Friday Morning Poetry


Hop. Bounce. Wiggle the nose.
Round and round – stopping, where? no one knows.
Skip. Jump. Hold that pose.
Until we reach a piece of paper.
Brown. White. Purple. Black.
Pocket watch. We might be carrying a sack.
Top hat. Gray socks. We all look the same, Jack.
Until we reach a piece of paper.
And then, we weave the most impossible.
And then, we create love unstoppable.
And then, we are monsters improbable.
For we are ever the plot bunnies.

Carousels


“Burning brightly today?” The question was posed, as it was every day, by the cynical Rabbit. His ear was dented, scuffed with the years of children treating him as some kind of furniture, and he felt that was reason enough for cynicism. I ignored him, as I had been doing the past decade. One could only take so much from a personality.

The children came, and went, and the laughter with them. None of us knew, exactly, what made us alive – if it was the laughter, the innocence, or maybe just the electricity of the bodies, but we knew that it was the children. We owed them our lives, and even Rabbit couldn’t completely hate them for it.

A child wailed, and a collective shudder ran through the collection of animals. The wail took, as it always did, from us. And the cries were as daily as Rabbit’s question. As inevitable as the lights coming on, the music playing.

We saw the children, and sometimes, we saw the children grow into adults and bring their own children, generation after generation giving us life. We heard innocent babies give gurgles of laughter, and children exchange first kisses. Rarely, we saw fights. We saw the best that humanity could offer. Until the day they turned off the music and dreams forever.

Not the Same


She stares at the tree and thinks “tinsel is supposed to shine. I think I bought defective tinsel.” The tree seems to be asking why she wasn’t covering it with the stuff. Her hand drops to her side, the silver threads spilling through numbed fingers. Looking down at the mess, she sees the ornament box in front of her and, with a muted shout, kicks it, then whirls, turning her back on the holiday disarray. Her shoulders are shaking with repressed tears.

“This wasn’t the way this year was supposed to go,” she whispers. “You were supposed to be here, with me, not in that damn country. Not for that damn war.” The radio plays Deck the Halls in the background, as if chastising her for not doing so. “I don’t want to do this by myself.” Her hand rests lightly on her rounded belly, “hell, I can’t even climb up the step stool to top the tree. You were supposed to do that.” Her voice breaks as she asks, “why couldn’t you have done that?” She walks away from the tree, defiantly leaving the mess, as if doing so would summon someone to clean it in apology.

Going to the window, she stares out, watching as fat flakes quietly drift from the dark sky. She wonders why she never before noticed how grimy snow was. It was as if a particularly dirty faerie was decorating the city, tonight. She startles as bells from the neighborhood church starts ringing, and catches herself counting. Sharply shaking her head, she turns from the window, and gazes around, eyes falling on the empty fireplace. “Maybe start there,” she murmurs and drifts over to the stockings.

Picking up a camouflaged mouse, a tear makes its way down her cheek. She squeezes the mouse, as anger surges in her again, and she briefly thinks about smashing it. The phone rings, as she raises her fist to do so. Her eyes snap to the black box, as she recognizes the tone. She hesitates, then makes a mad dash, praying that she’ll make it before the song is over. “Jayne?”

“Mags, it’s me. Gotta be brief, babe, there’s a line of guys wanting to use the phone. Brass changed their minds. Again. Looks like I can catch a flight at midnight, and be there by Tuesday. I know it’s not the same thing, but how about Christmas on the 26th?”

The Saturday Breakfast Silence


There was a red curl resting distractingly across her forehead, as I went to butter my toast. I watched as my hand reached over and brushed it back, then smiled as she impishly said, “You know that it’s only going to fall back into the same place, right?” I nodded, shrugged, and went back to my toast.

“So, I had a conversation with Shakespeare last night. He was complaining that Poe wouldn’t listen to anything but ‘emo kids and whining has-beens,’ I believe is how he put it.” The red curl, as predicted, fell back into the same place. I frowned. When we had met, Jenny’s hair had been straight and brown. Practical, without that damned curl. Now, two years later, it was neither practical, nor brown. As I gazed across the kitchen table at her, I wondered when things had changed so much between us.

“Pass the butter, please.” Automatically, I reached over and handed her the butter tray.

Looking down onto my own plate, I saw the same breakfast that I’d been having for the past year on Saturdays. Two pieces of bacon, two scrambled eggs, two pieces of toast, buttered. I gazed at Jenny, and saw that she was as intent upon her newspaper as a dog with a bone. “Of course,” I continued, “it doesn’t help that they share that apartment. I told them before moving in that they wouldn’t have enough space between the two of them, but there they were, determined to make it work. Now, Poe complains to me that his raven doesn’t like his roommate and keeps him up at night with ridiculous two-liners, and Shakespeare complains that he finds roadkill in his bed at night.” I sighed and took a bite of my eggs.

“Hand me the salt and pepper, would you dear?” I asked after tasting the too-bland eggs. Jenny’s right hand moved away from the newspaper, and, without looking, grabbed both the salt and pepper, mechanically handing them to me. I took them with a murmured “thanks,” as she made a kind of wave gesture and returned her hand to stabilize the paper.

“I asked the boys what we should do about our relationship. Poe was no help at all, of course. He asked me if you were dead, and I said no, to which he replied, ‘then what are you complaining about?’ Shakespeare said that I should write you poetry and fight to the death with someone over you. Would you like poetry?” Jenny’s brown eyes looked up from the paper and met mine, smiling a bit.

“Dear, would you mind terribly getting some OJ? I left it in the kitchen.” I shrugged, and, snagging a bit of bacon, made my way to the kitchen, grabbed the pitcher and walked back.

“Bacon’s a bit crisper than usual,” I informed her, before setting the pitcher down.

“Is it? Hmm.” She poured us both some juice, then returned to the paper.

“Maybe not poetry, then. How about a moonlit walk around the park? You used to love taking those little midnight picnics.” I took another bite of the eggs. “I miss you.” I whispered.

“Did you say something, dear?”
***

Henry was staring at my forehead. I could feel the look, even as intently as I was pretending to read the paper. I hated the new style, but curls were supposed to be sexy, and redheads were supposed to have more fun. I wanted to feel sexy again. And, he certainly seemed to pay more attention to my hair, so maybe he liked it. “Isteban and Johan are coming over for more Latin Salsa lessons today. I think that they’re starting to get along a bit better.” Henry frowned, I noticed out of the corner of my eye. I also noticed that he was finished buttering his toast, so now I could take my turn. “Pass the butter, please.”

Mechanically, Henry’s hand reached over and briskly shoved off the butter tray. I wondered if I’d already said something to bother him. “It doesn’t help that every time Isteban goes to tip me, he brushes his lips across my collarbone. It drives Johan crazy when he does that, which, I think, is part of the point. Of course, Johan doesn’t make things easy for Isteban, either, as he tends to try to mold me to his body when we’re dancing. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. They’re both so …pretty. In a masculine kind of way, of course.” Henry was trying his eggs now. I could have told him that they’d be too bland, but, just like every Saturday, he always had to try them before seasoning them.

“Hand me the salt and pepper, would you dear?” Henry asked, as I knew he would. Living with someone for a year and a half made you know some of their quirks, at least. My hand moved away from the newspaper, grabbed both shakers deftly, then passed them on to him. They were in the middle of the table, but he liked asking me for them. Murmuring something that might have been “thanks,” he took them and I returned to staring blankly at the paper.

“I asked the boys what we should do about our relationship. Isteban was no help, as he said that he didn’t want to talk of other men, that I should be making mad, passionate love every night, and if you didn’t want to, then he would be happy to. Johan was a bit better, although I don’t think that you’d ever write me poetry or get into a bar fight with someone to show your affections.” I looked down for my glass of juice, and noticed that I’d forgotten to bring it out. I dropped the paper I wasn’t reading anyway, and smiled sweetly at Henry.

“Dear, would you mind terribly getting some OJ? I left it in the kitchen.” He shrugged, and, snagging a bit of bacon, made his way to the kitchen, walking back with the juice a heartbeat later.

“Bacon’s a bit crisper than usual,” he muttered, before setting the pitcher down.

“Is it? Hmm.” I poured us both some juice, then hid back into the paper. “Do you remember when we used to take midnight picnics? I could tell how much you hated them, because we were up so late, but it was so romantic. Sometimes, I think to myself, that if we could just see the stars again, like we used to, that we’d be able to fix what’s wrong. I miss us.” I looked down at my hands, and heard him mutter something. “Did you say something, dear?”

The Sparkles


I blinked, then reread the last sentence. It still didn’t make sense to my mind, but then, humans seemed to delight in confusing me. I tried going back a few paragraphs, then reading up until the sentence that had both confused me and delighted so many. It still read “he sparkled.” A faint whimper resonated through my closed mouth, as my lips folded down into a frown.

I looked into the mirror, and faced my reflection. For thousands of years, I had been the thing of legends, ever since I had killed my brother. I’d have gone insane far before now, had it not been for the game I’d invented to while away the time. For each legend that humanity had created about me, I’d play to the stereotype. It had been interesting, and had allowed me the chance to recreate myself over and over again.

So, okay, the Greeks thought that I was a woman, and the Chinese thought that I ate souls, and after that one night having had too much to drink, I’d actually tried out those myths about myself, but other than that, it had been pretty enjoyable.

Then, the middle ages had happened, and I was being served garlic left and right. It was almost enough to make me go to the Americas, where they didn’t have the herb, but being as pale as I was, I figured that that wouldn’t be a wise decision. So, I toughed it out, and, eventually, things got better.

The legends seemed to forget about me, for awhile, until a new author came up with an idea that would fester in the minds of horror writers to come. I sighed, thinking of the catastrophe that had been. I’d had to buy a castle, then train dogs to howl at every little thing. The women I got to dress up in scanty clothes made not sleeping at night totally worth it, though. By then, I’d already given up red wine, having had my fill of it in the middle ages, and having to go back to that was almost hell itself. It was better than the alternative, however. As much as I enjoyed my game, drinking blood simply wasn’t something I’d ever gotten used to.

I grew comfortable in my lonely, and expensively heated castle, and thought that things were on the up, when technology boomed around me, and they created a monstrosity called movies. I shuddered as I thought about what had happened because of those moving pictures.

Suddenly, it was all I could do to keep up with the various legends. I cut my hair, styled it into a widow’s peak, dyed it black, used my mind powers to look monstrous, in one town, I attempted living in the sewers. I’ll never do that one again, I’ll tell you that.

All in all, I’ve had thousands of transformations. The latest one was actually pretty enjoyable. I got to dress up like a rock star, and allow women to fawn over me. My voice has always been suitable for singing, so this persona was probably one of the most natural and, well, fun. Certainly a far cry above dining on rodents.

But then, this book was written. I sighed and scowled at the novel in question. It seemed that the rock star days were over, as the media was now clamoring over this freak show. Then, slowly, I picked up the cellphone my last reincarnation had been hip enough to purchase, and dialed up my personal assistant. Ah, the perks of being a rock star. He picked up on the second ring.

“Yeah, it’s me,” I growled into the phone. “Who else has this number? Know what? Nevermind; I don’t want to know.” I took a deep breath, then plunged into the real reason I was calling. “We don’t happen to have any of those sparkling lotions, do we? And, while we’re at it, what do you know about baseball?”

Homo Lamia Mico


Concilium de Supernatural-res,
Subset North American division,
Subset Arcanum Archives

Greetings and salutations, my venerated Master Theodous Arenicus. I do hope that this letter finds you in good health, and that the board has approved of your profile of the Hominid Vulpes Zoanthpic (as known by our lesser brethren ignobly as the “were-fox,”) from last we spoke. The gods know that the information you could bestow on other agents in the field would be invaluable.

I must, out of necessities’ sake, make this a brief missive, so please excuse the lack of formality. Even as I take the time to pen this, our enemies grow in number, and I fear what could happen if I take out too much time for this.

As you are very well aware, in the grand tradition of my family, I have taken upon myself the task of hunting vampires. As such, I have reported to you often about the different species of vermin, as well as taken pains to point out the more dangerous and attention grabbing members who would parade as humans.

Also as you are aware, it has always been my desire to show the members of the board a specimen as dangerous as the great Dracul, and, if I may hazard on the side of ego, I think that I have finally fulfilled my wish. Let me present to you the following attributes, and I have no doubt that you will agree with my assessment of the threat:

Superhuman beauty, strength, speed, endurance, and agility
Scent and voice are enormously seductive
Venomated saliva that is highly contagious
Does not need to breathe, eat, nor sleep
Some species has been reported to have the following:
Mind control, precognition, and telepathy

While all of these taken in by them self might not be so different than other species of vampire, let me also present the frightening: unlike their other kin, they are almost impossible to kill. A wooden stake through the heart does nothing to them, and they are apparently bullet-proof. Simply tearing them apart does not kill them, either. They must be torn apart then burnt, only then can one be certain that they are destroyed. As they are nearly impervious to the destruction a human could muster against them, not to mention anytime a human gets close to them they succumb to the siren’s call of pheromones, I am certain that killing one of these will be a task neigh impossible.

The one very outstanding aspect of this vampire has also been the basis of the name I’ve given to the species, namely Homo Lamia Mico, or Sparkling Vampire, as, when under the full light of day, the skin gives off a strange reflective-ness, like cut glass.

Ah, and lest I forget to mention the final horror. This monster also is accompanied by a high pitched, undulating scream that tears into one’s cranium, apparently to slowly liquefy the brain and thus rendering any cohesive thought apart. This, no doubt, is not actually emitted from the Lamia Mico, but by the parasite it appears to collect in the form of teenage girls ranging from the ages of twelve to sixteen. These might actually be just as dangerous to a vampire hunter as the vampire itself, as these creatures can turn from almost docile to fantastically rabid in the blink of an eye.

Therefore, with all of the presented evidence, I do request that you make a motion to the Council in my absence that these Homo Lamia Mico be given the utmost priority to be exterminated.

Yours in faith and brotherhood,
Abraham Van Helsing VI

Celebrity Fender Bender


“No, Cyntha, I do NOT want you to sell the – SHIT!” I screeched into the phone. I heard my PA squawk indignantly as I dropped my cell, slammed the car into park, and flung open my door, all in one seamless movement. “The hell did that car come from?” I muttered to myself, already revising history as the other person became the obvious reason the accident happened. I was stalking up to the other car, patented lecture on safe driving forming on my lips, when I saw the other driver sinuously extract herself from the black mini cooper. I froze, mouth open to deliver the scathing report I suddenly couldn’t remember.

I recognized her. As I was the leading professor of history at the only university worth mentioning, of course I recognized her. It was just impossible. “Please tell me you just look like her,” I breathed. She simply smiled and shook her head.

“You’re really her. And, I just parked my Buick in your car.” She should have been annoyed by the restating of obvious facts, but she wasn’t. If anything, she was amused. “But… how? You’re dead! By, like, a long time dead!” I didn’t care that I was rambling. I didn’t care that I probably wasn’t making sense. I didn’t care that I couldn’t even speak grammatically correct sentences. I was speaking to one of the ten most evil women in history. Someone who was reported to have been hung in 1945. Someone who hadn’t changed from the picture taken of her at her sentencing. There could be only one explanation. Before I could voice the impossible, the hatch door popped open, and a body slowly plopped onto the street.

Tearing my eyes from the body, I whispered, “you’re a vampire, aren’t you.”

“How about I cut you a deal,” she asked in heavily accented English.