Black Spot

Black Spot inspired by Lia Woodget

There are books here I have never read and rooms filled with memories I no longer know. At least the air stays fresh, even with the fires burning night and day.  I don’t spend much time away from the Yard, but when the nighttime voices and singing die down, I find my way along the battered passages and pretend this is home.

I stand at the fire bowl and stare out of the stable of lasses that bob gently on the cold blue skin of the bay.  Instinctively I reach my arms out of the low flame and start to rub my palms together in an easy way. It’s here that I realize my hands have turned the color of heavily oiled wooden planks and my skin is starting to bear marks like the deep grain of old trees.  I stop, turn the backs of my hands to my face and follow the lines over large knuckles and down the backs of my wide and withered palms.

I have spent my every day lit hour, and many nights under the warm glow of bees wax, shaping these beautiful women sea masters. Now I am starting to feel tiny splinters of me falling away with each swing of the axe, and each turn of the awl.

My eyes have turned dark and daunting, like the tide just before dusk. My thinning hair dances about my face with the slightest breeze like the tops of the sea oats.

My back, once straight and tall like the finest mast is curling slowly like the length of the bow on the Elysium.  My teeth rattle in my head like an anchor crashing into the soft sand of a lonesome beach.

I am becoming a ship of my own estate, fearing that while I may be no longer sea worthy I am alluring nonetheless. With that illusion held firm, I wander back to the Yard to find her waiting in the dark still of the hold.

My shirt is wrinkled, unkempt and stained in obvious contrast to the taught sails pulled across the breasts of my lover.  She ignores the nature of my blouse, and encourages me to run my hands along her long dark lines with slow and firm strokes.  Water caresses the finely honed edges of her torso and she creaks ever so softly under my feet as I pace along her deck. These are our moments, never to be shared with another.

Soon she will push away into the boiling sea, leaving but the imprint of her darkened silhouette against the orange sinking sun in my mind. But, I will still have the smell of her on my hands, the ache of her in my back and the shape of her in my heart.

Black Spot.

This is my home; this is my prison.

This is the place that beautiful women are born to rule the mighty seas and their captains.

This is where I am their master, until they are taken by another and I am left to carve the next from the aged forest, piece by piece.

Return

Blinding light flashes against her review mirror as the setting sun behind her gets to just the exact level to assault her eyes. Sighing, she reaches up to flip the angle and she notices the age of her hands. What it had been like to be young, the arrogance of youth; she never noticed her hands at twenty but at fifty eight she sees them all the time. Exhausted she places her hand back on the wheel and watches the road, slowing down as she hits the edges of the derelict town.

Forty one years ago she had left this place. Forty one years ago she had piled into her clunker of her car, the one only she could get running, with one bag and stone cold fear only outweighed by her need to flee. It had been a broken town then. Every ten years or so people would move in and try to revive it but nothing ever thrived. Factories shut down, earth couldn’t grow crops, businesses went unnoticed and families left the way they came.

Her car was no longer a clunker, but a reliable Volvo; she had a kind husband, one daughter was a veterinarian, her other two children were in college, life had been beautiful. Why had she chosen now to come back here? She had to clean up. Slowing down she pulls to the side of the road parking under power lines that no longer buzzed with electricity.

Flashes, not light this time, in her head of that summer. It was hot, oppressively so and the judge’s son was the only beautiful thing in that forsaken place. She loved him, loved him with the intensity only a seventeen year old girl could have.

She shakes her head and steps from her car the door shutting behind her with an echo. It was time to find it, to lay it all to rest. Mandy’s house still stood on the corner, though that seemed to be all it still did. She moves across the road and steps around the rusted fence. Inside the paint was in strips at best, the olive green barely showing. Her boots crunched against the torn and rotting floor. Someone had dragged a mattress into the back of this house and she ignores the implications.

Flashes, not clouds over sun but that summer again. Mandy calling her name through the house, begging her to come back, not to be stupid. The heat of her anger boiled into something alive within her body; something so fierce it rivaled the sticky season. She had left that night.

She takes a slow breath and steps free of her childhood friend’s home and it was only a rock’s throw to the judge’s old house right across from the silo now covered in graffiti. From here she could see the old school, its broken windows, the haunted remains.

Flashes, not strobe lights but the memories flooding. She had gone blind with rage and she knew the judge and his wife were gone for the weekend. That was the problem in the first place, that and Nina Mae with her blond curls and open legs.

Stumbling over the broken step she makes it onto the sagging porch and presses her hand to the door. Groaning loud enough to make her wince the door gives way and allows her to enter the house. It smelled musty, old, no one had lived anywhere near here in ages. The wall paper was filthy and faded, the floor covered in dust and dirt. Her heart froze.

Up the stairs, was she floating? First door on the left, that had been his room. Entering she was prepared to search the old far wall for the hatch but it had been busted long ago. Age, time, years had taken none of the memories away.

Flashes, not from drugs but from her whirring brain. He had blue eyes the same color as the sky at high noon and a laugh that made your insides take flight. She had given him everything but he had been ungrateful.

Bending she crawls into the passageway, fingers searching, was she shaking? No. She had complete control. Her hands, hands that had lived, pry up the board in the back corner. Belly down, dust filling her nose she reaches in, stretches. Contact. She feels the cold steel of the tire iron. No one ever found it.

Pulling it out she lets her eyes scan it slowly and then, there, on her knees in the rotted wood, she pushes the boards back into place. Hefting the weight of the tool in her hand a world of weariness falls upon her for a brief moment and then, just as quickly, it is gone.

Like a ghost she moves through the house, out the front door and back to her car. She did not go to the school or walk the haunted football field that she knew still stood in pieces. No, she had a little trip to make out to the ocean. Now she would have closure.

For the first time all day, she smiles, and starts her engine leaving the tainted town for the second time, this time never to return.

Inspired by Cellar Township built by Outy Banjo

Inspired by Cellar Township built by Outy Banjo

OpenSpaces

The air was heavy with the smell of sweat, smoke and tuna sandwiches. The space was lit by an orange-yellow glow streaming in from high windows. The light spilled down haphazardly upon stacks of boxes that stood floor to ceiling between me and the noises coming from the other side of the room.

“Where are you?” I half yelled into the ceiling, hoping my words would find the right ricochet to his ears.

“I’m over here .. past the pile of old maps,” came the tired reply.

I stood for a moment, staring at the maze of boxed pillars. I leaned left then right, trying to see if there might be some clue as to the entrance to his maze but there was none, so I took the most direct route ahead. There were more twists and turns than I had possibly imagined, the boxes were almost new but they were packed full, some overflowing with notes and most with the label “OS” scratched in black felt pen on the side.

I ran my hand along the pillars as I walked for what seemed miles until I found the heap of old maps, only they weren’t that old. I thumbed through them quickly, noticing the dates on each were just days apart but the land mass changed drastically map to map.  They would have played like a flip book cartoon showing the evolution of the world if I could have held them to do so, but something seemed wrong.

Just then, I heard his voice much closer than before, “Don’t bother with those, they will be destroyed with the rest of these once I get to them.” I looked up and saw him, a small figure hunched over an incinerator.   His shirt sleeves were rolled carelessly around his sinewy arms that lifted and emptied each box expertly in almost a machine like fashion.  Each time he emptied a box, a small puff of smoke escaped from the top of the black iron box and he waited for it to dissipate before lifting the next.

He didn’t stop when I approached.

“What are you doing?” I asked, but he didn’t stop to answer. He paused only long enough to wipe the sweat from his wrinkled brow then bent again quickly to empty the next box.

I turned around and looked again at the pillars of white boxes. They seemed to be marching toward us …”Into the valley of death rode the six hundred …”.

A puff of smoke found its way into my lungs, and I coughed almost uncontrollably, caught off guard by the thick black soot.    “Oh, I’m sorry about that,” he said, “some of them flash burn and belch out a nasty ash – I’m almost afraid I’m going to blow this place up one night with one of those.”

“One of those what?” I sputtered.

“It’s usually the artist colonies that create the most ash, but lucky for me most of the others were merely homesteads – which is where the name came from by the way. Anyway, those homesteads barely make this old iron box breathe hard,” he replied without breaking the pace of his movement.

I had been drawn to a box overflowing with notes as he spoke, and I stopped and looked up to read one that tempted me.

We regret to inform you that we have been forced to abandon our island due to pricing changes. At this time, we do not have recommendations for moving, as many of our friends and neighbors are facing the same circumstances. We thank you for making our lives rich, and we wish you the best of luck.

Respectfully yours …

I yanked the note out of the box and held it out toward him, “This is what you are burning, notes from homesteaders?”

“Notes, assets, terrain files, basically everything and anything associated with that establishment,” he grunted under the strain of what must have been another artist colony since the iron box groaned, then roared, then belched.

“But, why?” I asked, wiping my eyes with my sleeve.

He finally stood up, as much as he could in his state of constant hunch, and faced me. He didn’t look at all like the man I’d met three years before. His hair was thin and dark, a far cry from the boyish blond locks that once framed his face, and his eyes had turned from aquatic pools into cold steel traps, and they narrowed just before he spoke.

“Look, having this stuff around just makes people uneasy and there’s no sense in keeping it all – can’t you see it’s just cluttering up the place? My job is to keep the books neat and tidy and these, these monstrosities are making that nearly impossible for me. Historical records are for historians, not a forward looking business group.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish this out soon so I can clean up the stability and quality data warehouses. I trust you can find your way out.”

Inspired by OpenSpaces ~ Aera by Alia Baroque pictured

Inspired by OpenSpaces everywhere ~ Aera by Alia Baroque pictured

Dream Maker

Green is her favorite color.

This is where she makes dreams.

Occasionally, you can hear melodious humming from the quiet little factory in her mind.  Open air studios sprinkled with blurry images, inaudible sounds and fragrance not yet categorized but dominated by earthly scents, like the smell of burning peat moss from her distant past.  In the darker recesses unused pieces are stored in piles and stacks. Some neatly organized, others strewn about like the aftermath of a great storm, but each has a place.

Light and darkness form shapes that are known only to her, responding to her tiny whispers and chants and unfolding into complex images.  She beckons them to tea and biscuits, before she molds them into stories with her misshapen hands.

Day and night have merged into a suspension of time that has lost its power over her, for dreams do not end nor do they succumb to celestial timekeepers.  She has no schedules to keep.  Her pace is easy but filled with intent, like the waves lapping against the stone shores.

Chambers and antechambers collude and spill out along a vast expanse.  Over time her simple escape has grown up, out and into the sea but despite the sprawl it is warm and inviting.  Bright smoke dances for her.  Stars fall from the sky for her.  Whispers echo down the hall.  Wait for her there, she will find you.

Peace lives here.

This is where she makes dreams.

Inspired by Pteron, built lovingly by kei514 Flow

Inspired by Pteron, built lovingly by kei514 Flow

Madness of Time

Time shifts in small earthquakes. These quakes do not register on a regular scale but can only be detected by machines buried deep in the earth. With each spike on the paper, each anomaly from the steady rhythm, tectonic plates move and time skips forward. How many of these little quakes had shaken the invisible layers of crust floating above the mantle?

Years had gone by, hundreds of tiny tremors, unnoticed, beneath her feet.

And now? Now she stands against the parapet of her domain watching the orange crystal orb, lifted and spilling magic, spin marking its own passage of time. With a sigh she pushes off the edge and walks slowly to the floors below. What a fortress she had built, castle walls rising high above the water on her rocky island, orange crystal orbs spinning, pulsing, lending magic to her world. It was lit and blazing among the dark walls, lights that cast a beacon to the sea.

Another vibration of the ground, another tick of the clock.

She could no longer remember if she had been walling the world out or building herself in. Her feet echo as she makes her rounds, pushing through huge ornate doors to check either outer room on the next level, eyes scanning the lamps to make sure all was aglow.

Down again, empty low ceiling rooms, she slides fingers down gleaming orange silk curtains that lead out to the balconies, they whisper and shift at her touch. The flames outside always stayed lit, but it was part of her evening to check them, part of her routine. Leaning against an edge her golden eyes rake over the gardens below, gardens full of the same magic that held the edges of her dark home together.

Tectonic plates drifting, moving where they cannot be seen.

Silence in her castle, huge, stony, empty silence. She had let them all go. “Where have you gone?” she calls out in a frantic moment darting her eyes about. No sound, she tenses, concentrates. Once she had lovers and she had grand parties; once she had laughter. More empty rooms checked. Then she descends the cherry wood lined stairs letting her skirts drag upon them, rippling and swooshing. These were the things that kept her company now. Above an epic fireplace hung a picture of the very castle she was walking, what strange vanity she had.

Near the wooden castle doors she pauses and breathes in the mist that rises from a formidable opening. For the first time she smiles. Reaching out a hand she lovingly touches the vines that had pushed through her stony floor. “Hello,” she whispers and it is as if the vine arches like a cat to her delicate touch.

The needle moving on a seismograph, making electronic notes, recording.

Her pitch colored hair ruffles in the breeze as she crosses the long bridge, her spinning, soothing sculptures riding high above the grounds. Through the gardens that kiss the base of her castle she whispers, “Speak to me, speak to me…”, her once lithe figure passing glittering mushrooms, twisted vines, blue lights with a magic heartbeat and the peaceful fountain.

White rolling mists leave wet droplets on her silk shell as she reaches her final goal, the place she stays in more and more, longer and longer. Far below her castle lies a lush grotto soaked in her magic and the nature of the earth. In this grotto, beyond the low hanging branches of the trees, over bridges and bubbling streams, was also her eternal winter. “In here, in here, in here…” she whispers inside her own madness for as each castle wall rose it destroyed the high built edges of her mind. Adrift in the magic she was lost with only shimmers of clarity. She lay down by a blazing fire, content in her lost mind.

Time passes in ways that cannot be seen, in ripples and tremors that move the earth.

Inspired by Tusk built by Amberly Kinsella

Inspired by Tusk built by Amberly Kinsella

Dangle

The door swung open with a fury and her momentum carried her swiftly out of the cage.  It was a dash of luck that her flailing hands struck the hard edge of the floor to which she now clung.  The edges of the last plank dug into her calloused palms but she’d learned to ignore pain in almost every situation.  This was merely an inconvenience at the moment, no need to panic.

She surveyed the distance between her dangling feet and the sandy beach below,  “Perhaps I should have waited after all,” she mumbled through clenched teeth.

Unsure of the day or time, she counted back to her last clear thoughts.  It was like any other assignment she’d been asked to carry out – discover, distract, destroy.  Discovery was easy.  The brown gray stacked stones of the castle rose from the Earth and shone brightly in the sun, there was no attempt to hide or even cower against a hillside.  This stronghold stood proudly and bare-chested, without so much as a moat to protect its walls and gates, just as he did.

She found him sitting in the study, his tanned fingers sliding methodically along the pages of a book.  He knew she was there, so she spoke as if she was expected.

“Do you leave all of your guests standing for hours on end at the door?” she said, folding her arms across her partially bare chest.

His fingers stopped and his head did not move but his eyes cut across the room to survey her.  He stood up and took one slow step toward her, his cloak falling quietly from the chair to the floor.  He held his palms face up and out toward her and started to speak.

“I am terribly sorry; I must have been absorbed in my reading.  Do accept my sincerest apology.”

He spoke in a deep and smooth voice that rushed over her like a raging river; she certainly felt like her head was underwater.  She wanted to respond by capturing his gaze but her eyes were transfixed on his chest that appeared to be chiseled from the finest stone. She willed her hands to stay close to her sides lest they reach out and trace the deep lines set into his skin.

“Your apology is duly accepted,” she stammered a bit but set her jaw tightly as she refocused on the assignment.

Silence strolled into the room and filled up the space between them for what felt like days. It made her twitch, but he appeared to revel in it.   A half smile crept onto his lips.

“So tell me, what brings you to me?  Are you a scholar? a trader?  messenger .. a .. slave?” he spoke again in smooth waves.  The utterance of “slave” snapped her back into focus and she raised cool eyes to meet his.

“None of those,” she said sternly. “I am on a spiritual journey and I’ve found myself a little off course. If you could entertain a visitor for the evening I would be thankful and indebted.”

“A spiritual journey you say? I’m intrigued. I’ve never had a visitor, much less a traveling spirit seeker, but you are welcome to all the comforts I have to offer,”  he said with a smattering of mockery in his voice before once again the smooth river rose from his chest, “Are you weary from your journey, or shall I show you around the place?”

She tipped her head a tiny bit, unfolded her arms and stretched her tawny limbs out before her.  “Thank you for the offer; I would be pleased to accompany you.”

It was at this point her thoughts started to blur into a fog.  Their footsteps fell rhythmically on the stone walkway winding through the garden.  Fountains splashed and fragrance swept over her while she marveled not at the blooms, but at the brown hair that spilled over his shoulders.  He knew the names of every plant and every exotic stone, and he had a story for every one.

There are gaps from there to where they were last, standing out on the southern facing wall looking over the churn of the ocean.  There they stood talking quietly about the sea, how the foam pools against the crags in the rocky shore, how the kelp dances seductively in the tides and sea birds defy the laws of gravity.  She drank his words until she was drunk and light headed, she remembered his hands following the edges of her body and lifting her up to what she then assumed would be his bed chamber.

Her mind left her, her eyes closed and her breathing slowed. She wanted him to take her to the far away places to gather stones and clip flowers.  Then she heard the bright clank. She wanted to recover her senses, but she was too far gone and she drifted into a deep sleep.

She awoke in a panic, not on the wide berth of his bed, but on the cold floor of a cage.

Inspired by Rustica and Arcana Nuevo by Maxwell Graf and Pierre Roelofs

Inspired by Rustica and Arcana Nuevo by Maxwell Graf, Angelica Zuma and Pierre Roelofs

Rhythm

On the wall the clock seemed to crawl. The office was cold and sterile; she had been typing all afternoon. He insisted that she actually type on bond paper. Her toe rests on the bag under her desk absently. Her eyes spark as she smiles wryly and folds the piece of paper in not quite thirds. The time had come. She finds relief in changing from her scratchy wool suit into her outfit for tonight. No one even notices her dash from the bathroom to the door in order to grab a car. One hand was already taking out her tight bun to let naturally wild hair loose while the other worked at the coat which hid her from prying colleague eyes.

The taxi pulls to a stop in front of the neon lit building; the ocean blue glow on the front mesmerizes her. She could feel the tension slide from her body as she hands the driver cash and steps from the vehicle to stand in front of the club. As if her body was responding to unseen cues it took stock of her black leather pants, the sky blue, slick top she wore and the black heels that she would only regret when the adrenaline subsided.

A transformation had already taken place. Slender fingers brush her hip as she walks up the illuminated stairs, breathing out and in with each step that brought her closer. Blue eyes trace spiral sculpture as it spins just inside the entrance and her lips were already molding to the half smirk she would wear the rest of the evening. Her gaze begins to flit through the entry way into the leather and plush performance room to the right, then to the dance floor.

Not yet, she tells herself. Patience. Walking through the club she takes in the pulsing lights, heated bodies, and the smell of want filling the large room. Finally she sits, in the sheer curtained lounge to the left, on a white leather couch and she waits for the evening to bloom.

What occurs are these things that slip into saved sensation.

It was dark, the kind of dark where everyone looks good and skin is tan in the flickering low lights. This darkness she wears like a gift and becomes something all the more entrancing, all the more captivating. There was a woman against the round pillar; her black short hair and her hungry look enticing.

Standing she moves like a cat across the room, red hair kissing bare shoulders. Her club siren watches her and then the matches the beat, beat, beat rhythm of swaying hips and suggestion without touch. Here in the dark with music as her guide she closes her eyes to feel the thumping in her chest, the movement of her secret self.

Her eyes lock on brown ones as her knee slides between legs so the smooth, smooth, smooth insides of their thighs kiss. The body responds and the only thing she notices is the dark haired woman in front of her, against her, moving with her. Somewhere behind them the DJ spins at his high station. Her smoldering partner leans in to seemingly speak over the music but there is silence and only hot breath against an ear. The woman’s face brushes hers, soft, damp skin against skin. Hands reaching into hair, pushing the red mass back so she is pinned with those intense eyes.

There was so much talking without words.

Lost in the rhythm, heels on a floating glass floor, she was bewitched and bewitching. She swallowed down the music and let the desire flow forward.

Inspired by the club PulseXtrem, built by youyou0FR Yao

Inspired by the club PulseXtrem built by youyou0FR Yao