Tag Archives: Original Works

Grief’s Pure Cold


It’s a very different sort of dark

When we deal with the loss of light

The  moments we reflect most fondly on

Are our courage in the fight

As time takes eternal steps ahead

And as we move as one with it

We pray our kindest days before

Provide us with due credit

We reflect, we rise, we raise a toast

As winter turns to spring

A little early to call on the sun

But these times demand we sing

We close our eyes, we let our day slip

We know this procedure all too well

What we take from it is a moment

Where we realize there’s still much more to tell

The stories, the legends, the place souls lost to us hold

Our minds, our hearts, our spirits soar

As love decays grief’s pure cold

Twenty-Second Soldier



Within the window of a crucial hour, Cruz felt compelled to waste precious minutes taking in the cancerous stench surrounding the planet he had just touched down on.

To a non-smoker, it was an odious, intimidating aroma. A result of negligent beings and an environment being just as dismissive of itself as they were to it. An environment that had long given up believing in its own beauty and sense of worth.

It cut itself loose, it gave in, and the smoke from a thousand factories on its service filled its lungs.

A cancerous habitat and one which Cruz, for now, relished.

It had been seventeen months since he had a cigar locked firmly within his lips; he likened it to a star-crossed love affair. Interplanetary restrictions had banned the practice of smoking across much of the inhabited quadrants. There was not one colony he could go to that would permit a cigar, or a pipe, or a lighter. The very sight of them would see you given a cushy few days in an isolated cell. Away from more than just that one unhealthy method of occupying your time.

On the plus side however, you wouldn’t see much of the war. And you wouldn’t have to make sacrifices quite like the one Cruz was going to make.

Maybe that’s why he wasting his time, for there was none to lose. These seconds, as abundant in number as they were for the time being would still prove ultimately finite. These were his judgment calls, and he was off to a poor start.

As he looked up at the burning skies above him, and looked west towards the fortified structure ahead, he knew taking in these moments, these pleasures, was the right course of action. It was these moments, this embrace of the corrupted air that ignited the inner fire necessary to storm the fortress and test his race.

Yes, he was looking to label an opportunity to inhale second-hand smoke as a benchmark moment for humanity.

Anything to fashion his ego into a crucial portrait. After all, it had taken a bruising in the last day or so.

But he needn’t think about that now, not when the next judgement call had to be more serious.

He examined his inventory with precision. He was somewhat disappointed in the overall simplistic approach. It was something of a school lunch than a main course.

Your basics were there. Ray gun with seven or so recharger packs, a jet pack, grappling hook, headphones, and a stop watch.

And there was even a note from your mother, telling you to utilize all of it, and to omit nothing.

Those that had assigned him this task had given him precious amounts to work with, and that was just not the kind of world that easily overwhelmed a man of Cruz’s calibre who had been in the heat of a harsher time, and where  the colonial military had once taken so many precautions that it felt like they were overcompensating.  That they had overdid it for the wars they were involved in.

Probably why they won those wars so easily, and why Cruz was so easy-going about any that came long after the military had been downsized and all manners of deterrents blocked from importing.

To be so easy going about war meant you could face death in the eye and shrug your shoulders at what it meant, even if the notion still terrified you at heart.

Cruz realized just why he was chosen, why he was expendable. The time he lived in had long passed, there were no easy solutions to win this war any longer, these were the hard choices, and people of his kind were being gradually phased out in a manner that would make them folklore no matter which way the outcome went.

To bestow a heavenly legacy on to a hero with a noble pathway to hell.

Alright then. Cruz would accept.

He took the gun, fastened the jet pack to his back, slipped the grappling hook into his side pocket, put on the headphones, and disembarked from his ship, and relished the continuous cancer inviting cauldron of smoke surrounding the planet.

He switched on the rocket pack’s thrusters, which catapulted him across whole craters and long abandoned cities. Before long, he was listening to the ‘music’ on the headphones.

In reality, they were instructions, no music, telling the good little soldier what to do when he got to the fortress, but Cruz, in his head, chose to fashion the instructions as if they were a kind of jingle, like an old fashioned commercial one would hear on the radio back in the wartime of yesteryear, back on the parent planet.

The soothing sounds of his own head merged seamlessly into the cold, commanding, logical tone of the instructor, telling Cruz his goal was to penetrate the fortress, and from there, he would have a twenty-six second window or thereabouts to do whatever he needed to do to strike deep at the heart of the enemy, and then make a scramble for freedom.

He could win the war in twenty-six seconds if he knew precisely what to hit.

See, the creature’s humanity was war with, the Sha’Doza, had a reputation for being quite timely, they could respond to an emergency situation before a minute was barely up, but there was always this moment in time where they would hold back. Nobody knew why.

Not knowing was probably Cruz’s sole disadvantage. He wasn’t the kind to let things like that slip his mind, it nagged at him. Persistently. He couldn’t escape it.

Even as the more urgent matter of evading his enemies came up as he approached their gates.

The Sha’Doza, terrifying six-armed green toad-like critters with lethally diamond-tipped teeth and large tongues, also had wings, they could fly, and they were coming at him from all sides.

He charged up his ray gun, and took three or four of the swarm surrounding him, before they began levelling him with blow after blow from their six arms; they pummelled his jet pack with ease.

They could have watched him fall into one of their homeworld’s many craters or bottomless pits, they chose to spare him and hoist him up high.

Cruz smiled, their obnoxious gloating, their mistimed mercy, had given him the ideal window.

As one of the Sha’Doza lifted him high above its head, his ray gun still in hand, he aimed it just above the temple of the creature and pulled the trigger.

The lighting fast laser shot pierced the creature’s temple and splintered it in two, it fell, and its grip lessened, Cruz somersaulted through the air and clutched the back of another, threatening to do the same to it if it didn’t carry him the rest of the way to the fortress.

Easier said than done, for Cruz then realized there was no reason for the remainder of the swarm not to have their brother’s backs.

So Cruz went with a wild notion, and disembarked from the back of the Sha’Doza, he cut himself loose from the swarm, and left himself open to the brightly lit sky.

He descended. Nobody followed him down; they assumed he would be a goner.

Cruz counted the seconds as he rapidly approached the craters below, he thought about the window of opportunity, he thought about his judgement calls.  He thought back to what had bruised his ego earlier in the week.

He set his eyes sharply on a large mountain just to the right of him, he took his grappling hook out of his side pocket and aimed it carefully, before pulling the trigger, the hook snagged on to a piece of the mountain and he was able to halt his momentum.

Now he was a sitting duck. All he had was his ray gun to fend off the equivalent of extraterrestrial vultures that could approach him at any moment to finish what they had began, he was nowhere near the top of the mountain either.

Fortunately, the mountain had some steep ledges to the right of him that he could find firm footing on. He steadily put one foot forward on the ledges, holding on as best he could with his hands, and took in big intakes of breath, trying not to make too gentle or loud a sound in case he tipped off the Sha’Doza, who were circling overhead.

Making his way around the mountain took close to an hour, but Cruz was able to hold his nerve, as well as his breath, and impressed even himself with how much distance he was able to make across the ledges.

Finally, he reached a clear path and set about on his way again. His mind paced itself like clockwork, wise to the seconds and hours ticking away, he knew he did not have much longer. His body was failing him as the pollutants and fumes that littered the atmosphere seized being a privilege to the desperate aspiring smoker and became an albatross that was dragging down a weary and tired human being.

He found himself on the outskirts of a heavily fortified structure. His destination reached at last.

He shrugged his shoulders. There was no way he could get in to that. He knew it deep down.

It dawned on him that no one was ever sent here by the colonies to do any sort of damage, to put up any sort of fight against these forces.

He’d suspected for some time that the old ways weren’t working, and that the colonists had not really put much into the war effort these last few years. In many ways, things had been quite peaceful on their end, but there was always the voice that protested loudly, Cruz having such a voice, that minimal was being done, and that they would step up and be the ones that made things happen.

So it was just that those voices be sent into the wilderness, to try and make some noise.

And, always, it would fall silent, until the next voice got a little louder.

The gates to the fortress opened and Sha’Doza in their millions came out, charging their ways, sharpening their teeth on electrical cattle prods. All manners of torture, all designed with single outcome. That of a swift fatality.

Cruz, bold colonist warrior, had about twenty six seconds to think of something. He chose what to make of those twenty six seconds.

One great notion he had other than being a warrior was to be a writer, to be a capable one. Not to seek it as a means to get fleeting fame, just to prove to a cantankerous mentor in his school that he could do it.

One time he had watched a video interview with a great writer whose name time had neglected to mention consistently over the generations. What mattered was the message he had conveyed to the interviewer. That in your mind, you can recite dance steps time and time again when writing, but all you have to do is watch the story sort itself out, that there no other high you could muster than to watch what the story does and write it out in your head.

He loved that interview so much, he wove it into the framework of a short story he wrote and published online.

Then he did research on the writer, and found he had already used his own advice in a story of his own.

He had unwittingly plagiarized.

Cruz had twenty six seconds to say he was sorry.

And that he did.

As he fell to his foes, he thought, as long as he could, more confidently about things.

This was his story.

And he had sorted it out.


Wisdom’s Teeth Leave Scars



Meet Harold. He is a sorcerer.  The land of Pompitope is where he hails from.

It looks like a pretty dull place to the trained and educated eye.

It’s a paradise to the naive.

All the up and coming sorcerers think this place is a stepping stone; it’s where they’ll take a step above.

Harold and his friends all have this big dream of being the most discussed, most debated of their kind in all of Pompitope.

They had heard stories though, that whenever the young and inspired come back from atop the summit of Mount Nuent, that they come back with but one thing.


And it depressed them.

And no one questioned why. Noone was allowed to get a word in on the matter in fact; all the young Sorcerers just went back to work.

And work was all they considered it by this point. Not fun, not a hobby, just work. They considered this a way to making a living, they weren’t embracing it as a way of life; they were making it the means for which to pay the cost of living.

Harold and his friends had heard these whispers, but took no heed of their warnings. They would travel to Mount Nuent, and they vowed they would come back to their homeland with a zest for life, the means to take it head on and embrace its ups and downs.

This would be their greatest test, they diligently researched every spell they could learn, and even reminded themselves of the spells they had already practiced and mastered time and again, and they would journey to Nuent at the fourth setting of the suns that day.

When that moment came, ‘Harold’s Hoarde’ as the villagers called them, made their way to the mountain. As they ascended, the fearsome conditions, as predicted by them, provided the test of endurance.

Violent winds threatened to sweep them off their feet, but a wave of their wands made them lighter than air.

A treacherous and raging waterfall stood between them and the next stage of the path, but a wave of their wands forged a steep bridge connecting them to the other side of the mountain.

Howling masked banshees that clung to the sides of the cliffs reached out to tempt the men, but the Wizards set about unmasking each of them, and with a wave of their wands, they created mirrors for each of them. Transfixed by their own beauty, the banshees left the Wizards to ascend the remainder of the mountain.

Finally, they reached their destination, and were awarded with an audience with the wise Wizards of the land. Those fables had decreed to be so powerful, that they possessed the means to create life itself.

Harold and his friends asked if they could bring something to life, something with raw, potent emotion, a zest for life, and had flaws it would have to overcome.

The wise Wizards, excited, began discussing what the creature would look like. After a couple of hours, it became clear this was all they were discussing.

Nothing about what kind of flaws it would have, what conceptions of faith could challenge its belief in itself, what causes it could join to determine in its long life if it would serve a great good or evil. None of that, the wise Wizards wanted to know if it should have a fourth eye or a seventh sense.

Harold argued that the creature had to make sense.

The wise Wizards laughed at this, and replied “It’s magic, it doesn’t have to make sense”

Harold and his friends gritted their teeth, and opted to depart Nuent that night, and returned home earlier than scheduled. They put their wands away, they greeted their wives and kids with a warm embrace and from there sought out a job in the local paper, looking to make ends meet.

They had gained wisdom that evening, and learned their most bitter lesson.

Harold’s hoard would work hard to serve life rather than challenge it, they would pay the bills, they would raise the next generation, and they would give them a different kind of advice. They hoped that their wisdom would leave no trace of the scars their own epiphanies had provided.

Life had to make sense of itself, or all its creatures would lose all sense of it.


Trust In The Hand



Snakes can harm us tender souls
Their bite is fierce and all seems grim
We question where their poison comes from
What keeps their venom in
For those who trust more in God’s nature, science just won’t do
They seek answers within their souls, and what thier words say to you
So if you believe in a mighty hand, reaching down with blessing
Trust in that hand to keep you close, and the serpent’s bite will lessen

Up Above The Beetles



There had been a nagging thought sitting in the head of a young tender upstart of a thing as it paced up and down a garden centre stationed in the middle of nowhere, or anywhere that wasn’t where he wanted to be.

He fancied a stroll along the beach.

But that wasn’t the issue.

No, this thought occurred to him just as he spotted a beetle darting across the clear pavement.

It was the second creature he’d spotted that day. The first had been a robin. Tiny little thing.

He didn’t have this thought with that. He’d never allow it.

With a beetle, and with any insect, the thought persisted.

The thought that puts you between roles.

Roles that were vast and simple.

The simple action of the common man, acting with senior authority of a commanding God.

A God who need not say a word to cast judgement, and end days, short as they were already, for the insect.

It took but a simple step.

 It had to be quick, mind you, for the insect wasn’t going to just take a rest, they never do. They are always scurrying. Always.

You had to be sharp, make your decision within the time frame allocated, place that bold step forward, and smite the insect with all your might.

That’s the thought that persisted.

And it always did.

The boy fancied himself a good soldier, a servant of something he deemed fit to be God.  He likes to think he shared some kind of communion with it, or him, or her, or all three.

There wasn’t such a clear way of identifying it.  It had no shape, it had no number, nothing came before one, but people often say in circles a God is the one above all, so it can’t be nothing.

And yet others say the universe came from nothing.

What came before nothing? Was there a number nobody knew about?

That was the scarier thought, one that did not persist as much, but on this warm sunny summer day, it was all the boy could think about.

A number with no brand, no visibility, no shape.

No way of being judged.

The boy let the beetle scurry away, too distracted by all the other joyous thoughts he’d allow to process, thoughts that he was paranoid would be clouded by thoughts pertaining to what he’d been taught by the word of God, by the word of his parents, that life was sacred, and to take any life, ANY life, not one excluded, would see you judged, on the day you passed, or even, if you happened to be Stateside, were made to pass on.

The boy shouldn’t be thinking this way, he was too young.

But that’s just it…we’re all too young at this stage, aren’t we?

None of us have lived millions of years, at least not in our physical manifestations, no; no we live for the tiny little moments and to embrace the vast and simple notions that shape us as numbers of varying shape and stature

It’s just to take a bold step forward, and not step on something in the process.

No matter how small in importance it is, and how it may impact the waking world.

It is, after all, a number.

A number with shape, size, scale. Branding.


That which you believe in, it has no shape, it has no number, it’s above that, it’s above all things. It leaves an impact on you, and you’re content with that, you want to feel good about that, you don’t want to cheat it; you don’t want to disappoint it.

And so the thoughts turn to simple things again, and the boy’s parents drove him home, and the boy thought to himself, ‘I could really fancy a stop by the beach’

And when the car drives past the beach, and that opportunity passes, he thinks to himself ‘was that because I complimented stepping on the beetle? Was that why my parents didn’t decide to stop for a bit and let me have my fun?’

Thinking it was one thing, saying it to a parent was another.

And so the boy asked when being put to bed, first he asked the mother, and she didn’t know what to make of it, so she asked the father, and he didn’t know what to make of it.

All they knew was the boy had spared a life.

And they were proud of that. They let him know they were proud of it.

And the boy went to bed feeling good about himself, feeling something had compelled him to show mercy that day, something trusted him that day.

He liked to think  the shapeless number, the one beyond or behind all recognizable numbers, was one worth counting towards, or very likely counting backwards to, so he too could be ultimately counted. To be said to matter in the final analysis.

For each step forward takes us back to these thoughts, these snap judgements of our own, it all comes back to the word of God. Which God you ask?

The one above the beetle or the one above the child?

Is there a difference?