Hunter/Woodcutter

This old face, it is devoid of love. No line drawn across its wrinkly skin speaks the merest whisper of affection. A pair of eyes burn through the young man, and he feels so alone. Alexandre is angry; the last of the venison is gone, and he, Anatoly, caught nothing when out hunting. A fire crackles softly on the stone hearth as the wind howls outside of their cabin. It will be a harsh night tonite, foolish for anyone to step outside.

“You little idiot!” A hiss that feels like a hot needle makes Anatoly flinch. Alexandre cracks his thick knuckles, he wants to break something, maybe he will break Anatoly. “Why do I let you stay? Tell me why!” A fist the size of a dog’s head slams over the table, sending two empty dishes crashing and breaking down on the floor.

Anatoly’s tongue feels thick, a dead lump that won’t move. It takes the better part of a minute for Anatoly to whimper out a few words. “I hunt…you cut wood.” A large stack of cut logs stands at Alexandre’s feet, his haul will provide warmth for the cold, and some may even be sold for a few coins down at the village, but not if the storm blocks the roads with snow.

His eyes narrow like a wolf’s before it’s about to jump down someone’s throat. “Precisely. I cut wood, you hunt. That’s the deal.” Picking up a particularly thick-looking log with one hand, Alexandre sizes it up, then looks back at Anatoly who has taken a step back as he takes one forward. “And you can’t even do that right!” With a roar like a black bear, Alexandre flings the log in Anatoly’s direction. The young man barely manages to sidestep the projectile as the log hits the wall with a loud thud and clatters on to the floor, rolling close to where he was standing a second ago.

“Alexandre, wait, please!” His voice is shrill, he needs more time, but the older man hits him with the back of his hand, Anatoly screams and topples over the floor. Reeling from pain, his head is spinning, he has to get up. Rough hands yank him to his feet from the scruff of his shirt. Something flashes and Alexandre howls in agony, stepping back from the young man. A dark spot begins to form on the left side of his brown coat.

“You…stabbed me!” Each word is filled with hatred, Alexandre’s eyes seem to have lost some of their focus, but now they appear to be of a wild animal.

Anatoly’s holding his hunting knife with both trembling hands, the tip dipped in blood. His mouth hangs open, he can barely believe what he did. “God forgive me…Alexandre, it was an accident, I didn’t mean…!”

Roaring in fury, Alexandre jumped at his throat, bloodlust filled his eyes. Before the young man could even react, he was pinned down to the ground by the neck with one hand, while another smacked the knife away from it. He could feel Alexandre’s vice-grip, like a snare from which he caught rabbits. Anatoly couldn’t breathe and though at first he was panicking, kicking and flailing trying to escape, he soon moved less, and less, until he did not move anymore.

Alexandre was in a daze, not really knowing how he was still standing, but soon he found himself eating meat again. Juicy and tender, and there was no more of Anatoly’s womanly mewling. He had to get rid of the corpse. Cutting up the meat that would keep him alive until the snow cleared for him to go down to the village, he took the bones outside. The wind howled everywhere like a wailing mother, darkness fell heavy around the cabin, Alexandre could not see more than a few feet ahead of him, but it didn’t matter. He’d survive harsh winters before, he would do it again. It was all the more surprising to him when he found himself falling to his knees, they simply stopped supporting him. The snow chilled him to the bone, but he was feeling rather sleepy now. Damned Anatoly, his cut had been deeper than he thought. A howl brought Alexandre back to the storm raging around him. Something was moving ahead, but he couldn’t quite make it out, his vision was getting darker by the second.

They swere already circling him, five of them, they’ve had no morsel to eat for a few days now and were ravenous. Now prey lay there weak, blood drew them to it. Their fangs were begging for tender flesh. Their pack leader cautiously paced close to the mound of furs lying still on the snow. It had moved a moment ago, they did not want to risk a fight. With a tentative nip at the furst, the leader saw the figure did not stir. It howled out long into the storm. Tonite, they would not starve.

Snow In Shibuya

The cup warmed Christobella’s hands as she took a sip, her favorite brand of green tea comforted her. It had snowed yesterday, but the streets of Shibuya were already cleared up to let traffic flow at its regular pace. The lights of a nearby building advertised a new video game. A young Japanese woman, probably in her late teens, was dancing, dressed in a school uniform -skirt above the knee, no less-, brandishing what appeared to be a pink AK-47. “Happy lucky adventure, yes, yes!” The young woman’s voice was chipper and high-pitched, a cute doll wrapped in plastic. Decades of living here and she could still be surprised, or at least amused. Japan, never a dull moment. She smiled at the young woman, now fighting what appeared to be a three-headed dragon. Another sip from her tea. Was the woman Hanzo slept with a school girl? She did look rather young when he saw them walking out of the love hotel one evening she was returning from her academy. She set down the cup, having lost her appetite.

Her father had also chased after some young skirt back in Rome, while her mother feigned ignorance. Vittoria, you fool. Something tightened inside Chris’s chest as soon as she thought of her mother. The telltale prickling sensation behind her eyes made her reach to rub them, but it was too late: she blinked and down rolled a fat tear over soft olive skin.

They had phoned her all the way from Italy, she had no idea how they got her home number. Her mother had died suddenly, just two days ago, from a heart attack. She was 73. Twenty more years of life than her bastard father. She still pondered, out of boredom nowadays, really, how different things would have been if signore Yoshimura had been her father instead. Not only did the older gentleman, back then in his early 60s, taught her how to play the violin, but filled her head with wondrous stories about his country to the point that she dreamed of going to Japan. He had died three years after she left for Japan, it was the only time she had considered returning to Italy. She would make the time to pay her respects at his shrine on his old home back in Rome.

“Chris?” Hanzo had walked into the living room entrance and was standing there, shifting slightly from left to right. His voice was soft, almost tender. Of course he knew about her mother. She had several flights to catch tomorrow to Italy, to attend the funeral -her relatives could hold it off for a day, two tops, but their divorce papers still had to be signed. “Do you need anything for tomorrow? I can have Satsune drive you to the airport.” He was not quite looking her way.

It had been her who filed for a divorce. Chris made no excuses for her father when mother told her about his infidelity, two years after his death; she would not make them for Hanzo. That was that. They had settled terms quickly: she would receive a very generous alimony payment each month, he would keep the apartment. He could afford it, seeing how he practically owned half of Shibuya’s buildings already. “Don’t bother. I’ll call a cab.” The man who had been her husband for the past fifteen years nodded, standing there like an actor who just forgot his lines, then simply left without another word. Good, she needed to start packing. It would be a very long day tomorrow.

And Then, There Were None.

“The Lord giveth…”, the words, they were not right. They were lies. Lies, and yet Roland had repeated them over and over, for all of his life -he knew them by heart, they were his shield. The corpse of a young woman, the miller’s daughter, was still warm, his blade had pierced her flesh as easy as when he tore his bread when he broke fast each morning. She looked so small, crumpled there on the earthen floor of the hut, eyes closed. A red stain spread under her body, soiling her simple cotton dress. Roland’s tongue felt heavy, thick, with the Devil’s nonsense. Gripping the hilt of his sword, Roland slowly staggered towards the door, like a man heavy in his cups. Fresh air.

“The Lord also taketh away. Over and over and over. What a capricious fellow, wouldn’t you agree, Roland?” It was the smallest of whispers, probably one that no one would have heard, and yet each word reached the knight’s ears clearly.

Roland stopped, feeling the air escape his lungs. A taste of copper on his mouth made him realized he was biting his lip rather vigorously. The knight took a step forward, as if unsure if the ground could hold his weight.

“Ah, ah…one should take the time to admire their handiwork. Gives us pause for…reflection.” The whisper tittered.

He had killed her, and now regret showed its head all too late. “Forgive me, Father.” A sob shook Roland. The sword leaned dangerously forward, trying to hold on to his master’s weight. From the corner of his eye, barely at the edge of his vision, he saw someone…tall, dressed in red, smiling. He could not tell if they were man or woman. The knight had faced death countless times in his life. A soldier of God, he was used to it, but this…”Get behind me, Satan!” With a growl, Roland straightened up, holding his sword in both hands.

More tittering. The hut started to feel cold, as if the snows of early Autumn were just falling out on the countryside, draping everything in white. “Brave knight, gallant knight. Serving God and country; no sin is too big for thee.”

With a roar, Roland swung his sword around, slashing at air, only to find himself staring at the young woman’s corpse looking back at him from the floor. Where did they go? Was he losing his mind?

“Just your soul.” The whisper breathed softly on the nape of Roland’s neck, a chill pierced it. Then darkness.

Simulacrum in G Minor

Oshora knows the feel of ivory. Her slender fingers barely brush the keys of the black piano, only enough for her sense of touch to be set alight. This. This feels like a dream. The room is large and bare. There are no flat walls, only a long, uninterrupted, curved wall that wraps the place in its cocon of plaster and white paint. Cracks on the surface spider at random intervals, creating rivers of decay between large swaths of pristine nothingness. The room’s domed ceiling is made of glass. Light pours in, washing the room’s centre with its radiance. The piano is the black hole at its center, swallowing the light so the edges of the room are bound by shadows.

It suits Oshora. Her mind is at the tip of her fingers, dropping thoughts over the piano’s keys. A melody stirs awake from some corner of memory, untangling itself from the bondage of her own forgetfulness. Air is slowly sucked in, the dust motes stir in the air as the light shows their ceaseless dance.

The piece begins to unfold itself from the piano and out into the room. Oshora’s heart beats with each note as falling light shimmers over her slender figure and, for a brief moment at least, nothing else matters.

“Oshora?”

She abruptly pulls back from the piano. Gasping, her chest rises and lowers as she stares at it. The keys still move, continuing to fill the space with melody for a moment and then, as it began, it stops. Timidly, Oshora half turns.

“I was just playing a bit…no one else was using it.”

An older woman dressed in white metallic robes looks at Osha with narrow eyes. “You know the rules: you need a healer to be with you at all times in case you need assistance.”

“Sorry…”

The older woman’s eyes become less narrow and some wrinkles form on the corners of her mouth.

“It’s such a lovely day outside, and you need your fresh air. Come.”

She turns around and glides smoothly across the floor. Oshora follows her, glancing back briefly to the now-mute piano.  As she steps out of the room, her arms flicker then disappear.

Mementos from Sufrida Street: Love is a Four Letter Word

“Love makes the World go round, baby!”
 
His smile was like liquorice in my head. I hated liquorice.
 
“Love’s also a bitch.”
 
The trigger offered no resistance when I pulled it. A gunpowder orgasm mixed a a cocktail of noise and lighting that filled the room. Grey and red painted a Pollock on the far brick wall.
 
One second my revulsion made man, the next, a crumpled dead thing on the floor. His face looked better now. The neon buzzing outside the room’s window drilled my head after the ringing in my ears stopped.
 
Saturday evening and nowhere to go. Love kills, baby.

Brief Destiny

Obornusk walks in a straight line. Not looking back nor to the sides. He only sees the backside of another like him, also walking in a straight line. At the far distance there is a glow and an endless roaring. He continues to walk like all the rest. That is his purpose.
 
Mastraton watches from his dome at the worms below. They shuffle towards the slaughter in perfect complacency. How he detests them for their meek and insignificant nature. Still, they are necessary fuel for civilization’s motor. The drink on his hand is more sweet today than yesterday.
 
Vastrashla knows the truth. She will set them all free, and those above will crumble and fall. Power to those below. The spark begins now, and its fire will cleanse the world. A smile is how the revolution starts today.
 
A rogue comet impacts the planet at 0645, reducing the planet to cosmic dust. The Universe continues to expand.

His Muse

Alphonse sat in the middle of the small square room, on a chair that looked like the skeleton of a new species of vertebrate. It mas made of wood, curving to the shape of his back, painted white, but already there were signs of wear; chips in the painting showed a dull gray underneath.

The rest of the room was empty. Four walls, ceiling and floor, all painted black. He was facing the door, also black. Above was a lone lightbulb, making a low buzzing sound as it shed its sickly, fried-egg yellow light over Alphonse’s head.

Of course he was wearing his brown tweed jacket, all buttoned up, with brown pants, it all had to match perfectly when she came in.

“My muse.”, he whispered to no one in particular. The door opened up with a creaking sound that made him grit his teeth. Upon the door frame, wearing a red dress that flowed like a waterfall of blood over her body, bald, with hazel eyes that kept Alphonse’s own watery-blue focused on them.

Gorgeous, gorgeous. My muse. Dried lips were licked; it almost hurt to feel how chapped they were. Alphonse didn’t care, she was here now. The muse sauntered lazily over into the room and stopped a few inches in front of him. In one fluid motion she bent forward until her nose barely touched his. Both pair of eyes had not strayed away from each other.

Every time your father fucked you, you wished it had been your sister instead.”

Yes, yes. He couldn’t help himself but grin sheepishly. “How much?”, he almost moaned. The muse simply smiled, showing pearly-white teeth.

“Five years less.”

She then opened her mouth, showing razor sharp knives and swallowed him before it all went dark.

Alphonse gasped while raising his head from the desk. Breathe, breathe.

“Jesus…”, a hoarse whisper, who said that? Oh…me.

The room was a mess, clothes strewn around, the bed unmade for days now, a few styrofoam containers with remains of food lay next to his chair. On the table he was sleeping he had a typewriter, the final page of his latest work was there. There had been an idea. Feeling groggy.  One by one, Alphonse placed his fingers over the typewriter’s keyboard, trying to ground himself. His head was still swimming in molasses; he noticed the syringe on the left of the typewriter. His muse, always his muse. Waste not. The keys began to pound.