrong with my belief?”

“Chaos, it’s the power of nature not man. The townspeople in the port town of Eyzianfell don’t take kindly to those that talk about chaos.  They believe all the magic folk who gave their souls to nature are chaotic beasts.  I can’t stomach to walk into the forest where the townspeople strewn up the corpses those they don’t like. Kid, get a strong stomach if you ever venture that way. All the sweetness in the world doesn’t protect anyone from that sight. Murder makes no sense except when you put possessions over people.”

“How can they,” I take a heavy gulp, “do something like that?”

“By coveting false deities. Atheists still have a deities but it is them and everyone else is supposed to praise them. I’ve met some nice people in my life who believe in gods and those who don’t. Some people simply lie for their own benefit. One can seek salvation out of greed. Those are the people we want to avoid. Can we deny their transgressions? This is the place where we fucked up as a species. We can’t let these type of people run free because they are demons in human skin. It’s nothing about religion. They just want to destroy everything no matter the cost. All walks of life have these monsters. We need a way to get rid of them or help them see life anew! I’m just a captain on fishing crew. I still know we have a long way to go before it can happen. If I ever am in town when those people go on their hunts I may never see daylight again.”

“The world has made you into a powder keg. Let’s hope I’m not the fire to light the fuse.”

“Yeah. Do you want to join the crew? We stop at the port for two days. Day one to sell, day two to get provisions. We’ll be on the seas by Thursday.”

“Damn,” I scratch my head, “I haven’t given it much thought. I know nobody from outside of Dragacia. What else could I do?”

“Dance. Yeah no, only way to be someone in Eyzianfell is to know someone. You know me right?” the captain generously smiles at me.

“Yes,” I smile back, “I do know you Captain. What should I do when we reach the port?”

“I’ll figure something out. The seas be a-blowing ill will t’night from the red morn. Worry more about now or we’ll never see the port.”

A whipping sound echoes around the ship. Ariex starts coughing and the ship shimmers in and out of existence. Screeching screams pierce through the night. Green mist rolls in covering everything. One of the crew screams out in agony. A need to go into the ship’s cabin enters my every thought. My feet refuse to move. The sound of a lock turning compliments the dropping of my heart.

All of the mist collapses inward upon itself creating a shadowy figure. It grabs me by my throat. The intent to kill trembles in its hands but they don’t squeeze. Time stands still as the screams subside. A feeling that I know this creature haunts me now. How would I know it? He has no face. Wait, how do I know it’s a he? Can he just. . .

“Rayne, we haven’t truly met before. We will. Something we both will regret. I do want to kill you to keep that from happening. I can’t. Your body has too much light for me to touch. How can such an evil man have so much light? We can only collide with our destiny. A pity. Please, my dear friend, don’t go to Eyzianfell. It will break  you, you will abandon your promise to Olivia, and we’ll get our revenge but the cost isn’t worth it. I’m begging you to just walk away from your revelation. The simple genocide of a race isn’t worth the world! For the love of all things run away from everything.” the specter whispers to me in a calm voice.

“Who. . .who are you?” I utter quickly with a gasp for air.

“A memory. The Green Hand, Poison, a monster, and I was once a man. A man. If I could give you an answer I would. My Lord will soon send in his servants to destroy this visage. I hoped I could end this. . .this fall from grace. Power doesn’t mean anything if you lose yourself in the process. Our sins won’t stand up to people just like who you are now. They’ll preserve the beauty in Olivia’s name as you destroy her for your selfish aspiration. Be quiet, live in a small town, don’t question the world, live by your religion, and don’t let this world change you. The stupid wisps thought they were helping an unlucky kid. They gave birth to a monster who will destroy this world.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” I cough from the lack of air. “If I know you someday why didn’t you stop me? We can’t change the past. You want to? You’re the one messing with the world. If I do change I know other people won’t let me burn this world down.”

“Yeah, I do know you someday. We both have a thorn in our hearts. We’ll get overzealous and lost in the game. Sssen and me will wait for you in our palace of good intentions.”


“A monster that was never a man. Rayne, do good and follow your gut. In Heaven’s gardens or Hell’s ruins I’ll still call you a friend. Good bye.” he disappears into the darkness once more.r

“Is it over?” someone in the cabin utters. “I can’t tell. Ariex get your head out of the way. Woah, woah, I should fling you out there with the Fyrealigayn. Shush he can hear us. No shit! Hold me! What?  I’m scared. Let’s sacrifice him. Any objections? Nay. Nay. Nay. Nay. Nay. The horses have spoken.”

A huge amount of noise rumbles in the cabin. One of the crew mates breaks through the door with his back. I sit there staring at them all. Ariex slowly inches out with a puzzled look. No one says anything. The crew mates set sail for Eyzianfell.

Ariex sits next to me. We stare at the night sky. Fish leap in the wake of the ship. The cool night air soothes my lungs. Drink after drink I find myself further lost in the dark. Words pile up in my head but my mouth feels dry. I need to move on and ignore that visage.

“Son. What happened? The Frealigayn had a few minutes with you. They usually kill without reason. A ghost trying to be made whole once more through murder. What happened?”

“I don’t want to talk about it. He knew my name. Are you sure that’s what they want? To be reborn?”

“That or a legend could tell you more. Want to hear it?”

“Sure.” the waters calm down and the moon shines a little brighter.

A City of Glass: Part I, Chapter III

“I must return to my other form. If only I could stay like this a little while longer. Hold me until I am no more.” small tears roll down her cheeks.

“Olivia,” I wrap my arms around her shimmering visage, “It doesn’t matter what form you end up taking. You’ll forever be you. I love you not your flesh. Stay close to me if you feel cold, put your trust in me, and look towards the future. Everything is unknown. I need you by my side until the very end.”

“Do you mean all that Rayne?” We both lean in for a kiss. The cold water feels warm for this moment of intimacy. I touch her warm lips, our tongues me between, and I find myself lost in the beauty that is Olivia. It’s moments like these that make life worth living. If only it could last forever.

“Uhm I. . .” a man coughs in the distance “Are we intruding sir? It seems you have something for wisps.” I abruptly stop to see Olivia’s wisp in front of my eyes. I blush out of embarrassment at them coming across this unfolding scene.

“You caught me. I saw the wisps on the Ocean and had to come out here for my guilty pleasure.”

The big man who spoke first scratches his head. A few of them talk about something in whispers and laughs. An affirming cough stops their gossip but the big man tosses one of them into the water.

“Do you see any other wisps out there Sean?”

“First off, what gives you the idea of throwing me into the ocean? Secondly, I see no wisps around here except one. Oh and Captain Aerion. . .” Aerion throws a tacklebox at him.

“Well Sir where did all the wisps go to? If in your pants I’m leaving you with my crew mate for a talk. Wisps don’t belong there!” Aerion tosses his hands in the air and walks in a half circle.

“I have no clue how the wisps disappeared. I fell into the water on the coast of Dragacia and this wisp led me here. They saw I was on the brink of death and dissolved into my skin. Have you ever heard of that before?”

Aerion scratches his chin as he looks me over. Silence fills the open air, another crew mate grabs a few bottles of beer out of a cooler, the one in the ocean swims back to the ship with the tackle box, and everyone sighs even Olivia’s wisp. They help me into the boat.

“Find yourself a seat. Anywhere is fine.” I move a fishing pole over to sit down on the side of the boat. “I often walked the streets as a young lad in my very early twenties. I didn’t know if I was after trouble or women but both were hazardous to my health. Neither wanted me although I kept going for those walks to talk with the sailors, soldiers, and anyone coming in from the port. One harsh Winter found two crews lost in the sea. I went onto the sea with a few soldiers to find the sailors but we found ourselves in the middle of a nasty storm.”

“How did you escape? Most times a rescue party can’t take a large ship. I’m sorry I love stories like this.”

“We had a ship that could barely hold the five of us on it. The boat nearly capsized what felt like eight times. Every wave we crossed felt like a life’s journey, A soldier shouted ‘I see the two crews in the distance!’ we followed the direction he told us to go. Everyone helped each other to tie ropes to the vessels. Somebody up in the Heavens abandoned us on those waters. A trial to see who would be fit to walk away from that tragedy. We cheered when the ropes were finally tied but only I saw the waters recede. A legendary tide  rose above us like a beast straight out of Hell with teeth gnashing and spit flying. The amount of hearts that dropped made a sound so terrifying that every fiber of our beings were left asunder. Kid, I’m sorry give me a few minutes to honor the memory of those who died on that day.”

Each member of the crew places their drinks down. We sit there in silence watching the tides under the stars and moonlight. Thoughts of people sacrificing everything for others create an anchor holding the rest of us upon a thin plain known as reality. The pain of losing a good person for any reason can destroy anyone. Why do others have to hurt them? Why must we be afraid? A horror that reminds me that I’m finite.

A City of Glass: Part I, Chapter II

I open my eyes to see her head fall down onto my shoulder. She struggles to breathe but forces her head to turn towards my left ear. Her heartbeat speeds up, fear makes us both tremble, and I finally notice the blood. A bullet lodged itself in her rib cage after piercing one of her lungs.

“I forgot to tell. . .you why I came here. The royal army. . .sent their new. . .regiment to kill. . .the Mystical Veil. People who believe in religion. . .practice magic. . .aren’t deem human. . .will die. I wanted. . .you to. . .be hap. . .happy.” Her breathing stops but she kisses my cheek.

“I am happy! Don’t go before you know that. I was extremely happy that you came here to save me! You never let go of your promise to be there whenever I fall apart. I don’t want to leave your body here. What’s the purpose of all this? Please I need to hear you once again! Don’t die!”

“Ru..uh..n. . .” She rolls off of me with her failing strength.

My heart drops to the bottom of my chest while tears flood my eyes. I struggle getting my feet underneath me. The world spins around me and my stomach feels uneasy. I can’t hold it back. I never found myself shy to blood but this is far too much, too personal, and too real.

I get myself steady after the queasiness passes. Her last word repeats in my head. Run. Run. Run. Run. Shouts of men can be heard in the forest before the cliff. I can’t get pass them and I know that. I look to the sky beyond the cliff to see the Sun setting. My heart beats faster and faster until I begin running headlong towards the edge.

“I’m not worth your bullets! I’ll end this for you! Don’t go looking for me because the ocean will be my grave unless fate has something else in store for me! Let’s place a bet! If I come back I won’t be alone and we’ll take back this land for the memory of all who died to your destructive beliefs!!!” Gunfire sprays from the forest but not a shot hits me as I leap off the cliff.

I feel like I’m flying until gravity pulls me towards the rocks. Regrets cry out from within but I can’t say a word  as I fall like a spear into the sea. I’m sorry I couldn’t get away. They weren’t going to talk and I wanted to die next to you. Why did you tell me to run? Run to where? Save me somebody! My silent screams dig themselves into my spine forcing me to feel this unrelenting, crawling chill.

     Today is the worst day ever. I let my emotions get in the way and I almost killed myself. I killed the one person who made this life bearable. Her blood is on my hands. What God would. . .no this is the act of indecent men. If there is a God I need you now. Do whatever it takes just let me live through this day. I want to live on to be a thorn in the hide of evil so I can show light even in the dark. And if that is too much to ask then let her take my place in Heaven. I know she never believed in you but she never judged me for believing. She encouraged me to love you and if it wasn’t for her I’d be lost in my own sorrow. A life for a life is fair trade. I can’t ask for anything more.

    I close my eyes in anticipation of the end. The whole world shrinks to this place in the way a tragedy highlights the death of the protagonist. A single man isn’t wholly good or wholly evil but today one takes the stage. I am saying my last rights in my head as a wind touches my back as I am flung forward into salty water. My eyes open in my confusion to see a light above my head.

“A little wisp? They hide from people. What is it doing here? Did you. . .” I reach my hand towards the ball of light. “Who are you?” A familiar warmth startles me.  “Is this even possible?”

“Run.” The small wisp moves ahead and waits for me. I float in the water in a breathless daze while I look at my hand. “Run.”

I swim towards the light. The wisp keeps moving into the open ocean. Night descends upon us, the wisp leads on, I follow, and my heart feels her presence all around me. Whispers can be heard somewhere off in the distance but I can’t stop. My life is still in the hands of fate. The freezing water is slowing me down. My sense of touch fades away.

Suddenly the wisp rushes off into the night without me. Cold stiffens my joints and stings my throat. I can’t move. Did I follow a random wisp for no reason risking my life in the process? The warmth was so real like Olivia’s. I miss her. I grasped at the first thing to remind me of her. An old love  found in the warmth of another. I’m truly pathetic if I seek her so badly. Love is a great thing until the day it falls from the hands of whoever holds it. I still feel her love although she’s gone.

My eyes begin closing. A lot of little lights come into view in front of me. My body starts shutting down. Darkness covers everything once again. I could float endlessly in the tides like a rocking chair lulling me to sleep. Pinholes of warmth spread across my body letting me open my eyes once more. The wisps fade into my skin, they sing a song as they come to me, and magically my life recovers.

The world we once loved,
It has been made different and changed.
Some point we fell from our life
And found ourselves under a scythe.

Together we sing of light
To break us out of this endless night.
Our tears can flood
But no more do we have blood.

Something holds us to the Earthen soil
Although we left this mortal coil.

     Every light fuses with my body except for one. It floats in my reach as if waiting for something. Olivia’s light hasn’t touched me yet. Can this be her? What should I do? I reach my hand out towards the light only to see Olivia materialize before me. The whole world feels right once again.

     “I can’t stay long Rayne. I came to give you a final goodbye in this form. I’ll follow you endlessly as a wisp though. I heard you blaming yourself. Dumb ass! I did what I wanted to do because I love you. If I didn’t I would’ve let you get impaled by those rocks earlier.”

     “Do you have to criticize me even when you’re dead? I thought maybe this could be romantic but. . .” she kisses me quickly.

     “I do love you and that’s why I criticize. A ship will be here soon. I’ll be a wisp by the time they reach us. These people hunt a rare fish that breeds under the light of wisps. Go with them to wherever. You’ll have a good life. Forget about the past, keep me near, and move forward. Rayne, babe, I need you to promise me that you won’t ever come back to Dragacia. A horrible genocide will begin. I can’t handle the thought of losing you to those soldiers. Please promise me.” her body begins to shimmer and fragment.

     “I promise. We can be together forever this way. I’ll never let go of that as long as you’re around.” I kiss her back just before she turns back into a wisp.

A City of Glass: Part I, Chapter I

     My feet stand at the ledge of a cliff. Jagged rocks at the bottom claw towards the sky above. The gentle wind begs me to take another step, my heart clings to the Earth with memories, and the whole world spins on. I stare across the blue sea while licking my dry lips.

     “These ghosts follow so closely to reality. Inside these machines it’s electricity giving meaning to their movements. Is every dream the remnant of a creature or the decay of metal? If pain has no reason and dreams are meant to shatter then I can’t stay here anymore. Let me take this step, my gentle heart, because we weren’t strong enough to face the horrors of this world.” I try to take a step but my body won’t listen. “Why can’t I just run away from this place? Days after days I find myself here again. I’m unable to will myself.”

     Rushed footsteps echo from behind as two arms wrap around my chest. I fall backwards against a soft body. A hand plays with my hair and light giggles fill the world with joy. I reach up to touch a familiar cheek as warm as sunlight. Both of us smile for what feels like an eternity.

     “You look happy. Why. . .” she slaps me across the face, “Why in the world would you think about jumping!? You’re such a dumb ass sometimes. Did you know that? I won’t let you up until you answer me. Why?”

“Other people live so blindly. I can’t even tell if we’re the same creature. I don’t know if I want to know the truth. They told me that my God is an illusion. I told them they’re wrong but no I’m the criminal for believing in something more. What’s so wrong to look beyond this place of broken dreams? I want to get away from them before my heart breaks apart. You stopped me from taking the step into the other world. Do you do it out of love or do  you want me to fall and shatter? The cynics in this world push me too far. I can’t even see the good sometimes. Maybe they’re right that there’s no God.”

     “They’re wrong. God lives inside of you. Nobody can take away what makes you you. Let them say we are wrong and diseased and let them know we won’t ever change. If you don’t defend who you are they will rip you apart,put their beliefs inside of you and sow you back together with your own heart strings.” She slowly bends over to kiss my cheek.

We sit there in silence. The only noise is the song of birds echoing endlessly throughout the coast. If I listen closer I can hear her heartbeat. Ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum. I wrap an arm around her making her smile at me. A shiver runs down my spine. Words fill my mind but a knot in my throat stifles every attempt to utter a single breath.

     She leans against me, I let her get as close as she wants, we both turn our faces toward each other, eyes meet, a fire inside burns ever brighter, we lean in for the kiss, our lips touch, her tongue touches mine, time stands still, and a glorious light fills my eyes. Sensations flood my mind. I can’t tell what is going on but part of me doesn’t care. The haze in my mind clears up to show her above me staring into my eyes with a lost, enchanted demeanor.

     “Where does this begin and end? Caught in a swirling whirlwind. I want so much to give you all of my heart. The lovely way you enter my life, break the shell on my heart like a castle  wall, and maybe this a coup d’etat but I know my sins so I’m willing to place my life in your hands. Bring justice or bring salvation.”

     “Lay silent me Lord. Talk is cheap on the edge of love and lust. We could give in, let go, and be free. I love you.” A gun sounds off in the distance creating a chilling moment where time felt surreal in a bad way.