A to Z 2017–M is for Mist

Creep factor +1. Geez.

M is for Mist

I can feel the dark descending like a shroud. It covers everything in a blackness constructed from the souls of those who have lost all and are no longer. It’s a darkness that can’t be penetrated.

And yet, here I am.

I watch as the sun hides behind the hills and mist starts to curl skyward from the cooling ground. I wait knowing that to step into even filtered sunlight I’ll also fade and dissipate, just like that mist.

He comes, then. Running hard. But he already knows it’s too late. Too late for him. Just in time for me.

Once I was the one. Lost. Running. Afraid. Once I descended from those hills, looking for refuge. I remember for the briefest moment what it was like, and I decide.

Come, I say. And he has no choice but to obey. He thought he was the master of his own soul, his own desire. He didn’t know that there was a greater master. So he came.

He looked at me, curious, likely imagining that he is feeling fear though he isn’t. The unfettered soul has no use for fear. Fear is a thing of the flesh, and now he has stepped aside from that anchor. He’s not yet aware of the separation.

The soul before me asks then. The same question I know I asked I don’t know how long ago. Is this how I die, then? Am I already dead? Is this the afterlife?

I reply with the same detachment, the words wrapping around him like the mist. No. You will not die. Not this night.

Will I return from this darkness, then? The body that carried me knew where I was going—there is time for me to get there, still.

And again I have to tell him no. You are now part of the twilight. You will stay here in the mist and the night. You will become what I have been these many… I trail off, not knowing how long I have been here. But no matter. You will be a shade—a wraith. You will be as I have been. You will come to know the dark as a sister. A friend. A lover.

I reached out to him then. Stretching to fill the nothing between us. Entwining my eternal essence with this eternal soul.

In that moment, he understood.

In that moment that stretched for eons, he knew all that I knew. Absorbed my knowledge—my being—just as I absorbed his. He fought me, but I was the stronger of us. Against me, he could not stand.

As the sun slipped behind the hills, he became the mist.

And I became the man.

The exquisite pleasure as I felt his weight became mine, his flesh, strong and eager, enclosing me in a way I had not known since I could not remember when.

Then I ran. Back to the Inn. Back to the pretty girl.

The first man in time immemorial to return after dark.

(Note: this is a followup to the story I told in F is for Fog.)

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–I is for In Ice

Yes, I missed writing a story for H. I know. I failed. But I’m not finished and I will get that posted as soon as I can. Most likely within a day or two. I just got busy and ran out of time. Well, that and multiple days of unrelenting insomnia. I can’t write when my brain is mush. Seriously. But that is over, at least for now. So, here, I present my story for the letter I.

I is for In Ice

It had been so long I couldn’t remember. How did I get here? No idea. Where was I before?

Maybe that question should be was I before. I don’t even know if I remember a before.

I felt nothing for a long time after waking up. I saw less.

But then there was light. Not enough that it wiped out the darkness that surrounded me, but enough that I realized just how dark it really was. But the light grew, a little, as time passed.

Eventually, instead of being surrounded by undifferentiated blackness, it was an undifferentiated white. I thought my eyes were open, but still it was nothingness.

That’s when the pain started.

Excruciating. Overwhelming. Unceasing.

Where there had been nothing, there was now only pain. Burning through me like a thousand suns. Destroying any possibility of rational thought.

Until it, too, started to subside.

There was still pain, but the fact that it was lessened made me almost giddy. Then it finally burned long enough that I realized it wasn’t heat I felt, but cold. I had been entirely numb, until I wasn’t. And now as I warmed, ever so slightly, I realized that this, too, was another nothingness.

Black or white. Numb or pain. When there is only one thing, what does that thing matter?

So I waited. I don’t know for how long. Once I chose not to experience the agony of the nothing or the pain or the excruciating passage of time it was better. A little better.

And I waited.

When I heard them coming I couldn’t understand it. The sounds surrounded me, the vibrations shaking everything that made up my nothing. I think it was the sound that made me notice it first. It wasn’t all one thing. It was a thing, and then it wasn’t. On then off. A cycle.

And once I noticed it in sound, I noticed it in sight too. Light then dark. No longer the eternal blackness of nothing, but a deep shade of something that made me aware of what I couldn’t perceive. The white, then the deep. Over and over, with the vibration and stillness rotating in time.

White and shaking. Deep and still.

White and shaking. Deep and still.

I tried to count the changes, but the tally kept sliding away.

When everything changed, it happened in a moment. I was in the white and shaking, and suddenly I wasn’t. The sounds changed, no longer vibrating the whole world, but sharp and urgent. The vibration changed to blows, deep and sudden. My world was coming apart, a bit at a time.

Finally, there were beings around me, touching me, pulling me into their world. They wrapped me in something and started to move me, and then I went blank.

When I awoke it was different. I wore clothes and lay in a bed in a room.

One came to me. Said I’d been in the ice a long time. Didn’t know how I survived, but was sure I would live, now.

Awaiting instructions on how to proceed.

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–G is for Gulf

Well, a couple of these stories have definitely taken a bit of a dark turn. I wonder what my Muse is thinking?

G is for Gulf

Dennis smiled at Michelle from behind the boat’s console. “Whatdya think, babe? Please tell me you’re having fun. I really want this trip to be magical.”

“Actually, Denny,” she said, “I think it’s kind of awesome.” Michelle had a hand on her head, securing her hat against the wind. “I still can’t believe you planned it all without me.”

“I just figured it’s been too long. I’ve been working too hard. You’ve been taking care of the kids. I think we both needed this. Some grown-up time.”

Grown-up time. The words they used to inform the kids that, no, they were not permitted out of bed this late. Not even if Mommy and Daddy are watching TV.

“Besides,” said Dennis, “it’s past time we got more use out of the SCUBA certifications we worked so hard on. I mean, the honeymoon in Jamaica was awesome, but that was five years ago.”

“Seven.” She sighed.

Oops. “Seven years ago. See? It’s been so long I’ve forgotten what year it is.” He smiled again, hoping Michelle wasn’t going to use that against him later. For now, Michelle looked peaceful. More relaxed than he’d seen her in a long time.

The GPS on the rented boat indicated the were at our destination and Dennis cut the power.

“So, what’s the big surprise you wanted to show me?” Michelle asked. “We’re, what? Ten, fifteen miles offshore? It’s not like there’s much to see in the middle of the Gulf. Ugly old oil platforms—”

He wiggled his eyebrows at her. “It’s more like 25 miles or so. And, trust me, there’s plenty to see. Once we get in the water.”

On impulse, Dennis kissed her and she blushed. He decided he’d have to work on getting back in that habit.

After setting anchor and getting into their gear, the couple tipped over the side of the boat and began their descent.

The water was clear and blue, and the scenery didn’t disappoint. While not quite the intensity and diversity of Jamaican sea life, the bright coral and colorful fish that called the abandoned oil rig home made for spectacular viewing. Even a pair of dolphins stopped by to say hello.

As they swam, Michelle got Dennis’ attention and pointed at what looked like a light deeper down.

Dennis checked his timer and depth meter, and shrugged. They had time to investigate. It was probably just more divers.

As they got closer, Dennis realized it was more than a dive light—too bright for that. Or maybe someone just had much better gear than their rented equipment.

When the light turned red and started flashing in patterns, he stopped and grabbed at Michelle. This wasn’t something he wanted to discover after all.

Michelle swam on. Dennis grabbed at her tank, and was taken along for the ride. He couldn’t stop her, but he wouldn’t let go. So down they went together.

The light surrounded them and suddenly the panic gave way to peace.

What looked like a shimmering blob came toward them, growing bigger, and both simply stared. A distant thought told Dennis it was a large bubble, the shimmer a trick of refracted light. But why would a bubble be growing like that?

It opened around them, and felt oddly like surfacing sideways. Michelle dropped her regulator and laughed. Dennis looked around, unable to comprehend what was happening.

“Welcome!” Dennis felt the panic bubbling again when he realized a man with no diving gear was in the bubble with them. Talking.

Michelle laughed again. “Dennis,” she said, “how did you manage it? It’s just like—“

“It wasn’t him,” said the man. “He won’t remember. You thought he was lying about not remembering when we met before. He wasn’t.

“Michelle, it’s you I’m here for. You finally came back to me.”

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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A to Z 2017–F is for Fog

With this one I might have creeped myself out a little bit. I like it. 😀

F is for Fog

She told me, before I left. Get back before the dark comes, she said. Get back before night. Get back before the fog.

I told her not to worry. It’s only fog, I said. It’s only dark.

But she insisted. Said her daddy, the innkeeper, would lock the gate at full dark and wouldn’t open it again until morning.

She was a pretty one, that girl. Like many innkeepers’ daughters she was full and curvy in all the right places, and soft to the touch. Both the kind you give, and the kind you get back. So I smiled at her. I nodded. I promised I wouldn’t be out after nightfall. I’d stay out of the fog.

Mama told me never to lie. Daddy told me never to disappoint a woman. My parents were wise folk and they ain’t never turned me wrong. So I had every plan and intention of being back to that inn plenty early for supper. I thought just maybe that innkeeper’s daughter would share a little something sweet with me after.

And then I walked out of that boarding house and took the narrow path toward the hills.

The map I had was rough. Worse, it was old—maybe very old. But I knew this was the place and I had to go. It was the best chance I ever had to change my fortunes. Best chance to turn my life in a way that might earn me the right to hope for something more permanent than just a cuddle in the dark with a pretty girl.

The guy who gave it to me said it was his grandfather’s map, and his grandfather’s before that. I don’t know the whole story, but it showed where to go to get the magic and the token. And when you have a chance like that, how can you turn it down?

So I went up that track through the woods and into the hills. I followed the signs. I found the place. I said the words. I searched for the treasure.

And do you know? It was true. It was all true. And it happened just exactly like it was supposed to.

Except when I went in that cave it was high noon. When I came out—it can’t have been an hour later—the sun was scraping the horizon.

I knew there was no way I could get back to that Inn before I lost the light.

But I didn’t want to be a liar, so I ran. Oh light, how I ran.

I chased the sun right down the side of those hills. I whipped through those trees like a ghost in a graveyard.

I could swear I heard the gate clang shut just a moment too soon.

Just a moment before the darkness slammed down like a guillotine.

Just a moment before the fog lifted up and wrapped itself around me.

And I told myself it’s only fog. It’s only dark. I tried not to worry.

And then I was gone.

 

I wrote a follow-up for this story in M is for Mist.

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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